news http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8482/all en-US Life Skills 101: How to Deliver Bad News to Anyone http://www.wisebread.com/life-skills-101-how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-anyone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/life-skills-101-how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-anyone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/talking-453721427.jpg" alt="talking" title="talking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you are a parent letting your child down, a supervisor who has to let an employee go, or a doctor delivering a difficult diagnosis, it is never easy to give someone bad news. No one enjoys it. In fact, most of us dread it.</p> <p>The manner in which you break the news can affect the outcome, influence the other person's emotions, and even create a bigger problem. Using the tips found below on how to break bad news, you can ensure a smoother interaction and the least amount of discomfort possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-express-condolences-without-saying-something-stupid?ref=seealso">Express Condolences Without Saying Something Stupid</a>)</p> <h2>1. Consider Your Own Emotions Before You Begin</h2> <p>If you are upset or angry, take some time to calm your nerves and dry your tears if you need to. Your ability to remain calm throughout the conversation will help the person receiving the bad news to remain calm as well.</p> <h2>2. Sit at the Same Level</h2> <p>It is never a good idea to be standing while the other person is sitting. This puts the person who is standing in a position of power, which can be very intimidating for the person who is receiving the bad news.</p> <p>In addition to considering your seating position, be sure that your physical location is comfortable and private. Take precautions so that no one who should not hear the news does so. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-communicate-better-today?ref=seealso">25 Ways to Communicate Better</a>)</p> <h2>3. Start the Conversation With Something Neutral</h2> <p>Whether it's a compliment, some good news, or a reassuring comment about the person or situation, breaking the ice with something benign can help lessen the anxiety the person you are speaking to will feel. This calms both your nerves.</p> <p>When appropriate, provide positive news after the bad news, as well. This works well when you are giving criticism about a job performance, sharing a medical diagnosis, or especially when dealing with a child.</p> <h2>4. Provide as Many Facts as Possible</h2> <p>Sticking to the facts when you initially break the news will help the person understand the situation better. If you insert your emotions into the situation, the person hearing the bad news may struggle with hearing the truth or be stuck on the emotions. It is also best to stay focused on the topic, be direct, and not stray from the intended message.</p> <p>The exception to this tip is if you are speaking with a child and delivering bad news, you will want to consider which facts are necessary and which are going to cause undue stress. Too many facts can confuse a child and cause him or her to become overly stressed or overwhelmed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books?ref=seealso">5 Best Parenting Books</a>)</p> <h2>5. Avoid Negotiation</h2> <p>Whether you are issuing a reprimand to an employee, breaking up with a partner, or punishing a child, avoid making deals with the person. Stick to your plan and stay determined to give the information and the facts that you plan to give. Children and employees will often ask for &quot;one more chance.&quot; It is important that you avoid doing that, as it can undermine your decision making and give the person reason to believe the next time you give them bad news won't count, either.</p> <h2>6. Offer Solutions and Alternatives</h2> <p>Providing an alternative to the situation can show your willingness to work for a more positive outcome and better ensures it occurs in the future. Provide an action plan to the person to turn their bad news into something good.</p> <h2>7. Remain Sympathetic</h2> <p>Showing that you understand the emotions the other person is feeling is respectful and can go a long way toward future interactions. Comments like &quot;I understand how you are feeling,&quot; and &quot;I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this,&quot; or &quot;I'm here for you if you need to discuss this more&quot; will help alleviate some of the stress and calm the other person's nerves.</p> <p>A normal reaction to bad news is anger or crying; be sure to treat those reactions with respect, as well. Never tell the person they are overreacting or that they should quit crying. Offer them a sympathetic comment, some tissues, and time to work through their emotions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-manage-powerful-emotions?ref=seealso">How to Manage Powerful Emotions</a>)</p> <p>If you are tasked with providing bad news to someone, it is very important to plan what you are going to say, keep your emotions under control, stick to the facts and remain respectful throughout the interaction. These tips will offer as best of an experience as possible for everyone involved.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had to deliver bad news. How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-skills-101-how-to-deliver-bad-news-to-anyone">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/22-reasons-to-write-a-letter">22 Reasons to Write a Letter</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/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless">5 Ways to Finally Make Your Finances Paperless</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/3-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</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/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</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-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks bad news communication news Tue, 04 Mar 2014 10:48:13 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1128185 at http://www.wisebread.com Would you get rid of credit cards if stores give more discounts to customers who pay cash ? http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-get-rid-of-credit-cards-if-stores-give-more-discounts-to-customers-who-pay-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/would-you-get-rid-of-credit-cards-if-stores-give-more-discounts-to-customers-who-pay-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cashorcredit.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I am sure you have encountered a store or gas station that has a set of prices for cash customers and a different set of prices for credit card customers.&nbsp; Usually the credit card customer has to pay a small surcharge.&nbsp; Under a new measure being considered in the U.S. Senate, retailers may be <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124225813836317307.html#mod=testMod">given the go ahead to give more discounts to cash paying customers</a>.&nbsp; Would this encourage consumers to ditch the plastic?