reviews http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4829/all en-US 8 Ways Being Patient Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-being-patient-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-being-patient-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_meditating_at_work_000043979528_0.jpg" alt="Woman learning to be patient and saving money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that patience is a powerful virtue. It helps us get ahead in our careers, be better parents and partners, and avoid unnecessary conflict in nearly every area of life. Patience can even save us money. Here are eight ways going zen before you spend can help your budget:</p> <h2>1. You Have Time to Check Consumer Reviews</h2> <p>Informed consumers are smart consumers. Patience gives buyers a chance to compare features and prices, read online consumer reviews, explore product ratings on non-profit sites like Consumer Reports, and get the very best deal possible. It may sound cynical, but some manufacturers have built their livelihoods on selling junk to uninformed &quot;gotta-have-it-now&quot; buyers. Don't be one of them.</p> <h2>2. You Have Time to Decide If You Really Need It</h2> <p>Impatient consumers are led by their hearts and have trouble <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-never-succumb-to-impulse-spending-again">avoiding impulse spending</a>. How many times have you purchased an item on impulse only to later ask yourself &quot;What was I thinking?&quot; Being patient gives you time to consider (and reconsider) if you truly need what you're tempted to buy.</p> <h2>3. You Can Wait for a Sale</h2> <p>Don't you relish that moment when the stars align and something you really want or need goes on sale? Sadly, impatient folks never get to experience that natural high. They simply can't wait and their impatience costs them cold hard cash.</p> <h2>4. You Might Find it Used</h2> <p>There are many reasons <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-why-used-is-better">why buying used is better</a>, and saving money is just one of them. A few years ago, I was dangerously close to forking over $3,000 for a new Tempurpedic mattress. Instead, I took a deep breath and gave myself a few months to find a better deal. Amazingly, I spotted one for sale on Craigslist. A newlywed couple had received the queen-sized mattress as a wedding gift (what an amazing gift, right?) and didn't like it. Though technically second-hand, it was still in the factory plastic wrap. It's the best $1,000 I've ever spent.</p> <h2>5. You Can Explore Alternatives</h2> <p>Several years ago, I was decorating my new condo and stumbled upon a limited edition lithograph that I loved in one of those big chain galleries at the mall. It was out of my price range by several hundred dollars, but I crafted all sorts of justifications for the splurge. Luckily, I hesitated just long enough to be invited to a local art fair where I found an original painting that I loved even more &mdash; for one-third the price. A bit of inadvertent patience saved me hundreds, helped me support a struggling independent artist, and allowed me to discover a wonderful original image that I'll treasure for years.</p> <h2>6. You Might Get it as a Gift</h2> <p>If there's an item you want or need, add it to your holiday wish list or drop a few subtle hints in advance of a birthday, housewarming party, or similar gift-giving occasion. Sure, it's not the most evolved money-saving strategy, but often our friends and family are looking for just the perfect gift and would welcome reasonable suggestions.</p> <h2>7. You Can Wait for the Release of a New Model</h2> <p>Our consumer machine is constantly churning out smaller, sleeker, and faster models of the same product you must have right now. If you're patient enough, wait for the new and improved model to be released and then buy the original version at a deep discount.</p> <h2>8. You Can Save up and Avoid Finance Charges</h2> <p>Putting your impulse purchases on pause gives you time to save up and pay cash. Avoiding interest charges, potential late fees, and overdraft dings makes a patient approach even smarter. In fact, there are loads of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks">reasons why using cash-only rocks</a>.</p> <p>In our act-fast, don't wait, while-supplies-last world, patience is a rare quality. Retailers encourage us to buy now and think later because they realized a long time ago that emotion moves products. Patient people spend less and when we do spend, we make better purchasing decisions. When it comes to my money and my budget, impulse has its place, but patience rules the day.</p> <p><em>Do you consider yourself a patient person? How has being patient helped you save money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-being-patient-saves-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying">9 Simple Ways to Stop Impulse Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-making-lessons-from-the-girl-scouts">Money-Making Lessons From the Girl Scouts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-one-year-to-an-organized-financial-life">Book Review: One Year to an Organized Financial Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-trap">Book Review: The Trap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Buy It Now buying used impulse shopping patience reviews sales Fri, 11 Sep 2015 15:00:30 +0000 Kentin Waits 1554811 at http://www.wisebread.com Can a Robot Called Digit Really Help You Save More? http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/momdaughter_saving_piggy_bank_000022124763.jpg" alt="Mom and daughter putting coins in a piggy bank " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The frugal living world is full of exhortations to save more for emergencies, to save for important purchases, to save for big life goals. Along with that comes lots and lots of advice about how to trim costs, earn more, and to budget and plan. Despite all of that, Americans still don't save as much as they should &mdash; <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/personal-finance/62-percent-americans-cant-cover-unexpected-expenses-bankrate-n281796">&nbsp;60% of us don't have enough set aside</a> for even <em>minor </em>emergencies like a car repair or an emergency visit to the dentist.</p> <p>So why don't we save when we know we should? Because even though it seems easy, saving money actually isn't that simple.</p> <h2>Digit Is Designed to Make Saving Easy</h2> <p><a href="https://digit.co/">Digit</a> is a free smartphone app that analyzes a connected checking account and makes periodic withdrawals to a separate, Digit-controlled savings account. The algorithm monitors spending and income habits to determine the size and frequency of the transfers. They are generally small ($15 to $20) and occur once or twice a week. Individual transfers are capped at $150.</p> <p>Most interaction with the service is via mobile text. Every morning Digit sends an account update with details about recent transactions and current balance. Users can send texts to issue commands and check balances, too. There's also a clean and simple website interface.</p> <h2>I've Saved $58.75 in Two Weeks With Digit</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/Peterson_Digit_Screenshot.jpeg" width="605" height="330" alt="" /></p> <p>After I got over some squeamishness about letting a mysterious algorithm connect to my checking account and begin transferring funds, I signed up through the website (it's easy, of course) and waited for Digit to do its thing. The first transfer, for $6.50, came about a week later. A handful of transfers have followed since (they seem to come in pairs, about a week apart), and I've amassed a tidy little nest egg of $58.75. When it reaches $100, I'll transfer it back to my checking account and from there into my savings account. Woo-hoo! An extra hundred bucks in my vacation fund.</p> <h2>What I Like About Digit</h2> <p>Here's why I'll probably keep my Digit account live even after I've written this review.