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Good Deals & Smart Steals

Savvy tips to watch your dollars and cents from the experts of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute

by Single Ma  |  3120 views  |  0 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Shopping at auctions

Items to be cautious about when buying from an online auction (and why): Makeup (bacteria), designer bags (not the real thing), cribs and bike helmets (safety issues), laptops (prices already low), DVD players and other electronics (may not work).

You can find out about federal government agencies auctions of seized items at these websites:

Good deals around the house
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs are more expensive but they last 10 times longer and are four times more efficient than regular incandescent bulbs.
  • Buy carpet remnants and have them bound to make your own area rug.
  • Check out government auctions for seized or abandoned furniture at
  • Buy quality furniture that will last, it’s less expensive in the long run.
  • If the item you want has a scratch or small imperfection, always ask for a discount.
  • Free furniture can be found on or
  • When shopping for bed linens, don’t spend a lot on high thread count, the type of cotton used is more important than thread count. Better cottons are Egyptian, supima, and pima – all are good quality and will last.
  • Never buy a used mattress, you don’t know the quality you are getting.
  • The best all purpose cleaner to clean stains, scuffs and surfaces: baking soda.
  • Ask your electric/gas company for an energy audit, often for free. Your carrier can check seals around doors and windows, inspect appliances, and let you know what can be fixed to save on utility.
  • Ask your water company for a free water use audit to help detect leaks.
  • Use a caulk gun to fill cracks and gaps around your house.

Caring for Pets
  • Never miss a wellness pet check up – preventative care saves money.
  • Visit to find a clinic that may be cheaper than a vet.
  • Other cost savings topics are where to buy pet prescriptions, when to get pet insurance, types of pet food, and when/where to buy pet toys.

Big Ticket Items
  • When to repair or replace appliances? When the estimated repair bill is 40 percent to 50 percent the cost of buying a new one, including delivery and installation.
  • When buying a new washing machine, stick to white. The fancy color adds to the price, not the quality.
  • Front load uses less water, detergent, and energy than top load washers. If buying a top load, search for one without an agitator because they use less water and less detergent.
  • When buying a new dryer, stick to the basics. The bells and whistles don’t add much to the drying quality. Always use the auto drying option.
  • Shop for TVs in the spring and buy last year’s model on sale before the new ones begin to fill the shelves. Don’t pay for fancy features if you don’t plan to use them (i.e. surround sound, built in DVD, etc.).
  • Other tips include buying DVD players, stereo receivers and mp3 players, as well as computers and printers. Did you know laptops use less power than desktops?

About the Author

A working (single) mom and author of the personal finance blog Fabulous Financials @

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