187 Tips on Rebates, Fake Sales, Best Online Banks, Perfect Christmas Presents, Weird Stuff to Put in the Dishwasher, and More

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Come on: Haven’t you always wanted to see what’d happen when you put something other than dishes in the dishwasher?
1 step to become super productive. It couldn’t be simpler, really:

When I interview creatives, I often ask them what advice they would give to the next generation, the up-and-comers. Curiously, there’s one incredibly important habit that nearly all of them possess that is almost never mentioned. So what is the secret ingredient in their productivity regime? It’s simple: They get up early.

5 kinds of sales that are no bargain. Such as:

They charge more at liquidation sales. The prices at stores that are going out of business must be better than at stores that are sticking around, right? Guess again. Our visits to going-out-of-business sales have consistently turned up “deals” that were anything but. During our 2009 check of the liquidation sale at national electronics giant Circuit City, we found some prices that were much higher than those in the circular the retailer had planned to use had it not gone belly-up.

5 reasons to wait on buying your first home. Such as:

…you’re newly married. You might have house-buying fever, and even if you and your spouse have little debt and plenty of savings, it’s tough during your first year together to endure the stress of choosing a home, going through closing, and maintaining or updating your new home. Spend your first years of marriage enjoying each other, getting closer—and renting while you save and look for a place to put down roots.

5 features to look for in the best online banks. Such as:

The best online banks offer several customer service options and don’t charge extra to help you. Look for banks that offer customer service portals in branches, over the phone and online. After all, just because you’re choosing to bank online doesn’t mean that you should forfeit the traditional services you’ve grown to expect.

5 tips to win the rebate game. Rebates are a sneaky and poor substitute for straight-up discounts. But if you’re going to be talked into buying something because of a rebate, be sure to take the necessary steps to win the game. Such as:

Do it now
Nearly all rebates expire within 90 days, although most give you between 30-60 days and a few as little as 15.

7 things savvy bank customers know. Such as:

Online account information may be inaccurate.
Many customers rely completely on their online bank statements rather than putting pen to paper to reconcile the bank’s statements with their checkbook register. In some cases, your account balance will show deposits that are not actually available yet, such as out-of-state checks that take days to clear. When you use your credit card, sometimes a hold is placed on funds for days before the creditor actually charges you. Be careful to know your actual balance so you don’t get hit with overdraft fees, or can’t get cash from the ATM when you need it.

7 things you should borrow instead of buy. Such as:

Whatever you can. … People with an over-abundant crop of fruit or vegetables can advertise the surplus on NeighborhoodFruit.com. Other neighborhood swaps and rentals can be found on sites like ShareSomeSugar.com and NeighborGoods.net.

9 ways to winterize your car. Such as:

Check your tire pressure. If you don’t replace your regular tires with snow tires, at least keep them properly inflated during the winter. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop. For every 10 degree drop in temperature, your tire’s air pressure will drop about 1psi. A properly inflated tire ensures the best possible contact between the road and the tires which is essential for safe traction when driving in wintry conditions.

9 tips to Black Friday savings and sanity. Such as:

Request a price guarantee. If you want to maximize savings, ask if the retailer has a low-price guarantee entitling you to a refund of the difference between the new price and what you paid if the item goes on sale or if you find it for cheaper elsewhere. Seven to 15 days are the norm for most price adjustments.

10 organic products experts would never buy. Such as:

Smelly Veggies Are Usually Pest-Free

Cindy Burke, author of To Buy Or Not To Buy Organic, says she rarely splurges for organic onions, garlic, shallots and leeks.

“They have such a strong sulfurous smell that few pests are attracted to them — particularly the bulb part — so they don’t need pesticides. Green onions are the exception because they are grown more for the top part and it’s important that they look good, so farmers tend to spray them with pesticides.”

12 fantastic cheap dinner ideas from past and present. Such as:

Quesadillas are another one of those foods I used to make a lot of in my college days. One of my classic quesadilla dishes that I learned from my sister was her world famous “pizza quesadillas,” which were nothing more than a folded flour tortilla filled with a little spaghetti sauce from a jar and shredded mozzarella cheese. Warm them up on a flat skillet or heat them in the microwave and you’ve got a very quick and tasty meal.

12 steps for getting a cheaper newspaper subscription. (Specifically, for the NY Times, which has been known to brag about how it overcharge unsuspecting customers.) Such as Step #6, which comes after you’ve said you’d like to cancel your subscription:

The human will consult a script and say something very close to these precise words: “I hate to see you go. You’ve been with us since [date here].”

25 unusual things you can put in the dishwasher. (For a reason—to clean them—not just to see what happens in a “Beavis & Butthead” type way.) Such as:

Baseball Hat
I’ve washed baseball hats in the clothes washer before only to pull them out clean but misshapen. Toss that stinky cap in the dishwasher instead.

75 frugal gifts to give for Christmas. Such as:

Family history DVD: Put together a family history DVD with photos, written family histories, family tree, video and anything else you can think of.