Seasonal

15 States Offer Tax-Free Back-to-School Shopping Starting This Weekend

Every year, a handful of states host tax-free holidays. Sometimes they're just for the weekend. A select few will run it for an entire week. Those lucky enough to live in one of these tax-holiday states can shop for back-to-school items ranging from clothing and shoes to crayons and computers, and they won't pay a cent in sales tax.

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The Trend Report: Splashy Swimwear

Ladies, we have a confession to make: Normally, we HATE swimwear shopping. Your run-of-the-mill body issues aside, we just can't help but wonder: How many variations on a few strips of lycra can there be?

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The 7 Best Free Summer Music Festivals

Summer means a lot of things, but if you're finally thawing out from this year's apocalyptic winter, there's really only one thing on your mind: getting outside. Few things go better with summer air than a cold drink and live music - especially when it's free.

When most people think music festivals, there's a good chance they're thinking of one of the big three: Bonnaroo, Coachella, or Lollapalooza. While these fests have consistently stacked lineups and are set in iconic locations, they're also notoriously expensive. If you weren't lucky enough to buy a face-value ticket before they sold out, be prepared to pay $430 for Bonnaroo, $562 for Lollapalooza, and $825 for Coachella.

If you just cringed at those numbers, you're not alone. Thankfully, plenty of free alternatives exist. Here are our picks for the best free music festivals this summer.

Virgin Mobile FreeFest

Columbia, MD (September 20th)

Free music festivals

Virgin Mobile FreeFrest is - you guessed it - a free one-day festival sponsored by Virgin Mobile and Samsung. This year's lineup is yet to be released, but last year's featured plenty of names familiar to any music fan: Robin Thicke, MGMT, Pretty Lights, Vampire Weekend, and others. While there's no cost of admission, there is a suggested donation of $10, which goes to fight youth homelessness. Over the past four years, FreeFest has raised nearly $800,000 for the cause.

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10 Manly Father's Day Gifts for Every Dad

Father’s Day is fast approaching, and since it’s the biggest shopping day of the year, we figured we’d put together our list of the Top 10 Manly Father’s Day gifts! (Ok, so Father’s Day is not even close to the biggest shopping day of the year, but a fellow dad can wish, can’t I?)

The truth is, more gifts are purchased for mom on Mother’s Day than for dad on Father’s Day. To help change that trend, we’ve compiled for you the best tech gifts, the toughest tools, and everything in between for all the manly dads in your life.

Hose Hideaway Reel

Lawn & Garden Equipment

The best time of the year to buy lawn and garden equipment (even better than Black Friday!) is often around Father’s Day. So even if you’re just shopping for new lawn care gear for yourself, now is probably the best time to strike. What’s a more manly pursuit than striving to achieve the best lawn on the block? This Suncast Hideaway Hose Reel will help you get there. Water the lawn, stow the unsightly hose away, and at $20 a piece, this is the best price we could find as well.

Cheap Samsung Smart TV

Smart TVs

Just as flip phones have given way to smartphones, internet-connected smart TVs are beginning to dominate the HDTV market. They combine HD television with built-in internet to connect dad to all of his favorite streaming content. One great example, from well-liked brand Samsung, is this 40” Smart LED HDTV for $410.

Cheap Craftsman Tools

Power Tools & Hand Tools

Some might say that tools are a cliched Father’s Day gift. Well they’re not nearly as cliched as the dreaded necktie, and many dads consider upgraded tools, especially ones from trusted brands like Craftsman, to be necessities. Check out this Craftsman Sale at Sears, with tons of tools at up to 50% off.

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How to Go to a Wedding Without Going Broke

Weddings aren’t just expensive for the bride and groom. The average wedding guest spends a whopping $592 on the day, according to an American Express study. That amount will increase greatly if you’re part of the bridal party or traveling for the wedding. But before you start checking “no” to your invites or spending too much, here are some ways to save money as a wedding guest:

In general...