&nbsp; </p> <p>Currently, credit card networks levy a small fee on merchants for every transaction.&nbsp; Usually the fee is around 1.5% to 2% of the transaction.&nbsp; Some smaller retailers may have to pay more and each card network has its own rules.&nbsp; The credit card industry has always tried to get retailers to charge the same price to cash customers and credit card users.&nbsp; When everyone is charged the same, merchants earn a little more profit on cash payers.&nbsp; Also, unscrupulous merchants who do not report all of their cash receipts to the IRS earn even more due to skipping taxes.&nbsp; So there is definitely an incentive for merchants to want more cash sales.</p> <p>I have found that I tend to go to merchants who accept credit cards without a surcharge for the convenience and also the rewards.&nbsp; For example, there are two gas stations next to my house that are a block apart.&nbsp; One of them always has a cash price that is about 2 to 5 cents cheaper per gallon than the other station.&nbsp; However,&nbsp; if you pay by credit card the two stations give approximately the same price.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I always go to the one that does not have a cash price because I get 5% back on gasoline purchases on my credit card, so it is not worthwhile to drive an extra block to the station with the cash price and pay cash. Another reason that I prefer merchants that take credit cards is that I just do not like to carry too much cash around.&nbsp; If I lose my cash I simply lose it without recourse, but losing a credit card is not as bad since the card can be cancelled.</p> <p>If this measure does pass, I do not think merchants will be giving discounts that are extremely spectacular to cash payers since their cost for credit card transactions are fairly small.&nbsp; However, if the transaction amount is large enough it may be worthwhile for the consumer to pull out cash instead of plastic.&nbsp; For example, if you are buying something that costs $2000 and the merchant is giving a 5% discount to cash payers and your rewards credit card only gives 1% cash back, then&nbsp; it might be worthwhile to pull out the cash to save $80.&nbsp; </p> <p>What do you think?&nbsp; Do you avoid stores that have different sets of prices for cash and card customers?&nbsp; If you always pay cash do you think it is unfair that credit card accepting merchants are making a little more profit off of you?<br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-get-rid-of-credit-cards-if-stores-give-more-discounts-to-customers-who-pay-cash">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/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</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/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">Do we really need help with getting more debt?</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/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</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-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Credit Cards Shopping cash credit cards law news stores Sat, 16 May 2009 20:23:51 +0000 Xin Lu 3172 at http://www.wisebread.com How to create a speculative bubble and profit http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-speculative-bubble-and-profit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-create-a-speculative-bubble-and-profit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bubble.jpg" alt="Bubble" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="222" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Recently I read an enlightening <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/17/world/asia/17tea.html ">story in the New York Times about the Pu'er tea bubble in Yunan, China</a>.&nbsp; The burgundy fermented teas fetched prices of $150 a pound at the peak, but now sells for less than a tenth of those prices.&nbsp; I have actually been to one of those tea houses in Yunan, and I have also seen the rise and burst of the housing bubble in America.&nbsp; These experiences make me think that there is a certain formula to creating a speculative bubble out of anything, and here is what I have gathered.<br /> <strong><br /> 1. Create a magical backstory for your product&nbsp;</strong> - In the tea houses of Yunan they told us the story of the accidental invention of Pu'er, and how it cures many diseases and also aids dieting.&nbsp; In America homeownership is touted as &quot;The American Dream&quot;.&nbsp; Both of these products were given an emotional and almost mystical backstory that made people covet them.&nbsp; The magical backstory should make people believe that they will be improved in some manner by your product, and that owning your product is an ideal to strive for.</p> <p><strong>2. Market your product as an investment&nbsp; </strong>-&nbsp; After people start to buy your products, it is important to make people believe your product is a great investment. In the tea houses they told us that they buy antique teas back as if they were gold, and paid more for older teas. Thus they have a saying that Pu'er gets more valuable as it ages.&nbsp; It sounded a bit incredulous, but it was also attractive.&nbsp; In America, I have no idea how many times I have heard that a home is the best investment you can make.&nbsp; Once money is involved, the product also appeals to greed.</p> <p><strong>3. Pump and dump </strong>- If you have a bit of capital, a great way to inflate the bubble is by buying up a lot of the product being promoted and then selling it to new people caught up in the fervor.&nbsp; In Yunan wholesalers bought teas back at a markup of nearly 30% a year and then sold it again to new &quot;investors&quot;.&nbsp; In America there was a frenzy of flipping homes by individuals and large corporations that bought up land.&nbsp; The same happened during the dot com bubble, when investors that bought into the high technology religion snapped up every related stock they could find and quickly drove up prices.&nbsp; The key is to dump all the inventory before the demand dries up, and that is the hardest thing to do.</p> <p>A classic book about speculative bubbles is <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9562915700?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=9562915700">Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds</a><img height="1" width="1" border="0" style="border: medium none ! important; margin: 0px ! important;" alt="" src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=stuffies-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=9562915700" /> written&nbsp; by Charles Mackay&nbsp; in 1841. It details the dangers of mob mentality in investing and other aspects of life. Indeed, it is very difficult for one person to blow up a gigantic speculative bubble.&nbsp; It took entire industries and various government efforts to inflate the asset bubbles we have seen in recent years.&nbsp; I have no doubt that we will see more asset bubbles in the future, as they are testaments to human nature.&nbsp; The key to surviving them and maybe make a profit is to keep your emotions in check, and do not be so greedy that you are left holding the bag.