Blog Posts by Cheapism.com

  • Original and Cheap Halloween Costumes

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Boo! It's almost Halloween so we're going to treat you to some spooky statistics and trick you with some frugal homemade costume ideas.

    According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), each person who celebrates Halloween this year will spend, on average, a total of $79.82 for decorations, costumes, and candy. And, in a ten-year high, seven out of 10 people will mark the holiday while turning it into an $8 billion retail bonanza.

    For this one night of frightful fun, though, you can stick to your thrifty ways and conjure up cheap Halloween costumes for the entire family. Here's how:

    Make a homemade lego costume.

    Related: Best budget lego sets

    Homemade Halloween Costumes for Kids. Children will wear their Halloween costume once, or maybe twice, and certainly won't fit into it next year, so don't go overboard. All the cute get-ups circulating these days are tempting, but you can create an original costume for much less. These are some of the best homemade

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  • Find Free Stuff Through the Freecycle Network

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    A bookcase, a rocking chair, a Dell computer monitor, infant formula, kids clothes, gift bags, a bathroom sink -- these are just a few of the things people were giving away for free recently on our local branch of the Freecycle Network. See something you could use? The Freecycle Network is a potential gold mine for frugal consumers seeking free stuff online.

    The Freecycle Network is an excellent way to get free stuff online.

    Related: Inexpensive laptop reviews

    What The Freecycle Network Is. The Freecycle Network connects people who want to give away and acquire free stuff online with the stated goal of keeping it out of landfills. This all happens locally. What started as one small email group in Arizona in 2003 has grown into 5,061 groups and more than 9 million total members throughout the country and the world. The nonprofit organization is run by volunteers.

    How The Freecycle Network Works. Start by visiting Freecycle.org to search for your location and request to join the group that covers your

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  • 7 Tips for Saving Money on Medicine

    By Alyssa Goldman, Cheapism.com

    Thank goodness for medication: It speeds up recovery, cures common illnesses, and keeps chronic diseases under control. But for all the benefits of modern medicine, it does come with a major downside: the cost. Luckily there are prescription savings to be found. Next time you visit your doctor, keep these cost-cutting techniques in mind:

    Medication is often necessary but there are ways to cut costs.

    Related: Diet pill reviews

    1. Opt for generics. Generic prescription drugs cost an average of 80 to 85 percent less than their brand-name counterparts, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That adds up to serious prescription savings. The FDA assures consumers there is no need to worry about safety or quality: Generic medications are just as effective and include the same active ingredients as brand-name products.

    2. Compare prices. DestinationRx lets consumers shop around for the cheapest forms of prescription medications. You must register with the site and enter the name, dose, and

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  • 5 Tips to Save Money on Health Insurance

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    For most people fall is open enrollment season for health insurance offered through their employer. This is the time to review coverage and options and to make changes that suit your needs. Your decisions can affect how much or how little you pay in health insurance and related costs for the entire year, so don't blow it off. The following tips can help you choose the plan that's right for you at a price that won't wear you down.

    Take advantage of open enrollment and choose the best health insurance plan for you and your family.

    Related: Top 4 inexpensive diet pills

    1. Review your health insurance plan. Many people just let their health insurance renew from one year to the next without looking it over. Big mistake. Health insurance plans change and even a slight tweak may mean higher costs in the form of premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Also, your health situation may be changing. One year you may need more coverage and the next year you may need less. There's no reason to pay for coverage you won't use.

    2. Review other health

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  • Stop Wasting Money Today with These Frugal Tips

    By Kym Pham, Cheapism.com

    Between tax season, monthly bills, and day-to-day spending, there are countless opportunities to lose your hard-earned money -- including many you may not even realize. The team at Kiplinger has compiled a list of 25 common money-wasters and provides helpful tips on how to stop wasting more money than you already have. Some of the advice is designed to trigger habits of steady saving that grow into a nice cushion over time, while other tips could produce vast, sudden, and sustained differences in your cash outflow.

    Hold onto your money with these frugal tips.

    What you can do right away. Many money-wasters can be tackled fairly easily, but you might feel overwhelmed if you try to take them on all at once. So work on one, or a few, at a time. In a conversation with Cheapism, Kiplinger editor Andrea Browne singled out several tips to implement immediately, such as using cruise control when you drive and buying in bulk on your next grocery run.

