Shopping & Saving

Realistic budgeting is the key to maintaining a financial safety net and spending wisely. Whether you’re shopping for things you buy routinely — or saving for that occasional big ticket item — planning is key. These shopping tips can help you save money on everyday purchases, as well as on some products and services you buy once in a while.

Saving Money

10 Ways to Avoid Fraud

Here are time-tested things that everyone can do to avoid scams.

66 Ways to Save Money

These tips can help you save money on everyday purchases and big ticket items.

Avoiding Scams 101

Recent graduates can use these 10 tips to avoid scams in the marketplace.


Here's how to avoid being ‘baited’ by rebates that never arrive or come later than promised.

Shopping Tips

"Free" Trial Offers?

Some companies use “free” trial offers as a lure, but don’t make their cancellation policies obvious. The result? You could end up paying for a product every month, whether you like it or not.

Comparing Products Online

Here are tips to help you avoid spending more than you have to — or responding to a bogus offer posted by a scammer.

Extended Warranties and Service Contracts

Extended warranties provide for the repair or maintenance of a product for a specific time. Depending on the terms, an extended warranty may not be worth the expense.

Gift Cards

When buying and using gift cards, these tips can help you get the most for your money.

How Buying Plans Work

What’s a buying plan? Here’s what you need to know before you sign up.

Online Penny Auctions

Tips to help you understand how penny auctions work and recognize the pitfalls before you lose any money

Shopping Online

Shopping online is convenient and efficient; these tips can help minimize hassles that may crop up.

Shopping Tips

There’s no shortage of ads from merchants who want your business; here’s how to decide if the deal is for real.

Using Layaway Plans

When you use layaway, you put down a deposit and pay for the item over time. You take the item home only after you’ve paid for it in full. Ask questions about how particular layaway plans work.


Comparing written warranties can make a difference in your purchasing decisions.

Shopping Green

'Bamboo' Fabrics

Textiles labeled bamboo are rayon, and manufactured using a process that releases toxins into the air.

Shopping "Green"

Here’s what to know if you want to buy products that are good for the environment.

The Language of Recycling

Learn how to know whether a product or package is recyclable or made of recycled materials.

Specific Products and Services

Buying Alaska Native Art

Interested in buying genuine Alaska Native art? Here are tips for travelers and collectors.

Buying American Indian Arts and Crafts

Regardless of whether you’re shopping for silver, turquoise, or one-of-a-kind pottery or woven items, read these tips for buying genuine American Indian arts and crafts.

Buying Jewelry

Buying jewelry often involves spending lots of money. Here’s how to read the markings so you know what you’re getting.

Finding a Locksmith

Get the keys to hiring a reputable — and local — locksmith.  

Hiring a Lawyer

Here are tips for choosing and using a lawyer.

Mystery Charges on Your Phone Bill

Your phone bill may be higher than it should be. Learn how to find and fight mystery — and meaningless — charges crammed onto your bill.

Prepaid Phone Cards

Some prepaid phone cards have fees that prevent you from getting the talk time that’s advertised.

Residential Treatment Programs for Teens

Ask these important questions before you enroll your teenager in a residential treatment program.

Shopping for Antiques

A genuine antique? A reproduction? An outright fake? Learn how to tell the difference.

Shopping for Funeral Services

Planning a funeral is an emotional experience. These practical tips can help.

Shopping for High-Speed Internet Service

Ask these questions before signing up with an internet service provider.

Shopping for Used Mattresses

In most parts of the country, used mattresses can be resold as long as they meet certain labeling requirements.

Travel Tips

Rest and relaxation or vacation frustration? Here’s how to avoid a vacation nightmare.