&nbsp; Of course, this is all easier said than done.&nbsp; <br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-speculative-bubble-and-profit">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/what-is-keeping-you-from-a-life-of-financial-independence">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</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-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect 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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</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/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</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/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints">Seller Funded Down Payment Assistance Charities - Scammers or Saints?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Food and Drink Investment Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing bubble housing news tea Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:39:43 +0000 Xin Lu 2758 at http://www.wisebread.com What will be pulled off the shelves? The impact of the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-be-pulled-off-the-shelves-the-impact-of-the-nwe-consumer-product-safety-improvement-act <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-will-be-pulled-off-the-shelves-the-impact-of-the-nwe-consumer-product-safety-improvement-act" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/clothes.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><hints id="hah_hints">Recently the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act is <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28551729/">making headlines </a>because it required that all products (including clothes) made for children 12 and under be tested for lead and a unpronouceable toxic plastic additive called phthalates.&nbsp; Additionally, retailers must check that their products were not part of a recall. </hints>What does this mean for your everyday life?</p> <p>The law will become effective on February 10th <hints id="hah_hints">and at first it sent waves of panic through thrift store owners because testing is expensive and each violation of the law could mean fines of $100,000 or jail time.&nbsp; </hints>On one hand, I appreciate that the government is trying to enhance product safety, but I feel that they were putting too much of a burden on too many people with this mandatory testing program.&nbsp; It does not make financial sense for a small time eBay clothing seller to spend $200 to test a $10 shirt, and&nbsp; if the products are not officially tested then they are considered hazardous and illegal to sell.&nbsp; This is precisely the reason why many thrift shop owners felt like they were forced to dump all of their inventory and close up.&nbsp; Honestly I think that&nbsp; products in second hand shops probably are less dangerous than new products because in a way the used things have been &quot;tested&quot; so to speak.&nbsp; Consumer products that have been recalled are less likely to show up in thrift stores simply due to the fact that they have been recalled.&nbsp; In comparison, new products&nbsp; such as these <a href="http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07307.html">Simplicity Cribs</a> are sold by the thousands and millions and only get recalled when someone gets hurt.&nbsp; Personally I have never heard of a story where a child died due to an used shirt.</p> <p>Fortunately, it seems that the Consumer Product Safety Commission listened to the reasoning of the thrift shop owners and <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-thrift9-2009jan09,0,7588285.story">voted that second hand sellers will be exempt&nbsp; from mandatory testing</a> of children's products so it shall be business as usual.&nbsp; I guess they realized it probably is not a good time to force a large group of small businesses to shut their doors when the economy is already gasping for air.&nbsp; All second hand sellers will still be required to check the <a href="http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerel.html">CSPC website for recall announcements</a> on the products they sell, but at least they do not have to throw everything away.</p> <p>Another side effect of this law is that many small manufacturers and book publishers will be required to test their products for children.&nbsp; Some of them will inevitably be forced to close their doors or change their products completely because they do not have the resources to test all of their inventory.&nbsp; This law also applies to anyone&nbsp; who creates and sells handcrafted toys or clothes for children so some grandmas out there may just be dealing out illegal knitted beanies.&nbsp; On the flipside I think the government probably would not spend a lot of resources to enforce this law amongst individuals who sell their crafts, but you never know.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a perfect world, nothing would be toxic and kids would be invincible, but in reality there is danger for children in almost everything in our homes.&nbsp; A pen could pierce a jugular vein and a piece of paper could be tainted with the flesh eating virus.&nbsp; It is really up to parents to be vigilant and watch what their kids are putting into their mouths and hands, but there is no need to be overly zealous.&nbsp; This new law will probably make products more safe in the long run, but we may lose small businesses along the way since for the most part only the large retailers and manufacturers can afford the testing.&nbsp; Additionally,&nbsp; children's products may become more expensive as a result.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><em>What do you think?&nbsp; Are we trading freedom for a bit of perceived safety?&nbsp; Do you think the government will crack down on your neighbor who sells kid's jewelry online?&nbsp; </em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-will-be-pulled-off-the-shelves-the-impact-of-the-nwe-consumer-product-safety-improvement-act">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-soda-tidy-a-room-in-three-minutes-cure-a-hangover-and-become-a-movie-extra-phew">How To Make Your Own Soda, Tidy A Room In Three Minutes, Cure A Hangover And Become A Movie Extra. Phew!</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/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints">Seller Funded Down Payment Assistance Charities - Scammers or Saints?</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/i-challenge-you-to-beat-my-price">I Challenge You To Beat My Price.