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Thompson: Don’t dump all your money on pricey bags

POSTED: August 3, 2008 5:01 a.m.

I usually enjoy debunking questionable tips. However, this time I'm somewhat hesitant. Odds are that I'm going to tick off at least a few of you out there. What tip am I talking about? The Debbie Meyers Green Bags. For those of you not familiar with them, they're the green plastic bags that you store fruits and vegetables in and they supposedly stay fresher longer. You've probably seen the bags advertised on late-night TV. The bags are supposed to be specially made so that they absorb ethylene gas, which contributes to spoilage. I tested the bags myself, and I personally found that zip-top plastic bags worked just as well - and were a whole lot cheaper! If you're a fan of these bags, I would encourage you to try your own zip-top bag challenge and see if the green bags are really worth the extra money. (Don't be mad at me).

If you've never checked out Hulu, you should. It's a free site full of TV shows and movies that you can watch online. The Web site even allows you to watch a number of primetime TV shows that aired the night before. (You'll never miss an episode of "The Office" again). The best part is that the Web site is really easy to use.

Speaking of Web sites that you should be using, let's talk about Skype. It's an Internet platform for making phone calls and instant messaging; however, the thing I like about it is the free webcam service. A co-worker of mine, who travels a lot, has four kids. Skype is how he stays in touch with them when he's on the road.

Before going on a trip, make sure you put together an emergency contact list and then e-mail it to yourself. The list should contain credit card and bank phone numbers, doctor and health insurance numbers, airline and hotel numbers, a scanned copy of your passport, etc. By e-mailing it to yourself, you'll be able to access it anywhere you might end up. And the best part, you'll never lose it!

One last travel tip - if you're going to be traveling outside of the country, let your credit card company know. It's not uncommon for credit card companies to turn off your card when they see foreign charges. It almost happened to me once. Fortunately Visa got in touch with me via my cell phone before they turned the card off.

Let me start off by saying that this is not a commercial and I'm not being paid for this endorsement. If you're going to be replacing your door hardware, buy Baldwin. Yes it's expensive. Yes it can be twice as expensive as the other stuff in your home improvement store. Big deal. Baldwin hardware has a guaranteed lifetime finish that I can attest to. The cheap stuff just doesn't last very long. It's actually cheaper over the life of your house to have Baldwin!

Tim Thompson lives in Gainesville. E-mail Tim your ideas for tips, tools or tricks.


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