</p> <h3>It's Easy</h3> <p>Setting up an automatic transfer between a checking account and a savings account is easy. Digit is easier, and works alongside my current transfers to help me find extra money to put aside for whatever. Signup is quick and painless. The interface is simple, clear, and direct. The list of commands is short and to the point.</p> <h3>It Sends Me Daily Text Updates</h3> <p>I try to check in with my banking and credit accounts every couple of days to see where my money's going and to keep an eye out for mistakes or erroneous charges. Unfortunately, sometimes life happens, and I may not check in for a couple of weeks. Digit sends me an update every morning with account balance and transaction details. It doesn't seem like much, but it goes a long way toward keeping money and personal finance &quot;top-of-mind.&quot; I'm thinking more about my money, and that's good.</p> <h3>Digit's Designers Are Thinking About Psychology</h3> <p>Digit doesn't ask me how much money I would like to save &mdash; it just does it, based on my financial habits. Compare that with an automatic transfer between accounts. The user has to make the decision to save, the decision to set up the accounts, and finally the decision on the amount of money to withhold. Each of those decisions are &quot;opt-in&quot; moments, which are surprisingly difficult to overcome. The last one is especially difficult because in addition to opt-in, we have to overcome &quot;loss aversion,&quot; which is what psychologists call our reluctance to give up what we have in order to gain something else. When you set up an automatic transfer between checking and savings, you have to decide how much to give up from spending now in order to gain some savings later. That's hard.</p> <p>Digit doesn't eliminate all the &quot;opt-in&quot; obstacles (you still have to click a link and sign up, after all), but it does help us get over loss aversion. Once you're in, you're saving.</p> <h2>What I Dislike About Digit</h2> <p>Digit does a lot of things right, but not everything.</p> <h3>Digit Interacts With My Checking Account</h3> <p>It felt really weird at first to let a third-party service transfer money out of my checking account &mdash; automatically. Digit's designers have recognized that this is a tall hurdle for some people. They insist the algorithm will never cause a user's checking account to become overdrawn, and they offer an overdraft guarantee, just in case. So far, nobody's had to take them up on it.</p> <h3>My Money With Digit Doesn't Earn Any Interest</h3> <p>Funds transferred and held in Digit's savings account do not earn interest. Of course, funds in my checking account and regular bank savings account earn only paltry interest, so maybe that's a wash. In any case, this is how Digit keeps the service free and pays themselves &mdash; they are capturing the interest instead of passing it to users.</p> <p>Also, transferring money out of my Digit savings account and back to my checking account takes about a day. (Meanwhile, transfers out of my PayPal account can take up to <em>five</em>.)</p> <h3>Digit's Psychology Can Work Against Me, Too</h3> <p>Speaking of getting my money out of Digit, the process is more like transferring funds between checking and savings accounts. It's all manual, with some &quot;opt-ins&quot; and a big &quot;loss aversion&quot; moment to overcome at the end. Automatic withdrawals back to my checking account &mdash; or even my savings account &mdash; based on preset goals met would be a nice feature. Maybe they'll add that in the future.</p> <h2>A Few More Details About Digit</h2> <p>If you're considering trying out Digit, you should know a few more things. (There's lots more at<a href="https://digit.co/about/faq"> Digit's FAQ</a>.)</p> <h3>Funds Are FDIC Insured up to $250k</h3> <p>Digit holds users' money at Wells Fargo or BofI Federal Bank, both of which are FDIC insured.</p> <h3>It Works With Most US Banks and Credit Unions</h3> <p>Digit is United States only currently, and while most major banks and credit unions are covered, not all are.</p> <h3>Passwords Are Anonymized and Secure</h3> <p>Digit claims they adhere to industry standards with respect to password and user data security.</p> <h2>Signing Up for Digit</h2> <p>If you'd like to signup for Digit, you can do so, <a href="https://digit.co/">right here</a>, in just a few moments. Once you've spent some time with it come back and share your experience in comments.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lars-peterson">Lars Peterson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-free-or-almost-tools-and-resources-for-creating-a-new-2015-budget">10 Free (or Almost!) Tools and Resources for Creating a New 2015 Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-working-from-home-can-save-and-cost-you-big">10 Ways Working From Home Can Save (And Cost) You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology apps behavioral economics digit reviews saving Wed, 18 Mar 2015 21:00:07 +0000 Lars Peterson 1345891 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Read Product Reviews Before Buying? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-read-product-reviews-before-buying <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-read-product-reviews-before-buying" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6829378917_6439415c2c_z.jpg" alt="Do You Read Product Reviews Before Buying?" title="Do You Read Product Reviews Before Buying?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-read-product-reviews-before-buying#comment-587520"><em>katie m</em></a><em>, Tabathia, and Betty for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Making decisions on big purchases can be difficult! Many people spend lots of time researching prices, warranty info, and other relevant facts to their potential purchase. On top of that, many people take the time to read reviews on their potential purchase before actually buying an item. However, there are some people who buy without taking the time to do research or read reviews!</p> <p><b>Do you read product reviews before buying? </b>Where do you go to read reviews? If you don't read reviews before buying something, how do you decide whether or not to buy?</p> <p>Tell us if you read product reviews before buying and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; here's how you can win!</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will be randomly selected to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries:</h3> <ul> <li>You can tweet about our giveaway for an extra entry. Also, our Facebook fans can get an extra entry too! Use our Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win one of the other two Amazon Gift Cards:</li> <a id="rc-79857d16" class="rafl" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79857d16/">a Rafflecopter giveaway</a> <script src="//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js"></script> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, February 4th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after February 4th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if you read product reviews before buying and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-read-product-reviews-before-buying">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-is-valentines-day-too-commercial-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Is Valentine&#039;s Day Too Commercial? (Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-volunteer-experience-had-the-deepest-impact-on-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Volunteer Experience Had the Deepest Impact on You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-share-your-favorite-frugal-holiday-tradition">Ask the Readers: Share Your Favorite Frugal Holiday Tradition</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers purchase reviews Tue, 29 Jan 2013 11:36:31 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 967506 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Tax Preparers Should Tell You http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-tax-preparers-should-tell-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-tax-preparers-should-tell-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-couple-financial-adviser.