</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/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Consumer Affairs Shopping laws news second hand stores thrift stores Fri, 09 Jan 2009 10:23:34 +0000 Xin Lu 2725 at http://www.wisebread.com How to get half-price dining from your local TV station. http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-formula-that-gets-you-half-price-dining <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-formula-that-gets-you-half-price-dining" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/news.jpg" alt="this just in half price meals" title="this just in half price meals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="208" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="rteindent2">Did you know that your local TV and radio stations regularly receive gift certificates as &ldquo;payment&rdquo; for air time? Believe it or not, retailers and restaurants are actually exchanging hundreds of gift certificates for exclusive air time on the networks. Then, the stations turn around and sell those certificates to viewers for half-price. They win. You win. And I&rsquo;ll show you where to find them online. </p> <p>I stumbled across this quite by accident. A friend of my wife sent her a link to a local TV station selling $50 gift certificates to a local restaurant for just $25 a piece. Being a cynical shopper, I was hesitant to believe it. It screamed of &ldquo;buyer beware.&rdquo; But, as it turns out, it&rsquo;s completely legit. And after my usual digging around on the intertubes, I found out the back story. <a href="http://www.businessreport.com/news/2008/jun/16/value-meals-and-deals/">Stephanie Riegel, of BusinessReport.com</a>, reported last June of this growing new trend among the TV and radio stations. <br /> <em><br /> The company that came up with the concept is the Cleveland-based IncentRev, and it&rsquo;s a coupon broker that facilitates the on-air promotions. Essentially, it works like this: A retailer&mdash;say, a new restaurant&mdash;&ldquo;buys&rdquo; exclusive air time with the station in exchange for 100 gift certificates, which the station then promotes on air for half-price. Viewers can buy the gift certificates on a first-come, first-serve basis by accessing the station&rsquo;s Web site. All parties involved say it&rsquo;s a win-win arrangement. Viewers get a bargain. A small retailer essentially receives free advertising. And IncentRev, which does all the paperwork, and the station split the money. </em></p> <p>So, that's the back story. Like Stephanie points out, everyone's a winner in this deal. The restaurants and retailers get some pretty inexpensive air time. The stations get some extra cash. And the viewers get 50% discounts. However, you no longer need to watch or listen to the stations to access the deals. By doing a simple substitution in the web address I was forwarded, you can see deals in your own area, right now.</p> <p><strong>Call letters + web address = big savings. <br /> </strong></p> <p>I live in Colorado, and my local Fox affiliate's call letters are KDVR. When I put that in front of INCENTREV's web address, I get the following link: <a href="http://kdvr.incentrev.com/">http://kdvr.incentrev.com/</a></p> <p>I did a few others at random, just for kicks.</p> <p>If you live in Ohio, you could try this one: <a href="http://wtte.incentrev.com/">http://wtte.incentrev.com/</a></p> <p>Here's one for Mississippi: <a href="http://wlox.incentrev.com/">http://wlox.incentrev.com/</a></p> <p>And one for Rhode Island: <a href="http://wwli.incentrev.com/">http://wwli.incentrev.com/</a></p> <p>You see how easy the formula is. You can find a complete list of call letters for TV stations in your area <a href="http://www.shgresources.com/resources/tv/">right here</a>. And <a href="http://www.shgresources.com/resources/radio/">this one features radio</a>. Just click on your state and you'll get the info. Please note, note every station is running promotions or has signed up with IncentRev, so if the web address doesn't work just keep replacing the call letters until you find a deals page. There may be several in your state.</p> <p><strong>UPDATE: An even quicker method.</strong></p> <p>Wisebread reader Daniel pointed this out in the comments and it's super-quick. Instead of trial and error, type in your state, and or your city site followed by :incentrev.com into Google. Example: indiana site:incentrev.com.&nbsp;I found three local stations with offers not only from restaurants but indoor sky diving and Salsa classes. If anyone out there has top-notch web skills, maybe you could program a simple interface - just type in the name of your city and state and click &quot;find.&quot; I'm sure it's easy enough if you know html. Which I don't I'm afraid.</p> <p><strong>Any catches?</strong></p> <p>Well, they do have a limited number of certificates for a restaurant or retailer, usually between 100-150. And they also go on sale at a certain time, and get snapped up fast. Tomorrow I'll be logging on at 9am to grab half-price certifictaes for a great Mexican restaurant in my area. Other people have also mentioned that TV and radio stations are becoming bogged down with anchors and DJs selling you all kinds of stuff, thanks to these certificate deals. But I really don't care. I don't watch them,&nbsp;I just go straight to the site to see what's available.</p> <p>So, there you go. Find your local deals page, log on at the right time and bag yourself some cheap eats. Bon appetit. </p> <p> &nbsp;</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/a-simple-formula-that-gets-you-half-price-dining">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/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</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/hambone-soup-and-13-other-hambone-recipes">Hambone Soup and 13 Other Hambone Recipes</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/the-5-most-lucrative-restaurant-franchises">The 5 Most Lucrative Restaurant Franchises</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/21-fresh-food-delivery-services-that-can-save-you-big">21 Fresh Food Delivery Services That Can Save You Big</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/avoid-these-fast-food-items-say-fast-food-employees">“Avoid These Fast Food Items,” Say Fast Food Employees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink call letters discount local meals news restaurants station Thu, 08 Jan 2009 19:18:18 +0000 Paul Michael 2720 at http://www.wisebread.com Do we really need help with getting more debt? http://www.wisebread.com/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/creidtcards.jpg" alt="Credit Cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> Today a new rescue program called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) was announced by the Treasury and Federal Reserve to support owners of securities backed by credit card debt, student loans, auto loans, and loans approved by the Small Business Administration.&nbsp; Supposedly this initiative will free up consumer credit, but the question is, are we really in need of more debt right now?</p> <p>This week I received a letter from one of my credit card issuers that informed me that they closed one of my inactive accounts.&nbsp; I have not touched that card for more than three years, so it was fine with me.&nbsp; In the same week, I received about five to ten different credit card preapproval letters that I could use to replace the one account I lost.&nbsp; Although this is anecdotal, most people I know already have enough credit cards and getting a new card is as easy as going to the mailbox and returning a form.&nbsp; I have yet to read a news report that name actual credit card issuers who are lowering their credit card approval rates so it seems that the credit card markets are far from frozen.