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  • Where to Find Cheap or Free Condoms for Valentine's Day

    By Jeremy Bender,

    Generally, the words "cheap" or "free" and "condom" are not what you want to see in the same sentence. Get over it. There are incredibly easy ways to find high quality condoms for free. With a 36-pack of Trojans pushing upwards of $25 at some outlets, a reliable source of condoms for cheap should be on everyone's contact list -- especially as Valentine's Day draws closer and closer. Luckily, free condoms are readily available if you know where to look.

    Related: What's the best and cheapest way to order flowers?

    Use This website is the best friend of anyone in a rush to find free condoms. The site is dedicated to creating a network of businesses and organizations that distribute condoms for free with the goal of preventing STDs. All you have to do is enter your zip code, and the website will show you a map of the closest affiliate businesses offering free condoms -- no questions asked. Free lube is an added benefit.

    Find the

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  • 6 Most Affordable, Fast Growing Cities in the U.S

    By Josue Ledesma

    Related: 10 States with the lowest average income
    Related: How to Live off the dollar store on $50 a week

    The most desirable places to live are often among the most expensive. But some of the most popular cities in America now have below-average costs of living and affordable home prices. Some also boast low unemployment and competitive median incomes. To find these pockets of affordability, started with a list of places that popped up most often on lists of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. We whittled them down by combing through a range of vital stats on each one, seeking out the most recent publicly available data. We awarded the cities a score of 1 to 6 for each data point, based on where they fell relative to the competition. We gave the most weight to cost of living, as calculated by Sperling's, which accounts for housing, food, transportation, and health care, among other expenses. We also factored in median household

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  • How to Get the Best Deal on Valentine’s Day Flowers

    By Louis DeNicola,

    Every year around 200 million roses are produced in preparation for Valentine's Day, according to the Society of American Florists. It seems like almost as many deals are appearing online for flower delivery services. Whether through coupon codes or daily deal vouchers, frugal shoppers wishing to send flowers to a special someone are likely to find big "deals." However, a report from reveals that using an online flower delivery service is unlikely to yield the best value.

    Related: 3 Types of Flowers That Last Longer Than Roses -- and Cost Less

    What to Expect From Online Flower Sites. First, understand that there are two prevailing ways online flower services handle deliveries. One is to fulfill orders directly; the other is to act as a broker, forwarding orders to local florists and taking fees for facilitating the transactions. When comparing the price for a dozen roses and a simple vase from companies that fit both models,

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  • How to Host a Winter Olympics Party with a Russian Twist

    By Sarah McMinn

    Friday, February 7 marks the opening of the the 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi, Russia. As the resort city finishes preparations for the opening ceremony, consider our affordable yet gold-medal-worthy suggestions for hosting your own Russian-themed Olympics viewing party.

    Despite an initial budget of $12 billion, the cost of this year's Winter Olympics has skyrocketed to a jaw-dropping $51 billion. Fortunately, such excess isn't necessary when planning your own special event. Fine hospitality is a long-standing Russian tradition, and attention to details will get you into the spirit without sacrificing any thrift.

    Related: Top inexpensive slow cookers

    Food. In lieu of a traditional sit-down dinner of borscht, beef stroganoff, and plum vareniki, serve an ample selection of appetizers, which is less costly and lower stress than a full meal.

    Set out plenty of crackers and sliced black bread (see below) as an anchor for

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  • 6 Tips to Save Big at SXSW and Other Music Festivals

    By Jeremy Bender,

    It's hard to believe, with arctic temperatures pummeling most of the United States, that the spring and summer music festival season is almost here. As any budget-conscious music fan knows, festivals are pretty pricey even as their siren song of lineups is almost too good to ignore. Luckily, there are tried and true cost-cutting strategies that will let you enjoy most any music festival without financial regret.

    Choose Alternative Transportation. More likely than not, your favorite music festival will be hosted far from home. Instead of driving by your lonesome, carpool. Many festivals offer online meet-up resources for carpooling attendees, which promises huge savings in gas money or car rental fees. For festivals in urban areas, use public transportation to avoid hefty parking-pass fees.

    Related: 8 Things 'Girls' Can Teach Fans About Frugality

    Be Prepared to Cook. Festival organizers know full well that attendees are a captive audience,

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  • 8 Cheap Winter Dates to Melt Your Partner's Heart

    By Sarah McMinn

    Average winter temperatures in the continental United States range widely, from a low of 12.2(F) degrees in North Dakota to a high of 59.4(F) degrees in Florida, according to official statistics. Factor in the fickle implications of climate change and there's every reason to be flexible when planning a cheap winter date.

