Sure, it's tempting to sign up immediately when you're offered a steep discount on purchases. Before you do, make sure you understand the long-term consequences.
About two in three American shoppers spend more than $500 on holiday gifts every year. That makes the new credit card discount offers at most retailers very attractive to cash-strapped consumers.
Gift givers who use retail credit cards strategically can save $50, $100, or even more on their annual shopping lists. Some stores even hand out extra freebies to attract new accounts. However, if you're not careful, that short-term savings can turn into a long-term financial burden that can weigh more than whatever presents you chose to hide in a stocking.
Retail historians often cite J.C. Penney's early credit card strategy as the template for modern store credit accounts. It's a feat of historical irony, given the company was founded by a man whose middle name was "Cash." Today, most stores offer credit cards with easy, in-store signups. Many of those "instant credit card" offers come with percentage-off discounts or other incentives that can save money while inflating the cost of your shopping spree.
You can take a break from shopping and get free coffee, free breakfast and free pie. And don't forget the purple Slurpees.
When you're out shopping on Black Friday and later this weekend, you're bound to reach the point where you absolutely must stop for food and drink (though really die-hard shoppers bring a sack lunch).
Wouldn't it be great if there were Black Friday food deals?
There are. Free food on Black Friday isn't as entrenched a tradition as getting up at 4 a.m., but we're hoping it catches on.
Six ways to prepare for the trip and make it out intact -- with deals in hand.
Black Friday shopping isn't an excursion to take lightly -- those big sales can be a risky proposition for your wallet, your health and even your safety.
An estimated 138 million Americans will hit the stores over Black Friday weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. That's 4 million more than did so last year, and enough that the Occupational Health and Safety Administration reached out to 14 big retailers to underscore the importance of crowd control. No one wants a repeat of the 2008 disaster, in which shoppers trampled to death a Wal-Mart employee on Black Friday.
Big crowds and high traffic online increase risks of all kinds, including theft -- of the gifts from your car or simply your credit card information. Meanwhile, sale-hopping and long lines can make the trip physically exhausting, experts say, and the crowd mentality can encourage you to spend, spend, spend.
One home, lower car insurance and better credit card rewards are among the benefits of tying the knot.
Have you heard the stories about how finances are one of the leading causes of divorce? What exactly are people arguing about? Being married actually has some pretty good financial perks.
I don't mean to downplay the financial challenges of married life. We've had our share of heated discussions over money. But there are some definite benefits to pooling your resources in marriage. Here are 10 ways that you and your spouse are hooking each other up.
It turns out we remember the high prices much better than the deals we got.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal and Sarah Palin had a rare face-off over a pretty trivial remark.
In a blog post, a reporter wrote about a speech Palin gave against the Fed's new quantitative easing efforts, and toward the end, pointed out that one bit of rhetoric she gave -- "everyone who ever goes out shopping for groceries knows that prices have risen significantly over the past year or so. Pump priming would push them even higher." -- contrasted with the Bureau of Labor Statistics' official measures of inflation.
Palin (or a representative) responded on her Facebook page, and the reporter responded to that response, and quickly, thousands of commenters were chiming in with their own views on whether or not grocery prices had or hadn't risen in the last year or so.
Some professionals and service workers can't accept cash, but there are ways to get around that rule.
This isn't your standard holiday tipping guide. Plenty of people will tell you to give the maid one day's pay for the holidays or slip the trash collector $10 to $30 the next time he wakes you at 6 a.m. Instead, this is your annual guide to tipping those who can't accept tips.
These people may work equally hard all year round, yet are precluded from extending their palms by company standards, government regulations or simple rules of etiquette.
To make the whole process easier on you, we went to the proverbial horses' mouths and nailed down exactly what types of gratuities are acceptable for non-tippable professionals.
When it comes to maintaining your score, diligence pays off -- because lots of people are looking.
This post comes from Jim Wang at partner site US News & World Report.
In many of my recent columns I've been writing a lot about credit reports and credit scores. Most of us don't need to be reminded of the importance of reviewing credit reports and fixing any errors, we know that keeping a clean and accurate credit report is important.
If you're one of the many Americans who already own your home and a car (or don't plan on buying either in the near future), you probably think that your credit score itself isn't that important. If you aren't getting a loan in the near future, why should you worry about your score? Unfortunately, your credit score is more important than you think and is being used by many institutions to help make decisions about you.
People are spending money to eat out again, but they still want deals. Plus, other restaurant trends for 2011.
After three difficult financial years, restaurants have something to celebrate:
People are eating out again.
Restaurant business is up in all price ranges, from fast food to fancy sit-down restaurants, Bruce Horovitz reported at USA Today.
"It's a substantially better environment than it's been for years," Hudson Riehle, research director for the National Restaurant Association, told Horovitz. Same-store sales were up in September, the first increase in six months, the association reported.
But big changes are ahead for the industry, reports Technomic, which has been tracking the industry for more than 40 years.
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