</p> <p>As to auto loans, it seems that lenders are tightening their lending criteria.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticleHomePage&amp;art_aid=94936">Edmunds.com says</a> that consumers with average credit will be required to make down payments as high as 20% and loan terms are shorter.&nbsp; Basically, loans are still being made, but consumers need to have good credit, and that does not seem like a bad thing.&nbsp; If auto loans are truly impossible to get, then consumers could simply save up and pay in cash.&nbsp; In many instances, used cars are not so prohibitively expensive that you have to finance it with a loan.</p> <p>When it comes to student loans, it seems that private loans are frozen for the most part, but there are still plenty of opportunities for students to get federally backed loans.&nbsp; Again, this may not be a bad thing because private loans usually carry much higher interest rates than federally backed loans.&nbsp; If enrollment truly drops significantly in universities due to lack of financing for students, then it is possible that many private universities may consider reducing their fees or handing out more grants, and that is also good for the consumer.</p> <p>Finally, there are the small business loans.&nbsp; According to this <a href="http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2008/11/24/daily21.html">article in BizJournals </a>the volume of small business loans made so far this fiscal year through the Small Business Administration's 7(a) loan program&nbsp; is 55 percent below the same period a year earlier due to the inability of lenders to sell their loans on the secondary market, reduced demand for credit, and tighter lending standards.&nbsp; It is possible that the TALF program could open up the secondary market for these loans again and more small businesses can be started, but it may be that many entrepreneurs are shying away from starting a business in the current economy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Right now, I do not know how much this new plan will help consumers, but it would certainly help the investors in these debt backed securities right away.&nbsp; I really do not think Americans need&nbsp; any help in getting more credit card debt or loans to buy flashy cars they cannot afford, but debt to start small businesses may create new jobs and spur economic growth.&nbsp; For the most part, I think&nbsp; this is a good time to eliminate&nbsp; debt, and not acquire more.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Have you had trouble getting credit recently?&nbsp; How much do you think this new rescue program will affect you?</em></strong><br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">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/we-are-our-own-worst-enemy">We Are Our Own Worst Enemy</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/what-can-you-do-with-13-extra-a-week-0">What can you do with $13 extra a week?</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/uk-banks-are-blocking-customers-credit-cards-will-the-usa-be-next">UK banks are blocking customers&#039; credit cards. Will the USA be next?</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-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</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-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Credit Cards Debt Management credit cards debt government news Tue, 25 Nov 2008 23:17:01 +0000 Xin Lu 2603 at http://www.wisebread.com When will the bailouts stop? A summary of 2008 stimulus packages and bailouts in the United States http://www.wisebread.com/when-will-the-bailouts-stop-a-summation-of-2008-stimulus-packages-and-bailouts-in-the-united-states <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-will-the-bailouts-stop-a-summation-of-2008-stimulus-packages-and-bailouts-in-the-united-states" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bailout.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="283" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>2008 will probably go down in history as the year of bailouts, crashes, and meltdowns. Here is a quick run down of all the laws and bills congress pushed through with lightning speed in this election year. With two months left in the year, we may see some more bailouts and stimulus packages to come.</p> <p><strong>02/13/2008</strong> - <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Stimulus_Act_of_2008">$168 billion stimulus package is passed into law</a> . This included tax rebate checks for individuals making less than $75000, and married couples making less than $150000. The <a href="http://baglady.dreamhosters.com/2008/02/08/the-dark-side-of-the-economic-stimulus-package/">most overlooked part of this package</a> was that the jumbo loan limit was raised for mortgages that are purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This means that just eight months ago the government was still a cheerleader behind more debt and more spending. <br /><strong><br />03/26/2008</strong> - The Federal Reserve extends a $29 billion &quot;loan&quot; to J.P. Morgan Chase to purchase the failed Bear Stearns through a shell company. <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_14/b4078000069548.htm">BusinessWeek has a good article</a> on how this deal worked. Essentially, the Fed purchased $29 billion in mortgage backed securites that could lose value.</p> <p><strong>07/26/2008</strong> - $300 billion &quot;housing rescue&quot; bill was passed. This is the bill that established the Hope for Homeowners program, and also gave Treasury Secretary Paulson the ability to give Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a limitless line of credit. The <a href="http://www.hud.gov/fha/home080730.cfm">Hope for Homeowners</a> program has now started and offers those who cannot afford their mortgages a chance to refinance into smaller mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. This made Paul wonder if <a href="/should-we-all-just-stop-paying-the-mortgage">we should all just stop paying our mortgages</a> .</p> <p><strong>9/7/2008</strong> - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Treasury <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_takeover_of_Fannie_Mae_and_Freddie_Mac#Capital_infusion_by_the_Treasury">promised up to $100 billion in future support and capital investments per company</a> . The actual total costs are yet to be determined. </p> <p><strong>9/17/2008</strong> - AIG mostly purchased by the United States government for $85 billion dollars. The United States now owns 79.9% of the insurer through a loan deal.</p> <p><strong>10/03/2008 </strong>- <a href="/how-a-700-billion-bailout-became-a-800-billion-rescue-plan">$700 billion pork ladened package </a> gets signed into law. The Treasury has been given the right to buy troubled assets and hold them. Also, $250 billion are used to purchase stocks in thousands of banks. Additionally, a variety of random provisions such as exemption of taxes on toy wooden arrows were included.