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Brought to you by </em><a target="_blank" href="http://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/online/free-edition.jsp"><em>TurboTax Federal Free Edition &mdash; Free to prepare, Free to print, Free to efile</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p>With tax season upon us soon, it's helpful to go into the tax preparation process with reasonable expectations and knowledge of how the process will work, what the roles and responsibilities are, and what you should anticipate as an output from your interactions with your preparer.</p> <h3>1. What You Need to Bring</h3> <p>It's not always obvious which documents are even required to complete a tax return. It seems as though we&rsquo;re receiving a tax document per day in the mail, sometimes in a redundant and confusing fashion. Conversely, with the heavy reliance on electronic record-keeping, people are rightfully confused over whether they should always be getting a paper statement for tax purposes or whether they need to print out electronic copies.</p> <p>You should plan to have in your possession all documents related to income, investments, interest, deductions, credits, and anything else that might reasonably result in an entry on your tax return. If you do any sort of investing outside a tax-deferred retirement account, chances are that any transactions will have to be reported. Just holding on to a dividend-paying stock requires reporting of dividend income. Interest from CDs, money market accounts, and savings accounts is fair game as well.</p> <p>On the credit side, if you sought to take advantage of any of the various government stimulus programs like the home energy tax credits, cash for clunkers, the new homebuyer tax credit, or others, documentation related to those transactions should be shared with your preparer. Several such topics are outlined in much more detail in this nifty <a target="_blank" href="http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Planning-and-Checklists/Tax-Preparation-Checklist/INF12048.html">tax preparation checklist</a>. If in doubt, bring it!</p> <h3>2. How to Optimize Your Deductions and Credits</h3> <p>Some like to think of tax preparation and advice as an art more than a science. There are various ways to approach how you set up your income and expenses in your personal life, as well as in any businesses you run, in order to optimize your returns by minimizing your tax liability. Your preparer may recommend anything from optimizing your small-business expenses to pulling forward contributions and expenses into the current tax year to beat the clock and realize the larger deduction come spring.</p> <p>The preparer may point out credits and deductions you didn't even know existed. Likewise, he may also warn against being too aggressive with certain tax deduction claims to decrease the risk of generating an audit. An oft-cited red flag is the home office deduction, but there are others as well that seasoned tax preparers may recommend you avoid. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Deductions-and-Credits/The-10-Most-Overlooked-Tax-Deductions/INF12062.html">10 most overlooked tax deductions</a>.)</p> <h3>3. How Your Tax Liability or Refund Was Calculated</h3> <p>Rather than just spitting out a number at the end of a session, your tax preparer should walk you through a methodical explanation of both the income side and deduction side, share any notable impacts of various tax rules, and then highlight how and why your ultimate liability or deduction came out the way it did.&nbsp;There should be a full double-check of the information you provided and a chance to point out any omissions or mistakes. While there are ways to amend tax returns later, it may come at additional expense and delay. It's ideal to get it right the first time &ndash; and get that refund on time!&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. When Will Your Refund Arrive</h3> <p>With most tax returns resulting in a refund of some sort, it's helpful to know when your refund will arrive. Many people know they're getting a sizable refund each year and plan to use those funds to do anything from pay the annual tax bill to fund the summer family vacation. Be it days, weeks, or longer, the preparer should be able to give an indication of when to expect a refund based on her own internal timeline for submission and the typical turnaround time from the federal government.&nbsp;It may not be evident at the time, but the initial preparer you meet with may or may not be conducting the actual calculations and generating the return herself. Outsourcing is a common business practice now in the field, so that may add to the cycle time considerably.</p> <h3>5. Ideas to Better Manage Your Taxes</h3> <p>Aside from simply completing your return based on historical information, an adept preparer should be able to make suggestions to better manage your taxable liabilities. Suggestions may include highlighting any <a target="_blank" href="http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/IRS-Tax-Return/Summary-of-Federal-Tax-Law-Changes-for-2010-2017/INF12041.html">legislative changes that may affect you</a>, new stimulus and tax-credit programs, how to best incorporate a small business, common deductions worth considering that you may not have tracked and documented in the prior year, and some basic investment concepts related to taxable versus tax-deferred accounts.</p> <p>These are just a few of the topics an adept tax preparer should be sharing with you.&nbsp;Otherwise, you may be leaving thousands of dollars in tax-saving opportunities on the table each year.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darwins-money">Darwins Money</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-tax-preparers-should-tell-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-everyone-should-know-about-this-years-tax-changes">5 Things Everyone Should Know About This Year&#039;s Tax Changes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-great-places-to-get-free-tax-advice">6 Great Places to Get Free Tax Advice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-pay-your-taxes-heres-what-to-do">Can&#039;t Pay Your Taxes? Here&#039;s What to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-brackets-explained">Tax Brackets Explained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-red-flags-that-trigger-irs-audits">Top 10 Red Flags That Trigger IRS Audits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes income tax reviews turbotax Tue, 25 Jan 2011 16:02:00 +0000 Darwins Money 474241 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: The Happy Minimalist http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-happy-minimalist <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-the-happy-minimalist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/the-happy-minimalist-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of The Happy Minimalist" title="Cover of The Happy Minimalist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="192" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1436348625?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1436348625">The Happy Minimalist: Financial independence, Good health, and a better planet for us all</a> by Peter Lawrence.</p> <p>Like frugality and simplicity, minimalism is both a means and an end. It's a way of living light on your wallet and light on the planet, and it enables certain choices (such as mobility) that are closed off to most people. The hows and whys of minimalism are the topic of Lawrence's book.</p> <p>When Lawrence lays out his own path, the book is great. The story of how he came to minimalism and of how he lives his life is fascinating and compelling. He provides solid details on the specific choices he has made, in terms of what he finds he needs and how he gets by without many of the things that most people figure are needs.