Burying a loved one when money is an issue

Funeral arrangements can be very costly, and out of reach for some people.

More and more people are living below the poverty line. Yet, poor or rich, we all are subject to the realities of life. The sudden death of a loved one can put lower-income people under water with unexpected funeral and burial or cremation expenses. But there are a few options available to keep costs at a minimum when burying a loved one.
Emotion vs. cost in burying a loved one
We don’t like to think of cutting corners at times like these. At the same time, life doesn’t screech to a halt for the living, and they must weigh protocol and grief [...]

Tricks to keep fresh food fresh longer

What a waste.

Food costs are on the rise, and nearly every working American is feeling the crunch with the increased payroll taxes that kicked in on January 1. Wasting food by letting it spoil seems less and less of an option. But there are ways to keep fresh food from spoiling so quickly.
Fresh food gone bad
According to Money Talk News, Americans throw out about 20 pounds of food each month due to spoilage. It estimates that is the equivalent of putting $516 a year into the trash can. But you can minimize the hit by prolonging the shelf-life of your groceries with [...]

Feds raid Scooter Store in Medicare fraud probe

Mobility Scooter

Federal agents have raided the offices of the Scooter Store, a company specializing in powered scooters for disabled persons, many of which go to Medicare recipients. The company is alleged to have carried out a massive Medicare fraud.
Scooter Store raided for alleged benefits fraud
Benefits fraud comes in many forms. In one form, individuals apply for and receive benefits they aren’t entitled to, unknowingly or knowingly. Another form is where benefits providers, like an insurance company that administers Medicare or Medicaid or a hospital, overbills the government knowingly because they are looking for a payday from deep federal pockets.
The latter form [...]

Real, honest to goodness, chocolate toothpaste available


Most of the time, chocolate toothpaste is a silly fantasy because quite frankly the chocolate and sugar is going to rot one’s teeth. However, a real, honest-to-goodness, chocolate toothpaste, called Theodent, has been concocted and is available for sale though it isn’t quite what one thinks.
Chocolate toothpaste is unfortunately not actually chocolate
Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t actually like chocolate. Granted, these people are Philistines and as such need not be paid attention to. For the rest of us, chocolate is awesome though it’s certainly best to indulge only in moderation.
Some have dreamed about how to [...]

Dwolla set to challenge PayPal for online payments

The Dwolla logo.

There are those who became disenchanted by PayPal as an online payments option ever since it was purchased by eBay. Many have felt the sting of lost funds, account freezes and other service nightmares that some might say rest just this side of outright fraud. Then there are the fees. For those who desire alternatives, there’s Dwolla, an online payments website that claims it does a better job than the competition, for less money.
Dwolla those fees away
Instead of charging the common 3 percent plus extras fee of PayPal and similar services, Dwolla charges a flat $0.25 – plus any transactions [...]

Prepaid debit cards for kids, pros and cons

Justin Bieber

Some are touting prepaid debit cards as a progressive way to pay a child’s allowance. Supporters say they teach children how to handle money in a digital age. Others say those lessons are dubious, and better taught in other ways.
Prepaid debit cards for kids
With so many purchases now being made online, a cash allowance may be problematic for parents and their offspring. One option to avoid having kids reimbursing their parents’ credit cards is to load their allowance onto a prepaid debit card. Some endorse the notion on the grounds that it teaches kids how to use money the way [...]

How to deal with smelly houses before sale

A house for sale by owner.

Who wants to live in a home that smells bad? Certainly not someone looking to invest in prime real estate. The current buyer’s market makes it tough for sellers to begin with, and simply whipping out the Febreze and fresh-baked cookies won’t cut it. Make smelly houses a thing of the past with these simple tips for deodorizing a property.
Down with smelly houses step No. 1 – From whence the odor?
It is often difficult for sellers to identify exactly where those moldy, musty, gag-inducing smells originate. Neeraj Gupta of ServiceMaster Clean notes that there is no specific device or gauge [...]

Sell your old cell phones for easy cash

Half of Americans have more than one old cell phone collecting dust, according to a study by MarketWatch.

According to a recent report, Americans are hoarding old cell phones and missing out on billions in trade-in value. So what are you waiting for? Sell those old phones. You know you can use the extra cash. Plus, you’ll be helping the environment.
Old cell phones worth $34 billion
According to a recent study by MarketWatch, about half of all American consumers have at least two old devices collecting dust in their homes. Collectively, MarketWatch says, based on current trade-in values, that represents about $34 billion in uncollected revenue.
Around $9 billion of that is for un-recycled iPhones alone. Apple devices are traded [...]

