Alpha Consumer

December 2008


Guide to New Year's Eve Sales

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How can anyone get any work done with all these incredible New Year's Eve sales? (Now you know why I'm posting so late today.)

As we've all heard, retailers are hurting, and that's leading them to offer some killer discounts. Here are a few of the best deals out there -- please feel free to ...

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TAGS:
personal finance

Why a Low Prime Rate Won't Help You

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Over the weekend, my bank -- Wachovia -- sent me an update about my credit card terms. With the Fed cutting rates to new lows, I thought perhaps Wachovia was informing me that the interest rate it charged me on my balance (if I had one) was going down. But that wasn't it at all.

In turns out that ...

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TAGS:
personal finance

Don't Let Credit Cards Ruin the Holidays

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Today's guest entry comes from Dawn Handschuh, who has earned a living putting pen to paper for 25 years. She worked for 10 years in financial services, writing widely on retirement planning, personal finance and specific investment products such as annuities, mutual funds and 401(k) plans. Dawn is ...

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TAGS:
personal finance

Gift Card Warnings for Consumers

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With shoppers spending about $25 billion on gift cards this holiday season, consumers advocates are issuing advice on avoiding potential pitfalls:

  • Spend it quickly. With more retailers expected to go out of business in 2009, gift cards could quickly be rendered worthless. So if you receive one, make ...
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    TAGS:
    personal finance

    The Recession Solution: Red Lipstick?

    By |

    Hey ladies: Have you bought a new tube of red lipstick lately?

    If you have, then consider yourself up on the latest alleged trend. According to the brand Black Radiance, sales have gone from 12 tubes a week to 52. The reason? The economy. "Red lips evoke a sense of power in women allowing them ...

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    TAGS:
    personal finance

    Faith Popcorn: 2009 Looks Gloomy

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    Futurist Faith Popcorn has peered into her crystal ball and found that 2009 looks dismal. In a press release, she says it will be a year "marked by unprecedented fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. A year in which we'll see a range of consumer reactions to a nation that has seen itself moving in the ...

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    TAGS:
    personal finance

    A Reason to Check Your Credit Card Mail

    By |

    Rita Cheng, a financial advisor, recently received a letter from her credit card company informing her that, as soon as she renewed her credit card, her interest rate would jump from 8.99 percent to 14.99 percent. Cheng, who's been a customer since 1990, says she's never paid late and has an ...

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    TAGS:
    personal finance

    How to Tip During Tough Times

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    Dear Alpha Consumer,

    I usually tip the doormen in my building around the holidays, but this year I'm considering not tipping them, or at least tipping them less, because I am stretched for cash. Is it appropriate to scale back tips, given the economic climate?

    I would argue just the opposite -- given ...

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    TAGS:
    personal finance

    How to Give This Season

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    As I was looking around for a good Christmas gift for my husband, I asked my co-worker Sara what she planned to buy her husband.

    Not much, she told me, because they decided to put the money they would have spent on each other towards charity. Through the Alexandria Department of Human Services, they ...

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    TAGS:
    personal finance

    Why the Mumbai Terrorists Used Credit Cards

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    Today's guest blog entry comes from Jeremy Simon, a reporter with CreditCards.com who writes about payment-card-related topics for consumers. He also contributes to Taking Charge, the website's blog.

    The terrorists who staged the recent attacks in Mumbai were well armed—with guns, grenades, and ...

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    TAGS:
    India
    terrorism
    credit cards
    fraud
    identity theft
    consumers
    national security terrorism and the military
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