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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.

Buying, Leasing, or Renting

Renting a Car

Compare the total cost, not just the advertised rate, when shopping for the best deal. Fees and options can increase the base price dramatically.

Saving Money

Avoiding Scams 101

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

How To Avoid a Scam

Recognizing these common signs of a scam could help you avoid falling for one.

It’s Never Too Early — Or Too Late — To Save

Tips and resources to help you reach your savings goals.

Paying Scammers with Gift Cards

Gift cards are a popular and convenient way to give someone a gift. They’re also a popular way for scammers to steal money from you.  Gift cards are for gifts, not payments. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always a scammer.


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.

How Buying Plans Work

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

How to Spot, Avoid and Report Fake Check Scams

In a fake check scam, a person you don’t know asks you to deposit a check— sometimes for several thousand dollars, and usually for more than you are owed — and send some of the money to another person. The scammers always have a good story to explain why you can’t keep all the money. They might say they need you to cover taxes or fees, you’ll need to buy supplies, or something else.

Fake checks come in many forms. They might look like business or personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, or a check delivered electronically. Here’s what you need to know about fake check scams.

Online Auctions for Buyers

These tips can help you check out an offer before you bid in an online auction.

Online Penny Auctions

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

Rent-to-Own: Costly Convenience

Explains how rent-to-own plans work and the costs involved, offers real world examples, and lists possible alternatives.

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. They are made with a process that releases toxins into the air.

Shopping Green

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

Solar Power for Your Home

Learn about different ways to get solar power to use at home.

The Language of Recycling

Learn how to know whether a product or package is recyclable or made with 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

Learn how to hire a reputable — and local — locksmith.

Hiring a Lawyer

Here are tips for choosing and using a lawyer.

International Driver's License Scams

Scammers sometimes make exaggerated claims about international driving permits. Learn what they are, and where to buy a legitimate permit.

Mystery Phone Charges

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

Using Money Transfer Services

When and how to use a money transfer service safely.