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Mental anchors of we think things ought to cost cause us to overspend.

By Karen Datko Apr 8, 2010 8:25AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.

 

I have a quick four-question quiz for you. Just give your snap response to these. Don’t think about each one too much.

  • What is a wedding supposed to cost?
  • What is an automobile supposed to cost?
  • What is a home supposed to cost?
  • What is a three-week vacation for a family of four supposed to cost?
 

Every year hundreds of thousands of consumers complain to the FTC. Here's how to avoid some of their most common problems.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 7, 2010 4:04PM
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
 
Every year the Federal Trade Commission puts out a list of the top sources of consumer complaints. As you go through the list, you’ll understand how you might fall for some of these come-ons. With others, you’ll wonder how anyone can be so dumb.
 
Earlier, we looked at the FTC’s top five sources of consumer complaints. Now let's take a look at complaints 6-10 on the list.  
 

Good news for guests: The amount you're expected to spend on gifts hasn't gone up.

By Karen Datko Apr 7, 2010 2:21PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Elilzabeth Trotta at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Memorial Day marks the unofficial kickoff of wedding season, which means we are about to enter the thick of wedding-gift-buying time. OK, sure, so you’ve known for months about the string of matrimonies you’ve promised to attend this year -- but you didn’t really add up the costs. The good news is that with couples spending less on their weddings, they will (hopefully) understand if you have to scrimp a bit on the gift, too.

 

Last year, the average wedding budget in the U.S. (not including honeymoon), was $28,385, down about 5% from 2008, according to a WeddingChannel.com and TheKnot.com registry study.

 

Web site helps sift fact from fiction in forwarded e-mails. No, Bill Gates is not going to send you money.

By Teresa Mears Apr 7, 2010 1:17PM

Be warned that if you ever send me a forwarded e-mail warning me of dire consequences (hypodermic needles at gas pumps, assailants in the back seat of my car, cell phone numbers being given to telemarketers), I will send you back the words “another urban legend” with the link to the debunking of the tale at Snopes.com.

 

I am always amazed that otherwise intelligent people actually believe this stuff. I guess that’s why popular scams, such as the Nigerian letter scam, remain persistent. Here’s my first piece of advice: If information comes to you in a forwarded e-mail, there is a good chance it’s not true.

 

And, of course, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

For 14 years, David and Barbara Mikkelson of California have been researching -- and debunking -- widely circulated misinformation for Snopes.com.

 

Manufacturers settle class-action suit that alleged they lied about the horsepower of gas-powered lawnmowers.

By Karen Datko Apr 7, 2010 12:05PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Spring has finally arrived, and with it the obligation to get the yard back in shape. This year consumers have another reason to be thankful for their lawn mowers: a class-action lawsuit settlement that entitles many buyers to a check and possibly a warranty extension.

 

The lawsuit, filed last May in federal court in Wisconsin, claimed that advertisements for more than 20 gas-powered lawn mower brands exaggerated their horsepower.

 

People can submit a claim if they purchased certain lawn mowers containing an engine with up to 30 horsepower between Jan. 1, 1994, and April 12, 2010.

 

Here are the best tools for zeroing in on money-saving deals among all the tweets.

By Karen Datko Apr 7, 2010 9:55AM

This post comes from Ann Smarty at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Twitter is huge. Someone is very likely to be tweeting a great deal right now, and unless you know how to "hear" that tweet, you will miss it.

 

Luckily, there are quite a few tools to help make sense of that clutter. The key is to choose the tool that will fit your needs. Here are the best tools for finding and tracking deals on Twitter.

 

Every year the FTC compiles a list of problems that drew the most complaints. Here's the new list, which still includes the Nigerian letter scam.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 7, 2010 7:06AM

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

 

If you know where potential problems lie, they should be avoidable. That’s the apparent logic behind the Federal Trade Commission’s report of top consumer complaints. Every spring, the FTC puts out a list of the top reported sources of consumer problems. Unfortunately, however, it normally doesn’t get a lot of national media attention.

 

That's too bad, because if we all took just a little time to understand the issues on this list, we’d probably be richer, and a lot of scam artists would have to find a real job. 

 

To really cash in as a value investor you need to be contrarian, buying what others scorn. Good luck with that.

By Karen Datko Apr 6, 2010 5:56PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

A search of Bad Money Advice shows that in what is fast approaching 300 posts I have never discussed collectibles. Although it is true that there is relatively little bad money advice out there on this topic, just about everybody who mentions it, even in passing, says it is a poor place to invest -- it is an area in which people often make money mistakes. So not writing at least one post on it is an oversight that needs correcting.

 

In particular, I want to talk about a scheme to make money that has, at the very least, occurred to all of us at one time or another. It is buying, or merely not disposing of, the near-valueless noncollectible in the hope that it will one day become a valuable collectible.

 

The reason this has occurred to us all at some point is that the collecting world is full of examples of easy-money-in-hindsight. Just spend time on eBay. A quick scan recently told me that the first issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine (Autumn 1992) goes for $250. It was $3.95 on the newsstand. That’s an annualized gain of nearly 26% for 18 years. If only I’d thought to buy a thousand copies.

 

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