Gifts for a richer life

Consumer watchdog subscriptions

As somebody once said, no one is rich enough to buy cheap junk. Help the folks on your gift list buy quality goods and services the first time with subscriptions to consumer watchdogs.

On the service side, Angie's List (www.angieslist.com) lets members search a web database or talk to customer service to hear other member opinions about roofers, plumbers, veterinarians, landscapers, dentists, hospitals and other service providers in their geographic area. The price varies by area, too; expect to pay between $20 and $30 a year, which includes a monthly magazine.

For the lowdown on goods, try an online subscription to Consumer Reports (www.consumerreports.org), which costs $30 annually, or $20 annually for people who already subscribe to the print magazine.

Consumer Reports is the independent, nonprofit organization that researches, buys and tests all kinds of consumer goods, from appliances to autos, electronics, recreation and home improvement products, food, and goods aimed at the health and family markets.

Either of these gifts can help recipients make their dollars count, all year long.