Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Inexpensive Christmas Decorating Ideas For the Family

Nov 29, 2010 Bambi Hokanson

Inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas do exist. - writer's files

Inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas do exist. - writer's files

There are many cheap Christmas decorating ideas that can make decorating for Christmas fun for the whole family. Christmas decorating can make a home warm and cheerful for the holidays. When decorating for Christmas this season, consider some unusual Christmas decorations that the entire family will enjoy. Everyone will be amazed at how festive the home can look with inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas.

Be Creative with Cheap Christmas Decorating Ideas

The holidays can be a time for showing off talent and creativity with Christmas decorating ideas. When there is little money for Christmas decorations, talent can go a long way. When the family puts their heads together and each uses his/her own imagination, it takes very little money or tangible items to create some awesome and unusual Christmas decorations.

Old Christmas decorations can be modernized for use on the Christmas tree. Divide the vintage Christmas ornaments between all the members of the family and ask them to remake them for decorating the tree. Turn it into a contest, to encourage them to do a good job.

Make candy, dried fruits and Christmas cookies. Put them along with other food items such as nuts, Christmas candy and candy canes into airtight jars decorated with bows. Use them to decorate the house until Christmas Eve and then hand them out to neighbors, family and friends for Christmas presents.

Tips for Inexpensive Christmas Decorating Ideas

Use fruit slices to make garlands and wreaths

Make gingerbread and snowman cookies. Wrap them in clear plastic wrap and hang them on the tree with ribbon. Perfect for decorating and eating.

Tie red bows around candy canes and hang on tree

Use old Christmas cards to cut out tags for gifts and to make other decorations

Make a gingerbread house and get the entire family involved.

Have everyone in the house come up with his or her own design for a cheap Christmas decorating idea.

Decorate the tree with homemade ornaments of photos of the family over the years. Include baby photos, special events and vacations.

Decorate the entire Christmas tree in cupcakes or ice cream cones. There are many sites on the Internet with easy instructions for making inexpensive cupcake or ice cream cone tree ornaments. This is a perfect family project.

Lights Are Great for Cheap Christmas Decorating

Just lights alone can brighten any room with a cheery Christmas ambience. Lights and some decorating snow can go along way when it comes to Christmas decorating. Mirrors or silver trays with snow and white lights and/or candles are beautiful on a shelf or mantle. Decorate the framed family photos on the shelves with a bed of snow and lights.

Inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas for the family really are plentiful and easy to find online. There are cheap Christmas decorating ideas that will entertain the whole family and Christmas decorating can provide much needed quality time for the family. There are unusual Christmas decorations the entire family can make and enjoy while adding cheerful d├ęcor to warm the home for the holidays; however, all it takes is for each family member to contribute his or her own ideas and the house will be overflowing with inexpensive Christmas decorating ideas.

Copyright Bambi Hokanson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Cyber Monday Deals for 2010

Nov 29, 2010 Kim Elliott

So you didn't go out and brave the craziness on Black Friday, never fear, you didn't miss out on anything but long lines, crazy crowds, and loss of sleep. Cyber Monday is today and you can find all the great deals and more that were offered on Black Friday right online.

Walmart is offering some great deals in what they are calling "Cyber Week Specials". Get online and get in on the specials they are having this week such as, A Viore 24″ LED LCD HDTV for $199

- Playstation 3 for $388, RCA 42″ Plasma TV for $419, Element 42″ Class LCD TV for $449, Element 50″ Class LCD TV for $549, Kodak Easyshare 14MP digital camera for $199, Philips 8GB Vive MP3 player for $39.98 and many more. www.Walmart.com

Best Buy has some great deals for Sunday and Monday. Free shipping on all orders $25 or more. Some specials include, An LG 32″ Class, 1080p, LED-LCD HDTV $599.99 (reg price $899.99), A Mitsubishi Home Cinema,60″ Class, 3D DLP HDTV television $599.99 (reg price $999), Free Insignia? GPS with purchase of an 8GB iPod touch. Plus free shipping, Save 30% on all GPS accessories. Plus free shipping, Save $20 or $70 on select Garmin GPS receivers, starting at just $79.99. Plus free shipping, Save 10%–20% on select satellite radios. Plus free shipping, Save 50% on select Alpine subwoofers, starting at just $64.99. Plus free shipping. www.bestbuy.com

