If the Netflix/Qwikster break-up sent you scurrying for the exit like the 1 million-plus other disgruntled customers, you may be wondering where you’ll go to feast your eyes on streaming content and stacks of DVDs. Here’s a pro and con approach to the comparable Netflix alternatives.
While not a DVD-by-mail or streaming service, Redbox is the new kid in town, and he’s made a big first impression. Storefront boxes have popped up everywhere, and nightly DVD rentals are cheap — about $2. Each kiosk carries from 50 to 200 recent titles (few or no older movies). Console game rentals will roll [...]
Going green, or relying on environmentally friendly or less wasteful technologies is a good thing, especially if it saves money. However, some green home improvements just throw green from the wallet into the compost heap.
Break like the wind
Wind power, one of the most popular methods of renewable energy generation, is capable of generating sufficient power for cities with a large enough wind farm. Some people have taken to installing rooftop and backyard wind turbines.
One model of turbine detailed in the New York Times, the Swift wind turbine, can cost up to $12,000 to purchase and install. In gusty conditions, it [...]
With business sagging, Citigroup Inc. is making a major push for credit card customers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Coming to a North American mailbox near you in the third quarter will be an estimated 346 million credit card offers, according to figures compiled by research firm Synovate. That’s more than one for every man, woman and child in the U.S., at a cost exceeding $240 million.
One in three credit card offers were already Citi
Already among the most active mailers in the credit card market, Citigroup is expected to officially take the crown from Chase once third quarter numbers are [...]
According to the usual predictors, gas prices should be down. But though oil has been less than $90 a barrel since early August, prices at the pump remain about the same as they were 30 days ago. There are several factors contributing to the stubbornness of the pump numbers.
About the same as last month
According to AAA, which tracks gas prices nationally, the average cost for a gallon of gas on Monday was $3.588. The price at this time in August was $3.578. A year ago that figure, according to Daily Finance, was $2.731.
Why gas prices should have dipped
According to common [...]
Many things have become costlier than they used to be as a result of recent economic conditions. Inflation has also conspired to make just about everything cost more — including things that really hurt, such as the famed Munich Oktoberfest.
Beer price inflation higher than economic inflation
Sometimes a dour economy can hit people where it really hurts. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reports that costs are increasing over inflation for something that really should be above the grotesque nature of global capitalism: Oktoberfest.
Worse still is that the cost of beer at Oktoberfest is rising above the European Central [...]
Not long ago Netflix was one of the most successful businesses going in the economic slowdown. However, several questionable decisions made by management recently have shaken its popularity with customers and investors. The company’s CEO apologized, admitting mistakes, and laid out plans the company has for major changes in how it will operate.
‘I messed up’
Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of Netflix, took personal blame in a lengthy blog posted Sunday. “I messed up,” he began, “I owe everyone an explanation.”
Customers disappointed in droves
Netflix customers were disappointed in droves after the company’s decision in July to split its home DVD and [...]
Marriage is a major undertaking that can forever change your life. When marriage and debt are combined, it can get ugly. Not only does it cause tension between husband and wife, it can teach children negative financial lessons that take years to unlearn. Learn how to stop debt from ruining marriage in five steps, suggested by personal finance consultant Dani Johnson.
Stay focused and pay down debt
When revolving debt is allowed to fester, a couple’s overall debt load grows exponentially. Pay it down as fast as possible, suggests Johnson.
“Struggles don’t have to contaminate the marriage, whether you are one year into [...]
It still pays to get an education, but maybe not quite as well as it once did. A new study indicates that the number of college educated people filing for bankruptcy has risen by 20 percent over the last five years. The study also shows increases in age and income of filers.
College-educated, higher-income earners
The report, released Tuesday by the Institute for Financial Literacy, showed that the number of bankruptcy filers with a graduate degree climbed from 11.2 percent in 2006 to 13.6 percent in 2010.
People without a college degree make up 70 percent of all bankruptcy filers. But the study [...]
The death of a loved one is a taxing event emotionally, and the costs associated with death are only increasing. Funeral and burial costs have been on the rise for years and show no signs of slowing.
Governments having to shoulder cost of more burials
The cost of a burial, funeral costs and dealing with remains are getting so expensive that more remains are being left for state and local governments to deal with, according to USA Today.
Coroner’s offices nationwide are noting an increased number of unclaimed remains and burials of indigent people. A survey of National Association of Medical Examiners members [...]
Giving to charity or helping a person in financial need is a wonderful thing to do. However, scams are everywhere, and dastardly people will even turn to cancer scams to fleece people.
Common charitable cause a hotbed of fraud
Many people donate money toward cancer research or to help fund treatment. One of the largest charitable organizations in the nation is the American Cancer Society. In 2009, according to Guidestar, a database of information about charities, the ACS, received more than $375 million and spent almost $314 million on “program services,” including research and so forth.
However, charitable causes can attract vultures that [...]
Anything that saves us money in this troubled economy is worth pursuing. Coupon clipping can help keep grocery and other expenses down, and those savings can add up. But there is a dark side to couponing. Popularized the a TLC reality show “Extreme Couponing,” for some the practice can become an obsession that consumes their lives.
Popularized by reality show
“Extreme couponing” is a phrase popularized by The Learning Channel’s reality show of the same name. According to TLC, it is a show about “the world of bargain shoppers who have mastered the art of saving. Get tips to help you save [...]
Do you hate searching for restrooms in the big city? Do you like meeting new people and earning money in the process? Experience the best of both worlds with CLOO’, the iPhone app that enables you to rent out your bathroom for friends (and friends of friends) in your online social network.
CLOO’, as in your loo
CLOO’ is short for community loo, and the apostrophe represents a GPS marker. Urban dwellers who download the iPhone app and sign up for the service can open up their private bathrooms to strangers and make some money.
Here’s how it works. Connected to social networks [...]
Just a few years ago, credit cards were the way most of us lived above our means. But since the Great Recession of 2008, Americans have been working hard to wean themselves off of the credit card habit. And while that may be wise and responsible from the standpoint of personal finances, the good sense of these consumers does have a negative impact on a shaky economy that runs on credit.
Number of cards and balances drop
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York‘s August Household Debt and Credit Report, in the last year 199 million credit cards were canceled [...]
In his speech Thursday, President Obama proposed a series of new federal jobs and job-training programs for young people and the long-term unemployed. Yet thousands of critics are less than enthusiastic, notes the Wall Street Journal. The federal government has tried such programs for more than 50 years, and each one has failed in large part because, as a 1969 Government Accounting Office study warned, teenagers in such programs “regressed in their conception of what should reasonably be required in return for wages paid.”
The original job training program
Congress passed the Manpower Development and Training Act in 1962 as part of [...]
H&R Block, the largest tax preparation service in the nation, has announced it will not offer refund anticipation loans next year to consumers. The loans, which are a cash advance against a tax return, are controversial, and Block says they aren’t necessary.
Tax firm did well enough without them
Earlier this year, H&R Block announced that it would not be offering refund anticipation loans for the 2011 tax season, according to Forbes. Block’s financing partner in providing loan capital, HSBC, was ordered by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to stop funding refund anticipation loans, or RALs, in December. Block [...]