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Archive for 'Shopping' Category

3 tips to optimize your holiday spending

Published 11/28/11  (Modified 12/12/11)

3 tips to optimize your holiday spending By Justin Boyle

Black Friday gets its name from the huge volume of retail sales that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving. That is, retailers can count on a massive influx of business to put their ledgers back into the black. To add even more income to the pile, retailers throw big sales and offer great deals to bring larger numbers of people through the doors.

Some of the deals available on Black Friday sound so good that you might be willing to put yourself in the red to make sure you catch them. This quick guide to managing your money throughout the holiday season can help keep your credit safe from the Black Friday rush, as well as leave you sitting pretty when January rolls around...

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Toys with hidden costs

Published 11/15/11  (Modified 11/16/11)

Toys with hidden costs By Joshua Wong

I bought my son a Leapster Explorer last Christmas (actually, Santa delivered it) and while the upfront cost was expected, the ancillary costs of this toy started to add up fast.

We bought two games to go with it from the start, but soon enough our son's interest in those waned, so we agreed to buy him two more. At $25 each, the hidden costs of owning a game system for my son's little hands were increasing. That's where we stopped, but there are many other toys with accessories that can get parents wishing that Santa had left the toy at the North Pole...

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Is PayPal safe? What you should know about using PayPal for online purchases

Published 4/11/11  (Modified 4/21/11)

Is PayPal safe? What you should know about using PayPal for online purchases By Jim Sloan

Late in 2010, a freelance software developer in Seattle released a free program that lets someone see what you are doing on your laptop or smart phone while on an unsecured WiFi network. The program then lets them log on as you on all the sites you just visited.

So even if the password you entered to get on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or eBay is encrypted, this software (Firesheep) can snatch your cookie--that segment of code that contains your computer and site settings and other private information--and allow another user to become you. More than a million people downloaded the program in three months, the New York Times reported.

Sound scary? It is, but the developer released the program to point out the need for what computer engineers call "end-to-end encryption"--something that is used on PayPal and on bank websites to protect users' highly sensitive financial information.

Why PayPal is so safe

PayPal is safer than most sites because it automatically...

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Frugal ways to be sexy on Valentine's Day

Published 2/1/11  (Modified 1/3/12)

Frugal ways to be sexy on Valentine's Day By Jim Sloan

Plan a beautiful Valentine's Day this year but with a difference Read the full article »

Zero interest credit cards for beginners

Published 11/11/10  (Modified 12/19/13)

Zero interest credit cards for beginners By Maricelle Ruiz-Calderon

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available.

When I got my first credit card, I didn't know too much about how to use one, or the benefits, or drawbacks of credit cards. I didn't shop around - I simply accepted the credit card that my bank provided. Luckily for me, it offered a good deal and my family advised me to never charge unnecessary expenses. Even so, there are definitely some things I wish I knew about credit cards back then.

Credit Cards 101

Since a credit card is a loan, MasterCard recommends that you pay by the end of the month or as soon as possible to avoid interest charges. If you use your credit card responsibly, you should obtain a high credit score, enabling you to take out other loans to pay for school, a car and a home.

"[A credit card] can be very helpful in case of emergency and definitely help in establishing a credit record," Mary Sommers, financial aid director at the University of Nebraska, tells Omaha.com. "If you have no credit record and you've paid cash all your life, you may be a very good money manager, but you're still going to have trouble getting a house mortgage or a car loan."

However, irresponsible credit card use can definitely hurt, including keeping you from getting a job out of college, so make sure you have a plan for credit card use prior to getting one.

Here are a few credit cards

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Overcoming Spending Anxiety: When Financial Planning for Retirement Isn't Enough

Published 7/14/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

This is a guest post from Marc Pearlman.

Back in the early to mid-1990s I made my living by sitting in front of computer monitor with green and red glowing pixels that flashed stock and commodity prices. I was an off-the-floor stock and commodity trader, and in my world, green and red meant everything. Green meant I was making money, and red meant I would be drawing out of my savings to pay for monthly expenses.

Fortunately for me, I was given some sage advice from a wealthy mentor of mine who was about 25 years my senior and knew of an obstacle that I was likely to encounter. I still remember his wise words: "Kid, make sure you put money into an account you can draw from when times are lean--and expect some lean times. It's part of the game."

Even though I heeded his advice, there was one thing I didn't account for: the feeling I'd have when trekking to the bank to withdraw those savings. While I had been diligently depositing money in my high yield savings account specifically to be drawn on when needed, the mental anguish of seeing my balance decrease--sometimes month after month--was one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome as a trader.

From Retirement Saving to Retirement Spending: Getting Past the Anxiety

Fast-forward 16 years: now I manage other people's money for a living. I'm on the phone with a client in his mid-60s who recently retired. He asks me if taking $10,000 out of

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