Amazon.com you can get deals on items such as, A BlackBerry smartphones (all carriers): $0.01 with a 2-year contract, Unlocked Nokia N8 only $429 ($120 below RRP), Playstation Move now comes with a free PS3 game, VIZIO 47" 1080p LCD HDTV only $599 (40% off). www.amazon.com

Target has the whole site on sale everything from Women, Men, Baby, Kids, Home, Furniture, Electronics, Sports, Toys and Entertainment. Get free shipping on $50 or more. Check out some of the items on sale, A Wii Fit Plus with The Biggest Loser Challenge Fitness Bundle for Nintendo Wii, $129.99 down from $164.98, You Save: $34.99, XBOX 360 4 GB Console with 2 Wireless Controllers Bundle (XBOX 360), $239.99. www.target.com

Kohl's has many coupons listed on their site, they offer free shipping on purchases $75 or more. Outerwear from the whole family 50% off selected items, 20-40% off selected watches, 10-40% off selected toys. Check out www.kohls.com for all the great items on sale.

ToysRUs says that this Cyber Monday sale will be the biggest sale in their history. The ToysRUs Cyber Monday sale starts at 12:01am on Cyber Monday, Nov. 29. Deals include, FREE Box of 120ct Crayons ($10.99 value) with $25 Crayola? Purchase, BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF all Nerf? Toys, BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF Imaginarium? Toys, BUY 1 GET 1 50% OFF all Dream Dazzlers? Dress Up and Playsets

30% OFF Club Penguin, 20% OFF all Little Tikes? Products, 20% OFF all Avigo? and Rallye? Bikes, AVE $10 on any Kinect for Xbox 360 Video Games, and SAVE $10 on any Playstation? Move Video Games. www.toysrus.com

Happy Shopping.

Copyright Kim Elliott. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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First Toy Wagons and Radio Flyer Wagons

Nov 29, 2010 Bambi Hokanson

Children love being pulled in toy wagons. - Tinypic.com

Children love being pulled in toy wagons. - Tinypic.com

Toy wagons have been a favorite toy of children for many, many years. The Radio Flyer Wagon is the most familiar of the vintage pull toy wagons, and the company is still going strong and selling toy wagons; however, the Radio flyer Wagon was not the first toy wagon. While there seems to be only a small amount of precise information on other brands of vintage toy wagons, there are some fascinating facts that are known about the history of pull toy wagons.

The first Known Toy Wagons

Even though the very first toy wagons are not known, the pull toy wagon definitely dates back to long ago. Miniature wheeled pull toy carts are a common find in the ancient tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. An even more interesting fact is toy wagons have been found in the burial grounds of Native Americans; Indians did not make or use wagons.

History of The Vintage Pull Toy Wagon

Vintage toy wagons are thought to have been first introduced for sale in the 1880s, and the most famous wagon was the No. 4 Liberty Coaster introduced in 1923. A skilled craftsman by the name of Antonio Pasin handcrafted it entirely of wood. Dead end jobs had forced Pasin to leave Venice and he soon ended up in Chicago 1n 1917 where he saved up money and began his own business. Pasin worked at night building wagons and sold them during the day. It was at this point that he made and sold the first toy wagons at his Liberty Coaster Company that would later become the Radio Steel Company; where the steel Radio Flyer Wagon was born.

The Design of The Pull Toy Wagon

The simple appearance and design of the pull toy wagon has pretty much stayed the same throughout the years; the main structure and appearance consisted of a toy with four wheels, a core body section and a steering handle, and it still to this day consists of a main body portion, an undercarriage, wheels and a steering handle. The bed of the pull toy wagon is usually rectangular, has a flat bottom with walls or sides, and the height varies in all modern and vintage toy wagons.

After all these years, it is safe to say that the toy wagon is here to stay. The vintage toy wagon was a favorite toy for children years ago, and it continues to be today. There are now many brands of pull toy wagons, but the Radio Flyer Wagon is still one of the most popular.