</p> <p>I wish the book had more of that, because that's what Lawrence has to offer &mdash; his own experience told in his own words.</p> <p>Unfortunately, that's only half of this rather short book. The other half is advocacy for minimalism, and that part reads as if Lawrence didn't trust the truth of his own words and his own experience. The advocacy part of the book is larded with quotes from Gandhi, Confucius, Socrates, Aesop's fables, the Bible, etc. There are literally pages of quotes. They're all fine statements of the value of living in accordance with your own values (rather than the values of society at large) and of minimalism as a pathway to doing so &mdash; but they're largely statements that everyone has seen before.</p> <p>Nobody says it better than Thoreau, but rather than yet another repetition of &quot;We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without,&quot; I'd have much preferred more of Lawrence's own insights:</p> <blockquote><p>I don't have a 42-inch flat panel high-definition TV. However, I take pride in my 120-inch high-definition view from my home of the mountain range. I get to see the sun rise every morning and moon rise every month.</p> <p>Is there a danger of oversimplification or trying to minimize something that should not be minimized. Yes. Exercise is a good example.</p> </blockquote> <p>We all live somewhere on the continuum from minimalism to maximalism, but where we are now is an artifact of our own history, social and family pressures, and mere happenstance. Unless we've lived a very thoughtful life, or been very lucky, we're probably not at the best possible point. Getting close to your own best point comes down to a thoughtful examination of your own values and a close look at how your life does or doesn't match them. Where a book like <em>The Happy Minimalist</em> can help is by illuminating one point along the continuum and saying, &quot;Here's what it's like at this point! Here's what's good about it!&quot; That knowledge can then inform us as we make the choices that move us one direction or another along the continuum. Despite its flaws, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1436348625?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1436348625">The Happy Minimalist </a></em>does that.</p> <p><em>Note: I received a free copy of the book for review. Links to the book are affiliate links.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-happy-minimalist">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">Book review: The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-rich-like-them-by-ryan-dagostino">Book Review: Rich Like Them by Ryan D&#039;Agostino</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle book review books minimalism reviews Wed, 09 Jun 2010 12:00:04 +0000 Philip Brewer 123057 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: One Year to an Organized Financial Life http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-one-year-to-an-organized-financial-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-one-year-to-an-organized-financial-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/leeds.jpg" alt="One Year to an Organized Financial Life" title="One Year to an Organized Financial Life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="193" height="258" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a reason we tend to talk about getting our finances in order. More often than not, the first issue we have to deal with is organization. That may mean sorting through stacks of paper for bills and statements we didn't really want to see in the first place, or it may mean dealing with clutter that distracts us from even starting on the paperwork. It's just about impossible to improve your finances if you don't have them organized.</p> <p>That's the premise of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Year-Organized-Financial-Week-Week/dp/0738213675/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1273504633&amp;sr=8-1">One Year to an Organized Financial Life</a></em>, by Regina Leeds and Russell Wild. Leeds is a professional organizer as well as the author of such books as <em>One Year to an Organized Life</em>, while Wild is a NAPFA-certified financial advisor. The two have put together an organized approach to getting organized, breaking down the monstrous task of dealing with financial issues into small steps that can be handled without stress.</p> <p><em>One Year to an Organized Financial Life</em> is not written with the idea of completely fixing your finances overnight, though. It can take months or even years to build up a snarl of financial paperwork and plans, and Leeds and Wild know that it takes plenty of time to resolve such a situation. The book is organized around a calendar, offering a year-long guide. In January, the plan is to start work on the clutter and implement a filing system. With step-by-step instructions and bullet points, the book navigates through taxes, budgeting, credit, long-term savings and other key considerations for your finances. There's even a well-timed section in November on budgeting for the holidays.</p> <p>This book is meant very specifically for readers who are fairly busy. If you've found yourself struggling to actually get specific parts of your finances in order, it's ideal because it's not just general advice, like some personal finance books. Instead, Leeds and Wild have created a resource that explains each action you need to take, along with the steps you can use to keep from having to come back and re-organize in the future. They go much deeper than explaining that a person should save more and spend less, discussing the reasons you may handle your finances the way you do.</p> <p>There is always an emotional component when it comes to money and <em>One Year to an Organized Financial Life</em> takes that fact into account. Leeds brings in her experience as a professional organizer to discuss the symptoms that can go along with financial issues, such as physical clutter, as well as how you can handle those symptoms as you resolve the underlying concerns.</p> <p><em>One Year to an Organized Financial Life</em> is 288 pages long &mdash; a fast read, but a book you'll likely come back to again and again. It's published by Da Capo Lifelong Books and is available for $16.95.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book for</em> review.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-one-year-to-an-organized-financial-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-being-patient-saves-you-money">8 Ways Being Patient Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-your-money-or-your-life">Book review: Your Money or Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-reinventing-collapse">Book review: Reinventing Collapse</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-towers-of-gold">Book review: Towers of Gold</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-only-investment-guide-youll-ever-need">Book review: The Only Investment Guide You&#039;ll Ever Need</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance book review regina leeds reviews russel wild Wed, 12 May 2010 12:00:03 +0000 Thursday Bram 72972 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: The Trap http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-trap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-the-trap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/the-trap-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of The Trap" title="Cover of The Trap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="370" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805088016?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0805088016"><em>The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America</em></a> by Daniel Brook.