    Related: Costco vs. Sam's Club

    Here's how to

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  • On Display: 4 Top Budget Computer Monitors

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    With so many people doing their computing on laptops, tablets, and phones, shopping for a new computer monitor may be unfamiliar territory. Even desktop computers often include the monitor as part of a package deal. If you're looking for a new monitor because your old one broke, or you'd like to plug your laptop into a larger display, a top-of-the-line model can cost $1,000 or more. Of course, most people don't need such a high-end monitor. Cheapism has found some of the best monitors for less than $200.

    Pick the best monitor for your desktop.

    Related: Inexpensive laptop recommendations

    • The Asus VS229H-P (starting at $153) is a 21.5-inch monitor that has received expert endorsements as well as numerous positive reviews from consumers online. Many reviewers are impressed by the rich colors, including the bright whites and deep blacks promised by the advertised 50,000,000:1 contrast ratio. This is one of the few low-cost monitors that has in-plane switching, or IPS technology, which
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  • The Great Debate: Sam's Club or Costco?

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Last year Cheapism sent a researcher to Sam's Club and Costco to determine which warehouse club gives frugal shoppers the best deal. Although you can't go wrong with either, we found that Sam's Club holds a slight edge over Costco because it offers more in-store benefits, a larger brand selection, and smaller unit packaging that's more manageable for people with smaller households and/or limited storage.

    We returned to the top wholesale stores to review our findings.

    We recently returned to both clubs to update our findings and found that Sam's still dominates, but still only slightly.

    Related: Which is the better buy: Amazon or Walmart?

    Sam's Club vs Costco Membership. Sam's Club membership fees in 2012 remain at the 2011 level: a Business Membership costs $35, the individual Advantage Membership goes for $40, and the Business Plus or Advantage Plus memberships sit at $100. The Advantage plan offers the same array of benefits, including a primary card that covers an additional named cardholder of

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  • Cheap Food: 5 Ways to Use Rice

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    As millions of people around the world can attest, rice is cheap and filling and a tasty addition to any meal, especially if your food budget is limited. Indeed, a study by the International Rice Research Institute found that about three billion people eat rice every day and more than 600 million depend on rice as a staple. It's an important food in America, too, where people eat an average of 25 pounds of rice a year. Congress has even designated September as National Rice Month.

    Rice is a simple and versatile food.

    Related: 4 best affordable rice cookers

    If your rice repertoire could use a shake up, these rice dishes on a budget are good starting points. We're pretty sure they'll keep you and your wallet comfortably full.

    Rice Cakes. If you like to snack throughout the day, consider making your own rice cakes. This rice dish on a budget calls for any variety of sticky rice, such as short grain white rice or Thai rice labeled "sweet rice" or "glutinous rice." Let the rice

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  • 5 Ways to Save Money on School Lunches

    By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

    Now that the school year has finally started, you're no doubt facing the school lunch dilemma. You know, the one that goes something like this: the easy but costly and possibly unhealthy option of letting the kids buy lunch at school or the more complicated but cheaper and healthier option of packing school lunches every day yourself.

    Making school lunches at home is both economical and healthy.

    With our five tips on how to save money by packing school lunches in your very own kitchen, you'll no longer have to trade nutritious for quick and easy. You'll have healthy school lunches and change in your pocket.

    Related: 4 recommended inexpensive rolling backpacks

    1. Go green. That's right, save money and the environment in one stroke by buying a reusable school lunch box, reusable thermos, and reusable containers. While you may have to shell out some cash for these items at the beginning of the school year, you'll no longer have to add sandwich bags, snack bags, foil, wax paper, or brown paper bags

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  • 4 Best Inexpensive MP3 Players

    By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com

    Just as personal audio cassettes and CD players once became known as Walkmans, today's MP3 players are commonly referred to as iPods. But with so many music lovers now plugging in through their smartphones, the MP3 player - Apple variety or not - risks becoming obsolete. Don't give up on them just yet, though. MP3 players have certain advantages that smartphones lack: they're light enough and small enough to keep you humming all through your exercise routine.

    It's easy to enjoy the portability of mp3 players.

    Cheapism identified four MP3 players with price tags under $60.

    Related: Best affordable iPod speakers on the market

    • The SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip is available with either 4GB (starting at $35) or 8GB (starting at $53) of memory. The ability to boost capacity by up to 32GB with a microSDHC card makes this player extremely appealing. The Sansa Clip Zip supports multiple audio file types, including MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and Audiobooks. It also sports an FM radio, a voice
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