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 …

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 …

Negotiating: The Cheapskate’s Art of the Deal

Wow, one of the most disturbing (in an interesting way … maybe I should get a toupee?) episodes ever of “The Cheap Life” just went live on YouTube. I challenge “The Donald” himself, Donald Trump, to see if he can out-negotiate me and be a guest on my show. Watch all Cheap Life episodes: for free Be sure to leave me a comment at the bottom of the YouTube video page after watching the video about the best deal you …