Author Archive | Matt Bell

Getting the New Year Off to a Good Start

It’s New Year’s resolution time and the personal finance press is full of suggested goals. Here are two of the better recommendations from a recent _Yahoo Finance_ column. First, take advantage of the high interest rates being paid on savings accounts and money market funds, many of which are paying five percent or better. If […]

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Gifts That Keep on Giving

Have you ever “regifted?” You know, given something as a gift that someone had given to you? According to an article in the _Detroit News_, 40 percent of people admit to regifting. “Admit” seems to be the key word. Now there’s a “web site”:http://www.regiftable.com on the subject that offers advice for tactful regifting (is that […]

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This is Your Brain on Advertising

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is normally used to diagnose injuries or diseases. However, the _Wall Street Journal_ recently reported on the first-ever use of MRI technology to better understand brand recognition. When showing various logos to study participants hooked up to MRI machines, the logos of well-known brands generated more activity in the part of […]

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The Money is in the Details

Little things can make a big difference. For example, on the men’s pro golf tour this year, the difference in average score per round between the number one money earner (Tiger Woods) and the player ranked 150th (Chris Riley) was a mere 3.4 strokes. However, Woods earned $9.5 million more than Riley! For us mere […]

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Getting Fiscally Fit

Every year, it seems, getting in better physical and fiscal shape top the list of people’s New Year’s resolutions. The fact that those goals pop up every year is a good indication that people have a hard time following through on them. A recent article on _Yahoo Finance_ reviewed the classic steps to achieving such […]

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Completing Our Gift List

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
- Matthew 25:40 This time of year the news is full of stories about shopping.  How much will people spend on holiday gifts?  Nearly $800 per person, according to the National Retail Federation.  What […]

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New Standards for Giving

Are you in the habit of making cash donations or giving used clothing or other items to charity? If so, starting January 1st you’ll need to develop two new habits. As reported in the _Wall Street Journal’s_ 11/11-12 edition, new legislation will require that you get receipts for all cash donations that you itemize on […]

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How to Avoid Making a Deal Not Such a Good Deal

Electronic items are popular gifts and where there is an electronics seller there is a seller of extended warranties. Should we or shouldn’t we opt for the extra protection? According to “Consumer Reports”:http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/personal-finance/news/november-2006/why-you-dont-need-an-extended-warranty-11-06/overview/extended-warranty-11-06.htm, usually we’d be better off taking a pass. The organization says products rarely break during the extended warranty period and when they […]

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Finding Even Better Deals Online

When shopping online, items are placed in a virtual shopping cart. At checkout time, sites often ask whether you have a promotional code. Just because you don’t have one doesn’t mean you can’t find one. An article in the _Morning Call_ on 11/12 suggested this strategy: When you’re asked for a promotional code keep that […]

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Finding Deals Online

Assuming you still have some holiday shopping to do (What’s that? You haven’t even started?), _Kiplinger_ recently listed its favorite places to find deals on the Internet. Its top online bargain site is “DealsOfAmerica.com”:http://www.dealsofamerica.com. This site lists new deals every hour, offers comparison-shopping in its “Compare Prices” tab, and lists products or services that are […]

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