September is National Coupon Month. But don't believe the hype -- not all advice about coupons is worth your time.
When I heard this was National Coupon Month, I wondered: "Says who?" Apparently, the Promotion Marketing Association decided 13 years ago to declare September "a monthlong celebration of savings."
Except I'm not buying it, with a coupon or not.
I use coupons, but I purposefully flout a lot of the advice I've read this month about what I should be doing. For example:
For deep discounts, it can be worth navigating a maze of manic brides or conventioneers.
Meredith Schwab had been dreaming of a king-sized Simmons with memory foam and a pillow top. But as nice as it was, at $3,899 -- not including tax and delivery -- the bed was too expensive. So Schwab, an experienced haggler, asked the Mattress Warehouse salesman if there was any wiggle room on the price.
"He refused to budge," she recalled, and she walked out with nothing but a lecture on "bottom-line pricing."
Imagine Schwab's surprise a few weeks later when she spotted a Mattress Warehouse booth at a bridal show -- with reps offering 50% off all models. Schwab and her fiancée made the purchase on the spot, shelling out just $1,975, including taxes and delivery, for the same ultra-deluxe mattress.
A bridal show? Who would've thought?
Those who enter the job market now could face lower earnings for many years.
But there's another lost decade that was even more painful. And for those of you who are just starting your careers, this one was a lot more important than the S&P 500's storm. According to a recent census report, between 2000 and 2009 the inflation-adjusted median income of U.S. households dropped 4.8%. (Hat tip to The Wall Street Journal.)
The poverty rate is also the highest since 1994, and the number of people in poverty is the highest in more than 50 years (the U.S. population has grown by a lot).
I hope none of you graduated during this awful period, or are about to graduate. If you did, sit down while you read this:
|Tags:||budgetingdebteconomyeducationfamilyfinancial planninggetting startedincomemiddle classMoneyTalks News|
The government has launched a program that actually reduces mortgage principal.
We've all watched as program after program rolls out of Washington, D.C., for those hapless homeowners who can't make their mortgage payments. And we've all seen or heard stories about people who simply stop paying their mortgage and walk away from their obligations.
Where's the help for the many homeowners who continue making payments on a mortgage that exceeds their home's value? It's finally here -- if you qualify.
|Tags:||credit scoredebt reductionhome financinghomesMoneyTalks Newsmortgagereal estaterefinanceStacy Johnson|
Mortgage companies used a processor who signed 10,000 foreclosures a month -- without reading them or using a notary.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
News organizations are writing about a breathtaking revelation that potentially affects foreclosures around the country. As The Washington Post explains:
Some of the nation's largest mortgage companies used a single document processor who said he signed off on foreclosures without having read the paperwork -- an admission that may open the door for homeowners across the country to challenge foreclosure proceedings.
The legal predicament compelled Ally Financial, the nation's fourth-largest home lender, to halt evictions of homeowners in 23 states this week.
Anheuser-Busch plans a national happy hour Sept. 29, plus a month of free samples, in hopes of winning over younger drinkers.
Have we become such a nation of snobs that we've abandoned the brewskis of our forefathers and will drink only beer made in small batches no more than 10 miles from our homes?
Is the Tea Party drinking tea?
Sure, it's cheaper to buy olive oil than make your own. But what other foods, products and services are best left to someone else?
In an effort to be as frugal as possible, some of us have taken do-it-yourself a bit too seriously.
Sometimes it makes more monetary sense to buy a product or pay for a service than go the DIY route. For example, anyone who's tried to change the oil in their car and gotten a face full of gunk knows using Jiffy Lube is well worth the extra cost. On the other hand, it's kind of ridiculous to hire a maid when money is tight and you have the time (and physical ability) to handle the job yourself.
In fact, there are times when doing it yourself can cost you more money than hiring a pro. There's a reason most of us don't attempt our own plumbing. (If only my landlord would read that last sentence!)
Prepaid cards are a secure way to access your vacation funds, but watch out for fees and restrictions.
Traveling safely and managing your money along the way is an exercise in balancing multiple risks: theft, loss, high surcharges, and confusing discrepancies.
Our Travel and Money series has discussed various ways to address money and security issues while you're abroad.
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