Money-saving tips from The Bargainist

The Sweetest Christmas Cookies on a Budget

Posted on 12/12/2011

Just like eggnog and mistletoe, it’s tough to imagine the holidays without Christmas cookies. A batch of fresh treats can also make a kind gift for neighbors, teachers and co-workers. Celebrate the season with this sweet gift, but choose budget-friendly recipes to ensure that you aren’t spending too much dough on Christmas cookies.

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Operation WANA - Helping others during the holidays

Posted on 12/09/2011

If you're looking around and marveling at the abundance you have in your life and wondering how you can pay it forward, we've got an idea for you. One of our favorite bloggers, Modg, has a give-what-you-can program going on (pardon the language! >_<). Basically, if you're in need, post it in the comments - don't be shy, there are people just waiting to help! If you have anything you can give, be it time, a skill, a job lead, toys, or clothing, respond to someone in need!

Creative and Low Cost Holiday Party Themes

Posted on 12/09/2011

Before you pull out that tacky Christmas sweater for another round of holiday get-togethers, why not try a fresh and creative party theme? There are many affordable ways to generate yuletide joy without spending a sleigh-full of cash.

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Twitter and Facebook Poll: Are Christmas Cards Dying Out?

Posted on 12/08/2011

Christmas card deliveries have been dropping slightly over the past couple of years, but there are still about 1.5 billion showing up in mailboxes across America this holiday season. Hallmark says that more than 20 paper cards are sent for every one e-card. But we wanted to know whether you think holiday cards are a fading tradition. Some of you love the thought, but don’t have the time while others are committed to sending them year after year.

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Saving Money on Hanukkah Decorations

Posted on 12/08/2011

This year Hanukkah begins at sunset on December 20 and runs until sunset on December 28. There are more than 13 million Jews in the world and more than five million in the US, many of whom will be pulling out their menorahs for the Festival of Lights. Get ready for this eight night celebration with affordable Hanukkah decorations.

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Affordable Ways to Look Great at Holiday Parties

Posted on 12/06/2011

The holiday party is back in a big way this Christmas season. According to a Career Builder survey, 58% of employers are planning a holiday party for their workers this year, up from 52% in 2010. And more than a third of employees say they plan to attend their office party this time around. Now the big question is—what will you wear? Consider these affordable ways to look great at holiday parties.

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Tips for Making Your Christmas Tree Look Better and Last Longer

Posted on 12/06/2011

Half of US homes will have a fake tree this year. But for those who opt for a real tree, there’s nothing quite like the scent and beauty of a fresh pine, spruce or fir. According to Census numbers, Oregon contributes the most, harvesting nearly seven million Christmas trees annually. If you opt for the real deal, review these tips for keeping your tree perfect through the entire holiday season.

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The Best Apps to Help You Save and Organize Holiday Shopping

Posted on 12/06/2011

Having trouble remembering your grandma’s shoe size and which cousin is allergic to wool? Keep all of that straight and feel confident you’re getting the best gift at the best possible price all with the help of your trusty Smartphone.

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Important Shipping Dates and Advice for the Holidays

Posted on 12/01/2011

Letter carriers’ loads are about to get a whole lot bigger. The US Postal Service says they’ll deliver a whopping 16.5 billion cards, letters and packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Shipping dates sneak up quickly so if you’ve got gifts to mail keep reading for key dates and advice that will ensure your packages arrive on time and in perfect condition.

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Affordable Ways to Avoid the Winter Blues

Posted on 11/30/2011

We expect our life to look like a Norman Rockwell painting and when it doesn’t, it’s common to feel down. Those unmet expectations coupled with financial pressures and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) create what’s also known as the winter blues. Combat this bout of sadness without giving yourself more money worries.

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How to Celebrate World AIDS Day

Posted on 11/29/2011

December 1 is a day set aside each year to bring attention to a disease that’s only been in the US for 30 years. While great strides have been made in the fight against HIV and AIDS, it’s still a reality for 1.1 million Americans. Celebrate World AIDS Day online and in your community to reduce stigma and improve awareness about this devastating epidemic.

Download a free poster at, print it out and write why you are Facing AIDS. Snap a photo of yourself holding the sign and then share it on the online gallery.

