“Your food stamps will be stopped effectively March 1992,
because we received notice that you passed away. May
God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change
To your circumstances.” –State of CA
Wal-Mart recently reported that credit card usage, as a percentage of total purchases, fell a full 7.4% this year. Target and J.C. Penney have reported similar trends. As a result, the use of lay-away plans are surging at most retailers.
More than 35 million Americans are expected to use online coupons this winter from services such as CoolSavings.com, RetailMeNot.com and Coupons.com, which offer discounts on a wide variety of products from toys to food to cosmetics. Coupons.com estimates that it saves consumers more than $450 million annually through its printed coupons redeemed at retailers.
COUPONING works…take advantage of double coupon days and SENIOR days offered at many supermarkets. Coupons in hand on a senior day we spent $71.39 for nearly $140 worth of groceries!
More people are paying bills at bank or credit union websites than at individual biller websites, according to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research.
"For the first time, more consumers paid bills via bank sites in the past month rather than biller-direct sites," James Van Dyke, President and Founder of Javelin Strategy & Research said.
"But many banks and credit unions have been slow to upgrade, which has created a wide gap in online capabilities and usage when comparing the nation's biggest banks to smaller banks."
Javelin says the increase in online banking is driven by the recession and people wanting an efficient way to mange their personal finances.
The latest numbers show that consumer confidence is close to 40-year lows, suggesting the economy is in worse shape now than in times that seemed far darker, like in the early 1980s
Current homeowners, or those shopping for a home and who are concerned that they'll end up underwater, should consider how long they expect to live in their house. Being underwater doesn't affect homeowners unless they plan to sell.
Individuals who are staying put for at least the next five to seven years will likely recoup the lost value of their home, says Amy Bohutinsky, a Zillow.com spokeswoman. In addition, homeowners should refrain from borrowing against their mortgage, she says.
The next big real estate fiasco will take place in the commercial sector (as I reported in November of ’08). Vacancies are high everywhere and many speculators will not be able to come up with the money they owe on mortgages.
Build your own electric bike cheap with these free how-to plans:
More freebies for your kids.
Good for late summer boredom beaters. Find free things to entertain them at:
Need a fax machine for your home business, eliminate the cost here:
Sell Your Old Video Games for Cash
Many games will get you $8-$18 cash per title at:
Making a comeback in the home-buying world is the old lease with an option to buy. It can be a win-win for both the buyer and the seller. I used this plan to sell several properties in the past. My plan was generous. If you paid your rent on time, you got 100% credit toward your down payment. If you didn’t pay on time, you lost that month’s credit.
Quite simply, the buyer and seller negotiate a property lease for a specific period of time and agree on a purchase price. If the renter wishes to then buy the home, a portion of the rent is applied to the purchase price. This often happens at the end of the lease but could also take place any time during the lease.
Online Scammers Prey on the Jobless
When Claude Vera responded to the customer-service job opening he saw on the online-classified site Geebo.com back in February, it seemed like one of a hundred small acts that might get him back to work. Most of his e-mail messages to prospective employers were going unanswered, so he was relieved when Penguin Express Inc. replied the next day with a work-from-home job.
To help him get a home office started, Penguin sent him money orders so he could buy, via money wire, the requisite laptop and other equipment from several different people. Mr. Vera, of Jamaica, New York, deposited nine United States Postal Service money orders into his Chase bank account and wired a total of nearly $8,000 to the various vendors. But he never received a laptop or anything else, and the money orders turned out to be already cashed or counterfeit. The scam consumed Mr. Vera’s tax refund and put him in the red by $6,700 to Chase, which sent his case to a collection agent. For more, go to:
More about the employment picture…
· A key reason the unemployment rate declined is because so many people gave up looking for work.
· Only 59.4 percent of Americans are working, the least since the early 1980s.
· Among the unemployed, the share of those out of work for six months or more has surged to 34.3 percent, the worst since this number was first tracked 61 years ago.
Don’t toss the dryer sheets – reuse them to…
*Clean your iron. (yes, Marge, ironing is making a comeback). Simply set your iron on low, then wipe it over the sheet until the built-up residue is gone.
*Stick a used sheet into your vacuum cleaner bag to reduce odors picked from vacuuming.
*Pin a used sheet to your clothes or chair to get rid of mosquitos.
Of course, living in AZ makes a dryer virtually useless; we just hang clothes on the rear deck and they’re dry within an hour saving a lot of electricity too.
How & Why Banks Gouge Customers
Middle-income customers presented the greatest potential to harvest fees. "There's certainly a customer segment that could be called 'Joe Lunchbox,' who expect to be nickeled and dimed," says Preuninger. "They are managing money from paycheck to paycheck. It's someone who would prefer to pay an overdraft fee to get their mortgage covered rather than get hit by a mortgage provider with a late fee and a ding on their credit score."
Last year, overdraft and insufficient-funds charges totaled nearly $35 billion and comprised about 90 percent of banks' consumer-fee income, according to a study by the consulting firm Bretton Woods Inc. Three-quarters of banks automatically enroll consumers in their "overdraft protection" programs without formal permission, and more than half of banks manipulate the order in which checks are cleared to trigger multiple overdraft fees, according to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation study. For more of the story, go to:
…AND remember…our illustrious members of Congress bounced over 12,000 checks to their own bank and never paid an overdraft fee AND these are the guys who are bailing out the banks at our expense!
Wage Slavery-at-Will…My Two Cents Worth!
Here in the United States, the overall unemployment rate is over 20 percent and rising. Corporations collected trillions of dollars in government bailouts, while ordinary workers got nothing. Millions of people are losing their homes to foreclosure, yet the president has yet to lift a finger to help them. Meanwhile, companies like Goldman Sachs are paying their officers obscene bonuses. How come there's no social unrest? Where's the outrage?
"On average, most workers do not recover their old annual earnings" after being laid off, Till von Wachter, a Columbia University economist, tells The New York Times.
Wachter studied the income histories of workers who lost their jobs a quarter-century ago, during the Reagan recession of 1981-1985. The results were startling. "Even 15 to 20 years later, most on average had not returned to their old wage levels," he found.
Layoff victims followed the rules. But it didn't do any good. During the 1980s and 1990s the rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the middle class withered away. Now, among industrialized nations, only Russia has a smaller middle class and higher poverty rate than the United States.
Here in AZ, which is a right-to-work state (meaning, right to fire without reason), the policy has kept wages low, while the cost of living is now relatively high (AZ, for instance, dental prices are on average 25% higher than even California)!
Time to ban lay-offs? In Europe, it’s a much different value system…extremely difficult to lay an employee off…there’s good and bad to that too but in America, most employees are treated with indifference. But then again, never expect anything from Washington – unless, you’re a big time campaign contributor!
As with the previous story on how banks can be a curse, it seems NO ONE is looking out for your best interests!
Yours for better living,
Bruce “The Poor Man”