Cyber (Crook) Monday: 8 Tips for Safer Online Shopping

Whether your online holiday shopping begins Bird Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday – or is already history – here’s a refresher course on how to do it more safely. Use a credit card. Payments can be withheld if there’s a dispute with a store, and if the card is stolen, you won’t have to pay more than $50 of fraudulent charges. With a debit card, you can’t withhold payments – the store is paid directly from your bank account. And …

Black Friday Trends and Tips

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, seems to be starting earlier every year. First we saw stores opening to hordes of shoppers at 4 a.m. Friday, then at 3 a.m., a few years back. Now some big-box retailers aren’t even waiting that long. They’re opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year, hoping families will eat and run to the nearest mall. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter So what …

5 Tips to Curb Holiday Travel Costs

Holiday travel these days is a Santa-sized hassle and it can be a real budget buster as well. To curb your travel expenses, consider these tips: Leave your wheels parked at home. Since most rental cars nowadays come with competitive rates and unlimited free miles, it may pay to rent a car — and prolong the life expectancy of your own wheels. You might also be able to save on gas costs by renting a more fuel efficient car than …

Anti-Black Friday? Celebrate Buy Nothing Day

I saw this great cartoon the other day. “Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”  Funny, but true. Now don’t accuse me of being a humbug. I like to celebrate the holidays just as much as anybody else. Although when it comes to gift giving, I do prefer a somewhat more measured approach than is apparently the American norm. I like to think of the …

Shop Small in the Spirit of the Holidays

Bah Humbug! That pretty much sums up my feelings about participating in Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when we’re all encouraged to join the mobs and march off to the shopping mall in the wee hours of the morning to buy, buy, buy as the first official act of celebrating the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays. It’s just that I’d like to think that there’s something more to them than plowing over other shoppers …