Monday, January 29, 2007

JANUARY 29, 2007

Love shopping, but hate having to do it on a budget? Here are some tips for getting the most for your shopping dollar (from

1. Find out exactly when to hunt for bargains. Do some research and plan your shopping trips for when your favorite stores have big sales.

2. Head to the back of the store. That's where they hide the discount racks, which can be filled with great finds.

3. Be a savvy Internet shopper. Check out the websites of your favorite stores for online-only sales. You can even try the clothes on first at the store and then buy them online for less.

4. Look for online coupons. Before you shop, do a Google search for a store + the word "coupon" to find coupon codes you can use for even deeper discounts.

5. Remember outlet malls and stores. Some outlet stores offer big discounts on high-quality clothes, even though that's not always the case. Still, it's worth a look if there are outlets near you.

6. Visit discount stores. Stores like TJ Maxx, Ross and Target have plenty of nice -- and inexpensive -- clothes, shoes, purses and accessories.

7. Go to thrift stores! Shopping thrift stores takes time and patience, so don't go when you're in a hurry. But you can find amazing deals on beautiful clothes, sometimes even brand-news items. Also, be on the lookout for weekly or special sales at thrift shops.

8. Make wise decisions for your kids. Buying clothes that are a tad too big for your growing kid is a good strategy -- you can shorten the pants and let them down later, or roll up sleeves while your child grows into a shirt.

Anyone who's ever been on a diet knows that even if you lose weight steadily for a while, there comes a point where you just can't seem to lose anymore! The dreaded diet plateau! Well, weighs in (no pun intended) with some solutions for breaking through and getting your losing streak back on track:

1. Be patient and stick with it. This may be easier said than done, but experts seem to agree it takes some time for your body to adjust to a healthier diet. Don't give up when the weight-loss slows down!

2. Keep smiling. A positive, optimistic attitude helps in any situation, and you can be especially happy that you're trying to do something healthy for your body.

3. Don't cut back too much. Make sure you're eating at least 1,200 calories a day or your metabolism could slow down.

4. Drink lots of water. I know... it's been drilled into our heads over and over, but that's because it's true. Keeping up on your water intake will help you feel fuller, so have a big glass before every meal (and all day long).

5. Avoid snacking late at night. Oprah always stresses this and most experts agree- -- it's never good to go to bed with a full stomach, so eat early and limit snacking after dinner.

6. Add weights to your workout routine. Sure, cardio is the best plan for calorie-burning, but don't forget the weights. Strength training increases muscle mass, which helps speed up your metabolism.

7. Ignore the scale. The number on the scale is never as important as how you feel in your clothes. If you must weigh yourself, try not to do it more than once a week and don't let it discourage you!

8. Variety is the spice of life. Feeling uninspired? Throw some changes into your diet and workout routine to shake things up a bit. Try a new recipe or take a different route on your nightly walk.

Want to make sure you're not paying too much for something on eBay? Go to and take a look... They'll scan eBay and look for the best deals from the most reliable sellers!