Test Your Knowledge of HIV/AIDS

Avert AIDS invites Facebook fans to play an interactive game that tests your HIV and AIDS knowledge. Avert is a UK-based charity working on prevention and care of those infected with HIV and AIDS. Ask your friends to play the Avert AID Challenge and see who can get the highest score.

Send a #WAD2011 Tweet
Tweet about HIV and AIDS on the first of December and inform your followers about the impacts of the disease. Be sure to use the hashtag #WAD2011 to join the conversation.

Get Tested
One in every five people living with HIV in the US doesn’t know it, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Government recommendations say that anyone who has had unprotected sex, shared needles or equipment with others or who has been diagnosed with hepatitis, TB or an STD should get tested. Find a testing site near you by visiting

Purchase an Umbrella
At noon on December 1, hundreds of red umbrellas will pop open to form a public art project in the shape of an AIDS ribbon in Richmond, Virginia. Join the event either in person or by purchasing a red umbrella online. Money raised will support the Fan Free Clinic which provides confidential testing to those in need.

By Alison Storm

Want to buy an umbrella to show your support for World AIDS Day? You're in luck. Kohl's sells red umbrellas and is having a sale right now! Save 20% on your entire order when you enter the coupon code CON20HH4 at checkout. Shop now, this sale end date is unknown.

Holiday Price Guarantees: Retailers Offering Them and What It Means

Posted on 11/23/2011

We all want to buy the best Christmas gifts at the best possible price. There’s nothing worse than braving the crowds to get your holiday shopping completed only to discover stores have lowered the prices right after you put your presents under the tree. Some stores are giving shoppers a guarantee against this annoying holiday tradition. Keep reading for details on this perk and how it works.

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Apps to Help You Shop on Small Business Saturday

Posted on 11/22/2011

Big box stores have Black Friday, websites have Cyber Monday and the Saturday in between is now reserved for small businesses. For the second year in a row the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been deemed Small Business Saturday. Created by American Express, organizers are hoping millions of shoppers will descend on their locally-owned stores and shop small in a big way. Navigate your local retailers and find the best deals with the help of these apps perfect for Small Business Saturday.

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Cyber Monday Scams to Avoid

Posted on 11/21/2011

Millions of shoppers spending fistfuls of cash on gifts and there’s no packed parking lot to show for it? It must be Cyber Monday, celebrated annually at the start of the work week following Thanksgiving. Before you boot up and pull out your credit card you’ll want to get educated on some possible Cyber Monday scams that could threaten your holiday cheer.

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Black Friday Essentials When Waiting in Line Outside

Posted on 11/21/2011

Many stores are launching their Black Friday sales starting at midnight. If you plan to line up hours before the doors unlock be prepared to wait. Fortunately waiting outside a big box store doesn’t have to equal boring, freezing or starving if you have these Black Friday essentials with you.

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Facebook and Twitter Poll: What is Your Black Friday Mission?

Posted on 11/17/2011

Black Friday may need to find a new name—many stores announced they’re actually opening their doors on Thanksgiving for shoppers who want doorbuster deals. And plenty of people do. The National Retail Federation estimates 152 million will shop at some point over Black Friday weekend. That’s up 10% from last year so we wanted to know—what’s your Black Friday mission?

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Cyber Monday Tips: Ways to Avoid Getting in Trouble for Shopping at Work

Posted on 11/16/2011

Last year Cyber Monday sales topped $1 billion according to comScore. That’s a 16% increase over 2009. Sure the deals are great, but there’s one little problem—for most Americans that’s a work day. Research shows nearly half of Cyber Monday money spent originates from work computers. Plenty of people are doing some on-the-job holiday shopping. That can be really risky so here are ways to avoid getting in trouble while shopping at work.

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Low Cost Ways to Help Orphans

Posted on 11/15/2011

November is Adoption Awareness Month which is a great time to remember the 210 million orphans worldwide, according to UNICEF estimates. There are 86 million orphans in India alone, 44 million in Africa and 10 million in Mexico. While 35,000 children die daily from hunger and malnutrition there are low cost ways we can help these boys and girls.