    Being thoughtful about a date shows care and consideration, and stands in contrast to the wearisome dinner and movie alternative. So here are eight out-of-the-box ideas that will keep you busy through the cold season and maybe even into warmer times.

    Related: 3 types of flowers that last longer than roses -- and cost less

    1. Head to an Arcade. Game rooms appeal as a first date or an outing with a long-term companion. It's hard to lose at an arcade. Games offer nostalgia (Pac Man, Galactica, Street Fighter, air hockey, basketball), an air of flirtatious competition, and -- last resort -- a claw machine to win your date a cheap

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  • Lingerie for Less: 3 Alluring Alternatives to Upscale Pieces

    By Olivia Lin,

    No matter what you wear, sexy is a state of mind. Behind closed bedroom doors, though, some might prefer their birthday suits, going au naturale, while others might want to spice things up with lace, leather, bows, netting, and more to accentuate favorite features or to bring something new to the table. Whether it's a see-through babydoll dress, a sheer chemise, or a lingerie set with bra, panty, robe, and garter belt, you don't need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few pieces of material that probably won't stay on very long.

    Related: Inexpensive chocolates taste test results

    Elle Macpherson Eyelash Chemise

    Like any article of clothing, think practically about the kind of lingerie you want and your budget for this special (Valentine's?) gift to yourself and/or your partner. What's the cost per wear? Will you be donning this sexy lingerie often enough to balance out a brand-name splurge, or will it retire to the back of your dresser drawer? Also consider the level of

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  • 8 Things ‘Girls' Can Teach Fans About Frugality

    By Elizabeth Sheer,

    Like generations of young people before them, the cast of HBO's Girls came to New York to make careers in the arts -- writing, acting, music. In the meantime, Hannah Horvath and her cohort have been working entry-level jobs, often in coffee shops. For two-plus seasons, creator Lena Dunham's characters have been learning to live in an unforgiving, extremely expensive city on practically nothing (with more or less family support). This post-recession striving stands in stark contrast to Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahniks on Sex and the City, HBO's other show about four women in New York. Fans of Girls can even glean some tips for getting by in the big city. Fair warning: Potential spoilers ahead.

    Related: Ultra cheap cell phone plans comparison

    1. Choose your neighborhood wisely. The Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Hannah calls home, may not be as affordable as somewhere like Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the character of Charlie

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  • 3 Valentine's Day Flowers that Last Longer Than Roses -- and Cost Less

    By Olivia Lin,

    Red roses are the quintessential symbols of love on Valentine's Day, but a dozen can cost a bundle if you buy them that day or arrange a delivery to your loved one. But the following thrifty flowers for Valentine's Day won't set you back quite so far and will last far longer in your valentine's vase -- especially if you pick them up at the florist and deliver them yourself.

    Related: Where to get the best deals on Valentine's Day diamonds


    Alstromeria. Often described as a miniature version of lilies ("Peruvian lilies"), these delicate blooms are recognizable by contrasting colored stripes and dashes that spill out from the center of the flower onto the petals. In addition to shades of red, pink, and white, alstromeria come in yellow, green, orange, mauve, and purple. When selecting your stems, feel the leaves to estimate the age of that stem. If they're crisp and firm, it's a fresh bunch from the grower. Alstromeria last up to 14 days in water if

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  • Valentine's Day Diamonds: Where to Find the Best Value

    By Sarah McMinn

    Valentine's Day is fast approaching, so if you're considering the purchase of jewelry or a similar keepsake, it's time to start researching the options. A little forethought can save you money without compromising the quality of the gift.

    Regardless whether you're in the market for a simple string of beads, a vintage piece, or a diamond doozey, you'll want to assess its quality. A guide produced by MJSA (Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America) is an excellent starting point.

    Related: What's the best way to send Valentine's Day flowers for less?

    After acquainting yourself with the basics, do a reality check. Be sure you know your audience when shopping for a Valentine's Day gift. Your Valentine may be a Holly Golightly, who, like the lead character in Breakfast at Tiffany's, would be content with a Cracker Jacks ring engraved by Tiffany with his or her initials. At the other extreme, your Valentine may be a devotee of Crown Jewels.

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