</p> <p>For more than two years now writing at Wise Bread, my whole thesis has been that frugality leads to freedom &mdash; if you can live cheaply enough, you can choose whatever work calls you, instead of whatever work pays the most. This book thoughtfully presents the case that my view is not just shortsighted but actually harmful.</p> <p>I've always recognized that the lifestyle I advocate has its limits. All sorts of perfectly ordinary aspects of a normal life &mdash; whether positive, such as having kids, or negative, such as becoming seriously ill &mdash; make it a lot harder to live a very frugal life.</p> <p>Brook talks a good bit about the limits of frugality as a way to do whatever work calls you. Many of the examples Brook uses are people whose work requires that they live in a big city:</p> <ul> <li>Activists who need to live where there's a critical mass of others with the same vision.</li> <li>Social workers or community organizers who need to live in the community that they serve.</li> <li>Creative types of the sort who can't just do their work by themselves the way a writer can &mdash; filmmakers, dancers, actors.</li> </ul> <p>It's possible to live frugally even in a big city, but living very frugally requires not only luck and flexibility but also a level of constant attention that makes it hard to focus on the work that was the whole point.</p> <p>Sure, Brook says, it's possible to live frugally enough that you can do whatever you want &mdash; as long as what you want doesn't include expensive things like sending your kids to college or paying for your healthcare if you get sick or living in a big city.</p> <p>But that's really Brook's secondary point. His central point is that the way we've organized society is harmful.</p> <p>Low tax rates were supposed to be good and fair. Letting everybody keep what they earn seems only right, and in a growing economy it wasn't supposed to be harmful for some people to become extremely rich. After all, as long as the poor and middle-class are also making progress, does it matter if some people are super-rich? Brook's answer is that it does matter.</p> <p>Perhaps it wouldn't matter if the super-rich were spending all their vast wealth on Old Master paintings and private islands &mdash; but they aren't. They're spending significant amounts on stuff like college for their kids and healthcare and apartments in the city. Stuff, in other words, that the rest of us need to buy too. And, since they have so much money, they end up bidding up the price of the ordinary necessities of middle-class life.</p> <p>The result of that is that people are pressured into selling out. Even people who are strongly inclined toward service in government or a non-profit find that they just can't do it &mdash; not and pay off their student loans, get married, buy a house, and support a family.</p> <p>The big reason I advocate frugality as the path to freedom is that it's entirely within your own grasp &mdash; it doesn't depend on the government nor on changes to the way society or the economy are structured. But that doesn't mean that society and the economy are structured perfectly. Whether you're with me on the advantages of frugality or disagree, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0805088016?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0805088016"><em>The Trap</em></a> provides a fascinating look at the issues.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-trap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-audiobooks-about-money-you-need-to-hear">5 Audiobooks About Money You Need to Hear</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read">The 8 Classic Personal Finance Books You Must Read</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-and-giveaway-rich-brother-rich-sister">Book Review and Giveaway: Rich Brother Rich Sister</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-more-classic-personal-finance-books-you-must-read">8 More Classic Personal Finance Books You Must Read</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-being-patient-saves-you-money">8 Ways Being Patient Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance book reviews books reviews selling out Wed, 20 Jan 2010 14:00:05 +0000 Philip Brewer 4738 at http://www.wisebread.com Book review: Life Inc. http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-life-inc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/life-inc-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of Life Inc" title="Cover of Life Inc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="144" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400066891?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400066891"><cite>Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back</cite></a> by Douglas Rushkoff.</p> <p>Corporations were invented a few hundred years ago--created to increase the wealth and power of favored businessmen (and the governments that favored them). They have become such a universal feature of our economy that few people give much thought to their origins--or how our economies are structured to suit them. But exactly that is the topic of Douglas Rushkoff's new book.</p> <p>Rushkoff beings the book with an anecdote: After being mugged outside his apartment, he posted to a local internet forum so that his neighbors would be aware of what had happened. His neighbor's reaction, though, surprised him--how dare he post about such a thing in public? Didn't he know such talk would lower property values?</p> <h2>Maximizing economic value</h2> <p>Property value, of course, is a pretty abstract concept. Unless you're planning to sell (or refinance) your property, its market value should be of little interest--certainly of less interest than the presence of muggers working the sidewalk in front of your home. And yet, Rushkoff's neighbors clearly felt otherwise. Rushkoff's analysis: They were thinking like corporations.</p> <p>Corporations are legally required to try to maximize their economic value. A board of directors that didn't do so would be failing in its fiduciary duty to the shareholders. People, of course, have no such legal obligation--and yet, as Rushkoff's anecdote shows, people often behave in that way as well. How come?</p> <p>That's the story that Life Inc. tries to tell, and a fascinating story it is. He talks about the earliest chartered corporations--monopolies licensed by the crown--and how they were designed to extract value from the periphery (India, Asia, Africa, the Americas) and bring it to the center. With a few exceptions, corporate charters no longer grant monopolies, but by now the whole structure of the economy is designed to favor corporate thinking and to facility its original purpose of drawing the value in to the center.</p> <h2>Local money versus centralized money</h2> <p>One of the most interesting pieces of the tale is the story of money.</p> <p>Over most of history, the things we think of as classical forms of money, such as gold and silver coins, were mostly used by governments and traders. They were used to finance long-distance trade, because they held their value--even when the trader was 1000 miles from home. Close to home, though, they didn't see much use.&nbsp; Peasants are largely self-sufficient, and most of what they can't produce for themselves they can trade for locally.</p> <p>Even locally, though, some form of money is very handy--it's easier than barter for all the reasons that people have always preferred money.&nbsp; Since gold and silver were largely monopolized for governments and international trade, throughout the middle ages local money (in various forms) was very important. Instead of being backed by gold or silver, local money was generally backed by agricultural products such as grain or tobacco.</p> <p>In practice, local money produces a very different result from centralized money. Since agricultural products deteriorate with age, there's no good reason to hoard money. The smart thing to do is to spend it on some productive asset--land, buildings, livestock, tools--or at least on something that can be made more valuable with labor. The result of people following that logic is thriving local businesses, producing goods with local materials, fully employing the local labor.