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  • 3 Top Budget Wireless Routers to Keep You Connected

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Consumers have become accustomed to constant internet access, no matter where they are, without being tethered to a wall. With the range of wireless routers available today, setting up a home wireless network is fairly easy and inexpensive. After analyzing features and consulting expert and consumer reviews, Cheapism has singled out three reliable routers that can be had for less than $50.

    Read our top three wireless router recommendations and decide for yourself.

    Related: Best budget desktop computers

    • The Linksys E1200 (starting at $44) is one of the more basic routers the company offers. The signal reaches about 175 feet, according to one expert review, and connects to 802.11b/g/n devices. The letters represent wireless standards overseen by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Wireless-n is the latest and fastest to be ratified by the IEEE, with a maximum transfer speed of 300 megabits per second. In real-life testing, this router managed approximate speeds of 36 to 54 Mbps. The ease of
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  • Walmart, Target, Kmart: Who's Cheapest?

    By Raechel Conover,

    In the perennial war among discount superstores Walmart, Target, and Kmart for shoppers' dollars, the edge goes to the retailer with the best and the most bargains. Cheapism found that Walmart scores a clear win with the cheapest prices and largest selection and holds its own in other realms that frugal and savvy customers consider important -- convenience, a pleasant shopping environment, and products they consider a good value. Target is pressing in from a position of strength and Kmart, once the biggest of the three, no longer competes in any aspect we considered important.

    Related: Outlet Shopping vs. Retail

    For this in-depth comparison of Walmart, Target, and Kmart in the 50th anniversary year for each, Cheapism took a multi-pronged approach. We sent a researcher into each store to check prices and evaluate the shopping experience. We also conducted consumer and expert interviews, fielded a Facebook poll, and analyzed online reviews.

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  • Cheap Ways to Ward Off Dry Skin This Winter

    By Teal Pelish,

    When winter weather renders your skin dry and scaly, resist the urge to reach for pricey creams and serums. Here are some simple winter skin care tips to get you through the season.

    Related: Inexpensive women's shavers

    Humidify Your Home. As the temperature falls, humidity tends to do the same, and the dry air leeches moisture from your skin. Indoor heat sources only make matters worse, so set the thermostat as low as you can bear. Dermatologists offering winter skin care tips online suggest using a humidifier in the rooms where you spend the most time. Consider investing in cheap humidifiers for your bedroom and your office. The best ones we found start at about $30 but will last longer than a jar of lotion.

    Keeping dry skin at bay is the key.

    Alternative ideas include simply placing bowls of water around your home. The water will slowly evaporate and add moisture to the air. People with notoriously dry radiator heat can place pots of water directly on their radiators.

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  • 4 Top Programmable Thermostats for Frugal Homeowners

    By Louis DeNicola,

    As winter rolls in and the temperature begins to drop, the extra-warm comforters come out of the closets and the heat gets turned on. Using a programmable thermostat to run the heat only when you need it most can help keep your heating costs down and still keep your home nice and toasty. According to an estimate by the government's Energy Star program, if you use the recommended settings on a programmable thermostat, you can save an average of $180 a year.

    A programmable thermostat can help you save money on your heating bill.

    Related: Top reasonably-priced furnaces

    At Cheapism we researched a variety of budget thermostats and found four models that should help you save money and stay warm.

    • The Hunter 44260 (starting at $34) lets you set three different heating or cooling schedules: one five-day program (for the workweek) and two one-day programs (for the weekend). Reviewers note that the backlit display makes adjusting the thermostat easy at night. Some consumers say they've stuck with the Hunter brand
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  • Bank Fees? Never Mind

    By Louis DeNicola,

    In spite of the bad rap surrounding the banking sector of late, most of us continue to use checking and savings accounts associated with the very same banks implicated in the financial crisis. When it comes to storing your money, and earning interest on that money, banks are far more useful than a box under the mattress. But if your checking account requires a minimum balance, doesn't reimburse for ATM fees, or assesses a monthly service charge, consider switching to a no-fee banking arrangement. Most no-fee banking accounts are offered by online banks that cut expenses by not having to pay personnel, rent, and basic overhead to keep branch locations open. These savings are passed on to customers in the form of higher interest rates, lower fees, and free services.

    Related: Reasonably-priced laptop recommendations

    A no-fee banking option might be ideal for your needs.

