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Why Do You Yell At The 800 Number

And there I found myself at 1 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon. In a fit of rage and anger that only those who talk to computers can appreciate, I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs. “Representative! Representative! Representative! Representative! Representative!” By the 6th or 7th time I screamed representative the computerized phone system had already won the battle and I was waving the white flag. Was it too much to ask this Christmas holiday to just speak to a plain old human being? How is it that completely inanimate objects like hangars, double circled key chains, and computerized 800 numbers can get us so unnerved that it just brings out the worst in us? You have to admit, that at least once in your life you have been where I was just a week ago. You felt helpless and deserted after your phone call to the cable company, the magazine subscription company, or perhaps it was for ...

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The Year Of Two Black Fridays?

Every calendar year, the two major holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah confront us for planning our gift giving and family gatherings.    Usually, these holidays fall fairly close together in the month of December, as retailers get ready for the biggest part of the shopping year. However, just like the infrequency of total solar eclipses, sometimes the calendars don’t fall on the same cycles and Hanukkah can begin in the month of November.    This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Wednesday, November 27th with the first full day of Hanukkah on Thanksgiving.  The last time that happened was 1918. So, what does this mean Black Friday shoppers? For followers of Judaism, Hanukkah is an extended holiday lasting 8 nights.   The modern tradition for gift giving is to partake in a new gift each and every night.   This means as soon as Halloween costumes have been put back in the closet or thrown away in the trash, followers of Judaism will ...

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Summer Camps Mean Money Blues For Mom and Dad

The school year is rapidly approaching graduation season, which means for most parents’ the question of what to do with the kids for summer is looming in front of you.   Summer camps leave kids with memories of sleeping in bunk beds, learning to ride a horse, swing a tennis racket, or the time that their traveling baseball team won the state championship.     For parent’s today the cost of many full time day camps can cost $300 to $500 a week.    Sleep away camps can cost $10,000 or more.   Weekly specialty camps for sports like tennis, swimming, or golf can be extremely costly as well.    For many families, camp is not always a budgeting item that parents’ put as a line item in the beginning of the year.   Camps can often cause a dent in a parents’ cash reserve that they have to make up in the fall just in time to spend money for the holiday season.  What are some ...

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Four Steps On How To Budget Your Next Vacation

I have a favorite client of mine who retired a few years ago and is in the midst of publishing his own travel book.   He’s a really great individual and has a true knack for knowing how to budget out a vacation.   One of the principles he’s stuck to over a lifetime while becoming wealthy is to not take a vacation that he did not already pay for in advance of the trip (including spending money).    He may book a vacation to go to Italy one year for now, and if the trip will cost $4,000 he will actually make payments of $333 a month over the next 12 months.    By the time the vacation is upon him, he can really enjoy the excursion to a far away destination because he won’t have the debt lingering over his head when he comes back to the United States.   While we all may not be able to take this exact methodology, let’s ...

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VIDEO | Santa Claus at Five Below – Charity Donations

Published on Nov 28, 2012 The holiday season is rapidly approaching as you can see retailers across the country lining their aisles with Christmas items and the Starbuck’s of the world changing their cups over to the traditional holiday décor. FULL ARTICLE – http://bit.ly/Tuoyy8 When I lived in the New York City area, I can vividly remember during the holiday season the legions of Salvation Army Santa Clauses outside of the department stores ringing their bells for donations from your pocketful of change. It’s nice to donate during the holiday season to give to the less fortunate, but what I have seen retailers doing around the country in the past year or two has officially gotten under my skin as they now want us to do double duty as their customers.   ...

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Your Kid Has An I-Phone. Who Pays The Data Plan?

I’m pretty sure Apple can’t be hurting even though Steve Jobs is not at the helm anymore.   My kid’s went back to school last week and mentioned to meet the glut of Apple products that other students got from Santa Clause over the holiday season.    Apparently, even the elementary students stocked up on I-Pads, I-Touch, and the middle/high school students racked up on the I-Phones.     We all know that none of these technology gadgets are cheap to buy.    However, one of the topics that people don’t like to discuss is who will bear the cost for the data plan.  This is where the real dollars and cents add up over the long term. Parents will have varying opinions on this, but I’m of the opinion that when you child hits high school that you want to have them own part of the monthly data plan.  Each year that they get older, you should have them bear more and more of ...

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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Hangover January

It’s official.    Everyone in America has decided we should be just like the Federal Government.    Get up and keeping adding more zeros to your debt because it just doesn’t matter.   Remember that movie many years ago starring Bill Murray called Meatballs when he began the chant it just doesn’t matter . . . it just doesn’t matter . . . it just doesn’t matter?   Well, unfortunately for most of us we can’t get away with piling up debt like the Government does today.  It does matter.   Even though the media has tried to get us all excited that things are picking up from a record Black Friday and Cyber Monday, get ready for them to report in January about the lingering effects of people spending money that they didn’t have this Christmas because they were all just tired of feeling so beaten down from the past couple of years of tough times. Total spending over the four-day weekend following Thanksgiving ...

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