Holiday shopping? Don’t forget that extra cash back

Holiday shopping? Don’t forget that extra cash back

When you’re using your credit card to buy holiday gifts, it’s easy to forget those cash-back bonuses that some card issuers offer.

Extra cash on rotating categories. Some bank-issued credit cards offer extra cash back of five percent or so on merchant categories that change every three months. So your card may give you additional cash when you shop at electronics and drug stores during one quarter and at home improvement centers and discount stores the next.

For instance, from … (read more)

Don’t miss these Veterans Day appliance sales

Don’t miss these Veterans Day appliance sales

Monday is Veterans Day. It’s also a good time to look for deals on appliances. Consumer Reports checked in with Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sears and got the heads-up on sales of laundry and kitchen appliances. Some are so impressive that they’ve been recommended by the testers at Consumer Reports or came pretty close to being named a top pick. When shopping at Home Depot and Lowe’s, ask about their discounts for military families.
 
Home Depot
Here’s something you … (read more)

Don’t short sheet the bed and other tips for college living

Don’t short sheet the bed and other tips for college living

College students will be off to campus in the coming weeks and are shopping in earnest to furnish the rooms where they’ll be spending the next nine months. Towels? Check. Pillows? Check. Sheets. Not so fast. Before investing in a good set of bed linens, check the size of the dorm bed. Most college dorms have beds that are five inches longer than the standard twin so regular twin sheets won’t cover them. The extra-long twin sheets aren’t … (read more)

Don’t pay cash and other remodeling mistakes to avoid

Don’t pay cash and other remodeling mistakes to avoid

While there are plenty of honest remodeling contractors out there, the field has its share of bad apples. We asked our Facebook fans to tell us the craziest thing their contractors told them. “Well, all windows leak a little,” a poster wrote. “Don’t worry about water coming through the electrical fixture,” another wrote. Our favorite: “It would save time just to send you a court transcript.” This checklist will help you avoid similar experiences with your kitchen remodel:

Don’t chase … (read more)

Five ways to save on paint that the stores don’t tell you

Five ways to save on paint that the stores don’t tell you

You’ll pay about $ 32 a gallon for the top-rated satin, flat, or semi-gloss paints from Consumer Reports’ latest tests. Benjamin Moore interior paints also performed very well, but cost twice as much. You can spend less but too often the most inexpensive paints are no bargain. Many require additional coats for hiding so you might have to spend more to get good covering. We asked our experts if there’s a way to save money and still … (read more)

Don’t think twice about buying these top-rated double ovens

Don’t think twice about buying these top-rated double ovens

With manufacturers touting double-oven ranges for their flexibility, Consumer Reports has been testing more electric smoothtop and gas ranges with two ovens. Of the 21 models in our labs, five performed so well that we recommend them. But to avoid second-guessing your purchase, first find out whether a double oven would be more convenient, or less, given the way you cook.

Ranges with double ovens come in several configurations—a smaller top oven paired with a larger one below, the … (read more)

CES 2013: The Winbot 7 does windows so you don’t have to

CES 2013: The Winbot 7 does windows so you don’t have to

The performance of robots that take on such mundane chores as vacuuming the floor, mowing the lawn or cleaning the gutters has too often been disappointing. But the dream lives on in the new Winbot 7 window-cleaning robot from Ecovacs Robotics that was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. Intended for home use the white bot mesmerized attendees as it traveled across a pane of glass, cleaning as it crawled.

Ecovacs claims … (read more)

Don’t put granny’s glassware in the dishwasher and other tips

Don’t put granny’s glassware in the dishwasher and other tips

It’s the holidays, time to haul out the good silverware and china. But after the big meal, don’t be tempted to put these special items in the dishwasher where they may be harmed by the water spray or an abrasive detergent. Sure, most dishwashers have a gentle cycle but if you treasure your grandmother’s china or crystal, it’s best to clean them the old-fashioned way, by hand. Our experts offer this advice.

When hand washing your fine china and … (read more)