Websites connect lenders and borrowers of clothes, tools and more.
Borrowing a cup of sugar -- or anything else, for that matter -- from a neighbor has gone high-tech.
Consumer confidence this month hit its lowest point in nearly a year, and people are still spending cautiously. June retail sales were 0.5% lower than May, but 3.3% higher than last year, according to the National Retail Federation. A growing number of free websites are capitalizing on that spending reluctance by encouraging people to borrow what they need instead of buy it.
Space, transportation and access to fresh food are among the challenges urbanites face.
Since 2000, I've lived in seven apartments in three different boroughs of New York City. The rentals have ranged from a spacious three-bedroom in a riverside high-rise to a microscopic box adjacent to a dive bar. While I've truly liked almost every place, each has presented some interesting obstacles for grocery shopping.
Since a lot of big city apartment-dwellers have probably met with the same hurdles, I figure I'd address a few and provide alternatives.
Arizona is one of 16 states that have set limits on interest rates for short-term loans. Is this the beginning of the end for payday lenders?
We are disappointed that we will be unable to continue serving consumers in Arizona. Our customers have consistently told us that they are highly satisfied with our services. Advance America strongly believes that a regulated, competitive and transparent financial environment benefits consumers. We believe that consumers are best served when they can choose the financial service that best suits their needs, and in many cases, that may be a cash advance. We regret that we can no longer serve the interests of many Arizonans. -- Ken Compton, CEO, Advance America
This isn't a good time to be in the payday lending business.
Arizona recently became the 16th state to pass a law (or in some cases, allow enabling legislation to expire) that wrecks the business model of payday lenders -- businesses that offer two-week loans at annualized interest rates that can reach 400% or more.
Airline travelers are getting ruder. Some blame fees and the stress of travel, but others say those are just excuses for bad behavior.
I still remember my first airline flight. I was 17, and I bought my first "suit" to be properly attired for the experience.
That was more than 35 years ago, and how flying has changed. The hushed tones of airports have given way to hustle and bustle, and what was once a relaxing experience has become much more stressful.
And our fellow passengers have gotten much more rude. Sigh.
What surprised me was that students could easily take out a much larger stipend than they could ever possibly need.
Along my financial journey in life, I've made a great number of mistakes. In a 10-part series, I’m focusing on my worst mistakes and the difficulties and successes I’ve had in overcoming them. This is Mistake No. 1:
I financed an unnecesary lifestyle in college with extra student loans.
My first few years in college were supported by a collection of scholarships that covered my tuition, room and board. However, it was up to me to come up with the means of supporting myself over my final two years in school. As is the case for a lot of college students, that meant student loans.
Baseball teams promote special seating with access to unlimited food as a good value for fans, and people are eating it up.
Major League Baseball teams have a new draw to pack the stands when the players cannot: all-you-can-eat sections for one fixed price, including the cost of a ticket, Sports Illustrated reports.
For instance, for $40 ($45 on game day) you can access the Left Field Club Picnic Perch at Camden Yards in Baltimore and eat unlimited hot dogs, peanuts, ice cream, nachos, popcorn, soda, lemonade -- and salad. (Beer is not included in the price.) The average MLB ticket price is nearly $27, but a wide price range can be found across the league.
The buffet concept is catching on.
Being able to cook, farm and otherwise be self-reliant equals a better life with less money, they say. But would a job be easier?
We write often about people who reject consumer culture, either out of conviction or necessity. We advocate cooking from scratch because it's cheaper and healthier (and maybe just a little bit creative), having a backyard garden and knowing basic life skills like sewing on a button.
We write about people who sew their own clothes and make their own laundry detergent, though we probably would never do either. We like public libraries, bicycles as transportation, and ways to say goodbye to cable TV. We do NOT like cleaning our own house, but it seems a good financial choice, and we probably should start mowing our own yard.
Some Americans are taking self-reliance a step further, advocating "radical homemaking" as a way to opt out of consumer culture, live sustainably, spend their time on what matters and overall give money less power in their lives.
Google loses luster, Bing debuts big, and FOXNews.com wins best-in-show among online news sources.
Even though it's the most popular website in America, consumers don't like Facebook, according to the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report.
The social-networking site scored 64 on the ACSI's 100-point scale -- a satisfaction level even lower than that of IRS e-filers. This puts Facebook in the bottom 5% of all measured private-sector companies and in the same range as airlines and cable companies -- two perennially low-scoring industries with terrible customer satisfaction.
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