With inControl, your card can be declined when you exceed your own preset spending limit. Why is this a good thing?
It has been months since I last shared confusion over the way everybody else uses credit cards. Today I am back at it.
Recently The New York Times had a report about a new feature being rolled out by MasterCard and Citibank.
The service, called inControl and already in use by some Barclaycard holders in Britain, is a sort of financial chastity belt that offers the potential to prevent a variety of budget sins and other money traps.
Worried about your restaurant habit? If your bank adopts MasterCard's service, you could tell it to have your debit or credit card reject any restaurant purchase above whatever monthly cap you set.
I must admit I do like the name of the product. "InControl" neatly implies that without it you would be "outofControl," and I think that if this service appeals to you that is likely true.
If you find an enticing place that's priced like a car, it may make sense to negotiate just as you would in the dealer's showroom.
Right now, you can buy a one-bedroom, one-bath condo in Las Vegas for $29,000 -- or, for around the same price at a Las Vegas Buick dealership, a brand-new 2010 GMC Sierra pickup truck, fully loaded.
That's right. A place to live can now cost you less than a car to drive -- even some used cars -- and not just in Vegas. Around the country, you can find homes that cost less than the sticker prices at nearby car dealers. Fact is, the recession has devastated home prices much more than auto prices.
AARP finds costs up 41.5% in 5 years -- 3 times the rate of inflation. The industry faults the report for excluding generics.
This won't be a surprise to anyone who regularly fills a prescription: The price of name-brand drugs has risen 8.3% in the past year, far faster than the rate of inflation.
In a report (.pdf file) that looked at prices over five years, AARP found that prices for 207 name-brand drugs commonly taken by Medicare beneficiaries had increased 41.5% since 2004, compared with an inflation rate of 13.3%.
For people who take more than one prescription drug to treat chronic conditions, the impact can be substantial. A patient who regularly takes three name-brand drugs would have paid nearly $1,900 a year more in 2009 than in 2004. The report looked at retail prices of drugs, and many patients with insurance pay less.
New services make connecting on the go cheaper, but finding the right option isn't easy.
New competition in mobile broadband -- high-speed Internet access for laptops and other devices over a cellular network -- could lead to better deals for consumers, provided they can figure out what they need.
Companies are eagerly crowding the field to take advantage of consumers' desire to stay connected away from home, says Mike Jude, program manager for market research firm Frost & Sullivan.
Think etiquette doesn't count? Here's a refresher course for those who want to impress during client meetings or job interviews.
We live in a society that values speed and multitasking. Dining has devolved into something that needs to be checked off our to-do list, rather than an event with its own unique process and traditions.
- Bing: Worst table manners
Eating from a Styrofoam tray may be fine on our own time, but uber-casual dining habits can sometimes leave us at a disadvantage during a client meeting, formal event, or lunch interview. In this tight job market, here are a few quick and easy lessons on dining etiquette that can help young professionals stand out from the crowd.
You know how much to tip the pizza delivery guy, right? But how about the fishing guide, tour guide or tattoo artist?
How much do you tip a salmon fishing guide? Do you have to tip the coffee shop guy who takes your money after you've served yourself? How much do you tip a private yacht charter captain, particularly if he owns the boat?
It's not hard to guess how much to tip hairdressers, but do you tip the gal who washes your hair? How about if she gives you a head and neck massage as well?
- Bing: Cheap celebrity tippers
Everyone seems to have their hand out these days, so we've put together the following general guidelines to help you make sense out of when to tip dollars or cents.
Unemployed older workers can't find jobs, so they're applying for internships and competing with college students.
Internships aren't just for college students anymore, as older workers who have been laid off -- or are seeking a midlife career change -- apply for what were once considered entry-level positions.
- Bing:Find internships
A new survey by the employment website CareerBuilder shows that 23% of employers are seeing more applications from "experienced workers" (those with 10-plus years of experience) and "mature workers" (those over 50 years old).
It's no surprise that, as the economy struggles, employers are also planning to hire more interns than ever.
Proposed rule would eliminate do-over opportunity.
An obscure strategy that allows Social Security recipients to boost their income by repaying benefits received in earlier years and then claiming a bigger monthly check based on their older age may soon disappear. Kiplinger has learned that the Social Security Administration is moving to eliminate the so-called do-over strategy.
If the agency gets its way, the new rule could take effect within a few months.
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