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Hot Ticket Items for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2011

Posted on 11/14/2011

Black Friday is usually the holiday season's busiest day for sales and shoppers. A whopping 200 million shoppers visited stores last year, spending $10.69 billion. They spend billions more in the following days including on Cyber Monday. Wondering what customers will be clamoring for this year? Here are some of the hot ticket items shoppers will be racing to the shelves to score.

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Free Thanksgiving Planning Help

Posted on 11/11/2011

Pulling together a Thanksgiving feast is not easy. We can’t help you set the table or stuff your bird, but we can lead you to some free Thanksgiving planning resources. And that’s something to be thankful for.

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Ways to Honor Veterans Online

Posted on 11/10/2011

According to the 2010 US Census there are 21.8 million veterans. While it’s important to honor them all year, November 11 is Veterans Day, a time set aside annually to mark their service and contribution. There are a growing number of opportunities to honor veterans online.

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How to be Productive While Watching TV

Posted on 11/09/2011

For some, satisfaction comes from sitcoms. Others love anything that starts with “Real Housewives”. No matter what’s on the tube there are ways to avoid being a couch potato. Don’t let the TV suck away valuable time—instead be productive while watching television.

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Black Friday Prep: Stores Offering Mobile Coupons

Posted on 11/08/2011

Printable coupons may soon be a thing of the past with more and more retailers and shoppers going mobile. According to research firm eMarketer, 9.5% of U.S. adult mobile phone users will access and redeem a mobile coupon this year which equates to 19.8 million consumers. Just in time for the holiday season a growing number of stores are sending coupons straight to your smart phone through free mobile apps. Get ready for Black Friday by downloading these free apps to your phone now.

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How to Put Kids in Charge of Their Own Holiday Spending

Posted on 11/07/2011

Give your children a holiday gift they can use this Christmas and beyond—a lesson in personal finance. Kids are generous and your little ones may want to buy lavish holiday gifts for their friends, your mail carrier and their karate teacher. But their generosity may not match your budget. This can be a great opportunity to teach children valuable financial lessons by putting them in charge of their own holiday spending.

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Twitter and Facebook Poll: Do Rewards Programs or Punch Cards Keep You Coming Back?

Posted on 11/04/2011

Do rewards programs and punch cards do more than keep your wallet from snapping shut? We wanted to know if they actually do make you a return customer or if they simply add to your clutter. Here’s what you told us through Facebook and Twitter.

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Bank Transfer Day: Should You Switch?

Posted on 11/03/2011

Bank Transfer Day isn’t a marketing ploy created by credit unions. It’s actually the brainchild of a 27-year-old art gallery owner in California who just really didn’t like her bank and decided to switch to a credit union. She created Bank Transfer Day, promoting it mostly on Facebook, and now around 70,000 people are committing to making the switch on November 5. Will you be joining them?

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How to Make Your Home Flu Resistant

Posted on 11/02/2011

Flu season is here—and the Centers for Disease Control says it will stick around until as late as May. Experts say flu activity commonly peaks in January or February and while it may attack your family with a vengeance there are ways to make your home more flu-resistant.

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Celebrate Dia de los Muertos on a Budget

Posted on 11/01/2011

While Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, seems like a scary holiday, it’s actually a celebration of life. Marked by bright colors, flowers and artistically designed skulls, Day of the Dead comes at the beginning of November each year. Celebrate it in style and on a budget with these tips.

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Easy Ways to Raise Money for an Adoption

Posted on 10/28/2011

The average cost of adoption, according to a 2010 adoption survey, is around $30,000. US foster adoptions are the least expensive, costing on average less than $5,000 while an international adoption from Russia can run about $50,000. Since November is Adoption Awareness Month we’ve researched ways to raise money for an adoption.

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Fun for People Who Don’t Celebrate Halloween

Posted on 10/27/2011

According to the National Retail Federation seven in ten Americans—that’s 69%— will celebrate Halloween this year. But what if you’re one of the three in ten who don’t? It may be because you don’t want to spend $72 like the NRF says the average person will spend on Halloween costumes, treats and decorations. Or perhaps Halloween is against your religion. Whatever the reason, here are Halloween alternatives so you don’t feel left out of the fun.

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