Soaring Prices Put Drugs out of Reach for Many Americans

Retail prices for more than 100 widely used specialty prescription drugs surged by nearly 11 percent in 2013, according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report issued today. The report found that the average annual cost of a specialty medication used to treat chronic diseases and conditions rose to more than $53,000 — greater than the U.S. median income and more than twice the $23,500 median income of people on Medicare. Specialty-prescription-drug prices are 18 times higher than …

Season’s Cheatings! Get Wise to Holiday Shopping Scams

Black Friday has kicked off the official holiday shopping season, so here’s a rundown of the most common scams aimed at shoppers — and how you can avoid them: The name game Scammer-run websites use the names of popular items and retailers to steal credit card and password information or deliver malware. You’re led to them when you do online keyword searches, including terms like “discount toys.” >> Top Seasonal Scams to Avoid Search away to compare prices, but before you click …

Shop ‘Small’ for the Holidays

As the holidays approach, owners of “mom and pop” stores want to remind shoppers in pursuit of the perfect gift to support local businesses. Small Business Saturday is the kickoff to the holiday shopping season for independently owned businesses, which include restaurants, bakeries, bookstores and other merchants. This year it falls on Nov. 29, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. >> Best Ways to Spend $200 The event was developed to encourage consumers to back America’s …

Low-Wage Jobs Replacing Middle-Income Jobs, Report Finds

First the good news: Millions of jobs that were lost during the Great Recession seem to be finally coming back. Now the bad news: Most of those newly created  jobs are low-paying ones in fast-food restaurants, retail stores and temporary administrative services –  industries that are less affected by an economic downturn, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, a research and advocacy organization. Today lower-wage industries employ 1.85 million more workers than at the start of the …

Shopping Malls: A Suburban Renaissance?

Since the mid-20th century – with the rapid rise of the suburbs – shopping malls have been a big part of American life. In the ’80s and ’90s, malls became veritable town centers: giving us a one-stop shopping destination, bringing in the biggest and busiest restaurant chains, and serving as an after-school playground for our teenagers. And for many years, malls were an integral part of our culture – as evidenced by the prominent role they played in cult classics such …

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 …