Cheap KitchenAid Mixer

That KitchenAid mixer on the registry is probably cheaper at another store.

Shop the registry early. Check out the registry ASAP to get an ample selection with varying prices so you’re not stuck with the most expensive options.

Look at the registry – but buy from somewhere else. Now that you know what’s on the registry, compare prices at other stores before you make the purchase. A great example of this is nearly any model of KitchenAid mixer. They're a popular item on registries from places like Bed Bath and Beyond or Target, but those are actually two of the worst possible stores to buy them from! On the other hand, you can almost always find deals on KitchenAid mixers at any number of other online merchants. If possible, once you buy it from a different store, go to the registry to mark it as fulfilled to avoid double buys.

Mix and match registry and non-registry. Buy an item from the registry that can go along with something you can get a deal on or find for little cost. For example, buy the wine glasses from the registry, and throw in a bottle of wine. With towels, purchase bath soaps and a candle. To go along with the coffee mugs, throw in coffee.

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24 Wedding Expenses That You Forgot About

There's a very good reason that American pop culture has found a place for the Bridezilla in its lexicon of stereotypes - weddings have a lot of details to plan, it's incredibly easy to get overwhelmed, and it's extremely stressful for someone who isn't a natural event planner to research, arrange and track all of those details while simultaneously being subjected to everyone else's opinions and judgment about your tastes and decisions on one side and vendors who up-sell services and nickel and dime you with fees on the other. Suddenly, I totally feel bad for poor Bridezilla. Just thinking about it fills me with table-flipping rage.

With so much going on, it's inevitable that something will get missed. We've listed 24 of the most commonly forgotten and overlooked wedding expenses that catch brides and grooms off guard when they pop up. Being ready for these costs can save you a lot of money upfront. We've also included tips on minimizing these costs wherever possible. We'll never tell anyone to cut corners or DIY to save money if that's not what you want to do. But there's nothing that says you can't use air miles to book your dream honeymoon, hotel points for your pre- and post-wedding hotel nights, and coupon codes to knock a few dollars off your perfect ceremony decor.

Postage

Stamps for Wedding InvitationsYou remembered the invitation and RSVP, but think about all of the other mailings that a wedding entails. Between the save-the-date notice, the invitation, the RSVP, and the thank you note, that's three stamps per guest at 49¢ a pop, plus a 34¢ stamp since we're assuming you'll use a postcard for your save-the-dates. That's $1.81 in postage per guest.  And if you've got an average number of guests, say 140, postage alone will cost you about $253.

And that doesn't include thank you notes for everyone who came to your bridal shower and bachelor or bachelorette parties. Or that some wedding invitations require a 70¢ stamp instead once you’ve stuffed everything inside.

If you want to cut that cost down a bit, use an internet RSVP instead. Google Forms are extremely good for this kind of exercise, and there are a ton of benefits - all of the information is neatly organized for you, guests don't have to find a mailbox, and you completely eliminate the chance that it might get lost in the mail.

Outfits for pre-wedding events

You'll wear the wedding dress of your dreams for your special day, and tuxedo rental is a given, but what are you going to wear for your engagement party? Bachelor and bachelorette parties? Bridal shower? Rehearsal dinner? Day-after brunch? Not every bride and groom will want to wear something new just for these events, but if you do, they should go into the wedding budget. Stores like Nordstrom, Macy's and 6pm.com nearly always have deals on party-worthy outfits that are worth checking out.

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Check Out $1 Movies for the Kids at Regal Theaters

Looking for frugal ways to entertain the kids this summer? Starting as early as June 3rd in select cities nationwide, Regal Cinemas will be offering $1 admission to popular kids movies for 9 weeks this summer. This special ticket price will only be valid for 10:00 a.m. showings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Better yet, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute, where the money collected will help fund pulmonary research laboratories, medical school fellowships, neonatal ventilators for children’s hospitals and free educational materials.

