Are you the go-to guy for short-term loans? Say yes every time, and you may torpedo your own finances.
This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.
Conventional wisdom holds that you should never loan more than you can afford to lose. Believe it. If your brother or your BFF asks for $500 for car repairs, you have no guarantee you’ll ever see those funds again.
How do I know? Because I'm owed money by both a relative and a couple of friends. They aren't bad people, just casual with cash. I've long since written off the relative’s loan, especially since this person has given me a bunch of rides to and from the airport when I visit my dad.
As for the other loans: I'm owed a total of about $2,100 but I'm about as likely to get it as I am to wring plasma from limestone. That was a calculated risk, and I have no one to blame but myself.
Retailer-branded cards have a reputation for high interest rates and low (if any) rewards. But a few have features that can be useful or save money.
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.
A warning you hear often during holiday shopping season is to be careful of store credit cards. It can seem as if nearly every retailer is offering a credit card application at checkout and raving about the benefits. Yet a careful review of the application often reveals high interest rates, poor terms and minimal rewards.
Nevertheless, there are some retail credit cards that can make a worthy addition to your wallet. The best ones offer at least one outstanding feature. That feature could be a competitive financing offer, a valuable rewards program, or some exclusive perks and benefits.
Here are five store cards you may want to consider.
It's worth reading the terms of service to find out what PayPal does with your credit information -- particularly if you want to protect your credit scores.
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.
If you are one of the millions of people who use PayPal to send or receive money, you may not have given to much thought about how it might affect your credit. But if you read the terms of service, you’ll see credit reports and credit scores mentioned, and that may leave you wondering how that will impact you. If you care about your credit scores, you should know what PayPal does with credit information.
Here’s how this service works: When you sign up, you can link your credit, debit and/or bank accounts to your PayPal account. When you buy an item online (and, more recently, in some retail stores as well) you can check out with your PayPal account, which will then process the purchase through your preferred payment method.
In addition, PayPal offers an option where you can pay for an item via PayPal using your credit or debit card, even if you haven’t set up an account.
I just shaved 60 percent from my cost of shaving, and got a better product. You should too.
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
Such was the case with me and razor blades.
The words "disappointed" or "miffed" don't describe my feelings about paying nearly $3.00 for a single Gillette Fusion cartridge. More like "mad as hell and not going to take it any more".
Several months ago we published an article about cutting the cost of shaving. So, last week, as my supply of Gillette Fusion blades dwindled, I went back to that article to see how I could use my own advice to attack the high cost of a close shave.
Don't just shop harder, shop smarter. Black Friday will be hectic, so here are some tips to ensure that your holiday shopping goes as smoothly as possible.
This post comes from Kyle Woodley at partner site Investor Place.
We've got it pretty good for Black Friday. You and I get 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent off gifts for friends and family (and, OK, occasionally ourselves), and all we need to give up in return is a small piece of our sanity.
I kid, I kid … but Black Friday can be a pretty hectic day filled with stress, and even a little bit of danger.
So your smart play heading into the biggest shopping day of the year? A little bit of mental preparation, plus a little bit of awareness while you’re out and about.
To help you out, we've thrown together a Black Friday checklist to run through -- one that will help you save the most money, score you a little extra time, ensure your safety and keep you from tearing your hair out for the holidays.
Before you leave
Dress for success: Some of us will be shopping in sunny California, and others of us will be trudging through snow-covered parking lots to get into the mall. Either way, once you're indoors, it'll be nothing but plenty of walking or standing in cramped quarters. So wear comfortable shoes, and also make sure to dress light under your coat, unless you want to shop in a sweat bath. (Also check the weather -- if it calls for it, you might be looking for your most comfortable boots, not shoes.)
Charity should be measured more by restored lives than good intentions, some experts suggest. Perhaps we should be going about 'helping' differently.
This post comes from Matthew Illian at partner site Credit.com.
The giving season is fast approaching, and many of us are making plans to donate our time, talents and treasure to help those in need. Helping others is an integral part of the American character. Compassion experts and fieldworkers argue that much of these good intentions fuel a toxic form of charity that fails to offer lasting change.
When President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the War on Poverty, he intended for these new efforts to be a "hand up," not a "handout." In hindsight, while the War on Poverty introduced massive increases in welfare spending, the American poverty rate remained at 15%, right where it stood two years after Johnson's effort was announced. President Bill Clinton, before passing welfare reform legislation, shared that welfare is "a broken system that traps too many people in a cycle of dependence."
Private charity can create the same cycles of dependency. According to two books, "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, and "Toxic Charity" by Robert Lupton, much of the assistance Americans provide to those in need is doing more harm than good. Religiously motivated charity is often the most irresponsible.
Overspending is just one of the things that can go wrong during this traditional day of holiday bargain hunting.
This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Credit.com.
Black Friday is the most anticipated, but potentially dangerous, shopping day of the year. As millions of Americans head out in the wee hours of the morning following traditional Thanksgiving Day festivities, many are unaware of the credit dangers that await them.
Here are a few important Black Friday credit perils you can avoid.
1. Identity theft
Holiday shoppers aren’t the only ones who anxiously await Black Friday. It is also the optimal playing field for thieves looking for marks among the estimated 37% of adult shoppers who partake in the day’s festivities. Criminals might use easily concealable skimming machines to retrieve data from credit cards. Others may pose as charities, and steal identities by obtaining card numbers or other information that they convince donors to disclose, such as a Social Security number, driver’s license number or bank account information.
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It's hard to eat organic and cheap at the same time -- usually, you've got to choose one or the other. How much will an organic Thanksgiving feast cost?
This post comes from Carmel Lobello at partner site The Week.
It's your turn to host Thanksgiving. Fun! Sometime next week, you'll make a list, drive to the grocery store, and spend an afternoon stalking the aisles, attempting to pick the best ingredients to satisfy and impress your family, your in-laws, and maybe your vegetarian friend Brenda, whose retired parents are spending the holiday abroad.
One choice that may come into play: Whether to serve organic food to this gaggle of loved ones.
For many, the organic question is also a cost question. When you're shopping for yourself, it may feel reasonable to spend a few extra dollars here and there to limit the hormone and pesticide content in your meats and veggies. But if you're hosting Thanksgiving and prepping to serve ten or more relatives, the price gap between fresh, organic ingredients, and conventional ones will certainly pack a greater punch.
But how much greater?
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