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Follow these 10 rules, or even just three or four of them, to insulate yourself from con artists.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 27, 2010 10:56AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

If you've ever fallen victim to a scam -- and who hasn't -- you'd probably like to avoid repeating the experience. Well, follow these 10 golden rules of scam prevention -- or even just three or four of them -- and you likely won't be foolishly parted from your money again.

1. Testimonials are a testament only to how gullible people are. There's only one kind of testimonial worth believing -- the kind that comes from people you both personally know and totally trust. Testimonials from strangers you see on TV or online may very well be lies. I've met more than one infomercial actor whose told me they simply read a script without ever seeing the product.

 

Which financial benchmarks and milestones help you determine if you're on the right track?

By Karen Datko Dec 27, 2010 9:51AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

In a recent link roundup, I pointed to an article over at Gen Y Wealth in which RJ has listed 20 financial milestones you should reach in your 20s. "I like this list," I wrote, "and I'd actually love to see similar lists for different age ranges. People could use it as a sort of road map to where they ought to be."

What sorts of milestones were on the list? Things like:

  • Pay off your student loans.
  • Build an emergency fund.
  • Learn to negotiate.
  • Set a target retirement date.
  • Learn to give.

Like me, a lot of GRS readers found RJ's list of financial milestones useful. Often, there's no real way to know if you're doing things "right." How much should you be saving for retirement? How much should you have in your savings account? How soon should you buy a home? Get married? Have children?

 

In conversations shared or overheard, the long-term unemployed express desperation.

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2010 5:07PM

This guest post comes from I am the working poor.

 

I'm still not seeing this recovery we are supposed to be in. None of my customers are feeling it either.

I haven't once had someone come through my line and say, "I'm buying extra for a party to celebrate my promotion. My company can't find enough people to hire for all the work that needs to be done."

 

Nope, that's not going to happen.

I have a regular customer, probably in her late 50s to early 60s, who used to work at a store in the next shopping plaza. I think they went through some management changes and the entire crew lost their jobs for new hires at one point.

 

In a show of support for its rival, Expedia changes the way it displays AA fares.

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2010 2:39PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Consumers shopping for airfares on Orbitz.com will no longer be able to choose from among American Airlines flights. The carrier says that, effective immediately, it will no longer sell tickets through Orbitz or its subsidiary, Orbitz for Business.

American's move represents a potentially serious blow to Orbitz. Its stock fell nearly 6%, and financial analysts said Orbitz would be "at a competitive disadvantage" to its rivals, including Priceline and Expedia.

 

Deals and freebies include free chicken biscuits, cookbooks and potato chips.

By Teresa Mears Dec 23, 2010 1:55PM

Here it is almost Christmas, and we hope you haven't spent your last dollar on gifts and decorations.

 

Just in case, we bring you some holiday freebies.

You can send your kids (or your mother or your co-worker) a personalized phone call from Santa, courtesy of Google Voice. To create the call, you must first answer some questions about the recipient and then you can preview the message, which you can send via telephone, e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.

 

Our friends at Albuquerque on the Cheap have put together a whole list of free holiday music to download.

 

You can get free cooking and entertaining tips and recipes from Martha Stewart and Paula Deen's Holiday Hosting Guide (.pdf file), with downloadable cookbooks online.

 

More than half of all Americans re-gift. The other half? Probably afraid of getting caught.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 23, 2010 12:54PM

This post comes from Michael Kortezky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Ask most people what their holiday nightmare is, and you'll probably hear something like this: "I don't want anyone to catch me re-gifting."

Nothing is more embarrassing than being caught trying to pass off an old gift you got as a new gift you're giving. Yet studies show that more than half of all Americans re-gift -- at least the ones who admit it to researchers.

 

Tech websites have great gift guides with lots of fun suggestions. Darth Vader clock radio, anyone?

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2010 11:43AM

This guest post comes from Aaron Crowe at dealnews.

 

Gift guides are great for late shoppers. No need for research: You can flip through a guide and pick up presents for almost anyone left on your list. And we're making eventhateasier for you, sorting through the Web's best gift guides.

While everyone else is frantically hunting for the best tech toys, you'll be coasting to gift-giving greatness by following our list of the best holiday gift guides and the best tech gifts, from those guides, for the budget-conscious shopper.

 

The gifts in the song are almost as bad as fruitcake and those scratchy Christmas sweaters you get for people you don't care about.

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2010 10:23AM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.

 

Last week in my Black Coffee column I linked to a press release announcing the 2010 PNC Christmas Price Index, which measures the cost of every item mentioned in "The 12 Days of Christmas."

If you were to buy your true love every item mentioned in the final verse of the song, it would cost you $23,439. Then again, if you were really into the Christmas spirit and decided to buy all 364 items mentioned in the entire song, you'd be out a cool $96,824.

 

I'm sorry, but 10 lords a-leaping and 11 pipers piping aren't my concept of great gift ideas.

 

I mean, really. Woe to the husband who lovingly awakens his wife on Christmas morning and tells her to look out the window. I guarantee you that if she saw 10 middle-aged balding guys in skin-tight leotards jumping around and performing "Swan Lake" in her driveway, you'd soon be out there with them, and hopelessly locked out of the house -- regardless of how well the pipers were piping.

 

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