</p> <p>In fact, according to Rushkoff, the period of the middle ages when local money circulated side-by-side with centralized money brought Europe to a peak of affluence it had not seen since the Roman empire, and would not see again until the industrial revolution. It was in this period that the great cathedrals were built--among other reasons as productive assets: as tourist attractions to bring in pilgrims.</p> <h2>Modern corporations</h2> <p>There are many good bits to the book. I particularly liked a couple of great examples of the same thing I was talking about in my article that described <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-modern-company-as-specialized-venture-capital-firm">modern corporations as specialized venture capital firms</a>. He talks about being hired as a consultant by a company that called itself a major American television manufacturer--except that the TVs were outsourced to Korean manufacturers, the design to a design firm in San Francisco, the marketing to a New York agency, and fulfillment and delivery to a major shipping company.</p> <p>I also liked this bit:</p> <blockquote><p>During the famous dog-food-poisoning crisis of 2007, worried consumers called their dog-food companies for information. Were the brands getting their chow from the plant in China responsible for the tainted food? Many of the companies couldn't answer the question. They had outsourced their outsourcing to another company in China that hadn't yet determined who had gotten which food. The American companies didn't even do their own outsourcing.</p> </blockquote> <p>The core of the book is this analysis: The economic structures that worked so well for extracting wealth from the colonies and bringing it to the capitals of Europe are still at the heart of modern corporate structure and modern economies. And, because they were designed to draw wealth from the center, they continue to have that effect. And, since the rules were designed to favor corporations over ordinary people, people come in second unless they act like corporations.</p> <p>The thing is, people <strong>aren't</strong> corporations. When they try to complete on those terms, they lose. The ones who do it better than others might come out ahead of their neighbors, but they still lose to the corporations.</p> <p>There are always two parts to a book like this. First, there's the analysis of the problem. Rushkoff has done well here. He lays out the case that there <strong>is</strong> a problem, and offers a compelling analysis that the economy is structured in such a way that only corporations can win. The second is to propose solutions.</p> <h2>Solutions</h2> <p>Many people have suggested that the solution is simply for people to out-corporate the corporations. After all, corporations are made up of people, and when you get to the bottom of it, people do all the work anyway. Rushkoff says this won't work--when we try, we will always end up competing with one another:</p> <blockquote><p>Instead of working with one another to create value for our communities, we work against one another to help corporations extract money <em>from</em> our communities.</p> </blockquote> <p>The solution, Rushkoff says, is to reconnect locally in our own communities. When we move local interactions <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opting-out-of-the-money-economy">outside the realm of the money economy</a>--when we interact with one another as friends and neighbors--we deny the corporations the opportunity to extract value.</p> <p>That doesn't mean it's easy, though:</p> <blockquote><p>The psychological hurdle to cross is the inability to accept that ten thousand dollars of one's time spent making a local school better will create more value than thirty thousand dollars of one's money spent on a private school. The money guarantees a great education for our own kid, the time improves the school for everyone's kids. Still plagued by internalized competition and self-interest, most of us are not quite ready to chose the better path, or to convince our neighbors to join us in the effort.</p> </blockquote> <p>The best bits of the book are the stories about the history of corporations and the history of money--which is sad when it's a description of the problem but happy when it's examples of ways things can work better.</p> <p>The stories of present-day efforts to return to interacting with one another as people rather than as corporate-style economic entities are not quite as compelling--largely because their very nature is to be local to a specific time and place and circumstance. They can serve as examples--even as models--but unlike deciding to act as a purely self-interested individual (which an individual can just do), interacting like people requires that others do the same.</p> <p>As I say, the analysis is compelling--and the recommendations are compelling as well, even if it's a bit daunting to see a path to following them. The book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know how the economy got to be the way it is, and how we might do better: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400066891?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400066891"><cite>Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back</cite></a> by Douglas Rushkoff.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-towers-of-gold">Book review: Towers of Gold</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-rich-like-them-by-ryan-dagostino">Book Review: Rich Like Them by Ryan D&#039;Agostino</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-happier">Book review: Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-george-w-bush-write-for-wisebread">Should George W. Bush write for Wisebread?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Financial News General Tips book review books corporate corporate culture douglas rushkoff economics Economy large corporations monetary history money review reviews rushkoff Tue, 07 Jul 2009 22:24:01 +0000 Philip Brewer 3359 at http://www.wisebread.com Book review: The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/self-sufficient-life-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of The Self-Sufficient Life" title="Cover of The Self-Sufficient Life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="323" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0789493322?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0789493322"><cite>The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It</cite></a> by John Seymour.</p> <p>In the days when self-sufficiency was simply the normal way of things, you'd learn the necessary knowledge and skills from your parents. (And from your grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings, and whatever other adults happened to be around.) Now that most of us work for money to buy what we need, rather than growing or making things ourselves, few of us have the knowledge or skills to be self-sufficient. Few of us even know anybody we could learn from. This book tries to fill that gap.</p> <p>The breadth of scope of this book is amazing. It talks about farming, gardening, and managing a homestead. It talks about hunting, fishing, gathering wild foods, and raising cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and geese. It talks about making beer, wine, and hard cider. It talks about spinning, weaving, pottery, tanning leather, and making bricks.</p> <p>It's probably worth thinking about knowledge and skills separately, because knowledge--different kinds of soil and what grows best in each kind--can actually be learned from a book, while skills--how to throw a clay pot on a wheel--really can't be. But that doesn't mean that it's useless to have a reference for those skill-based tasks--quite the contrary. I wouldn't want to live under the first roof that I'd thatched after reading how in this book, but I'm sure it would be a much better roof than if I'd just tried to figure out roof-thatching from first principles.