Personal Finance 
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Valentine’s Day Cheapskate Contest

It’s almost that time. With all that pink and red displayed in every store and jewelry commercials on heavy rotation on every channel, anyone with a significant other can feel their wallets cringing in fear at the approach of Valentine’s Day. So what is it this year? Chocolates? Flowers? A teddy bear with a heart?

This time of year many of us struggle to set some time and money aside to buy a meaningful gift for our significant other — and sometimes, we just don’t. Tell us about a cheapskate moment that you have had for Valentine’s Day that actually worked out for you — a cheap gift your significant other actually liked and thought was meaningful.

The person who submits the best cheapskate Valentine’s Day gift story will win a $150 gift card to Edible Arrangements.
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 Money Lab 
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‘Multilevel marketing’ schemes like Herbalife, Amway and Juice Plus are bullshit and here’s why

Multilevel marketing schemes like Amway, Herbalife and Juice Plus are bullshit You probably know someone (or multiple people if you’re particularly unlucky) who has tried to sell you so-called “multilevel marketing” products such as Herbalife, Amway, Juice Plus, Avon, Mona Vie, Vemma or Arbonne.

If you’re even more unlucky, they’ve tried to recruit you to sell the product, too, waxing poetic about the amazing quality of the products, big discounts, easy money, blah blah blah.

There are lots of annoying things about this: high-pressure sales pitches, attempts to monetize their relationship with you, appeals at get-togethers and on social media. But the most annoying thing of all may be that, even after badgering everyone they know to buy a bunch of stuff they don’t really want, your friend or relative will probably never make a dime off it.
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 Culture Cents 
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5 money lessons from ‘Full House’

Money lessons from Full HouseThe catchy theme song, the red front door, the music that hinted you were about to learn an important life lesson … “Full House” fans remember it all. Here are five money lessons you may not realize the TGIF classic taught you that could have your wallet saying “You got it dude!”
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 Money Lab 
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Can you really heat a room for 15 cents a day worth of tea lights?

Flowerpot heater materialsThere’s a video making the rounds on social media about a “hack” for home heating that seems like it should be huge news to cheapskates the world over, especially given the hellacious polar vortex that’s covered much of the United States in snow and ice this winter.

In the video, which was actually published in fall of 2012, a British man named Dylan Winter, who runs a YouTube channel devoted largely to boating, demonstrates how he uses simple household materials — a bread tin, two flowerpots of varying sizes and some tea lights — to build a heater that cheaply keeps a small room warm. The video is really popular, with 5,349,262 views as of this writing.

I hail from the arctic tundra known as Minnesota, and, because we have had some record-breaking low temperatures this winter (when don’t we?), I thought it would be as good a time as any to give building my own flowerpot heater a whirl.
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 Personal Finance 
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5 Chinese New Year traditions for attracting wealth

Many Chinese New Year traditions have a financial bent

Sun nin fai lok! 

On Friday, China rang in the New Year. It’s officially the Year of the Horse.

Across many cultures, a new year represents the possibility of building wealth, health and prosperity. While the Western world makes New Year’s resolutions, Eastern tradition is focused on what most Westerners would call, well, crazy superstition.
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 MoneyDerp 
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Twitter account dedicated to people who post debit card pics is depressingly busy

Posting debit card details on Twitter invites debit card fraudIf you’re ever feeling the need to take a picture of your debit card and post it on social media just … don’t. It doesn’t take that much information to make fraudulent purchases online with a debit card account, or clone a physical copy of a debit card, and giving all those potentially listening in on your social media account a free look isn’t wise.

To hammer that point home, there’s a Twitter account dispensing vigilante Internet justice to those who would post pictures of their debit cards online.
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 Observations 
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Michaels offers handy DIY solutions for customers exposed in possible data breach

Michaels data breachAnother week, another retailer announcing a possible data breach that could compromise customer data and expose them to the risk of financial fraud.

A few weeks ago, it was Target, then Neiman Marcus (who, like Target, is offering free identity theft protection for a year). This time, the retailer in question is Michaels, which is hands down the best place on Earth to buy assorted sizes of Styrofoam balls and everything you need for scrapbooking your cat’s birthday party.

The company put out a press release on Saturday to let us know it may have suffered a data breach attack and urging customers to take action.
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 Health Care 
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Concierge medicine provides options ahead of Obamacare deadline

Concierge medicine may help young people get more bang for their buckThere are just over 2 months to go until the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, and not everyone is sold on purchasing the kind of comprehensive and often pricey plans offered in the insurance exchanges set up under the law.

One alternative that may hold some appeal, especially for those under 30, is concierge medicine. With concierge medicine, you pay a regular retainer monthly or annually for the right to have a doctor manage your health care and perform basic procedures such as checkups and tests.

Paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan, it can meet a broad variety of health care needs without having to do the messy insurance dance for most of your medical care. Certain concierge practices, including AtlasMD, even offer house calls as a membership benefit.
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