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Forced to embrace a new life, writer invents a personal holiday.

By Teresa Mears Dec 29, 2009 5:58PM

When Thomas McDermott lost his job in publishing at 58 and was forced into early retirement, he joined thousands of 50-plus workers who have been forced to start over. Some have found fulfillment in entrepreneurship and new careers, and others have lost their homes and are struggling to get by.


He foundered for a few years after “being fired, broke and selling the house,” as his teen-age daughter put it bluntly. But eventually he decided to create his own holiday, which he celebrates around Thanksgiving, he wrote in an article on Recession Wire. He calls it Arrival Day.


The company offering the sky-high-interest-rate card to consumers with poor credit says the response has been great.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2009 5:36PM

Readers’ responses to our post about a credit card with a 79.9% interest rate included more than a smidge of outrage. “It is almost time for Americans to pay off all credit card debt and then only pay cash. These people have given new meaning to the word GREED,” “pghkid” wrote.

But how is the new subprime card offer mailed by Premier Bankcard going over with prospective customers? Premier hasn’t said how many applications were distributed, but reports:

(Miles Beacom, CEO of Premier Bankcard) called the response "phenomenal," adding 2% of people receiving the offers have applied for the cards. Their normal response rate is 1% to 1.2%, he says. "It's double what our normal product was."

While that may seem nuts, it’s actually understandable.


"Party like it's 1929!" was one of the best-selling recession T-shirts.

By Teresa Mears Dec 29, 2009 2:25PM

During the last week of the year, it’s customary for journalists and critics to round up the “The Best Of” and “The Worst Of” various topics. The Business Insider has rounded up the best-selling financial memorabilia of the year, at least on CaféPress.


CafePress, which allows you to create and sell your own T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items, sports hundreds of thousands of items with ties to the economy, including 143,000 products about the bailout, 114,000 about Wall Street, 85,600 on the recession and 5,360 sporting TARP jokes.


These were the top sellers (click on the links to see them):


The truly huge discounts come just after Christmas -- but this year it may pay to wait a few extra days.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2009 1:59PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.


In an effort to rid their shelves of unsold holiday merchandise and make way for the New Year’s replacements, retailers traditionally mark down their unsold holiday inventory just after the holidays.


However, as many stores have gotten wise to the fact that consumers like to redeem gift cards a day or two directly after the holidays, many have pushed off steeper discounts until later this week to maximize their profits. “The real deals come at the tail end of the week,” says Dan de Grandpre, the chief executive of sale-tracking site DealNews.

Still, thanks to the expectation that 2009 would offer a more subdued holiday shopping season, this year’s year-end sales won’t be as notable as years past, says Kathryn Finney, the founder of trend- and sale-tracking site The Budget Fashionista. “Retailers had better control of their inventory. As a result, they don’t have to discount as deeply,” she says. “For consumers, they won’t get as rock-bottom prices as they did in ’08.”


Here are nine places to scope out post-holiday sales:


Auto-pay can make you lazy, and that can lead to costly errors.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2009 12:16PM

This Devil’s Advocate post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


The allure of automation is obvious. Look at the famous Ronco Rotisserie catchphrase -- “Set it and forget it!” Automation is appealing because it lets computers do the work and lets you do something else more interesting.


Set your 401k contribution each month, set the allocation, and then go spend time with your family. Set credit cards on auto-pay, go all electronic for the statement credit and for the environment, and spend more time playing video games and watching television.


I get it and I love automation too, but there’s something you should know: Automating your finances can lead to bad habits, and bad habits can lead to tragic losses. In this Devil’s Advocate post, I explain why automating all of your finances can be an expensive mistake.


Full-time campers converge on Kansas town to work in an Amazon 'fulfillment center.'

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 6:01PM

Here's a modern-day twist on the old migrant workers camp: Freed by technology to live on the road, two young professionals join hundreds of other full-time RVers lured by Amazon to work a holiday stint at a huge warehouse complex in Kansas. 

In posts at their blog and in an article at Gizmodo, Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard described the month they spent camping by day and working by night in the "fulfillment center" in Coffeyville, assembling orders for the online retail giant.


Shop carefully, but everything is negotiable.

By Teresa Mears Dec 28, 2009 5:11PM

The saying “everything’s negotiable” has never been more true than when it comes to shopping for a gym membership.


The deals are even better this year, as clubs try to make up for revenue lost as customers cut back on costly extras such as personal training, The New York Times reports.


A third of consumers have made saving money their top New Year's resolution.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 12:58PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Making a commitment to save money in 2010 is the rare New Year’s resolution that is easy to keep.


After a turbulent economic year, it’s a popular one, too. A December survey from financial service firm Edward Jones found that saving more money next year is the top resolution for a third of consumers.

Try these 10 strategies for significant savings:



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