We’ll file this one next to “what kinds of products keep places like Best Buy in business”?

Today we’ll simply focus on fluids.

1)LCD screen cleaner – How selfless of them to offer everything you need in an easy to use kit?  Too bad it’s just a microfiber cloth, isopropyl alcohol, and distilled water. You can make a gallon for 3% of that price.

2) Shredder oil – Paper shredders are an excellent way to fight identity theft. The action of shredding paper generates a large amount of dust that is detrimental to the life of the printer.  Big box stores sell a lubricant for this purpose.  I don’t know if I’d want to stir fry with it, but according to lifehacker, this product is canola oil placed in a different container.

We’ve all heard the cheapest day for airline ticket purchases, for which there has been no definitive ruling about the mythical master mainframe of all airfares that mystically opens up pumpkin coach-class seats at midnight on a Wednesday.

According to site Extrabux, there is also some data out there that backs up weekly price trends for computers, TV’s, jewelry, appliances, books, and more.

And if you want a deal, don’t worry that cyber Monday has passed.   The biggest online day of the shopping year usually ends up being something like December 10th.   On which, the odds of getting pepper-sprayed/trampled by your fellow retail shopper significantly decrease.

The most expensive multivitamin is the better one, because the price reflects a company with more stringent quality controls, right?  Not at all.  But the cheaper ones aren’t any good either, right?  Wrong again.  Some of them are stellar.  Some.

It turns out there is pretty much no correlation between cost and quality, from a few cents per dose to some over fifty cents a pill.  Some don’t have the the advertised  RDA of certain vitamins.  Some have unhealthful contaminates.  Some are of such low quality they don’t disintegrate properly, rendering them ineffective.

So, just don’t take vitamins then?  Also, a bad idea.  Read the results of this experiment and buy the cheapest with a passing score.

In another month, every break room and front porch is going to be loaded with well-intentioned zucchinis, cucumbers, and tomatoes from benevolent friends and neighbors.

But in the interim, take this recent advice from Lifehacker.  According to them, it’s practically a standard equation at the supermarket level regarding deep price markdowns to salvage some return on the product before the freshness date expires.

To compound it, Wednesday may enable you to harness overlap between the the two-week span’s advertising circulars.

It makes sense, and it’s actually true.  I figure whatever they aren’t going to be able to work into the next day’s salad bar gets the big red sticker.

Frequently I get seven bagged salad mixes that were $3 once they become $1.    That’s the only time to buy.  If you pay more than $1, you paid too much.  If there’s nothing there for $1, select another style of mix that they are unloading.

Congratulations, you paid $7 instead of $21 for your week’s lunches, you genius.

Apparently the leafy greens in there turn into a pumpkin coach after midnight as opposed to something that is completely edible and delicious we all can safely consume for an additional 7 to 10 days.

Bless you freshness date.

If you’re not French-pressing, you’re shortchanging yourself.

A recent convert, and not for lack of trying from others, I’ve rationalized that it is more than win-win.  Four wins.  That’s right, a quaternary level of winning.  Insert hackneyed, two months’ stale Charlie Sheen reference here if you’re that person, followed by a sound life-examination.

1)It’s green. No filters showing up in the landfill. And after you’re done with it, swish the grounds around in some water and dump them onto a potted plant or garden bed of your choice. Apparently, plants love the stuff and worms will turn rock hard clay into aerated loam because you discarded your morning joe bilge there.

2)You use less coffee.  I reckon up to a third less.  There are a lot of oils and nuanced flavors that come through that you weren’t getting before. So your coffee dollar goes further. Frugal readers know that is one greenback that isn’t going near as far as it used to in the global marketplace.

3)You get more caffeine. There are scientific types that take this stuff very seriously…to a lab coat level.  They’ve determined optimum extraction occurs somewhere between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your Mr. Coffee percolator is at best about forty degrees shy of that mark.  If you slug it out of a wide-brimmed soup cup like I do, cool down time is not an issue.

4)You get a whole bunch of counter space back. Think of all the cool stuff you could put there instead!

Yeah, so you’ve got to learn how to boil a small amount of water and you can’t set a wake-up timer on it.  Buck up. You get to feel like a chemistry major without floating a D grade-point average.  Also, you’ll have to start looking at the microwave to see if you’re running late. It’s worth it.

According to one savvy reader of The Consumerist, if fellows crunch the numbers and start shaving old school, they can rack up quite a savings.  Hundreds of dollars a year, in fact.  Many guys marvel at the appalling cost of cartridges that seem calculatingly designed for planned obsolescence.

