99 Money Tips: Save on Concerts, Smartphone Plans, Auto Expenses, DIY Projects, and Debt Collector Confrontations

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Also, learn from the mistakes of others: Check out lists of foolish (and wasteful) assumptions consumers make all the time, the dumbest money moves during one’s college days, and incredibly stupid things people do when shopping online.
3 money-wasting mistakes shoppers make. One of the most common mistakes is assuming that higher price equates to higher quality. That’s often a wasteful assumption to make. Consumer Reports offers Exhibit A by looking at blenders:

At $60, the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 blender is one as-seen-on-TV product you may want to see on your counter, especially if you like icy drinks. It was also excellent at crushing ice cubes and not so noisy. We gave it a score of 73. Another multi-tasker, the DeLonghi 3-in1 DFP-950 ($300) earned only a 27 and scored poorly on the ice crush and icy drink tests. And it was noisier than the Ninja.

4 personal finance principles that would make your grandfather proud. At the “intersection of self-sufficiency and creativity” is a wonderful little characteristic that’ll help you go a long way in life, no matter if you’re an office employee trying to demonstrate your worth to the company, you run your own business, or you’re just trying to keep your home and yard in decent shape without spending a fortune. It’s called resourcefulness, and …

It fosters a “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” mentality. If something breaks, try to fix it yourself. Use up your belongings until they no longer work–just because a new version of something came out, doesn’t mean you need it. Borrow instead of buy. Trade goods and services with family and friends.

5 of the dumbest money mistakes I ever made. Written especially for college students, but applicable to many others, three of the top five mistakes here directly involve credit cards. Mistake #1 is using a credit card like an idiot. Mistake #3 is using a credit card for cash advances:

For one thing, they seem innocuous: Here are some checks with 0% rates that you should cash right now. In the fine print is a hefty 3%-5% transaction fee, interest rates that apply as soon as the cash is taken out (or balances are transferred from other cards), and other limitations or gotchas.

(MORE: 12 Things You Should Stop Buying Right Now)

5 incredibly stupid things consumers do online. What’s the most common mistake? Buying the same thing twice:

You’re purchasing something online, like an airline ticket or a book, and you either get impatient when you arrive at the final screen or your computer freezes. Next thing you know, you’ve bought two tickets or books. Even worse, some of these purchases are completely non-refundable, so good luck getting your money back.

5 ways to save on smartphone data plans. If you can scale back on your data consumption, you can switch to a cheaper monthly data plan. Here’s one way to do so:

Use mobile versions of websites. These sites are data-streamlined for smartphones. Instead of typing www before the address, type m.

6 numbers for financial success. According to experts consulted by Real Simple, 28 is a key number to keep in mind. That’s the maximum percentage of your pretax monthly household income that should be directed toward housing costs:

During the housing boom, many people laid out unrealistic amounts of their gross income (sometimes 45 percent or higher) for their monthly mortgage payment, real estate taxes, and home owner’s insurance. And everyone knows how that turned out (see: foreclosure crisis). These days many banks have tighter lending standards, meaning they may not lend to someone whose housing payments are liable to exceed the benchmark of about 28 percent.

(MORE: 145 Money Tips: Get Free DVDs, Avoid Bad Restaurants, Save Money & Mother Nature at the Same Time)

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