th 1 150x150 Thrift shops, free museums and a $100 Tweetchat. Today is Thrift Shop Day, and the Savers/Value Village folks say we’re all about saving the Benjamins. The company’s new survey revealed that 47 percent of U.S. residents shop at la segunda, and more than one-third of us say they shop secondhand more often now than they did three years ago.

Is it the economy? Or is it that more and more people are realizing how much fun it can be to prospect for marked-down items, some of which you won’t find anywhere else?

Well, 52 percent of those surveyed say “it feels like a treasure hunt” and 35 percent love finding “truly unique” items. If you’re a retro-fashionista, secondhand stores are the place to find vintage shoulder-pad suits, cargo pants or the perfect bridesmaid’s dress to wear to the prom or (with appropriate attitude) to a wedding.


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9781118518557 p0 v2 s260x420 199x300 Giveaway: Do More, Spend Less.Brad Wilson wasn’t content just to found BradsDeals.com, TravelHacks.com and annually renewing sites for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  To spread his “everything you know about being a consumer is wrong” message, he also wrote a book.

Do More, Spend Less: The New Secrets of Living the Good Life for Less” describes the behaviors and hacks that let Wilson earn more than 5 million frequent flyer miles, get half-off his iPhone and plan, arrange a 25% discount on new cars, spend three weeks at the Park Hyatt Paris for $20 and get a 0%, six-figure line of credit to build a business.

Until recently marketing has had a tight grip on our wallets, he notes, but thanks to the Internet “the playing field is tilting in our favor.”

Internet deal-hunting has made it possible for consumers to look beyond the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Sometimes far beyond.


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th 150x150 The cheaper I sleep, the longer I can stay.I just had three really nice days in Austin, Texas. The total charge for lodging was about $84, breakfast included. That’s because I stayed at HI Austin, a 10-minute bus ride outside of the city’s bustling downtown.

Yes, I had up to four roommates at any given time and yes, the bed was extremely basic (a bottom bunk). But what did I care? Any time I was in the room I was asleep or headed in that direction.

I’ve stayed in hostels in the United States (Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City) and the United Kingdom (London, Cardiff) and always had an agreeable — and frugal — experience. These places aren’t nearly as scary as those Eli Roth movies would have you believe.

Well, there was that one hostel roommate who’d just been arrested for importing machetes. And the time that some Eurotrash dude decided he could make me into a cougar. But both those examples actually wound up being funny, as well as good blog post material.


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th8 150x150 Giveaway: A book for those going out on their own.Is there a young ‘un in your family who’s about to fly the coop? Or do you know of a recent grad who’s jonesing to live solo? This week’s giveaway could be a nice pre-housewarming gift. That is, it can help them learn some of the things they need to know about leaving the nest.

I’m Free, I’m Free, I’m Free! Now What?” was written by a woman I know who wants to give “easygoing, mildly cynical guidance” to those about to set up housekeeping.

But couldn’t you give a new young lessee much or all of the knowledge s/he needs? Probably. Will they listen? Not necessarily.

Hence the subtitle of Janet McCart’s book: “A Semi-Serious Guide to Early Housekeeping or Things You Wouldn’t Let Your Family Tell You.” Some young people are skilled at tuning out what their parents say but would believe it if they read it in a book.


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th1 A simple price comparison can save you thousands.When it comes to saving money, pick the lowest-hanging fruit first. A new survey from Insurance.com compared the per-minute value of tactics such as changing cellphone carriers, carefully pricing new vehicles and seeking a better car insurance rate.

Shopping for insurance won quite handily, with a value of $54 per minute.

A cynic would call that pretty convenient, since Insurance.com has an auto-insurance rate comparison tool. But the fact is that consumers often benefit by using a tool like this.

In part that’s because a change in circumstances – reaching the age of 25, getting married, moving, taking a job with a shorter commute, even improving your credit score – can mean better rates. But it’s also because even reasonably intelligent people wind up overpaying from the get-go and fail to do anything about it.

I know this because I overpaid for car insurance myself. Way overpaid. For way too long.


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