Most of the information on a check would not pass the 'Internet safety test.'
Recently, The Consumerist mentioned a story that said fewer retailers are accepting personal checks this holiday season. They cited check fraud as the big reason for not accepting checks.
I argue that check fraud is the big reason why many consumers should not write checks: The personal check is one of the most insecure methods of payment.
Consider this test, which I call the Internet safety test. If you took an image of a completely filled-out check, how much of it would you have to black out before you’d feel comfortable posting it on the Internet?
Eating The Road covers every imaginable aspect of getting your money's worth.
Sick of turkey leftovers, we tried it out last night -- using a few of ETR’s best tips for getting our money’s worth. Why didn’t we try them all? ETR says his tips are “the best, quickest way to find yourself in a motorized cart.”
- Bing: Best buffet restaurants
Here are a few snippets from his post -- the most comprehensive and entertaining guide to all-you-can-eat buffet dining we’ve ever come across:
DealNews gives Amazon top marks for live price-matching.
Who were the winners and losers on Black Friday?
More shoppers came out this year than last year, but they spent less. Some of the popular small items were sold out before Cyber Monday sales. We’re not shopping from work today, but we do have our eyes on a few deals online if we finish our work in time.
- Video: Black Friday score card
The big winner, they say, was Amazon, which cut prices live to match the best deals offered at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and nearly every other store. Blu-ray and DVD movie prices hit new lows, with popular films selling for $10 or less.
It's making a debut in California and Colorado.
The weirdest prepaid card news to date: A company is offering a prepaid debit card for medical marijuana users.
- Video: Why not tax marijuana?
“There may be no greater sign of marijuana's rising profile in the national economy than this,” David Morrison wrote at Credit Union Times.
The card -- dubbed the GreenCard -- will debut in California and Colorado and double as a photo ID for members and users of legal medical marijuana collectives and dispensaries. Expect it to spread to other states where use of marijuana to treat various illnesses and conditions is legal with a doctor's note. No word yet on a medical marijuana gift card.
Popular gifts range from GPS to winter clothes
More shoppers headed out to the malls and onto the Web this year for Black Friday shopping, but once there, they didn’t exactly load up their carts.
The National Retail Federation estimated that 195 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 172 million the year before, but spending dropped 7.9% to $343.31 per person from $372.57 in 2008.
Some of the drop can be attributed to shoppers focusing on smaller-ticket electronics such as cell phones, rather than computers and huge flat screens, and more practical gifts such as
Reader gets lots of grief at work because he doesn't have a TV.
Your friends and family influence you. They affect the way you view life. If your friends are frugal, it’s easier to be frugal yourself. But if they’re wrapped up in consumerism and materialism, it can be difficult to resist the urge to join them. It’s only natural to want to fit in.
Rob wrote recently to ask how to handle a situation where he wants to lead a simple life, but those around him aren’t supportive. How can he cope with peer pressure? Here’s his story:
Actually, you shouldn't use your work computer to order gifts, but many people will.
Employers won’t like this combination: Lots of people plan to shop online at work for holiday gifts, and retailers are pushing Cyber Monday with more gusto than ever before.
That suggests that come Monday, as the online holiday shopping season kicks off, you've got to wonder who will be minding the store, so to speak.
According to PriceGrabber.com, more than half of the participants in a recent survey said they planned to shop online on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Of those, two-thirds expect to make purchases on Monday (80% will on Friday, and half will on both days).
- Bing: Cyber Monday sales
A National Retail Federation survey found that 56% of men, 51% of women, and 74% of those between 18 and 24 who have Internet access on the job plan to shop on their work computers this holiday season.
But it is important that you get the basics right.
You’ve seen this e-mail:
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit any porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Whlie it's not at all clear wheehtr a Cmabrigde Uinervtisy stduy rellay exsits, the concpet has treeemnduos aplpication to presoanl finncae and ivnsetnig.
- Bing: Worst financial mistakes
Get the important things right. While we don't have to be perfect, we do need to get the important things right. Just like the first and last letters of a word need to be correct, there are some core personal-finance and investing concepts that we must get right:
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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