References

Encyclopedia.com: Toy Wagon

Antique-Antiques: Antique Toy Wagons

Copyright Bambi Hokanson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Expense of Funerals Driving People to Cremation, Natural Burial

Nov 28, 2010 Velma Southerland

Glasnevin Cemetery Is a Traditional Burial Site - Photo Courtesy of infomatique William Murphy

Glasnevin Cemetery Is a Traditional Burial Site - Photo Courtesy of infomatique William Murphy

In the United States, burial in consecrated ground has long been the "proper" way for grieving family members to care for their loved ones' final remains.

As the world moves further into the 21st century, though, Americans are looking at a final resting place for family members in a different way for several reasons.

Traditional Burial Is Expensive

The positive benefits of the traditional burial are that tradition is often not just comforting but conforms to a loved one's spiritual beliefs; people have a location to visit to commune with their loved one if they desire; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and beyond can be taken to family burial grounds and feel a connection that is lost with cremation and the scattering of cremains.

The negatives of burial are often the exorbitant cost of traditional services that are in the neighborhood of $10,000 plus the burial plot.

People who have had the foresight to arrange a prepaid funeral have helped their families enormously, because many, many families simply can't afford to spend the money a traditional funeral now costs.

In addition, as people now move away from their family homes and live far away, the process of returning a body for burial is complicated and expensive.

Cremation Is Convenient -- In Some Ways

Cremation, which reduces a person to about five pounds of ash, relieves several of the problems of modern burial.

Cremation is certainly less expensive.

If a person dies miles from where internment is to be, a body can be cremated then interred at a later, more convenient date.

In addition, cremation is now being hailed as the "green" or environmentally friendly way to dispose of the dead.

It is true that ground is saved and will not need to be maintained in perpetuity, but certain gases are emitted during the cremation process. Required technology to prevent the release of these gases is raising the cost of simple cremations.

Burial is so traditional, that visiting a loved on at a cemetery is meaningful to many people. With cremation, where Grandma and Grandpa are on someone's mantel or in a closet somewhere seems disrespectful Therefore, ashes are often scattered in a beautiful spot. This leaves nowhere to visit a loved one.

That depends on where the cremains were scattered. A friend solved that situation by having a very small granite stone engraved. She took the stone and tucked it under a rhododendron bush where she could locate it, but no one else would ever see it. So, on Memorial Day, she takes flowers to the mountain meadow where her husband's ashes were scattered. And, she locates the stone to be sure it is still there.

Donation To Science

When a person donates a body to science, all final expenses are eliminated, but the grieving is often made worse for the loved ones left behind. There is no remaining connection.

Sometimes there is not even a memorial service and no saying good-bye to a loved one.

However, whole body donation is often meaningful to the family because they feel that the loved one's organs and remains are continuing to help other people

In "Anatomical Gift whole Body Donation Guide," Regina Lee wrote, "No medical schools or state anatomical boards in the United States are permitted by law to purchase bodies from families or estates.

"Physical condition of the body, and not age, is the important factor in body donation. There is usually no upper age limit in donation of a human body to medical science.

Natural Burial

Natural burial , which started in the United Kingdom in 1993, is an eco-friendly burial that is a lesser known way to dispose of the dearly departed.

Because it is less expensive than a regular funeral home burial and it is truly "green" for the environmentally conscious, natural burial is gaining in popularity.

Plus, a "natural burial" means that families still have a grave site to visit.

"Natural burial" uses simple coffins that are biodegradable and allow the unembalmed body to return to dust.

Burial is in a "preserve" or "woodland" where families are encouraged to plant bushes or shrubs as markers. Engraved native stones can be placed. These natural preserves are few in number across the United States and often not conveniently located.

However, before a family gives up on a natural burial, check with local cemeteries. Some cemeteries do require a vault and offer one that is sometimes less expensive than those offered by funeral homes. Also, check with your own preferred cemetery to see just what its requirements are.

If burial is selected for a loved one, the family knows where a loved ones remains are. However, if cremation is chosen, then what?

Smart Cremation has started a campaign looking for the best places to scatter ashes.

The company is "hoping to collect enough suggestions so that people in every state will have a selection of choices,” said Jill Larson, vice president.

“Many Smart Cremation clients tell us all the time about the most unbelievable experiences they have had releasing ashes over beautiful areas in America. They experience a very peaceful sensation knowing that the person they loved is now resting in paradise.”

Isn't that the goal, regardless of the process the dearly departed or the family has chosen?

