Viewers have been complaining almost since people first had TVs at home.
Since the 1960s, consumers have been complaining about loud TV commercials.
Finally, Congress and broadcasters seem to be paying attention (maybe consumers should have bought some loud commercials themselves?). Legislation filed two years ago by Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat from California, may come to a House vote as early as this week.
It only took 45 years of consumer complaints, according to Consumers Union.
One reader said she even removes her diamond ring before entering the store.
When you shop at thrift stores, do you feel guilt for depriving poorer folks of the items you purchased at bargain-basement prices?
Julia at Bargain Babe confessed that she does. She's felt bad about “sucking up a limited resource,” she wrote. “I can afford to pay more for clothes," her thinking goes. "Therefore I should, leaving the Salvation Army and Goodwill selection to the poor.”
Most readers advised her to get over it, and at least one thought Julia had lost her lid -- “You cannot be serious about this question,” Mimi said -- but others understood exactly what she was talking about.
We're negotiating all the time, so why not learn how to do it effectively?
In May, I wrote about how to negotiate your salary. I argued that following the advice in Jack Chapman’s “Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1,000 a Minute” is one of the best ways to improve your financial well-being. I still believe it. If you’re looking for work or looking for a raise, you should absolutely read his book.
But negotiation is a skill you can use in other parts of your life, too. In fact, in “You Can Negotiate Anything,” Herb Cohen says that we negotiate constantly with our spouses, our children, our parents, our co-workers, and our friends.
The 3 crucial variables
In every negotiation, Cohen says, there are three crucial variables: power, time, and information.
California homeowners find strategic default and becoming renters the new American dream.
The Wall Street Journal this week wrote about several families in California who did just that and are happier for it.
"It's just a better life. It really is," says Shana Richey, a schoolteacher who gave up on a house in Palmdale, Calif., that had declined more than 50% in value since she and her husband bought it in 2004.
The people in the Snuggies marketing department are evil geniuses.
Last year when the Snuggie commercial came out, it was just another silly product with a fun commercial -- although not nearly as fun as the ShamWow. When a parody went viral on YouTube, I was laughing along with everyone else. And when my neighbor admitted to actually owning one, I patted her on the arm and told her how much I appreciate her as a constant source of amusement.
Free Christmas songs for iTunes and Amazon, plus a free poinsettia.
It’s time for Friday freebies and food deals, but the deal makers seem to be settling down for a long winter’s nap, or at least a holiday hiatus. Some of last week’s deals are still good.
To make up for the lack of free food, we’ve found you some free music, free kids’ craft workshops, a free poinsettia and even a free bus trip.
Our blogger is hooked on hoofing it. She's saving money, too.
I've always liked walking to a nearby market or to the library. For the past three years there's been plenty of walking on the university campus. But I used the bus, too, and sometimes I even drove my car on errands. Back then, I was still in control.
But you can find great deals on magazines, computers, jeans and travel to Mexico.
Visit your e-mail inbox this time of year, and it’s easy to think you’re being stalked by every retailer in the mall. Depending on how you handle the influx, those e-mails can be your best bargain or your worst budget-buster.
Looking back over the past week, I’ve received roughly 50 e-mails a day in my personal account touting sales and deals, including a few travel and shopping newsletters. Yet I pulled out my credit card for just one: a $300 Calphalon pan set. They’re on sale for $80 through Dec. 13, and I wanted to replace the warped hand-me-downs I’ve been using since college. Minus a $42 leftover gift certificate balance from last Christmas, I got them for $38 -- an 87% discount.
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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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