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According to Bankrate.com, October is the best month to buy cookware, games, puzzles, tires, auto supplies and home appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and laundry machines. Does this ring a bell with any of you out there in the retail world? Where is the best place to score deals on these items? Does one place have better customer service than another?

We've been hearing we're in a credit freeze. Has anyone experienced it firsthand? Have you been rejected when applying for a store credit account? Have you had problems trying to finance a car? Are you getting hung up waiting for a mortgage to come through?

  Tops Friendly Markets and Tim Hortons will bring the popular doughnut and coffee shops to all Tops stores by the end of the year.      Tim Hortons will have either full-service restaurants or self-serve kiosks in all 82 Tops supermarkets and Tops Express locations.      Will the presence of Tim Hortons lure you into Tops if you don't …

Banks throughout the region are fighting back against the threat that customers are losing confidence.Advertising campaigns have been launched and proactive communication efforts are underway to calm some customers' concerns that the banking system is weakening. High profile failures of giant banks that were wrapped up in the subprime mortgage meltdown has cast a shadow ov…

Whether we're headed for an economic apocalypse or not, and regardless of whose fault it is, have you been inspired to tighten your financial belt? Can your belt get any tighter? What are your worries, fears, hopes? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Selecting a new digital camera is a lifestyle decision. If you like to go to the beach or snowboard, then a waterproof camera might be ideal for you. If you like to travel, then perhaps a lighter-weight camera that fits into your carry-on bag is what you need. James Janson at Delaware Camera suggests you "find a quality, brand-name camera that fits your needs." H…

I recently overheard a Niagara Falls consumer lamenting the disappearance of layaway at a discount department store. "Look at all these nice coats," she said, sorting through a rack of winter jackets displayed well before the first flakes of winter had flown. "They really screwed us up when they got rid of layaway." Looking into her tired eyes, I saw …

It seems more and more people are ditching their land line and relying on a cell phone instead. My sister swears it's a terrible idea, and feels a tremendous amount of security by hanging onto her home phone. I use just a cell phone. Is this a smart way to cut back on costs? Are there benefits to having both lines of communication? Or, are duplicate phone lines just a …

I love zombie movies and other types of apocalyptic films, mostly because I love watching the scenes where people frantically stockpile resources in the face of the unknown. Most people fondly remember the movie "Red Dawn" for the scene where C. Thomas Howell screams "Wolverines!" The part I remember best is when they are rummaging through their par…

MoneySmart tip:The coffee wars are heating up, so to speak:From now until Nov. 11, Dunkin' Donuts is offering - between 2 and 5 p.m. on weekdays - a 99 cent 12-ounce latte. And if you buy a medium hot coffee or larger any time of the day, you can get an egg and cheese sandwich for just 99 cents.These "value offers," as they are called in the biz, follow Starbuc…

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…