Scammers even hit phone lines for poor in Lifeline fraud

Telephone baby

There is a little known program called Lifeline, a service under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission, offering affordable phones to qualified persons. However, like any benefits program, people take advantage, as Lifeline fraud has been an ongoing problem.
Lifeline fraud remains a problem for little known program
Interestingly enough, there is a government benefit program that will get low-income people phone services for pennies a week. It’s called Lifeline, a benefit program administered by the Federal Communications Commission.
While not doing the Christian Right’s fascist bidding censoring things, they help low-income Americans get a phone line for very little. Launched in [...]

Horse meat scandal has sentimental underpinnings

Horses and cows are both made of meat. Image

Several reports of horse meat in products sold as beef has sparked a red hot controversy in the European Union. The practice is fraud, as food packagers try to cut corners with the less-expensive horse flesh. The problem no doubt needs to be addressed. But is the controversy so heated simply because of consumer duping?
Horse meat where cow meat should be
Earlier this month, DNA tests proved that the so-called “beef” in European-sold Findus brand lasagne was actually 100 percent horse meat. That sparked an investigation into all the beef products sold in Europe. It is even now being learned how [...]

Pot tourism in Colorado one step closer

Marijuana is sold out of this one-time service station in Colorado.

Last November, voters in both Colorado and Washington state made the recreational use of marijuana legal for adults within state borders. That begs the question, will the states, like Amsterdam, breed a new industry of pot tourism?
Pot tourism not going to happens, says Governor
Late last year, Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper, who opposed the legal marijuana initiative, said that marijuana tourism was not likely to emerge in his state.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “They’re going to flock here to buy marijuana as if they’re going to take it back? On an airplane? That seems unlikely to me.”
But Hickenlooper [...]

Black market diamonds in spotlight after brazen heist

Diamond ring

A big diamond heist which resulted in thieves making off with $50 million in diamonds has thrown the spotlight on illicit diamond trafficking. Black market diamonds are a big business, as are black market commodities of all sorts.
Thieves may never be caught due to trade in legal and black market diamonds
For those who haven’t followed the news lately, and who could blame them because it’s mostly stupid or depressing as always, an enormous diamond heist was carried out in Belgium. A Swiss-registered aircraft was on the runway in Brussels, according to USA Today, en route to a stop in Antwerp [...]

Wells Fargo ATM cash tracker delivers personalized experience

Wells Fargo walk up ATMs lit at night on Ninth Street in Durham, North Carolina.

If your bank’s ATM interface puts you to sleep, you should see what Wells Fargo is offering. The banking giant’s ATM Cash Tracker system scans an ATM customer’s previous transaction history and provides the customer with personalized banking options and advertising. Wells Fargo is banking on the sleek new design being a big customer draw.
Wells Fargo ATMs playing your favorites
Using predictive analytics, Wells Fargo’s new ATM banking network present customers with an assortment of touchscreen buttons, each one tailored to the individual customer based upon their previous transactions and selected preferences. These ATMs are reportedly easier to use, as the [...]

Spare yourself these retirement savings excuses

A smiling old man.

If you think that saving for retirement is a boring chore that has little to do with your young life, reconsider before it’s too late. It’s always a good time for sound financial planning and investment in your future. Be wary of the following excuses for not saving for retirement.
Postponing retirement savings excuse No. 1 – Not earning enough
Nearly everyone believes that they don’t make enough money to stock some away for retirement. All of those people are wrong. Setting aside a small amount each paycheck adds up over time, even if the amount is very small. As income increases, [...]

Celebrity endorsements still shady as ever

Joe Montana

Ever see some product getting plugged by a famous person and think “hey, if a famous person endorses it, I should buy it!” Well, you might want to think twice, because celebrity endorsements are often a ruse, as a face and a name got well-paid to shill for a pig in a poke.
Abandon hope, all ye who fall for celebrity endorsements
Don’t believe a thing you see on television. Commercials will lie, infomercials doubly so and if a famous person pitches something, change the channel.
Daily Finance recently ran a post about celebrity endorsements for some shady products. For instance, Henry Winkler, [...]

Low wage health effects may be drastic


It isn’t exactly a secret that fewer people are earning a good living these days, as wages have been trending downward for basically the past decade. It’s bad news for not only the wallet, but for health as well, as a number of low wage health effects are being noted in studies.
Hypertension noted as a low wage health effect
According to NBC News, a recent study published in the European Journal of Public Health found that low wage earners, or those making a working-class income or lower, are likely to suffer some health effects as a result.
The study looked at possible [...]

Is my home covered against meteor damage?


Last week, a populated area in Russia was pelted by fiery meteorites. Fortunately, nobody was killed, but many homes were damaged. That begs the question, will the average homeowner policy cover meteor damage?
A rare event of massive meteor damage
On Friday, February 15, a meteor exploded over Russia, sending fiery meteorites into seven crowded cities. The worst hit was the city of Chelyabinsk. The Russian Academy of Sciences estimates that the original meteor weighed around 10 tons and was traveling at about 33,000 mph when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
Like something out of a science-fiction movie, such events are exceedingly rare.
“The [...]