Here's the movie schedule:

Week Title Rating Start Time
1 Hotel Transylvania PG 10am
1 The Smurfs 2 PG 10am
2 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 PG 10am
2 The Pirates: Band of Misfits PG 10am
3 Arthur Christmas PG 10am
3 Despicable Me 2 PG 10am
4 Lego PG 10am
4 Free Birds PG 10am
5 Adventures of TinTin PG 10am
5 Rise of the Guardians PG 10am
6 Kung Fu Panda 2 PG 10am
6 Madagascar 3 PG 10am
7 The Croods PG 10am
7 Epic PG 10am
8 Turbo PG 10am
8 Walking with Dinosaurs PG 10am
9 Mr. Peabody & Sherman PG 10am
9 Rio 2 G 10am

Start dates and participation varies by location, so check out the Summer Movie Express page to see if your theater is participating.

Forget Apples: These Are 5 Gifts Teachers Actually Want

Your teacher doesn't want an apple. Or gifts, really, if you ask them.

Teacher Appreciation Day 2014

When pressed, most of the teachers we know would not tell us what they would want - which probably is to be expected in a profession characterized by selflessness and humility. It would make them uncomfortable to admit that they might like something material. Nonetheless, it was clear that all of them enjoyed knowing they made an impact on their students. Forget the tchotchkes, apples, and all of those punny and sugar-coated Pinterest projects. Here's what teachers actually want.

Handwritten notes

"I do get handwritten notes from kids sometimes," says Jennifer Piatchek-Keith, a high school English Teacher in Lincoln, Illinois. "[I] tuck those away in my 'pick me up' box for after a bad day." Other teachers agreed that the notes and cards they get from their students are better than anything else they receive. Best of all, a heartfelt handwritten note has a price tag of absolutely 100% free.

Anything specific and thoughtful

"I do occasionally get paintings, knick-knacks, or mementos which have value in their meaning and memories," says Chris Gray, Dean of Arts & Communication at Illinois Central College. "I have a Disco Stu figurine that I received over a decade ago because of my great style."

Got that, everyone? Teachers really want nothing more than a heartfelt thank you. But if you're still inclined to spend a little cash, we're told that these next few suggestions never go unappreciated.
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Mother's Day Gifts: 7 Things Real Moms Want You to Know

What Your Mom Wants for Mother's Day

"I'm going to be the only guy on earth who knows what women want, how they think, and why they do those cuckoo things they do."

If only men, be it husbands or sons could know exactly what women think, just like Mel Gibson's character Nick Marshall in the movie, What Women Want.  May 11th is Mother's Day and gift guides for this holiday have already been bombarding potential buyers in the form of commercials, in-store and online promotions, and direct mail. There's an array of gifts to choose from, but finding the perfect gift for mom often leaves many men, even daughters scratching their heads.

Instead of listing what retailers think moms want, ten mothers ranging from the age of 20-60 (with young- adult children) were asked what they wanted for Mother's Day and here's what they said.

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This Week Only! Get a $20 Gift Card for Old Electronics at Best Buy

Best Buy Electronics Trade InLet's face it, when it comes to filling up landfills there is almost nothing worse than old electronics. Not only are they usually made of non-biodegradable plastics that can do some serious ecological damage; some electronics, such as LCD screens in laptops and HDTVs, contain mercury, which should never be thrown away with the regular trash. It's always a good idea to recycle your old electronics. It's even better to make some money doing it! That in mind, you could get $20 from Best Buy by trading in your old gear.

From now until April 26th, the retailer is awarding a $20 Best Buy Gift Card for any device that is able to be turned on and works. It did not have to be purchased from Best Buy, though some exclusions may apply (very old tube TVs, for example). But even if it's not working, they will still take your old electronics and recycle them for free. You can learn more about their recycling program here and find out what times of items they take.

Either way, you will be doing a good thing!