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Happy New Year! We want to hear your New Year's MoneySmart resolutions! Let 'em rip! ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Since my Compaq Presario laptop is slowly dying, I'm in the market for a new one. With cost in mind, I've narrowed it down to the ASUS Eee PC or MSI WIND U100. I like their portability and light weight (and, of course, they retail for under $500). They seem powerful enough to handle all the usual processing demands. Indeed, the social cyborg I interviewed for this video li…

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It used to be just a few of us sneaky bargain hunters lurking through store aisles the day after Christmas. We knew only fools bought wrapping paper and greeting cards before then. We waited until after the big day to stock up on deeply discounted Christmas merchandise for the following year. Now, post-Christmas sales are all but a holiday in themselves. Stores open e…

In the honored tradition of holiday gun-jumping, Sears rolled out its "After Christmas Sale" today. At noon. On Christmas Eve. They're offering a modest percentage off TVs and kitchen appliances and have put all fitness equipment on sale. Hey, at least you can buy a treadmill today and burn off your Christmas dinner before you've even eaten it. ---Sama…

Every Christmas Eve at midnight, Woot.com offers a limited number of mystery grab bags for $1 plus $5 shipping and handling. Like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get with the Woot "Bag of Crap" (sorry, that's what it's called). But if past years are any indication, you could end up with something like this: Of course, not everyone is g…

My sister and I had a great time together at the stores Sunday, finishing up some Christmas shopping for the kids. But, with all the talk of retailers cutting down on inventory, we weren't sure what we would find this late in the game. I must say, while at Target I did see something I've never seen at a major retailer before: an empty shelf. It was in the children's cloth…

The White House has announced it will provide government loans to General Motors and Chrysler LLC, funds that the two automakers said they desperately needed in the short term in order to survive. The loans come with some tough requirements on short timetable -- namely, a March 31 deadline to prove they can be viable. The plan also lists "targets" for changes in…

Still haven't finished your holiday shopping? There's never been a better time to be a procrastinator! Tons of great online stores, such as the Gap and Nordstrom, have extended their shipping deadlines and others such as Zappos and Blue Nile are even offering free overnight shipping for delivery on Christmas Eve! BradsDeals.com has a sortable list of dozens of top retai…

Most restaurants are closed on Christmas Day to allow employees to spend the holiday with friends and family. But if you don't feel like cooking or don't have any family in town to spend the day with, then Monday's Comparison Shopper column may help you find a hot meal with some holiday cheer. I surveyed five local restaurants that are serving dinner on Christmas Day. If …

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Buffalo First, a community group advocating local economy, has put out a coupon book and shopping guide comprised completely of locally owned and operated retailers, companies and restaurants. It's a step in the community group's initiative to build a "local, green and fair economy" in Western New York. You can find a list of participating companies here, as …

About 300 Western New York companies could lose their tax credits and other benefits if proposed reforms to the state's Empire Zone program are approved. The proposal by Gov. David A. Paterson is designed to lower the cost of the program by 50 percent, streamline its administration, and ensure that companies are complying with their promises.    It calls for su…

How do you feel about recycling gifts? Have you done it? Would you be offended if someone re-gifted something you gave them? How about if someone gives you something they received as a gift? ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Consumer Web site DealNews.com has compiled a list of shipping dates for various commercial Web sites, showing time frames for getting your packages delivered by Christmas day. It lists the last day for free or standard shipping as well as the last day for express delivery. Here are some cut-off dates for standard shipping with delivery services: FedEx, ground servic…

Heads up! If you're going to be near the Tuscarora Indian reservation any time soon, you might want to stop into Smoking Joe's grocery store. They've got the best deal on wrapping paper I've seen so far: 99 cents for 50 square feet! Have you seen a better deal? Tell us where to find it! ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Here's one for our neighbors to the north. The Niagara Hobby and Craft Mart  at 3366 Union Road in Cheektowaga is taking Canadian money at par for in-store cash purchases, despite the Canadian dollar's fall to 80 U.S. cents as of Friday. The offer is good until December 24. Niagara Hobby and Craft Mart sells such Christmas favorites as trains, doll houses, die-c…