    No-Fee Banking Providers. Ally Bank, formerly GMAC bank, offers 24/7 phone-in customer service (chat is also available) and

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  • Price Alerts Help You Find the Best Time to Buy

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Online bargain hunting is both frustrating and exciting. You're out to find a deal on something you love or need and you're determined to stick to your budget. Make price alerts your new best friend. With the power of price alerts by your side, you can easily monitor the changing prices on an item and know with confidence whether that "bargain" really is a steal.

    Learn how to use price alerts to score the best deals online.

    Related: 4 best travel sites

    Know the Past. CamelCamelCamel has three sister sites that let you set price alerts for products on Amazon, and You don't need to register or give your email address to benefit from the site's tracking capabilities; it generates a unique URL you can visit to check for changes. If you do register, price alerts for all your tracked products can be sent to your email or Twitter account or show up in an RSS feed.

    The real power of the site comes from its price history charts, which allow you to compare a product's current price

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  • How to Save Money on Laundry

    By Raechel Conover,

    Laundry day is one of those unavoidable facts of life that costs you time and money and drains resources. According to The Simple Dollar, the cost per load at a laundromat is $3.12 and the cost per load at home is 97 cents (not counting equipment costs). These tallies include travel (to a laundromat), energy (to run the washer and dryer), and water (in a home setting) but exclude the cost of laundry detergent and fabric softener.

    Doing the laundry doesn't need to be a drain on your resources.

    Related: Inexpensive washing machine reviews

    These necessary ingredients up the ante. Tide Original costs $15.08 at Amazon for 100 fluid ounces, which theoretically lasts through 64 loads of laundry and adds 23 cents to the cost of each wash. For 240 Bounce Fabric Softener Sheets you'll pay $14.97 at Amazon, or 6 cents a load.

    The grand total for each load of laundry: $3.41 at a laundromat and $1.26 at home. Multiply that by the number of loads you do each week, and, well, that's a lot of change.

    Here are

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  • Searching for a Stroller? 3 Top Budget Travel Systems

    Best travel systemsBest travel systemsBy Louis DeNicola,

    Travel systems combine a stroller, a baby seat, and a base that stays put in your car. The best ones are easy to use, keep your child safe, and save you money by combining three necessities into one purchase. Cheapism has researched the most popular inexpensive travel systems and found three top picks that are safe, stylish, and budget-friendly.

    All three are compatible with the LATCH system found in all new vehicles, for easy and safe installation of the car seat, and all use a five-point harness to secure a child. Although the seats are suited only for infants who weigh less than 22 or 30 pounds, depending on the make, the strollers can be used until a child reaches 50 pounds. Cheapism's analysis of online reviews generally turned up only minor drawbacks to these budget travel systems, such as storage baskets underneath the strollers that are too small and or hard to access when the stroller seat is fully reclined.


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  • 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Daily Deal Websites

    By Louis DeNicola,

    When it comes to daily deal websites, Groupon is far from the only game in town. Beyond the big names that dominate the space, thousands of smaller niche sites promise similar savings. How's a bargain hunter to stay on top of all those daily deals? Here are five tips.

    Related: Budget multifunction printer reviews

    1. Take advantage of aggregators. Many frugal consumers already know about daily deal aggregators such as Yipit. If you haven't tried the site yet, you owe it to your inbox to head on over. Yipit pulls coupons for discounts in your city from a variety of daily deal websites, collecting them all in one email. As a recent Reader's Digest piece points out, looking outside your area can also yield great finds. Here, again, you can rely on the collective eye of the internet to spot the best bargains. Check out sites such as Slickdeals, FatWallet, and Dealnews, which list local deals but don't confine you to a particular city. That

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  • Are Extended Product Warranties Worth It?

    By Louis DeNicola,

    You're about to spend hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on a new TV, appliance, or computer. When you reach the checkout counter the all-too-familiar question is popped: "Would you like to purchase the extended product warranty?" The rejoinder, asked silently, of course: "Is it worth spending a little more to buy some peace of mind?"

    Are you confused on whether to purchase an extended warranty?

    Related: 4 best hybrid cars

    Well, that depends on the product you're buying and the coverage that comes with it. Many manufacturers' warranties aren't as comprehensive as they used to be but still may be sufficient to weed out lemons. And if you make a purchase with a credit card you may be entitled to extra coverage. Check the benefits for your card; some double the manufacturer's warranty free of charge and give you extra protection during the first 90 days after the purchase.

    For any product you buy, it's important to fully understand both the manufacturer's warranty and the extended coverage. Who

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