Archive for August, 2013

Back to School Shopping: By the Numbers

Posted on August 26, 2013 by Saldutti

As the summer starts to slow down, families start to shop for back-to-school supplies. Back-to-school shopping is not always cheap either. According to the National Retail Federation’s Back-to-School-Survey families with children in elementary school will spend an average of $634 on apparel, shoes, supplies, and electronics. This number is surprisingly down from the $688 last year. The national average of back-to-school spending is expected to reach $26.7 billion. The biggest portion of consumer’s money will go toward their children’s new apparel such as sweaters, denim, and stylish shirts for an average total of $230. Families will spend around $114 on…

Back-to-College Spending: What to Expect

Posted on August 22, 2013 by Saldutti

It is that time of year again when young people and their parents embark on shopping trips for school supplies and dorm room décor.  This year, according the National Retail Federation, college families will spend $836.83 on apparel, electronics, dorm furnishings and more. The total spending for back-to-college shopping is said to reach $45.8 billion dollars. On average, more students will live at home this year than on campus but for those who choose to live on campus 42% of families will spend about $104.76 on new bedding and dorm room appliances, such as microwaves and small refrigerators, up from…

72% of Americans Would Rather Be Thin Than Debt-Free

Posted on August 19, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s summertime. As the temperature and humidity rise, Americans flock to beaches and pools. So personal finance company, Credit Karma, wanted to know: Do Americans care more about their looks or their debt? A survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that debt-ridden Americans often put their physical appearance ahead of their financial state. In fact, a whopping 72% of Americans would rather keep their current debt, than gain 25 pounds and be completely debt free. The June 2013 survey was conducted online among 2,021 Americans ages 18 and older. Weight trumps debt for many Americans this summer – 43% agree,…

5 Ways to Trim Your Cell Phone Bill

Posted on August 15, 2013 by Saldutti

Do you remember way back, maybe 10 years ago, when your cell phone pretty much just made phone calls? Back before the smartphone existed? Or go back 10 more years, when “cell phones” were massive contraptions you had to plug into the cigarette outlet of your car? These days, cell phones are much smaller and much more convenient. They do everything other than wash your laundry and put gas in your car—and they’ll probably figure out how to do that soon. But all that cool technology comes with a price. Just because you can afford the monthly bill doesn’t mean…

Gen Y vs. Boomers: Who Survived the Recession Best?

Posted on August 13, 2013 by Saldutti

The recession has had an enormous impact on business owners throughout the U.S., especially Generation Y entrepreneurs (ages 24 to 35) and Baby Boomer entrepreneurs (ages 48 to 70). The American Express OPEN® Ages Survey study examines post-recession opinions and finds that the younger generation’s first economic downturn has made them more risk averse (just 56% say they like taking risks, down from 72% in 2007) while Boomer entrepreneurs’ appetite for risk remains unchanged (54% vs. 53% in 2007). “While the impact of the recession on both generations has been deep, these entrepreneurs have the resilience to carry on and…

We Work Far Less Than Our Parents and Grandparents

Posted on August 09, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s a common complaint: You feel like you’re working constantly, and there’s never enough time to enjoy life. But as a whole, Americans are working far less now than they did a generation ago, and have more leisure time than ever. The average work week has gone from over 38 hours in 1964 to under 34 hours in 2013 – a drop of nearly 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A big reason for the decline is the growth in part-time jobs, which have surged as more women entered the workforce and the number of restaurants, shopping malls,…

Happy (Belated) Birthday to the First Income Tax!

Posted on August 06, 2013 by Saldutti

Most people aren’t big fans of a national income tax, but on August 5, 1861, the first one was levied by the new President, Abraham Lincoln. It only lasted 10 years and many people thought it would never return. But years of arguing and a few court battles, the federal income tax we all know and love returned for good in 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment. Lincoln’s national income tax was a direct reaction to the military needs of the Civil War and he could only tax the northern states. He was also able to impose the…

Looking to Cut Your Mortgage Payment?

Posted on August 05, 2013 by Saldutti

For consumers purchasing or refinancing a home with less than 20% equity or 20% down, there’s a little-known fee that will apply to the total mortgage payment, effectively inflating the monthly outlay. Mortgage insurance is paid by the homeowner to insure the lender against future mortgage payment default. Mortgage insurance, also dubbed as PMI (private mortgage insurance), can easily be several hundred dollars per month depending on the loan program. This added premium makes the cost of homeownership more expensive. However, there is a way to cut your mortgage payment using single-pay mortgage insurance. Quick Facts About Mortgage Insurance –…

The 10 Most Easily Stolen ATM Card PINs

Posted on August 02, 2013 by Saldutti

How safe are your debit and credit cards? Identity theft and fraud affect millions of Americans every year. And depending on how much thought you put into your personalized PIN, you could be at a greater risk than you realized. So what constitutes a safe PIN number? A new study from DataGenetics lists the top 10 most-used PINs. And because they are the most commonly used PIN numbers, they are by default the least safe PINs. According to Forbes, the United States and Mexico are home to the greatest number of credit and debit card thefts around the globe. 42%…

Is the "American Dream" a Thing of the Past?

Posted on August 01, 2013 by Saldutti

The American dream of owning a home is causing some house shoppers to have sleepless nights. A survey released by Trulia found that prospective buyers are willing to use “desperate measures” to achieve their dream. Several factors have made buying a house more difficult: There’s a paucity of homes for sale; interest rates are rising; home prices are going up every month. “Although buying a home is still much cheaper than renting, it’s a stressful time to be a homebuyer,” said Trulia’s chief economist Jed Kolko. “Consumers are worried that mortgage rates and prices will keep rising before they buy,…