Best of DailyFinance: The Week in Review (May 5 - 11, 2014)

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BlueOrange Studio/ShutterstockThis week, our contributor Annalisa Kraft-Linder looked at the cost of a mom's work and it was our top post of the week, being shared over 1,200 times on Facebook (thank you to our readers!). Some of the other stories our readers liked this week included our post on understanding chicken labels and our tips on how to avoid ATM fees.

1. What Would It Take to Pay Back Mom for All She Does?
2. I Own 3,000 E-Books: I Paid $ 0: How to Build an E-Library Free
3. Will China's Economy Really Surpass the U.S. This Year?
4. Is Your Chicken Label Lying?
5. Save a Bundle on Groceries With This 50-Cent Item
6. Why I Gladly Spend Money to Work Out with a Personal Trainer
7. How You Can Avoid Rising ATM Fees
8. Fed Study: Poor Falling Farther Behind Rest of U.S.
9. Disney Adds Nighttime Events at 2 Florida Theme Parks
10. 5 Essential Facts on Your Social Security Statement

Best of DailyFinance: The Week in Review (May 5 - 11, 2014)
Have you ever heard of the 30-day rule? As a frugal guy, this is one of my favorite rules in spending. If you’re about to spend any more than $20 on something that is unnecessary, don’t. Instead, put the item down and wait 30 days to buy it. You’ll be amazed at how much money you save by not making unnecessary frivolous purchases.
I literally mean freeze your credit cards. It seems a bit extreme, but think of it this way. The average credit card comes with a 13 percent or higher interest rate. By simply not using credit cards as often, you’ll save a ton. So, get a plastic sandwich bag and put your credit cards in it. Fill it with water, zip it up and throw it in the freezer. Without easy access to those tempting pieces of plastic, you probably won’t use them as much. However, they’ll still be around -- in an emergency, you can retrieve them from the ice.
Have you ever looked around your house, seen a few items and thought, “I could have made that!” You probably could have. The only thing is, you didn’t. Instead you paid for it. From now on, before you buy something you think you can make on your own, give it a shot. I saved a little over a hundred bucks about two weeks ago. I needed a new bird cage for my fiancé’s doves. Instead of buying a cage for $200, I made one that was far bigger for less than $80.
Did you know that a clean air filter in your car can lead to 7 percent more fuel efficiency? That means at current gas prices, with a clean air filter, you’ll save about $100 a year, if you drive the average 10,000 miles.
How often on the way home from the office do you want to stop for a convenient quick meal? You’ve had a long day, and it feels justified. But it costs much more than a home-cooked meal. The answer is your slow cooker. Use it to prepare your meal in the morning on days you know will be rough. This way, you can skip the fast food and rush home to an already ready home-cooked meal.

Do you pay a maintenance fee for your bank account? Why? Tons of banks offer checking and savings accounts without them. Look to your local credit union or even switch to an online bank. When comparing your options, also look at the interest you can earn. Currently, I get about 3 percent on checking and about 3.4 percent on savings, but who knows what kind of great deals you can find?

I’ve had tons of options to sign up for customer rewards programs and I was just too busy. So, I didn’t sign up. Then one day, I realized that I was paying for rewards I wasn’t getting. The cost of the rewards obviously trickles down to the end consumer. So, if the end consumer doesn’t take part, he or she loses money in the process. Since I’ve signed up for every reward program around me, I’ve saved at least 20 or 30 bucks a month in rewards.

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