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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Running the Numbers on Retirement

It’s no secret that many of us are not saving enough for our later years. One step that’s proven effective at motivating people to get in the savings game is to crunch a few numbers. A story in the _Chicago Sun-Times_ on 11/6/06 recommended some web sites where we can do just that. First, go […]

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Buyer Beware

The old adage, “if it seems too good to be true it probably is” remains as valid as ever. However, it’s becoming more difficult to determine when a deal is not really a deal. According to a recent story on _MSNBC_, for example, instead of increasing their prices, many packaged goods companies have kept their […]

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Tis the Season…for Paying Down Debt

The end of year holiday season has become much more than “the most wonderful time of year.” It’s become one of the most debt-inducing times of year, with many people going a little too crazy at the mall. However, if you have too much debt, this can also be a great time of year to […]

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Shopping While the Turkey’s Still Warm

The day after Thanksgiving is the traditional start to the holiday shopping season and that usually prompts a number of stores to open at the crack of dawn. Crowds of shoppers gather in the dark as they wait for the doors to open and their chance at deeply discounted DVD players and such. This year, […]

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Only One Thing Is Needed

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She […]

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Plastic Traps

Credit card fine print is getting even finer both from a cardholder’s perspective (more difficult to read and understand) and from a card issuer’s perspective (likely to contain provisions that generate additional revenue). According to an article in the _Washington Post_ on 10/15, a recent government report found cardholder agreements difficult to read and riddled […]

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