The IRS came knocking on a friend’s door, which scared the patootie out of the couple.
Hopefully, none of you have been victimized by identity thieves. However, just to ensure they pass you by, here are a few sensible tips:
Dear Mr. Anxious: Run, don’t walk, to your phone and call at least one of the three credit reporting agencies — TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian — to see if you’re a victim of identity theft.
Dear Ms. Vacationer: You and I must be on the same wavelength. I’ve been researching airlines myself for a family member and discovered US News and World Reports’ release of the 2011 Airline Quality Rating report released April 4.
This week continues with “Mr. Rug’s” request for carpet buying information and centers on installation and padding.
Dear Mr. Rug: First off, it doesn’t really matter where you purchase (as long as you get a good price); instead, it matters most what you buy. Just because carpet or a rug looks and feels good in the store doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good investment.
Lots of readers have expressed interest in other columns about freebies or low-cost merchandise.
Dear Ms. Beautiful: I’ve looked in several beauty magazines and, even better, researched Good Housekeeping for its investigation in the field.
What you’re referring to, I believe, are nonessential insurance plans and, just as the term implies, it’s not as necessary that you provide protection for certain properties as say, life or health insurance.
You’re a smart cookie to start planning for your vacation early. With air fares and gasoline prices up so dramatically, planning’s a good idea for upcoming reservations. (Don’t forget to review one of last summer’s columns that featured “staycations” — vacations close to home.)
Continuing with last week’s savings via AARP, let’s visit programs and events, health, and the ways we can help those perhaps less fortunate than us.
CONSUMER WATCH COLUMN
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.)
CONSUMER WATCH COLUMN
You’re a smart cookie to think of making profits from “salvaged” items. Hopefully, other readers will take note and do the same with areas for hidden cash.
I’ve finally put together my “recycling” column, thanks to readers Beth Cook, Lana Freeland, Nan Haygood, Marsha Ortmeier, Carol Williams, and Carolyn Williams. Thanks, ladies, for some truly good-to-the-consumer ideas!
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.
It's almost time to renew my car insurance. As I check out different companies, what should I look for? — Vic Vehicle
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).
’T is the Saturday of Christmas
More gift ideas abound, some of which arrived from readers. While all are interesting, I never would have thought of some of them when shopping at non-traditional "gift" stores.
Q: With funds so short and lots of family coming for the holidays, do you have any suggestions to conserve money instead of spending too much on gifts? -- Sam and Sara Saver
As holiday gift-giving time approaches, a few money-saving tips may be just the thing to offer. Just be sure to read any and all fine print before all purchases to ensure you're getting exactly what you want. (Also use the gift card tips after the holiday
I'd like to send long-distance flowers to my parents for their anniversary but I got burned the last time I sent my wife Valentine's Day flowers. Any advice on what to watch for?
Q: Now that the new cars are coming out, what's some purchase advice you can give me other than the same old buy at the end of the month, etc.? -- Hettie Haggle A: Dear Ms. Haggle: That "same old" is still a great strategy to save money when buying a new vehicle.
Let me suggest some common sense ideas that many of us already execute and a few others some folks might not necessarily think about as regards their credit scores. I'll begin with the ones we generally already carry out.
One of my dearest friends, who has obviously forgotten all advice over the years, asked me recently about buying her credit report. (She must not have read my column's advice, either.)
I vaguely remember a column where you discussed Halloween safety practices. My child is old enough to go to a party this year, and I want to be sure he's safe, so will you remind us again?
My husband thinks I’m obsessed about our wallets being stolen, but I learned my lesson after a thief used my credit card a few months ago. What advice can I give my nay-sayer spouse so he thinks I’m practical?
I was at my bank’s ATM one night last week and became quite uncomfortable when a suspicious-looking couple hung around while I was in the vestibule. They finally left before I exited, so I really don’t know if they were innocent or not. Did I do the right thing?
My friends at the FBI’s white-collar fraud division have done it again.
Q: I’ve had it with my hairdresser. Not only has she cut my hair crooked the last two times, but she just colored it way too blonde. I want my money back and also want to change stylists within the same shop, so what can I do? — Jackie Jagged
As my most loyal readers know, I love to come up on unique companies that exist pretty much with consumer service exclusively in mind, and this week’s column is no exception.
"All I hear about health care reform confuses me. Surely you can help make some of the new information more concise."
If you couldn’t decide upon a new computer purchase featured in last week’s column, perhaps you need some more information. Whether desktop or laptop, money to burn, or you’re Fannie or Frank Frugal, we all need to know how best to choose a computer, before even thinking about a brand.
Now that school’s officially begun, it may be time to purchase a computer, either for home use or for your student’s purpose. (Hopefully, you took advantage of last month’s tax holiday for this or any other allowable school acquisition.)
More than a half century ago while visiting near Fort Myers, Fla., author Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote, “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient.”
Q: We’ve just purchased an older home that’s truthfully pretty ugly. We don’t have a lot of cash to upgrade or beautify, but we know some improvements must be made. Any ideas to help out our budget? — Linda and Louie Lackluster
I thoroughly enjoy skimming through women’s magazines in my leisure time and between the fashions and food sometimes discover some meaningful consumer information.
The July-August issue of AARP’s Bulletin includes a scary alert and some savvy advice for all consumers, not just senior citizens.
After a fender-bender that wasn’t even my fault, my insurance company raised my rates. Is there anything I can do? — Furious Freddy
Carrying over from last week’s question about manufactured (mobile) homes and warranty concerns, I decided to copy the idea of some big hit movies and make this column a “prequel.” So with regard to actually buying this type of home warranty initially, clip out today’s column and keep it handy when you begin to shop.
With so many stories about “ObamaCare” rolling around, I found some great news with regards to extra help for certain Medicare participants.
OK, you've written the be-all-to-end-all resume, but stop before sending it to prospective employers. No matter how great a job we think we did, I'll just bet an error or two is hiding just waiting to surface when Mr. Boss Man's eagle eye skims the form.
Q I was laid off from work a few weeks ago and just got around to polishing up my resume. I worked for the same company for almost 20 years so I'm not sure if the resume says enough to land me another position.
Q We've moved into an older house that seems to have drafty windows. I've enjoyed your advice about hiring general contractors, but I expect window contractors' qualifications might be different. What do you advise? -- Carl Chilly
Q Since moving to town and opening an account with a bank, I've become convinced some of its practices aren't to be trusted. I plan to change banks this week but should I let authorities know my suspicions? -- Lawrence Law-Abiding
Q: I'm getting ready to buy airfare and trip insurance for my husband's and my summer trip to New England. I'm not so sure how to avoid rip-offs for the insurance and would appreciate any advice. -- Teri Traveler