But the time to prepare and check costs is before a death, even while everyone is healthy. Then, costly decisions don't have to be made in the middle of grief.

Copyright Velma Southerland. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

  • Glasnevin Cemetery Is a Traditional Burial Site - Photo Courtesy of infomatique William Murphy

    Glasnevin Cemetery Is a Traditional Burial Site - Photo Courtesy of infomatique William Murphy

  • Low Cost Cremations Store Ashes in Boxes - Photo Courtesy of Ben Sutherland

    Low Cost Cremations Store Ashes in Boxes - Photo Courtesy of Ben Sutherland

  • Oakfield Wood in England Is a Woodland Burial Park - Photo Courtesy Glyn Baker

    Oakfield Wood in England Is a Woodland Burial Park - Photo Courtesy Glyn Baker

  • Wicker Is One Material Used in Natural Burials - Photo Courtesy jaydoubleyougee Justin Garland

    Wicker Is One Material Used in Natural Burials - Photo Courtesy jaydoubleyougee Justin Garland

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ASM (American Sales Network) Scam Alert

Nov 28, 2010 Katherine Franson

ASM advertises itself in online classifieds as a headhunting and recruitment organization. With claims of many jobs available in "your" area among other claims, this company has scammed many consumers out of a large amount of money. ASM is located in Los Angeles, CA, and this article will include eye-witness testimonies from former telemarketers of the same company.

ASM Charges Outrageous FeesOne of the first red flags is that, although ASM is represented as a headhunting and recruitment company, it charges the job seekers fees instead of charging the companies these job seekers could be placed with. Every reputable recruitment agency charges the companies they recruit for. They do not charge the employees they recruit.

Right off the bat, they as for a fee of $27 +sh for materials and registration to their job listings. What they gloss over in their telemarketing script is that not only will you be charged the initial fee of $27, you will also be charged for a "training book" in order to take a test to put you in a priority position to be seen by employers. Altogether, the first initial fee comes to approximately $100, most of which they will not inform you of during your registration phone call. The book you will receive is full of general common sense knowledge in sales and the "test" you take will not do anything to help you get a job. There will be more on the "jobs" available later in the article. On top of the initial fees, they also gloss over the fact that you will be charged $20 a month in order to have access to these job listings.

On the plus side, they do have a refund policy. However, be warned that once you are signed up, you may have an incredibly difficult time getting anyone to speak with you until their "30 money back guarantee" is over.

The "Job Listings" OverviewOne of the biggest scams ASM is guilty of are the "jobs" they provide in their listings. Their classfieds are pulled straight from the top ranking job search engines they advertise on themselves. Essentially, the consumer is being charged for a service they can use for free elsewhere. Also, the "test" you have the "opportunity" to pay for in order to put you in a position of priority does not actually do anything to help you in your paid search for gainful employment. You are much better off doing your own search in the classifieds and most likely finding a much better position without paying a penny.

Some of the Finer Points of the Scam

  • The have high claims of providing the consumer with interviews in the first week of registration, however no legitimate recruiting company will make any promises so grand.
  • They do not ask for a resume, thus making the first point even more of a farce.
  • They claim to provide constant contact via phone and e-mail. However, most reviewers will say otherwise. Most notable is that they will only contact you to ensure that they have your credit card number correct in the system in order to charge you their fees.
  • NO REPUTABLE COMPANY will ask for fees for employment with the exception of business start up fees such as Avon, Scentsy, etc. In that case you are charged for an actual product.
  • Their fast talking, scripted telemarketers will talk the consumer in circles without actually answering questions directly. They have even been known to hang up the phone when it is pointed out that it is a scam during their sales pitch.
  • There are many posts on various scam watch message boards from "anonymous" from "Los Angeles" claiming that ASM has a minimum of a "B" rating with the BBB when in fact they have a rating of "F" due to massive consumer complaints against the company for their fraudulent business practices.

