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How To: Shop Safely Online

at 10:41AM Wednesday February 8, 2012
under Shop Smarter

A few weeks ago, Zappos customers were alerted that their personal information--names, phone numbers, email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, the last four digits from credit cards and more—was likely accessed by hackers from their database. The company's suggestion was for customers to immediately login to their account and change their password. But is that enough? How do you protect yourself and your credit while shopping online? Read More »

Dealing with Electronic Waste Disposal

at 7:55AM Wednesday January 11, 2012
under Loose Change

Image by *Luana* via Flickr

Whether you're a techno-geek or a Luddite, eventually you end up with electronic waste.  Those old computers, cell phones, and other gadgets that go unused and obsolete. What do you do with them? It may depend on where you live. Read More »

Harness Your Consumer Power

at 7:58AM Wednesday January 4, 2012
under Shop Smarter

It's happened again. Just two months after Bank of America reversed its decision to charge a debit card usage fee "in response to customer feedback," now Verizon Wireless is doing a the same. Last Friday, Verizon announced a new fee that would charge customers $2 each time they make one-time payments online or over the phone. The very next day, Verizon reversed their decision, citing customer complaints. Whether it was an actual decision or part of a publicity ploy (as some blogs have posited), it's another example of consumers speaking up and showing their power.

Did you realize how much power you have? What are some ways you can get involved as a savvy consumer? Read More »

4 Steps to Avoid Lost Gift Card Money

at 7:58AM Wednesday December 28, 2011
under Shop Smarter

This holiday season was big for retail gift cards--it was estimated that $28 billion would be spent, with 58% of shoppers saying they'd be happy to receive them as gifts.

Gift cards are easy to give and can be easy to spend, but apparently they can also be a tremendous waste. This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that $41 million has gone unused in gift cards since from 2005-2011. Amazing!

Are you among those letting gift cards go to waste? Take a few minutes this week to make a plan for your gift cards, so you can keep your money: Read More »

4 Tactics to Offset the End of the Payroll Tax Cut in 2012

at 7:56AM Wednesday December 21, 2011
under Newsworthy

On Tuesday, Congress rejected a temporary measure that would extend a 2% payroll tax cut to over 160 million workers in the U.S. The payroll tax covers the amount collected for federal Social Security and is applied to the first $106,800 you earn. With no plan in place, the tax will increase to 6.4% on January 1 and will cost the average family $1,000 over the course of the year.

While a reduction in pay is not a good thing for anyone, is there another way to fill in that missing $1,000 in your budget? Try these four strategies for extra earnings or savings in 2012: Read More »

Maintaining Online Privacy vs. Scoring the Best Deals

at 10:55AM Wednesday December 14, 2011
under Shop Smarter

Image by mhofstrand via Flickr

How much of your privacy are you willing to give up just to score a shopping deal? Do you sign up for every e-newsletter, coupon and discount available through company websites, store loyalty cards, and Facebook? While online consumers are typically reluctant to share information about their shopping behavior, a recent survey by KPMG reports that 52% of U.S. consumers said they would be willing to give up their privacy for discounts or free online content. This is similar to what many consumers already do at the grocery store each week; by providing their personal information to receive a store loyalty card, shoppers receive sale prices and discounts while the store tracks their purchases and habits

It's become so commonplace that we often don't question the intentions of the store. Read More »

XBox Live vs. the Cable Box: The Future of Live Streaming TV

at 8:55AM Wednesday December 7, 2011
under Newsworthy

It's a common argument in many households: "Let's dump the cable subscription and save $80-150 per month." I raise the prospect every year or so with my husband, but we haven't made the leap yet.

With the news this week from Microsoft launching improved usability, streaming video options and live TV through the Xbox 360 console, we're one step closer to that goal. Read More »

2011 Holiday Season: Planning for a Smooth December

at 7:54AM Wednesday November 30, 2011
under Personal Finance

Image by tamburix via Flickr

It's December--a month filled with joy, family, and fun. But it's also a month associated with overspending and overindulging. If you find yourself full of regret when January rolls around, use these three planning strategies to get this month under control: Read More »