Archive for December, 2013

Toast to 2013: Bubbly Within Your Budget

Posted on December 31, 2013 by Saldutti

Beginning tomorrow, many of us will begin our New Year’s resolutions of eating healthy, frequenting the gym more often, breaking our bad habits and tightening our purse strings to achieve our financial goals.  But for tonight, savor those last hours of 2013 and let loose.  Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and let the celebration begin. Champagne and New Year’s go hand-in-hand, but the sparkling stuff can get pricey. But there’s no need to flatten your wallet to mark this special occasion. Cheapism.com found 10 champagnes costing $20 or less that garner comparable reviews to their more costly…

10 Personal Finance Predictions for 2014

Posted on December 30, 2013 by Saldutti

This year there were a number of improvements in the personal finance arena, from longer 0% interest periods for credit cards to hints that checking account sign-up bonuses are starting to return.  While 2013 was a good year for consumers, 2014 promises to be better still. Read on for NerdWallet’s 10 personal finance predictions for the New Year. Credit cards will test new perks. Last year, a handful of credit cards began offering perks beyond the traditional points, miles, or cash rewards and signup bonuses. These cards offered free FICO (credit) score monitoring, subscriptions to travel apps, or a year’s…

Getting the Most Out of Your Gift Cards

Posted on December 27, 2013 by Saldutti

Gift cards may be the perfect gift: free money, in a sense, that is equivalent to a personal spending card. Few restrictions apply, so you can pretty much use gift cards when and how you want. Knowing whether the card is open-loop or closed-loop, though, will ensure you get the most out of your card. An open-loop gift card can be used at any store that accepts major credit cards issued by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. A closed-loop gift card can be used only at specific stores or their partners. Ease and flexibility aside, there are ways to…

Top 10 Retailers with the Best Return Policies

Posted on December 26, 2013 by Saldutti

Looking to exchange a gift – and you didn’t get a gift receipt? Better hope the item came from one of these 10 stores.  According to research by GOBankingRates.com, these retailers are the 10 best when it comes to their return policy: 10. Apple 9. Kohl’s 8. Macy’s 7. The Home Depot 6. Target 5. Walmart 4. REI 3. Zappos 2. Nordstrom 1. Costco According to the National Retail Federation, nearly $60 billion worth of holiday merchandise was returned last holiday season. “Not everyone is good at gift giving,” said Jennifer Calonia, editor of GOBankingRates.com. “If you’re worried about finding…

Target Shoppers: What You Should Do Now

Posted on December 20, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s a shoppers nightmare. The holidays are upon us and as shoppers check off items on their gift shopping list, a major retailer announces a security breach. If you’ve shopped at Target since Thanksgiving, hackers may have acquired your debit and credit card information. Krebs On Security blog says the data stolen is ‘track data’ or the information on the magnetic strip. The crooks can create counterfeit cards in your name. Mark Rasch, a former Department of Justice cyber crime prosecutor, suggests that if you’ve used a debit or credit card at Target from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13 this…

Even the Wealthy Pinch Pennies This Holiday

Posted on December 19, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s not just low-income shoppers who are pulling back on spending for loved ones and themselves this holiday season. Wealthy folks are watching their dollars, too. While the most well-heeled shoppers still think nothing of dropping $4,600 on an Hermes tote, cracks have appeared in the $94 billion U.S. luxury market, especially for companies that cater to “Henrys” – High Earners Not Rich Yet. Coach Inc. has said customers plan to spend less on gifts and that mall traffic fell sharply last month. Analysts predict Nordstrom Inc.’s fourth-quarter sales may grow less than half the year-ago pace of 6.1%. Tiffany…

Foreclosure is Not the End of Homeownership

Posted on December 17, 2013 by Saldutti

If your home was foreclosed upon during the recent housing crash, you might think there’s no chance for you to ever own a home again. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although lending standards are tighter than they were pre-recession, there are still a few steps you can take to put yourself on the path to homeownership again. The biggest hit you’ll take after a foreclosure is to your credit score. You may see a drop anywhere from 100 to 300 points depending on your credit history. But a foreclosure only stays on your credit report for seven…

Smart Shopper: Buy These Items AFTER Christmas

Posted on December 16, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s December, the malls are bustling and “Sale” signs are everywhere. Good time to grab the deals? Not so fast. Savvy shoppers should realize that some items are actually a better deal after the holiday season. As long as it’s not something that has to be under the tree on Dec. 25, Yahoo’s Financially Fit looks at purchases best made in the new year. Big-name TVs and electronics: Sure electronics retailers have pulled out all the stops with doorbuster deals on big flat-screen TVs. But those are often second- or third-tier brands. If you’re looking for top-brand TVs or TVs…

How to Avoid a Holiday Spending Hangover

Posted on December 13, 2013 by Saldutti

It’s a holiday season tradition that you don’t want to observe. Many consumers spend more than they can afford, often racking up huge credit card balances. But there’s no need to exit the season of giving in worse financial shape than when it began. USA Today offers some tips for managing your holiday season spending: 1. Draw up a budget – Santa makes his list and checks it twice. More holiday season shoppers should be as thorough. Establish a budget that lays out how much you plan to spend on each person on your list. Then stick to it. “That…

A Ring or a House: Which Investment Should You Make?

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Saldutti

The heck with lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day. Turns out December, with its holiday cheer, romantic winter backdrops and family gatherings, is among the busiest months for popping the question. As the fall sets in and couples get cozy, jewelry stores and wedding planners anxiously await their impending business boom. Almost every little girl has a picture of what her ideal wedding proposal will be like and dreams of the day she will walk down the aisle. From the ring and the gown to the perfect venue and the flowers, no detail is spared. But have you ever stopped to think –…