</p> <p>Other good things about this book:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Lavish illustrations</strong>. Any time a picture can help, the book has a picture (eleven little thumbnails, for example, on how to make butter).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Beginning at the beginning</strong>. There are a lot of places where you can learn how to make beer from a kit. This is the only one I've found that covers the whole process, beginning with growing your own barley and hops.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Principles</strong>. Improving your land calls for an understanding of what comes out of it when you harvest your crops, and how those things can be returned (via compost, manure, letting the land lie fallow, grazing animals on it, etc.). In this part of the book--and in many others--Seymour explains the principles rather than just suggesting specific solutions to specific problems.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Encouragement</strong>. Without making things sound easier than they are, Seymour makes it sound possible that you'll be able to gain a mastery adequate to your needs. It can take a lifetime to become a great vintner. But if all you want is to turn a bounty of fruit into a tasty beverage that you can enjoy long after the fruit would have spoiled, the four pages in this book will suffice.</li> </ul> <p>Books of this sort always have two audiences. There are the people who are actually living a self-sufficient life, and there are the people who simply find the topic interesting--and especially those who want the vicarious pleasure of <em>imagining</em> a self-sufficient life. This book is suited to both. It has enough stories of hard-won experience to satisfy the vicarious reader, while being jam-packed with useful information for anyone trying to be more self-sufficient. (And there are a lot of reasons to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-besides-frugality-to-do-for-yourself">do things for yourself</a>, even if you don't aim as high as actual self-sufficiency.)</p> <p>I've written before on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">the self-sufficient life and the trade-offs involved</a>. It takes three things: a willingness to work very hard, some capital (in the form of land and tools), and knowledge and skills. You'll have to come up with the first two on your own. But if you've got those, then <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0789493322?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0789493322"><em>The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</em></a> will give you a huge leg up on the third. Better if your parents can teach you how to milk a cow or build a hedge. But if they can't, this book can.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-happy-minimalist">Book Review: The Happy Minimalist</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-rich-like-them-by-ryan-dagostino">Book Review: Rich Like Them by Ryan D&#039;Agostino</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-work-less-live-more">Book review: Work Less, Live More</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle book review books reviews self-sufficiency Fri, 17 Apr 2009 15:22:12 +0000 Philip Brewer 3058 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 tips to avoid watching a crappy movie. http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-avoid-watching-a-crappy-movie <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-tips-to-avoid-watching-a-crappy-movie" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2059598643_c8075fb904.jpg" alt="Thumb down" title="Thumb Down" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How many of you do your research before you rent a movie or go to the cinema? I usually read a bunch of reviews and ask friends. Sometimes I’ll see a movie without reading any reviews, but those ones are usually adorned with independent film awards. Which makes me wonder…why did I just waste my time on one of the worst movies ever made?</p> <p>It’s something that happens to me once in a blue moon. I’ll go to my local RedBox armed with the two or three movies that I want. If my first choice is not available, my second usually is. But this time, all three of my choices were unavailable. </p> <p>That left me staring at the screen like a dog being shown a card trick, leaving my movie-viewing choice in the hands of the marketers. Trained professionals, like myself, who only show something in its best possible light. They produce the movie trailers that make the most rancid film seem like a genuinely good romp. They include stellar reviews on the front cover, but upon closer examination you see that the review came from the Podunk Weekly Gazette. </p> <p>With this in mind, I decided to forget the fake reviews and phony trailers I had seen and go for actors I really liked. That’s how I arrived at my choice – Strange Wilderness. And after 10 minutes of exhausting, mind-numbingly bad ‘comedy’ I decided to stop the film and check out the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s arguably the best place to check, as it combines all reviews and gives an average score. </p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/1881112.jpg" alt="SW" title="SW" width="144" height="204" /></p> <p>The average score for <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/strange_wilderness/">Strange Wilderness – 0%</a> .</p> <p>I ejected the movie and threw it back into the DVD case with disdain. I then drove to my local library and decided to rent a movie that I already knew had excellent reviews; <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/city_of_god/">City Of God – average score 92%</a> (94% from the top critics). I wasn’t disappointed, it’s a fantastic movie and one I’ll see again. </p> <p>So, what does this all mean? Here’s my check-list to avoid renting a big bad dud. </p> <p>1) Do your homework. <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com">Rotten Tomatoes</a> is a great resource, anything that gets over 60% is considered worth your time and money. If it gets below that, check out the top critics rating. If they give it a much higher score, it&#39;s probably still worth a look. </p> <p>2) Don’t trust the trailers. If you’ve seen a great trailer and think ‘that looks great’ then you may be seeing all the best parts of the movie condensed into 2 minutes. Comedies are notorious for this.</p> <p>3) Read reviews carefully. If a known entity, like a well-known newspaper or reviewer (Ebert) says something like “Best Movie Of The Year” then it’s probably a safe bet it’s a good flick. If you see words like “Outstanding” or “A Must See” then look a little closer to see where that quote came from. If you haven’t heard of the person, publication or website, forget it. And if there are multiple quotes that all come from the same place, that’s also a warning sign. </p> <p>4) Star power and box office numbers don’t mean anything. City Of God did around $8 million total, and has no stars – but it’s an amazing movie. Legally Blonde 2 took in $90 million and stars Reece Witherspoon – <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/legally_blonde_2_red_white_and_blonde/">Average score 38%.</a> </p> <p>5) Known entities don’t mean a guaranteed hit. In my case, Strange Wilderness was a mix of stars I liked and a production company I knew well (Happy Madison). I figured it would contain a laugh or two. I was wrong. </p> <p>6) Ask your mates. They’re your friends because (usually) you have lots in common. Chances are, if they liked the movie you will too. </p> <p>7) Don’t be afraid to walk away empty handed. If the movies you want aren’t in, and nothing looks good, there’s no need to settle. Dig out one of your favorite movies from home, that’s a sure thing. </p> <p>Hopefully, this advice will help you avoid those movie landmines. And remember, RedBox offers free rentals (<a href="/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">see my article here</a> ) and the library is a great resource. