Thursday, December 29, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Eight Things You Should Know Before You Buy A Daily Deal:
Frugalistas looking to snag a bargain on a massage or a fancy dinner at new restaurant can spend a lot of time browsing daily deal sites. While these sites provide the opportunity to try new businesses at a discounted price, shoppers need to be sure they read the fine print on their deals and understand the sites’ terms of service agreements to avoid complications when they redeem their deal vouchers.
These tips will help you better understand the daily deal sites so you can shop safely and enjoy the deals you purchase.
Check the expiration and black-out dates
Most daily deals have expiration dates. Plan accordingly so you use your voucher before the deal expires. Make sure you check for blackout dates too. Some of the popular vacation deals can only be redeemed during certain times of the year.
Do your research
Spend five or ten minutes reading reviews of the product or service you’re thinking about purchasing. If the company has a lot of bad reviews, you may want to skip the purchase, no matter how great the deal seems to be.
Understand how you can use the deal
Some deals you can use more than once until the entire amount of the deal is gone, but other coupons you have to use all at once. In general, you can’t combine a daily deal with another coupon or promotion. Read the conditions of your specific deal before you buy. If you’ve read the fine print, but still don’t understand everything, ask questions before you buy. Many of the daily deal sites have a frequently asked questions section or an area of the site where they handle questions about specific deals.
Verify which locations accept your voucher
Some deals for chains are only valid at certain stores. Check to make sure the location closest to you is one of the participating stores or else you might have to go out of your way to use the deal.
Know when your credit card will be charged
Some sites won’t charge you until after a certain number of deals have been purchased; other sites will charge you immediately or at the close of a business day. After you purchase a deal, keep an eye on your credit card statement to make sure you are charged correctly.
Check the site’s refund policy
Some sites will refund your money if you are disappointed in a deal. Others will refund your money if a merchant goes out of business before your deal’s expiration date. Some won’t refund your money at all. Make sure you understand and are comfortable with a site’s refund rules before you make a purchase.
Know whom to contact with problems
In most cases, the daily deal sites can’t help you solve problems with the company you bought the deal from. You will need to work with the company directly. If you have an issue, stay calm and state exactly what happened and how you would like the situation to be resolved. You can use the tips from the USA.gov sample complaint letter to help fix the problem.
Old Gadgets Can be Useful, Too:
By Felicia Chou, a program analyst in the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery at the Environmental Protection Agency
‘Tis the season to be gushing about the new electronic gadgets you’ve received for the holidays, and figure out what to do with your old ones. Sure, you could keep them in your closet or attic, waiting for the day VHS tapes are all the rage again, or when radio-sized phones are back in style. Maybe that old TV can be used as a giant paperweight. But there are plenty of better alternatives to put your unwanted electronics to use.
I’ve had this laptop since college and believe it or not, it still works. Well, besides the fact that the touchpad and keyboard aren’t working; and I have to keep it plugged in because the battery is pretty much dead. If, like me, you don’t want to part with your old computer just yet, see if you can upgrade the hardware or software to put it on par with your new gadgets. In my case, I would replace the battery and the keyboard, and plug in a new wireless mouse. Or, after clearing out your personal data (PDF), you can donate working electronics to those who need them.
The next best thing is to recycle your old gadgets, but before you start carting loads of electronics to your nearest electronics collection program or drop-off point, check if they’re working with a third-party certified recycler. You’re probably thinking, third-party what? Well, companies that recycle electronics can be certified by outside organizations (like R2 Solutions and eStewards) and regularly audited to make sure that your electronics will be managed safely. That way, you can rest assured that your old gadget is being recycled in a way that is protective of our health and the environment. Check out R2 Solutions and e-Stewards for a list of certified recyclers.
So, why shouldn’t you just let your electronics sit at home and collect dust, or worse, get thrown away in the garbage?
Electronics are made of precious metals and materials, like gold, copper, and glass. If they’re thrown away, all that precious material that required a lot of energy to mine and manufacture will go to waste. When you recycle your electronics, those precious materials can be used in other products, such as electric cars or watches. You’ll also be preventing the pollution that would have been caused by having to mine and manufacture raw materials. In fact, recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power over 3,000 US homes for a year.
So while you’re having a blast trying out all the new features on your shiny new gadgets, just remember to put your old ones to good use. I, for one, will be looking forward to the new battery and keyboard to keep my beloved laptop working for as long as I can.
Find out more about what you can do to green your holiday season.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011