</p> <p><strong>Now</strong> - The White House and Congress is now mulling over a second stimulus package of the year. This package is planned to be<a href="http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gbB-yBIGYGpOLykwIKDn5wZrVP5wD93UAQJG0"> anywhere from $150 billion to $300 billion.</a> Noone knows the details, yet. Additionally, there is a $25 billion auto industry bailout that is waiting to be signed into law. I guess $25 billion is really peanuts compared to what has already been passed.</p> <p>Where will all of this money come from? Some say that not all of these deals will be expenditures because the equity stakes the government is taking in the largest banks and AIG will eventually give a return to the taxpayers. However, noone seems to be quite sure if that would really happen. Meanwhile, the reach of United States government has certainly grown with all of these acquisitions. When you add it all up, the quick financial maneuvers taken by the United States Government is costing more than the war in Iraq.</p> <p>Another comment on the whole fiasco is that the National Debt Clock has run out of digits and <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/10/12/national.debt.clock.ap/index.html">each family&#39;s share is $86,023.</a> No matter who the next president is, he must work on reducing the <a href="http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm">ever rising national debt</a> . In fiscal year 2008 the United States <a href="http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm">spent over $450 billion in debt interest payments</a> , and if the government does not chip away at its debt principal then more and more of this nation&#39;s production will be going towards debt service. Something has to be done, but one government bailout or stimulus after another is not the answer.</p> <p>Finally, the scariest thing about these bailouts is not just the amount of money they will cost American taxpayers for generations to come, but that these bills were passed with haste and little concern for the voice of the people. <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZFwRAfkV1g">In this video</a>, Senator Diane Feinstein states that she received 91,000 phonecalls of which 85,000 were against the $700 billion bailout, but that she believes that these angry citizens do not understand the good the bailout will do. Is a democratic government really democratic if most of the elected officials do not serve the people that voted for them? </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-will-the-bailouts-stop-a-summation-of-2008-stimulus-packages-and-bailouts-in-the-united-states">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-10"> <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/will-these-car-buying-incentives-get-you-to-buy-a-new-car">Will these car buying incentives get you to buy a new car?</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/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">Do we really need help with getting more debt?</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/should-you-be-ashamed-to-be-on-public-assistance">Should You be Ashamed to be on Public Assistance?</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/where-did-your-ipod-come-from-the-story-of-stuff-0">Where Did Your iPod Come From? The Story of Stuff</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-indirect-ways-taxes-to-the-rich-may-hurt-you">6 Indirect Ways Taxes to the Rich May Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Taxes bailouts government news Mon, 20 Oct 2008 21:48:36 +0000 Xin Lu 2536 at http://www.wisebread.com Should you spend your money while you can? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-spend-your-money-while-you-can <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-spend-your-money-while-you-can" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/laughing.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A <a href="http://www.slate.com/id/2199463/">new article on Slate</a> today details a study by some economists that say people should enjoy their money while they are still healthy and young. The conclusion of their study is that  money buys less happiness when you are in ill health so spending money while you are healthy gives you more happiness value for your money.  So should your abandon frugality for the sake of your happiness?</p> <p>First of all, I think there is definitely wisdom in the <em>carpe diem</em> mentality.  No one knows when they will kick the bucket, and the world is too vast for anyone to discover completely in one lifetime. Although I am pretty frugal, I have to admit that spending money on good food and vacations does make me very happy. The Slate article mentions Chez Panisse, the Berkeley restaurant that is considered the birthplace of California Cuisine, and having gone there for one of my birthdays I could honestly say that it is definitely worth the $60 to $95 they charge.  I do believe that money is ultimately meant to be spent and enjoyed because you have worked for it, and being extremely cheap for the sake of being miserly is not a very enviable lifestyle.</p> <p>Another reason I agree with the idea of spending your money while you can on the things you enjoy is that the world is changing rapidly and many wonderful things you can see, taste, and touch today  may not be there anymore 30 to 40 years in the future. For example, many <a href="http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/english/200007/27/eng20000727_46665.html">waterfalls in China are drying up </a> right now and many different species of animals are becoming endangered and even extinct.  Last year my husband and I saw endangered monk seals in Kauai, but would we still see them 30 years from now?  Would the beaches of the island still be so pristine and beautiful?  So in a way, I feel that there is an urgency to spend money and see the world  before it gets any worse. </p> <p>I think the problem with the Slate article  is that it does not address that there needs to be a balance between spending and saving. The reason that I could spend hundreds of dollars on a meal and not feel guilty is that I know I have the money to pay for it.  I know that I already made a sizable contribution to my retirement fund for the month and all other bills were paid, so I can afford to treat myself. The problem many people have with spending is that they are not spending their own money so the happiness they bought gets wiped out by stress and worry stemming from the need to repay debt.</p> <p>What do you think?  Are you cautious about saving and sacrifice the luxuries of today for a better financial tomorrow?  Or are you focused on enjoying your money today? How do you balance your pleasure spending and your saving?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-spend-your-money-while-you-can">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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</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/10-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today">10 Simple Ways to Start Living on Less Today</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/raise-your-standard-of-living-by-focusing-your-spending">Raise your standard of living by focusing your spending</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-champion-of-savings-over-spending">A champion of savings over spending</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/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living frugality life news saving spending Fri, 12 Sep 2008 01:51:13 +0000 Xin Lu 2420 at http://www.wisebread.com Seller Funded Down Payment Assistance Charities - Scammers or Saints? http://www.wisebread.com/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gavel.