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-avoid-watching-a-crappy-movie">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-a-good-and-memorable-first-impression">Making a good and memorable first impression.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs General Tips Lifestyle dvd movie rental ratings reviews tips Wed, 04 Jun 2008 15:59:36 +0000 Paul Michael 2146 at http://www.wisebread.com You Can't Trust Reviews From PC World and MacWorld http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-trust-reviews-from-pc-world-and-macworld <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/trust_us.jpg" alt="Trust the experts book cover" title="Trust the PC World experts?" width="180" height="240" /> </p> <p>PC World&#39;s Editor-in-Chief Harry McCracken resigned Tuesday because the magazine&#39;s publisher pressured him to &quot;avoid stories that were critical of major advertisors,&quot; according to reports by <a href="http://news.com.com/2100-1030_3-6181075.html">News.com</a> and <a href="http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/05/pc_world_editor.html">Wired</a>.</p> <p>When asked for a comment, McCracken confirmed he had disagreements with the publisher but declined to comment on the nature of those disagreements. </p> <p>However, according to an <a href="http://blog.wired.com/business/2007/05/pc_world_editor.html">inside source from PC World</a>, McCracken resigned after getting undue pressure from Colin Crawford, senior vice president of PC World&#39;s parent company IDG Communications. Crawford allegedly told the PC World editors that: </p> <blockquote><p>product reviews in the magazine were too critical of vendors, especially ones who advertise in the magazine, and that they had to start being nicer to advertisers.</p> </blockquote> <p>Crawford was once the CEO of Macworld, another publication owned by IDG. The Macworld connection might explain this: </p> <blockquote><p>[Crawford] tried to kill a story about Apple and Steve Jobs. The piece, a whimsical article titled &quot;Ten Things We Hate About Apple,&quot; was still in draft form when Crawford killed it. McCracken said no way and walked after Crawford refused to compromise. </p> </blockquote> <p>PC World and Macworld market themselves as the most trusted names in technology review. These descriptions are lifted directly out of their &quot;about us&quot; page: </p> <ul> <li>PC World: &quot;trusted resource for management-level buyers and users of technology products.&quot;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Macworld &quot;offers the most trusted product reviews and buying advice you can find.&quot; </li> </ul> <p>If these reports are true, and IDG doesn&#39;t end up firing Crawford and reinstating McCracken, then we may conclude that Crawford&#39;s biased editorial policy is the rule rather than the exception at IDG.</p> <p>If that&#39;s the case, here are a list of other <a href="http://www.idg.com/www/idgproducts.nsf/typeform?readform&amp;type=publication">IDG publications</a> and <a href="http://www.idg.com/www/idgproducts.nsf/typeform?readform&amp;type=website">websites</a> you might want to avoid: </p> <ul> <li>CIO Magazine</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Code Vault</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Coming Attractions</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Computerworld</strong></li> </ul> <ul> <li>CSO Magazine</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Demo.com</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Energy-Insights.com</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>GamePro</strong></li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>InfoWorld.com</strong></li> </ul> <ul> <li>IT Careers</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>Network World</strong></li> </ul> <ul> <li>Remedies</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Taste for Life</li> </ul> <p><em>Phto by <a href="http://flickr.com/photos/phauly/" title="Link to phauly&#39;s photos">phauly</a></em> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-chen">Will Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-trust-reviews-from-pc-world-and-macworld">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-how-to-be-a-geek-goddess-win-a-copy">Book Review: How to Be a Geek Goddess (Win a Copy!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shoddy-pc-repair-tech-caught-in-sting-operation">Shoddy PC repair tech caught in sting operation.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-to-avoid-watching-a-crappy-movie">7 tips to avoid watching a crappy movie.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Customer Service Nightmares - What&#039;s a Good Consumerist to Do?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs computers Macworld PC World reviews technology Thu, 03 May 2007 21:46:40 +0000 Will Chen 591 at http://www.wisebread.com Customer Service Nightmares - What's a Good Consumerist to Do? http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000040016530_Large.jpg" alt="frustrated woman computer" title="frustrated woman computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love the web site <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/" target="_blank">Consumerist</a>&nbsp;(motto: Shoppers Bite Back). They provide some great money-saving ideas, funny advice on how to get away with things that you didn't even know you could, and good commentary on consumerist culture.</p> <p>In addition, Consumerist offers some great customer-provided stories about companies jilting customers, <strong>and</strong> they offer the customer the best revenge &mdash; public venting of their experience. Better than a rant/rave on Craigslist, the stories at Consumerist are mind-boggling. The kind of bullying that goes down at retailers both big and small, online and brick-and-mortar, are often laugh-out-loud funny.</p> <p>I've had some fantastically bad customer service exchanges during my lifetime, but I really enjoyed reading about this <a href="http://www.consumerist.com/consumer/complaints/weddingdepots-nonresponsive-passive-aggressive-customer-service-225599.php" target="_blank">one</a>. I can't imagine how this &quot;customer service&quot; rep (actually the sole owner, president, and resident jerk of WeddingDepot.com) has been able to hold onto a job for more than a day, seeing as how he is functionally insane. He's also telling Consumerist to <a href="http://consumerist.com/2007/01/03/weddingdepot-wants-our-libelous-post-removed/">take down the original posting</a>.</p> <p>Hilarious. Dumb, but hilarious.</p> <p>These days, people are taking to many other venues to rant about subpar customer service (or service in general), including Yelp, Angie's List, and even Google. Jilted customers have every right to complain about poor service, though they should keep in mind not to abuse the system and always be honest. After all, negative reviews can definitely <a href="http://www.onthemedia.org/story/leaving-negative-reviews-online-not-safe-it-used-be/">affect a business's bottom line</a>&nbsp;in ways they may not be able to bounce back from.&nbsp;</p> <p>What do you do after a bad customer service experience?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/customer-service-nightmares-whats-a-good-consumerist-to-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-refund-when-something-is-non-refundable">How to Get a Refund When Something Is Non-Refundable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-effectively-complain-to-the-manager">How to Effectively Complain to the Manager</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-consumerist-editor-talks-about-how-to-tackle-inept-customer-service">A Consumerist Editor Talks About How to Tackle Inept Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-genius-ways-to-save-on-cyber-monday">6 Genius Ways to Save on Cyber Monday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Consumerist customer service online shopping retail returns reviews Fri, 05 Jan 2007 21:58:14 +0000 Andrea Karim 156 at http://www.wisebread.com