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Do you have a senior discount?


For seniors, each and every transaction should begin with the question, “Do you have a senior discount?”

“If they don’t have one on the books, they might offer one anyway. It can’t hurt to ask,” said Paula Clark, Kenosha County Aging and Disability Resource Center community outreach coordinator.

Be aware that sometimes what is offered as a senior discount may not be true savings.

Back to school: Boost your teen’s money savvy


The best way to help your teens avoid making common financial blunders in adulthood (living beyond their means, racking up credit card debt, etc.) is to start them on the road to savvy money management early. Here are some things you might do:

— Encourage your teens to get a job. While supplying welcome disposable income, jobs also teach kids about the value of time and hard work. A purchase that looked perfectly reasonable when parents were paying for it can seem less necessary when they realize they have to work five hours to earn it.

Can you afford to live to 100?


How long will you live? It’s a key question in retirement planning — and one many of us answer with an educated guess, according to Consumer Reports.

If you’re healthy and your family tree has branches with staying power, you may figure that you have decades ahead. If your parents died early of natural causes, you may assume a shorter life.

Deep cleaning: When to toss common household items


The ritual of deep cleaning doesn’t just clear the cobwebs from your ceilings (and your head); it’s essential for great health, too. Knowing when to pitch everything from medication to your smoke alarm helps you and your family sleep better, stay safer, heal faster and more. This room-by-room guide outlines some surprising expiration dates.

When to toss: Replace your pillows every year.

Five Spot: Water-saving tips that can help any household


Water conservation expert Tracy Quinn of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that making just a few small changes to our daily habits in the kitchen can result in big water savings. “Every little bit helps.”

— Don’t rinse scraps of food down the sink after dinner. Scrape them into your garbage pail. (This is a good use for all those takeout napkins that seem to clutter everyone’s “junk drawer.”)

Need wheels? Your guide to buying a used car


Need new wheels but have a tight budget? Consumer Reports has long advocated buying used as a way to get the biggest bang for your buck. It’s simple math: After one year, a new car has depreciated 27 percent of its sticker price; after three years, it’s worth barely half of its sticker. When someone else takes the depreciation hit on the car, you benefit.

But picking out a good used car from a sea of bad ones has never been easy. You want to buy one that’s reliable, affordable and equipped with modern safety features. Add in the desire to avoid a car that has been damaged in an accident or a natural disaster, and the process can feel overwhelming.

Deceptive hotel booking sites raise alarms


WASHINGTON — The vacation package was too good to be true: A room for six at the majestic Pelican Grand Beach Resort in balmy Fort Lauderdale in mid-February for just $99 a night.

A woman from Atlanta booked a room online, paid in advance for a week’s stay and showed up with five children in tow.

Stay safe this summer: Repel bugs, beware of scams


Would you rather be eaten alive by mosquitoes and ticks that can carry debilitating — and even deadly — diseases, or douse yourself in harmful repellents full of potentially dangerous chemicals?

Almost three-quarters of Americans say they worry more about insect-carried diseases, such as Lyme and West Nile, as well as newer threats like chikungunya and Powassan, according to a recent survey of 2,011 U.S. adults conducted by Consumer Reports.

Five Spot: How to get the most out of farmers markets


Summer means it’s time to hit the farmers market. Here are some simple tips to make the most out of your trip:

— Bring your own bags.

Flying together: Tips for finding adjacent airline seats without paying extra


NEW YORK — On top of the bag fees and other charges, families traveling this summer may have to pay extra just to sit next to one another.

Airlines are reserving a growing number of seats for elite customers or those willing to shell out more money. These seats often — but not always — come with a little extra legroom. The catch: setting these seats aside leaves fewer places for other passengers to sit without paying extra.

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