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The United States House of Representatives just passed a massive mortgage bailout bill that includes many changes to the Federal Housing Administration and the Government Sponsored Enterprises. One particular change in the bill is that seller-funded down payment assistance through a third party is now prohibited in obtaining FHA loans. This in direct response to the unscrupulous behavior of many seller funded down payment assistance charities that sprang up in the past decade.</p> <p>The way seller funded down payment assistance charities worked was to take a &quot;charitable&quot; donation from a home seller and then pass on the money to a home buyer since laws prohibit home sellers from directly giving down payment assistance to buyers. These gifts were often given to low income or low credit individuals and families and allowed them to qualify for a home loan from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that requires a 3% downpayment. The charity would receive a processing fee from the home seller and the home seller often bumped up the price of the home so that the amount of their &quot;gift&quot; would be recovered from the purchase price. Since these charities were non-profits oftentimes the home sellers received a tax deduction for their contribution. The result was that the home buyer gets to get into a home without putting anything down, but eventually had to pay back the money they received in the form of fees or increased home prices.</p> <p>The pioneer of these charities is Nehemiah Corp. of America. According to <a href="http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/contentbe/dispatch/2006/05/06/20060506-A1-01.html" target="_blank">this article</a> from the Columbus Dispatch, Nehemiah received 99 percent of its revenue from donations from home sellers. In particular, it had a partnership with a home seller called Dominion which routed money for thousands of home sales in central Ohio. Some home buyers have <a href="http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/contentbe/dispatch/2006/02/25/20060225-A1-02.html" target="_blank">filed suit</a> against these companies for the extra costs they had to incur in taking the &quot;assistance&quot;.</p> <p>Some proponents of these programs say that they really do help people who have little savings get into a home, but the cost of these loans to the FHA is very high. In April, FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery said the following: &quot;Insured loans relying upon seller-funded down payment assistance have been demonstrated to have an unacceptably higher risk of default and foreclosure - harming borrowers they intend to help and risking the integrity of the entire FHA program and its ability to help more at-risk low- and moderate-income homeowners. Data clearly demonstrates that FHA loans made to borrowers relying on seller-funded downpayment assistance go to foreclosure at three times the rate of loans made to borrowers who make their own downpayments. We simply cannot sustain this business.&quot; Today <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/23/news/economy/housing_bill/?postversion=2008072312">in the news item</a> for the bailout bill it was reported that these programs are &quot;largely the reason why the agency&#39;s reserve has fallen by $4.6 billion&quot;.</p> <p>From my point of view, it seems that these seller funded payment assistance programs were just a way for home sellers to close deals in the guise of being charitable. True charity is when nothing is expected in return. Personally, I cannot believe that these scams lasted for so long. I am glad that Commissioner Brian Montgomery looked into this problem and actually did something about it. There are legitimate down payment assistance programs such as churches that receive donation from people who are not home sellers. Though smaller in scale, these programs are still around for those who need them. I am sure that schemers are finding new ways to exploit the insured FHA loans, but at least one large hole is plugged with the current bill.<br /><em><br />Have you been helped by a down payment assistance program? What is your take on the issue?</em> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints">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/the-more-questionable-aspects-of-the-housing-bailout-bill">The Questionable Aspects of The Housing Bailout Bill - H.R. 3221</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/are-the-new-home-appraisal-rules-good-for-consumers">Are the new home appraisal rules good for consumers?</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/will-obamas-new-mortgage-plan-really-reward-responsibility">Will Obama&#039;s new mortgage plan really reward responsibility?</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/how-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect 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/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha">$8000 housing tax credit can now be turned into cash at closing according to FHA</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing charity down payment housing laws news Thu, 24 Jul 2008 00:21:35 +0000 Xin Lu 2261 at http://www.wisebread.com Buyer Beware: The Weakest Banks Often Offer the Highest Interest Rates http://www.wisebread.com/buyer-beware-the-weakest-banks-often-offer-the-highest-interest-rates <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buyer-beware-the-weakest-banks-often-offer-the-highest-interest-rates" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nordlb.jpg" alt="Nord LB Bank" title="The building of the &quot;Nord LB&quot; Bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today the troubles of IndyMac bank was splashed in the headlines. Its stock <a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2008/07/from-wall-stree.html">has fallen to nearly $0</a> and <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/governmentFilingsNews/idUSN0826480020080708" target="_blank">depositors are making a run at closing their accounts</a> . IndyMac has been consistently been paying one of the highest CD interest rates in the nation, and it is a prime example of a financially weak bank that offers high rates to attract new deposits.</p> <p>Last year, Countrywide also did the same thing and offered the highest yielding CDs in California to attract new deposits. Now they have been &quot;rescued&quot; by Bank of America. Ailing banks generally use the new influx of money to pay for everything from debts to interest owed to other customers. In a way this is a real Ponzi scheme because money from later investors are used to pay earlier obligations.