Rent to Own? It Could Cost You Big Time

As the holiday shopping season gets under way, you may be tempted to buy that fancy flat-screen TV, a laptop with the latest technologies or a stylish sofa to replace the one your cat uses as a scratching post. (I’m talking to you, Indy). To pay for that big-ticket item, you may be tempted by rent-to-own deals in department stores that now offer them, like Kmart and Sears, according to a Bloomberg report. , rent-to-own deals usually take advantage of …

Holiday Shopping: Will You Spend Less?

This could very well be the year when the Grinch steals Christmas, at least in terms of the gift-giving intentions of some adults. According to a new poll from the personal finance website GoBankingRates.com, 40 percent of some 1,500 survey respondents say they won’t be buying any holiday gifts this year. Blame the economy and the shaky finances of many Americans. The holidays only add to their stress and here’s why: 63 percent of those polled admit they haven’t set …

Shopping With Credit-Card Readers Attached to Smartphones

If my friend Beth’s recent holiday buying is any indication, shoppers are in for a more-connected experience. Last week, my 82-year-old buddy wanted to buy a platter at her church bazaar. She was met with a “newfangled credit-card” gadget. “The salesgirl told me to slide my credit card through a little square thing attached to her phone,” Beth told me.  “She said it was safe, I did it, I hope it was ok.” That small device called Square is a …

28 Ways to Heal From Tragedy

Many of us are experiencing grief and sorrow after the shock of the deaths in Newtown, Conn., on Friday. The tragic shootings have brought many issues to the forefront: gun control, school safety, mental illness and the daily tragedy of thousands of children around the world who die every day from violence, child abuse, neglect and hunger. How can we lift ourselves up from the fear, sadness and negativity? What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference? At …

Use ‘Slice’ to Keep Track of Online Shopping

I love discount online shopping.  In fact, some days I worry I’m addicted to it. I’m a member of the popular deep discount  “members only” clothing and home goods websites Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, Haute Look and One Kings Lane.  I say “members only” with a smile, because anyone who signs up becomes a member. Every day, and twice a day during the holiday shopping season, these sites send me emails highlighting items that are discounted 50 percent or more. …

Shopping for the Cheapskate Chef

Everybody in my family knows that I love to cook (cheapskate-style, of course).  So for holiday gifts, people often give me kitchen utensils or small cooking appliances.  Now, I love my family dearly and appreciate the thoughtfulness behind their gifts, but I like to keep things simple in my kitchen. I’m not big fan of novelty kitchen gadgets that just take up space. Do I really need a special tool to remove olive pits, AND another one to remove cherry pits? But …