Is a text message all we really need to get us to save money?
There is a movement amongst earnest policy wonks that might be called Nanny State Light. It’s a compromise position between full-on centrally planned we-know-what’s-best-for-you control and you’re-on-your-own-kid libertarianism.
The idea is that instead of making people do the right thing or hoping that they do what’s best on their own, you give them a little nudge and hint in the right direction. This is, I am told, the topic of a clever and popular book, “Nudge,” which I haven’t yet gotten around to reading. (But I bought a copy a few weeks ago. That’s something, isn’t it?)
- Bing: Reviews of "Nudge"
The latest scheme along these lines to hit the media was in The Wall Street Journal this week. Apparently, all we need to do to get people to save more money is to send them a text message reminding them to save more money.
Frequent flier says he was denied seat upgrade because of his attire.
A United Airlines Red Carpet Club member -- a Best Buy corporate vice president, no less -- says he was denied a first-class upgrade on a flight last month because he was wearing a track suit.
- Bing: Try Bing Travel
He said he used his miles to upgrade to first class on a flight from Dulles to Connecticut. Alvarez said the gate agent called his name and when he walked up to the counter for his upgrade, the agent said he was dressed too casually for first class. "I was humiliated and embarrassed," Alvarez said.
Alvarez wore the same Puma track suit during a Fox interview and, in the video, his attire is very neat -- much nicer than a lot of sloppy-looking customers we’ve seen on flights.
Company targets high-end 'advanced devices' for price hike.
A memo leaked from Verizon Wireless confirms that the company is increasing its early contract cancellation fees to as high as $350 for what it calls its "advanced devices." That's double the current fee.
- Bing: Worst cell phone plans
Though the company did not specify what it meant by "advanced devices," Boy Genius Report's Andrew Munchbach speculated it was targeted at high-end smart phones like the recently announced Droid, which runs the open-source Android platform and was built by Motorola. It's scheduled to debut Nov. 15.
Deals on turkey dinners and electronics start this week.
At least one store isn’t waiting until Black Friday to unleash its deals. Rather than leaking its ads early, Wal-Mart is starting its electronics sales early, plus offering $20 turkey dinners for eight.
Wal-Mart will begin the first of several one-week “electronics savings events” on Saturday, Nov. 7. Here are the first week’s deals:
Once the mortgage is paid off, you're directly responsible for property taxes. Here's what to do.
If you have paid off your mortgage -- as we did earlier this year -- you have some new tasks to take over from the bank or mortgage company. One of those is paying the property taxes on your home.
We just received our first tax bill. There are a few rules and procedures to be aware of.
If you're a guest, aren't you entitled to a meal made just for you?
Note from Trent: Recently, I posted a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? Here is one of those posts.
“Jim” writes in:
A married couple I’m friends with invited me over to dinner recently. When I arrived, they were rushing around trying to throw a meal together. The main course turned out to be leftover chicken breasts. Yes, leftover. They had been grilled a day or two before and they had merely tossed on some additional spices and warmed them in the oven. I was kind of disgusted by this. I understand that this was an inexpensive route for them to go for dinner, but I was a dinner guest at their home!
When you have guests over, how far does frugality go before it crosses a line? As always, there are two sides to the story.
'To Whom It May Concern' screams that you didn't do your homework.
Our experience as a manager tells us that Squawkfox is right: If you're not getting called for a job interview, it's likely your cover letter laid an egg on some honcho's desk.
What's wrong with your letter? You might find some clues in a post by Kerry Taylor, the "Fox" at Squawkfox, called "6 things that make your cover letter suck." It's part of a series of posts on the topic, including "Anatomy of a killer cover letter." A companion series addresses resume writing, including the memorable "6 words that make your resume suck."
Kerry blessedly demonstrates that a topic that seems oppressive -- don't we all HATE these chores? -- can be fun. OK, maybe that's a stretch, but her posts are informative and entertaining.
Among Kerry's cover letter tips:
Food, clothing and travel merchants offer deals.
Clothing, accessories, and travel
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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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