</p> <p>Most American consumers do not have to worry about their money because certificates of deposit and savings accounts less or equal to $100,000 are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and that means that when the bank fails FDIC steps in and moves the insured deposits to another institution. However, that new institution no longer has to pay the originally promised interest rate.</p> <p>The flipside of this is that because of FDIC, desperate banks do not care if they are unable to pay the high interest rates they promise. Ultimately if the bank fails, the FDIC uses government money to bail out the depositors and shifts the burden to taxpayers. This could be a disaster if too many banks fail.</p> <p>As always, be careful where you put your money, and research the institutions that hold your money. If you must buy a high yield CD or open a high yield savings account at troubled bank, make sure it is FDIC insured to mitigate your risk.Finally, if the interest rate offered sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buyer-beware-the-weakest-banks-often-offer-the-highest-interest-rates">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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</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/so-your-bank-failed-now-what">So Your Bank Failed, Now What?</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/could-you-profit-from-obama-and-geithners-toxic-assets-plan">Could you profit from Obama and Geithner&#039;s toxic assets plan?</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/how-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect 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/book-review-towers-of-gold">Book review: Towers of Gold</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Investment banks deposits money news Tue, 08 Jul 2008 20:46:50 +0000 Xin Lu 2223 at http://www.wisebread.com The one website everyone needs to read (apart from WB of course) http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-website-everyone-needs-to-read-apart-from-wb-of-course <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-website-everyone-needs-to-read-apart-from-wb-of-course" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/718988_whistle.jpg" alt="Whistle blower" title="Whistle Blower" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I like to keep up with all the latest news and info. I&#39;m a big fan of Digg, BBC news, NPR, CNN, all the usual suspects. I thought I was fairly well-versed on the places to get my information and keep me &quot;in the know.&quot; Then a friend of mine came over to visit from England, and he gave me a gift. It was a stick of deodorant that contained no harmful heavy metals. When I asked why, he said &quot;what, don&#39;t you read News Target?&quot;</p> <p>I flipped open my laptop and punched in the address. <a href="http://www.newstarget.com/index.html">NewsTarget </a> describes itself as being completely independent and impartial. True journalism, not backed by large corporate interests. Just the fact, or &quot;information that empowers&quot; as they put it. I started reading a few headlines. Then a few more. Before I knew it I had killed over an hour, and I was just getting started. This is a ballsy site that&#39;s blowing the whistle on everything.</p> <p>One of the main problems we have here in America is the lack of a truly impartial news forum. Our news is either too right-wing (FoxNews or NewsMax for instance), way too left-wing (AirAmerica, or almost any newspaper if you believe Bill O&#39;Reily) or worse still, it cowtows to the advertiser&#39;s best interests. Very, very rarely do you get completely impartial journalism. But NewsTarget definitely seems to be just reporting the facts, as far as I can see anyway.</p> <p>This is a wonderful, often scary, but always important and thought-provoking resource of information regarding health, technology, the environment, energy and more. I didn&#39;t see any advertising as I was going through the site, which means it&#39;s either very unobtrusive or not there at all. And without advertising, and political pressure, journalists are pretty much free to write the truth and not a sanitized version of it. Sometimes the articles praise a product or service, other times they&#39;ll warn you against it. </p> <h4>Some of the headlines you may want to check out include:</h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4 class="r"><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/007215.html" target="_top"><strong>Deodorants</strong> may pose a major health risk</a> </h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/022463.html">Dairy Consumption Increases Parkinson&#39;s Risk in Men</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/022047.html">New battery technology converts sugar water into electricity</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/022193.html">NewsTarget Investigation Reveals Truth About &quot;D&quot; Rechargeable Batteries</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/022460.html">Fava Beans: Great For Hormone Replacement With Anti-Cancer Potential</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/021859.html">Automakers, Bush administration push flex-fuel cars while ignoring electric vehicles</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/021823.html">Citrus peel waste may be used to generate earth-friendly fuel</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/022329.html">8,000 Toxic Waste Sites Ignored by EPA; Massive Lead Contamination at Shooting Ranges</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h4><a href="http://www.newstarget.com/022402.html">Eating Beef More Destructive to Environment than Driving a Car</a></h4> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There&#39;s also a section dedicated to special reports. Stories recently published showcase the real ingredients in pet food, the healing power of water, and medicine from fish! All in all, a must read for anyone interested in their own well-being, and the good of the planet. <a href="http://www.newstarget.com/index.html">Bookmark it today</a> .</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</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/the-one-website-everyone-needs-to-read-apart-from-wb-of-course">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/4-high-tech-weapons-for-the-war-against-germs">4 High-Tech Weapons for the War Against Germs</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-foods-scientifically-proven-to-increase-your-lifespan">6 Foods Scientifically Proven to Increase Your Lifespan</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/10-foods-with-the-most-bang-for-your-buck">10 Foods With the Most Bang for Your Buck</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/9-ways-you-put-your-life-at-risk-every-day">9 Ways You Put Your Life at Risk Every Day</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/healthy-recipes-with-cost-data">Healthy recipes--with cost data</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary Health independent news NewsTarget nutrition safety science technology Tue, 08 Jan 2008 04:52:00 +0000 Paul Michael 1600 at http://www.wisebread.com