Save some dough with these easily digestable tips, and use the savings to pay down debt.
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 the average American family spent $6,443 on food. To put that number in perspective, that "average" family consists of 2.5 people with an annual income of $63,563. So from these numbers we can surmise that our average family spends about 10% of their income on food.
Depending on whom you choose to believe (there's some dispute about this) the average American family also carries a $5,000 balance on credit cards. If that balance comes with a 15% interest rate, that's $750 a year in interest.
Conclusion? We could materially affect two expenses simultaneously if we could persuade the average American family to eat their credit cards. But if that doesn’t sound like an appetizing solution, here"s another thought:
Radiohead, Sister Hazel and country stars are all on the free playlist this week.
While rounding up this week’s selection of food deals and freebies, I came across free stuff you can’t eat that seemed too good not to share.
- Bing: Free Internet radio
How about some free music that you actually want to hear:
Free Pretzel Day and National Pancake Day are just three days apart. Or would you prefer bagel poppers?
It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for food deals and freebies. And we have some good ones, with thanks to our friends at Cities on the Cheap.
In the next few days, the world is celebrating pretzels and pancakes, and why not?
About $775,000 in annual fees will be returned.
With a little arm-twisting from the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Capital One has agreed to refund annual membership fees to customers who were assessed the fees after they had canceled their credit card accounts and had no outstanding balance.
- Bing: Worst credit cards
The California and West Virginia attorneys general had challenged Capital One's practices. The OCC became involved when Capital One became a national bank, putting it under the OCC's jurisdiction. It announced the settlement today and said that Capital One would refund about $775,000 to customers affected by the actions, which occurred from 2004 to 2006.
The FTC has issued an alert about such plans. Here are some questions to ask.
Health insurance can be expensive. And if you are shopping for individual health insurance, you know it can be really expensive. Add to that pre-existing conditions, and the price can be outright ridiculous. And that's why the following claims can be really enticing to those looking for health insurance:
- Affordable health care plan.
- Pre-existing conditions? No problem!
- No deductible or co-pays.
- Thousands of providers in our PPO network.
- Discounts up to 60%.
What's the problem with these claims? The problem is they aren't advertising health insurance. Instead, they are promoting what are called discount health plans. If you’ve spent any time researching individual health insurance, you’ve probably come across these plans, sometimes called medical discount plans.
- Bing: Discount health plans
While discounts are always good, many are questioning just how effective these plans are.
Pair coupons and sales, then add speed and vigilance to get the freebies.
It is the holy grail of coupon clippers: When store sales and manufacturer’s coupons align just right, shoppers can grab certain items for nothing.
Through Feb. 20, for example, CVS shoppers can get Aussie shampoo or conditioner ($3 before $2 in store rewards and a $1 manufacturer’s coupon). At Rite Aid, there’s Motrin ($3 before a $1 manufacturer’s coupon and $2 store rewards).
Grabbing those freebies, however, requires fast reflexes. Consumers have been clipping more coupons in the struggling economy, and that means more competition, says Erin Gifford, the founder of Coupon Cravings. “You need to get there the day the [weekly] sales start,” she says, usually Sunday. “Stores run out quickly and they may not restock.”
Savings also hinge on loyalty to a particular store and a small initial outlay, says Briana Carter, the founder of BargainBriana.com, a coupon site that also offers a map of local deal bloggers, to help shoppers find promotions that vary by region.
Credit is a privilege to be earned, not an entitlement.
Much has been made about new restrictions on credit cards for those under 21 when most provisions of the Credit CARD Act take effect Feb. 22. (Too much, in fact, according to our buddy Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.)
It remains to be seen whether people under age 21 will have a more difficult time getting a credit card as a result of the new law. But just in case your child applies and is turned down because of insufficient income, should you co-sign for that first credit card?
Our answer: No, absolutely not. Not even if it were the last card on earth, flat-screen TVs were 60% off, and your birthday was four days away. (Particularly not then.)
Can you tell we feel strongly about this? Here’s why:
'100 Thing Challenge' advocates liberation from the consumer lifestyle. It might even save you some money.
How many “things” do you need in your life? Could you live with just 100 things?
A blogger named David Michael Bruno at GuyNamedDave nearly two years ago started what he called the “100 Thing Challenge,” an attempt to pare his stuff (not counting shared household items such as furniture) down to 100 items. He ended up classifying his considerable book collection as one item, making the challenge more manageable. But he did pare down.
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