Multiple visits to dealerships are on the decline while more consumers are researching their potential purchase beforehand.
This post comes from Philip LeBeau at partner site CNBC.
A new study shows car buyers around the world, including in the U.S., are changing how they buy new cars and trucks.
Multiple visits to a series of dealers are out, while the trend of consumers doing more advanced research ahead of buying a car is in.
"This is the most dramatic change we've seen in the auto industry and how people buy cars in the last 50 years," said Hans-Werner Kaas, McKinsey's senior partner.
Kaas and his team conducted their study by looking at consumer auto buying patterns at dealerships around the world.
The conclusion: Car buyers are doing more of their own leg work online and spending less time at dealerships.
As Apple patches a security flaw in its operating systems, it's becoming more obvious that user behavior -- not which company's technology you use -- is the best way to stay secure online.
This post comes from Adam Levin at partner site Credit.com.
There is an Apple enthusiast I know -- and I'm sure you have a similar friend -- who used to gleefully brag about all the suspicious links he could click on from his phone or computer with no fear of consequences.
But after Apple’s confirmation this weekend that it was in the process of creating and issuing patches to resolve a massive security flaw in its operating systems and many of its connected programs, he’s singing a different tune.
The SSL bug, as it’s being called, is actually just a tiny logic error in a small piece in Apple’s massive operating system – but big things often come in small packages. In layman’s terms, the flawed bit of code is supposed to be responsible for making sure that your computer’s or your phone’s Internet connection with other, secure servers across an Internet connection is itself secure from hackers. But because of the tiny error, which has reportedly been around at least since September 2012, your computer or phone has showed such connections as secure whether or not they actually were.
A woman discovers that even though a case against her has been dismissed, a debt collector continues to check her credit. Is there anything she can do about it?
A Credit.com reader, Lori, wanted to know if a debt collector could continue to pull her credit even after a small-claims case had been dismissed. She had successfully had the information removed from her credit reports, but the collection agency, which now had no case against her, had pulled her credit twice since the case was dismissed. Her question: Is that legal?
The answer is simple, according to Chi Chi Wu, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center: No. In the organization's legal manual "Fair Credit Reporting," it says:
Even in the case of credit accounts, collection is not a permissible purpose for obtaining a consumer report once the account is no longer collectible.
Making the debt collectors stop checking, however, may not be easy.
Some chains plan to partially offset increases by passing them to consumers.
Supporters of a higher minimum wage applauded Gap's decision last week to increase hourly pay. While Lynn Albright, vice president of the company's Old Navy brand, told CNN that higher prices won't be needed if costs can be lowered by, for instance, reducing staff turnover, the effects of such decisions often trickle down to customers.
In the restaurant industry, some chains have already prepared to boost menu prices in response to minimum-wage changes in such large markets as California, New York and Washington. At the national level, Congress and President Obama continue to grapple with increasing the federal minimum wage; progress could bring similar hikes at eateries across the country.
Restaurants are a large low-wage employer, and industry executives have grumbled that wage increases -- combined with additional costs resulting from the Affordable Care Act -- are driving up the price of doing business.
The economy has taken a toll, with many in U.S. admitting they are unprepared for the future and have no plan to set aside any of their income.
By Sharon Epperson, CNBC
Stagnant wages, and prolonged unemployment and underemployment have meant that many Americans continue to struggle to save. Finding it difficult to build wealth through homeownership has also impeded many individuals and families from making progress in meeting their savings needs, according to a national survey released Monday.
The survey found that only about one-third of Americans say they're making "good" or "excellent" savings progress, while nearly two-thirds are making only "fair" or "no" progress.
The survey found the issue for many Americans, regardless of income level, is the ability to spend less than they make and save the difference.
|Tags:||billsdebteconomyfinancial planninghome buyinghow to budgetincomeretirementsave moneysaving moneysavingssavings plansspending|
If you pay up to Uncle Sam with plastic that earns you rewards, you might be able to mitigate a little bit of the cost.
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.
Nobody likes paying taxes, but the IRS makes it easy to do so by authorizing select companies to process credit and debit cards on its behalf.
The downside is that these companies charge taxpayers a processing fee for their payments. These fees, which range from 1.87 percent - 2.35 percent of the taxes paid, make it unwise to pay your taxes with most credit cards. The IRS posts a list of the companies authorized to accept Federal tax payments on its behalf, along with the fees charged.
But what if there was a way to charge your tax payments to a credit card that earned rewards worth more than the fees paid? This is what savvy cardholders can do when they choose the right credit card to pay their tax bills. Furthermore, there is an ingenious loophole that can allow taxpayers to pay a fee smaller than 1.87 percent.
The world's largest coffee producer was poised for a record crop this year, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
This post comes from Rob Wile at partner site Business Insider.
Coffee prices have seen a parabolic run-up in recent weeks as unprecedented hot and dry weather in Brazil has sucked the life out of what was expected to have been a record crop.
Prices are at $1.75 per pound, up 3 percent today. According to Reuters, last week's 20 percent surge was the largest one-week rally since December 1999.
January was the hottest month on record for parts of Brazil, and the drought was said to be the worst in 50 years.
One estimate said 30 percent of the coffee crop may have been lost.
"Dry, unseasonably warm weather persisted in coffee areas of southern Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo," the USDA said last week (.pdf file).
Here's the map of those two regions. It's basically a direct hit — in contrast to much of the rest of the country, which finally got some rain.
When it comes to paying off your loan, setting small monthly payments can mean you’ll be writing checks for a long time.
Remember when your car was brand-new, or at least new to you? The new-car smell, the clean carpet and upholstery and the rattle-free ride that sold you on the car? Many years or many miles can make the day you drove off the dealer lot seem like a distant memory. But some of us have car payments as a reminder of that day. And now some of us have both car payments and repair bills -- and we may worry that our cars will give out before the payments end.
That's a scenario you'd like to avoid, but it's one that's hard to think about when choosing a new ride. It's easy to think of a "comfortable" monthly payment without thinking as much about how many months you'll have to make it or how soon your car is likely to need maintenance and what that might cost.
Financing: How long is too long?
Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com, advises financing for as short a time as your budget will allow. He suggests a maximum of 60 months for a new car and 36 months for a used car. (If you're leasing, he said the maximum term should be 36 months so the lease doesn't exceed the included warranty.)
It's worth noting that loans -- even for used cars -- are available for 84 months (that's seven years). But interest rates on those longer-term loans are higher, and even if you drive that used car until the wheels fall off, you may well still owe money on it when that day comes.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Tired of your wallet taking a beating at the grocery store? Here are some creative ways to save big on food costs.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'