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Automakers' sales fell sharply in September, due in part to the spreading credit crisis. Some dealers around the country say they are hurting because customers can't get loans, due to tighter restrictions from lenders. But some local dealers say the problem hasn't really affected them; they say consumers' lack of confidence in the economy is a more likely the cause of a sa…

A survey by Sun Life Financial shows that half of the U.S. workers plan to stay on the job past the traditional retirement age of 67, not just because of financial needs, but because they like working. Most of the 1,515 survey respondents said the want to stay working to keep mentally active. Many also said they want to earn more money to live well. What are your retirem…

National Public Radio commentator Daniel Pinkwater calls it the "Best-kept secret online." And he's right. The secret is buying cheap eyeglasses on the Internet. Why spend hundreds of dollars in a traditional bricks-and-mortar eyeglass store when you can buy the same product online for a fraction of the price? Why the markup? Someone's got to pay for the sto…

Many genetically engineered animals sold as food will not be labeled as such, according to proposed rules from the Food and Drug Administration. The Consumers Union, a consumer protection agency, finds the lack of labels "incomprehensible," considering packages of beef, poultry and seafood could be made from animals whose DNA has been altered by animals of an en…

Another day, another corporate bailout? As strapped consumers watch failing corporations receive billions of dollars in assistance, some are wondering, "Where is MY bailout?" As people lose their homes in record numbers and are forced to make tough economic decisions, consumers are looking for a similar safety net. Is one there? Do you feel the government's de…

Buffalo was recently ranked the  No. 1 mid-sized arts destination by AmericanStyle magazine. Do you feel your high-culture entertainment dollar stretches all that far? How do we compare with other cities? Where do you feel you get the most for your money? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Do you gamble at the casino or play the lottery? How about poker with your friends? Do you feel it's worth spending a few dollars in hopes of a big return? Is it an economical source of entertainment? How much is too much? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Are you thinking about doing some early Christmas shopping or going to the Macy's parade in New York City? I wondered what are the cheapest ways to travel  to the Big Apple. Prices range anywhere from $2 round-trip on Neon Bus to $189 on JetBlue. Check out the price differences in the Comparison Shopper column in Monday's MoneySmart section.  And if you have any …

Where is your favorite place to spend a $10 bill in the city? How could you make 10 bucks last an entire day? Could you spend the day with less? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Ever overpay for a hairstyle you could have done better yourself--in the dark? Ever do your highlights at home to save money, only to have to pay someone to fix it later? We want to hear your hair and beauty horror stories. Are there steps you take now to prevent them from happening again? Do you have advice so others don't make the same bad moves? Have a great stylist to…

In terms of newspaper headlines, the just-concluded 2008 Thursday at the Square concert series in downtown Buffalo is likely better known for incidents of rowdiness and public urination than what bands headlined the shows.      But Buffalo Place, which organizers the 22-year-old music events, is betting its bottom line next summer's shows will remain fan f…

Remember those old Calgon commercials? A harried mom longing for escape from her hectic life would call to her  bubble bath: "Calgon, take me away!" How do you provide Calgon moments for yourself at home? Do you make homemade facials out of the food in your pantry? Or is lighting a candle enough to make you relax?--- Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Tod Martin said an interesting thing about his decision to convert the long-abandoned Wendy's on Main Street in the heart of downtown Buffalo into an office for his small ad firm. "It's the kind of creative environment that we flourish in." Condominium and apartment projects throughout the downtown area indicate other people have the same feeling. Being downtow…

In Monday's Discount Diva column, I shared a few of my favorite places to find books on the cheap. Now it's your turn. Where do you shop for books? Do you have a favorite library branch? How about a great Web site or book club? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann