Some are vampires that can suck your finances dry.
Some people claim that fear is based on ignorance, but my personal fear of 13 financial vampires masquerading as loans is based on knowledge. Some of these loans are scary because of how they’re structured, some are scary because of what you’re buying with them, and still others qualify because of whom you’re borrowing from.
I plan to stay far away from these loan monsters:
This week's airline sales are a treat, not a trick.
In the mood for a winter trip? This may be the year to take one. The airfare sales just keep coming, including some great sales this week.
Southwest Airlines launched a 72-hour sale today with fares as low as $25 each way for short flights. According to Tom Parsons’ Best Fares, these are the lowest fares offered by Southwest in 13 years.
Tickets are $25 each way for up to 375 miles, $50 for up to 549 miles, $75 for up to 999 miles, and $100 one way for more than 1,000 miles. On some routes, it’s a great deal. On others, the deals have been better.
Fake e-mail says your bank has been taken over by the FDIC.
It's all too easy to believe these days that your bank has failed and been seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The current crop of bank failures is ripe for scammers trying to fool unsuspecting account holders into handing over their personal information.
The subject line of the e-mail states: "Check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage."
There are several ways besides not answering the door.
As the sugar-fueled, much-anticipated mischievous holiday of Halloween draws near, frugal families are trying to figure out how they can save money on Halloween candy. Unfortunately for the money-conscious, this year's Halloween falls on the worst possible day, a Saturday.
- Video: Frugal Halloween
A Saturday Halloween means trick-or-treaters will be out earlier and longer than if it were on a workday, and that means there will be more ghosts, pumpkins and football player zombies wandering up to your door asking for candy.
However, if you're smart about how you approach Halloween, you can save yourself a little bit of money. Every little bit counts.
Quality of life is more important to him than a high-paying job.
When Forbes named Portland, Maine, the most livable city in America this year, it didn't surprise me or my wife or any of Portland's other 64,000 denizens. With a low cost of living, great culture and dining (we were also named Bon Appetit's "foodiest small town") and easy access to the ocean and mountains, Portland freaking rocks.
The only big thing Portland lacks for well-educated, ambitious 20-somethings? An abundance of career options.
There's nothing scary about these deals.
Halloween is coming, and that’s as good an excuse for free stuff as anything. This year, merchants have all kinds of freebies for us.
Monroe on a Budget has a good list of sales on costumes and candy at national chain stores. Nestle has printable coupons good for $1 off Nestle and Wonka candy products. (Look for the boxes on the right.) You can get coupons for $2 off larger bags at Coupons.com.
Other deals are as wide-ranging as coupons for free bowling, yogurt for used candy wrappers and free burritos for anyone who dresses like one.
The downturn arrived late or hardly at all in some U.S. metro areas.
What does San Antonio have besides great food and the Alamo? The right stuff to beat back the Great Recession.
In Texas' second-largest city (yep, San Antonio is now bigger than Dallas) the unemployment rate in June was just 6.9%, two points higher than a year ago, according to BusinessWeek, which produced a slideshow of its top 40 cities. San Antonio, it says, "has one of the strongest job markets in the nation."
No. 2 on the list is the Austin-Round Rock area in Texas, the last state to experience the recession. Also representing Texas on BusinessWeek's list are Dallas, Houston, El Paso, and McAllen, despite that metropolitan area's 11% unemployment rate.
Company spokeswoman rails against 'propaganda groups.'
A chastened Disney is offering refunds to consumers who own copies of the company's Baby Einstein videos, bowing to pressure from a parents group that says the video is more likely to turn children into Baby Alfred E. Neumans.
Disney's move allows anyone who bought a Baby Einstein video between June 5, 2004, and Sept. 4, 2009, to get their money back. Alternatively, consumers can trade their DVD in for a Baby Einstein book or CD, or redeem it for a 25% discount on future Baby Einstein purchases. The offer is good through March 4, 2010, and is limited to four per household.
For years, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a group fighting to "reclaim childhood from corporate marketers," has said the videos don't live up to Disney's promises.
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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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