There are hobbyist sites devoted to the discussion and manufacture of retro hardware, soaps, and brushes.

So in addition to the financial savings, you get to join the fraternity of every guy you’ve seen in a Western, war movie, or Mad Men’s Don Draper.

I’m interested in both factors, but think I may go through more than $160 a year in bandaids.

No, it’s not a neat hybrid of Hoarders and Extreme Couponing, but merely an impression after viewing a piece of an episode of the latter.

Widely-renowned and nationally-syndicated consumer savings columnist Jill Cataldo broke apart a recent episode of the TLC hit with Zapruder-like detail to reveal what fundamentally is theft, your perception depending on the plumb of your ethical barometer.

Far be it for me to not want a great deal or occasionally sneak one past the goalie.  There’s also the “everyone else is doing it” defense, or the “system allowed it, so it’s fair game.”   I’m very familiar.  A practitioner, in fact.  And honestly, why does a grocery’s UPC system treat all code families from certain product manufacturers as interchangeable?  I don’t know, and none of us can expect a checker to parse through 4 carts of items for validity.  On an off-note, who would pull a stunt like this in public without wanting to go take a long hot shower for want of feeling like such a sleaze?

But, it stands to reason that when you game the system for $1800 worth of merchandise for $100, there’s no down-on-her-luck-plucky determinism origin story that can explain away why the suburban mom needed sixty bottles of yellow mustard to sit on a heavy duty rack in the garage.  You aren’t going to make that much potato salad.  There’s some kind of pathology here.

It’s easy to do because of the remoteness of the nameless, faceless victim.  Guess who it’s not?  It’s not the manufacturer, or even the store.  Its the saps that have to help eat that loss.   The rest of us with a semblance of decorum.

In other news, the show also features “extreme” Nathan Engles, who rather than counting and hoarding groceries, puts together care packages for military families.  Very cool.

Maybe its the element of risk or the fear of commitment, but I’m still skittish about buying shoes online.

There is definitely a larger selection and you can sometimes save a few dollars — especially now as they blow out old stock in the fall to make way for new styles.  As far as getting a gander at them, all the online merchants seem to have them mandatorily photographed from a half dozen angles.   But what if the dang things make you feel like one of Cinderella’s ugly sisters when they arrive by mail?

Major player Zappos tries to assuage that fear by offering free and unlimited returns.  You’re not supposed to notice that they build about 5 bucks back into the item cost.

Take this one for example. Looks like something I could abuse, cover in winter rock salt and be too lazy to polish for the next 4-5 years.   But what’s a Stonefly Milano?

After straw polling my peers, I’ve been told an excellent way is to know how a certain brand fits and count on that manufacturer’s internal controls to be consistent.    In other words, once a size 11 New Balance, always a size 11 New Balance.  In that event, it might not be a bad idea to go to a shoe store with a notepad and number two pencil to build an extensive brand dossier for your feet.

Comment with your shoe tips and favorite merchants, as well as any woeful tales of goofing on a size and getting stuck with $6.95 return shipping each way.  Hey, sometimes you roll the dice and lose.  That’s life.

Sure they give you a sweet deal on a phone when you buy one.  They’re not counting on you being a big-picture person.  Over the life of the contract, each one of those little amenities or extra services really add up.  There’s a huge markup, additionally on those accessories, i.e. junky headsets that make you look like a pretentious fool or schizophrenic in a public place and only cost 30 cents to make…

Or in this case, charging dock.  Not only does this free one you can make yourself look sweeter, it stays on the outlet and off the floor/countertop.

Anyone have a shampoo bottle?

Here are a few more ways to save significant amounts of money from the new book by Jeff Yeager called Cheapskate Next Door.

-Cut pieces of foam insulating board to fit windows in the winter and put them in at night or when you’re away to save a fortune on heat.

-Save big money on a car rental by helping auto transport companies relocate vehicles.  Lay down a deposit and they’ll provide a vehicle and tank of gas for approved drivers.

-Over a lifetime you’ll save about 5,000 gallons of gas and $30,000 or more by driving only cars with manual transmissions.

-Dry cleaning is a $9 billion a year business in the United States, loaded with toxic chemicals.  According to an article in Consumer Reports, “Dry-cleaning isn’t the only way to safely clean garments labeled dry-clean only, and other methods might even do a better job.”