Ellen Phillips

Q. I'm taking a cruise next month and want to buy travel insurance but am not really sure of the difference between the insurance and travel waivers. Can you help? — Barry Boat

Q. I've always heard it's best to charge store purchases with major credit cards instead of store cards. What's your advice? -- Sammy Shopper

  • June 16th, 2012  |
  • Comment  |

Continuing with last week's column about making appliances last longer than their average lifespans, we begin with washer and dryers.

Many of us overspend on insurance policies.

Q. I stay confused about my EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) from Medicare and the like. Can you tell me an easier way to decipher these forms? - Ned Needy

Q. My business banking account doesn't hold but a couple hundred dollars a month. I've been getting a senior no-service charge rate, but now the bank has announced a monthly $5 fee if I don't have a great deal more than that in my account. Do I have any recourse?

Q. We've finally decided to buy a home but need to know what to look for in a home inspector. We've heard horror stories from friends who've picked the wrong inspector, so what should we look out for?

Lots of readers have expressed interest in other columns about freebies or low-cost merchandise.

Last week’s column featured estate sales as a way to shore up some new savings, but the modern world’s used electronics can sometimes bring a goodly amount, too. (And, yes, you can donate last week’s treasures and this week’s items for a fair market price as deductions for the calendar year’s income tax.)

Q: Any hints on winterizing my home to save money? —Samuel Saver

In honor of my daughter's 44th birthday, which is today, I thought some suggestions for birthday freebies and other deals would be fun. I partake of many of these myself; readers will enjoy them, too.

As a consumer specialist, have you heard about recent problems with glass bakeware shattering and causing injuries? I own a good bit, so I'm very concerned. -- Cindi Cook

As we continue with last week's estate planning errors, per Bottom Line Personal, be careful to check with your attorney to see whether a trust makes sense for you.

I've been hearing all kinds of rumors about estate planning errors. Even though my wife and I have a trust, I'm a bit concerned about these rumors. What's the straight story about the federal estate tax that expired in 2009?

As readers may recall, I think writer Mary Hunt is the crème de la crème of financial advisers. One of her recent newsletters dealt with clever ways in which to recycle, and I’ve stolen a few ideas to pass on, (paraphrased, of course).

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