Shoppers report longer waits for ordered gifts. How to make sure yours arrive on time.
Every night of Hanukkah, Barbara Adler gave one gift to each of her three sons. Until the last night of the eight-day holiday, when she presented an electronic puzzle game to the trio, "for all of us."
The other gifts, ordered from Amazon.com affiliates, hadn't arrived at their Roslyn, N.Y., home -- even though she'd ordered them some 11 days before.
No one keeps track of real-time complaints like these, but anecdotal evidence suggests that plenty of shoppers are still waiting on holiday gift orders placed weeks ago.
Restaurants are giving bonuses with gift cards, plus coupons for subs, bagels, soup and a deal on pizza.
This seems to be the year for days of deals, as in "The 12 Days of Christmas."
Now Chili's has joined the movement, with "Holidaily Specials" through Dec. 24. The special changes every day, but you can see the whole schedule now. This coupon will give you free chips and queso through Dec. 23.
Many restaurants are offering specials on gift cards this year, with the most likely bonus being a free smaller gift card. Miami FL on the Cheap has a list of restaurant gift card bonuses and freebies.
A lot of folks unwittingly -- and repeatedly -- make misguided money decisions based upon well-intentioned beliefs.
The other day I was at the gas station and I observed a soccer mom topping off the tank of her bright yellow Hummer.
Thunk. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Thunk. Thunk, thunk. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk.
Maybe I am being a bit snooty, but I find that kind of behavior extremely annoying, not to mention just a wee bit ignorant. Don't you?
Readers share unbelievably dense comments about personal finance they've heard. Got any to add?
Talk about your latte factor! Smart Spending message board reader "AmberStorck" was told it would be silly to shell out 30 whole bucks for a coffee machine when you could just buy a cup for $3.50 at Starbucks.
Or how about this one: "I never redeem rewards points. It's just a waste of money."
Or: "I can't ride the bus because I don't know how." (Did this person fail "sitting down" in kindergarten?)
2010 sees home prices sink by $1.7 trillion. Falling taxes deprive communities of crucial services.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
Since housing values started plummeting in 2006, the U.S. housing market has lost almost $9 trillion -- enough to fund 12 Iraq wars. That's the news from researchers at Zillow, the online real estate marketplace.
A big chunk of that loss -- $1.7 trillion -- was shed in 2010 alone.
"That's 63% more than the $1 trillion in value that homes lost last year," The Wall Street Journal points out.
More employers plan to reward workers with gifts, bonuses and parties. But some are more generous than others.
All 12,400 employees of Ikea US got a bicycle from their employer as a holiday gift this year.
Meanwhile, Googlers (that's what employees of Google are called) are getting a $1,000 Christmas bonus -- and that's after the notably generous employer picks up the taxes on the gift. (Other employers take note: Googlers are getting a pay raise of at least 10% next year too.)
What's in store for the rest of us -- at least those of us who are on a company payroll?
With constant updates on social media, who needs an end-of-year message? Yet some folks see hope for paper cards.
Back, oh, about a decade ago, I found the perfect holiday cards. But then I got busy, and I never sent them, so I put them away for next year. Next year came, and the next, and those cards are still sitting in a closet somewhere.
Between your excuses and mine, fewer people are sending Christmas cards. Holiday greetings on paper haven't yet gone the way of white gloves, but they are getting less popular, particularly among younger people. Some people, to save money or save paper, send e-mail greetings instead.
Chocolate, digital music, ammo and lots of your other favorite things have become more expensive in 2011.
Updated: May 19, 2011, 8:30 a.m. ET
This post comes from Beth Pinsker at dealnews.com.
The cost of technology goes down steadily, making HDTVs and Blu-ray players today a much better deal than they were a year ago. It's too bad that most other things rise in price.
Here's a list of 10 things that cost more this year than they did in 2010:
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