Do you pay out more dollars or fewer dollars for the alarm than the system will save you?
There was a (for me) thought-provoking article in The New York Times the other day on weighing the value of home security systems.
Our house had an alarm when we moved into it 11 years ago. It was not particularly useful. With children too young for school, there was somebody in the house almost 24/7 so the alarm almost never got turned on. After a while it broke, I never bothered to get it fixed, and eventually I just canceled the contract. All that is left now are some unobtrusive but ugly motion detectors in the corners of some rooms.
Home alarms are more about psychology than economics.
Even changing your default font can produce savings. Just ask the University of Wisconsin.
Printers are cheap, but printer ink is pricey. One-time and day-to-day adjustments can help prevent waste and save money. Try these techniques to lower your office and home cost of ink.
Change the font type. Change the default font (often Times New Roman or Arial) to a lighter font that uses less ink. According to The Associated Press, the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay is adopting Century Gothic as the font of choice as a major money-saving move. To change your default font on Microsoft Word, go to Format >> Font, select your font, and save as "Default."
Some rewards credit cards are no longer offered and others have stingier terms.
Oh, the poor credit card companies. Reined in somewhat by the Credit CARD Act, they’re looking for new ways to make money. Your rewards card may be in their sights.
Among the changes personal-finance writers have noticed:
Some cards are simply going to the big shredder in the sky, including the Charles Schwab Signature Visa with 2% back on anything you buy.
That's particularly true of big-bank customers. Those of smaller banks are generally happier and more loyal.
Only 34% of customers said they “definitely will not” switch banks, compared with 46% three years ago. However, among small-bank customers, 41% said they wouldn’t switch, compared with 32% of those who use big banks. J.D. Power says: “Higher customer satisfaction with in-person service and attention is an important contributor to increased loyalty at smaller banks.”
Other findings from the report:
While it's cheaper and better for the environment, does it convey the same sentiment?
Carlos Alcala of The Sacramento Bee has brought forward a burning question of our time: Is it OK to send your mother an e-card for Mother's Day?
Rather than simply respond "Are you KIDDING?" we thought we'd explore some pros and cons.
The obvious pros, of course, are that e-cards are free and good for the environment.
Many share information, like their full birth date, that cyber crooks can use to their advantage.
Everyone, it seems, is benefiting from the growing numbers of consumers using social networks like Facebook and MySpace -- including criminals.
The number of online U.S. households using these networks has nearly doubled in the past year and, according to the latest Consumer Reports State of the Net survey, 52% of adult social-network users have posted personal information -- such as their full birth date -- that can increase their risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
If you're brewing your morning cup with a $20,000 coffee maker, that's a pretty expensive jolt.
The "latte factor" is the idea that frequent, small-dollar purchases add up quickly. We don’t notice them because the purchases are so small, like a $3 cup of coffee each morning, but over the course of a year that adds up to serious money. It’s not a novel idea. There are plenty of idioms that mirror that same idea (death by a thousand cuts, tipping point), but it's a popular one in personal finance.
Except $3 a cup is nothing. Worry about the $10-a-day or $30 mistake you’re making. Forget the latte factor; focus on bigger things. And when you really think about it, $3 for a cup ain’t bad. Let’s see how really expensive it can get.
Blogger organizes national event to share with food banks, homeless shelters and other people in need.
What are the coupon queens (and kings) of the blogosphere doing this week? They’re sharing their bounty to benefit people who need help. The event, Couponing for Community, began Sunday, May 2, and will last the entire week.
The final day, incidentally, coincides with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Suggestion: Use your extra coupons to buy nonperishable food items to leave in a bag at your mailbox or door.
Kudos go to Kaley Ehret, who blogs at Cha Ching on a Shoestring, for coming up with the idea for Couponing for Community and taking it nationwide.
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