Testimonials from Irate Consumers

"Do not sign up for this service! It is the biggest waste of your money. I originally found them through monster or careerbuilder. They claim they can place you in the best pharmaceutical, marketing, and sales positions. It's true that every few weeks they send you an email with possible job matches for you, but the job matches are almost always identical to the ones that monster and careerbuilder send weekly. You are basically paying a monthly fee for what you can get through monster and careerbuilder for FREE."

http://www.ripoffreport.com/Employment-Services/American-Sales-Netwo/american-sales-network-asn-d-z2f33.htm

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/american-sales-network-asn-c368325.html

"When I first began, I paid it thinking it would be an investment. Then they set you up with a website where you spend hours filling out questions that you THINK future employers will see (but they wont...), and then you wait for them to call you with job opportunities. Seeing as they get paid monthly rather than only if they get you a job (like REAL recruiters) do you think they are going to hurry up and find what you are looking for? NOOOOO NOT AT ALL! I promise you this is a scam. Run as fast as you can when you see this name. It looks so professional, and the website is even a bit impressive... but thats ALL it is"

There are many other testimonials and reviews from other scammed consumers on many scam postings and even under reviews and comments on sites such as Monster and CareerBuilders on the ASM job posting itself. Use Google to search for more scam reviews of this less than reputable company. Remember, when looking for work, always do your research and do not pay to get paid. Do not allow yourself to be scammed by sites such as ASM.

Copyright Katherine Franson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Cyber Week Holiday Gift Online Deals

Nov 28, 2010 Amy Wingfield

Cyber Week Online Shopping Dealsee - renjith krishnan

Cyber Week Online Shopping Dealsee - renjith krishnan

Shopping for Christmas gifts can be fun, but are the Black Friday deals really worth the stress, frustration and madness? Stay home. Brew up a pot of coffee and get cozy. Shop all day from the comforts of home and the power of the web. Retailers are learning, many will hit the stores early Friday morning, but many more will decide to just shop online this year. Starting Thanksgiving Day and continuing through most of December, retailers will offer major Cyber Sales

Cyber Monday Deals Online

Computer based retailers and traditional chain retailers have been listing Black Friday ads, Cyber Monday ads and Cyber Week deals and incentives all over the web. Many offer free shipping. A few offer 0% interest for 6-36 months, depending on the store's policies and incentive programs. Many of these offers started at midnight Thanksgiving Day.

Amazon: This is the #1 search site on the internet for media, books, electronics, games, DVDs, Cds, and toys, Many items are being offered at 40%-50% off, and several items qualify for free shipping with a qualifying $25 purchase. This is a good place to start shopping for, cell phones, smart phones, iPods, iPhones, the Kindle, Nitendo DS, Xbox Kinect and PS3 games. Also, hard to find toys like Lego sets, American Girl and Our Generation Dolls, Squinkies and Sing - A- Ma-Jigs can easily be purchased on Amazon and shipped straight to the recipient. Some items can be gift wrapped too.

Walmart.com: Planning to buy a flat screen TV or computer monitor? Check out the online deals beginning Thanksgiving Day at Walmart.com. Hot deals are available for the iPad, Smart Phones, netbooks, Wii, Xbox 360 with Xbox Kinect, PS3 and digital cameras. Most of the items can be shipped to a customer's local Walmart store for free. Home delivery can be as low as $.97.

Online Shopping Deals

Some of the biggest sales will be in the form of electronics. No matter what is on the gift list this year, check out the major online websites first before heading out the door to the stores. Watch Ebay, Best Buy.com, Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com for the biggest online cyber sales and deals.

Look for deals on flat screen TVs, home game systems, smart phones, cell phones, Mp3 and Mp4 players, camcorders, digital cameras, iPads, iPods, iPhones and Kindle devices. For those consumers looking to buy the big ticket items, Best Buy offers one of the best financing programs. They are offering 0% financing to qualified buyers for 18-36 months depending upon the amount of purchase. Apply for credit at the time of purchase.

Online Shopping Options

Almost every store in America now has a website for online shopping. However, beware of shipping charges. Save gas money by staying home, but that savings may disappear after paying shipping charges from online retailers. Look for free shipping incentives. Retailers are desperate for sales. As the holidays get closer, more deals and bargains will be posted online. Sign up to follow weekly ads from favorite stores like Walmart, Target, Kmart, CVS and Walgreens, Amazon, Ebay and Best Buy. Check out incentive websites like Ebates and Swagbucks daily for even more discounts and deals on online.

Save Time and Money

Spend more quality time with the family this year. Avoid the holiday crowds and Black Friday madness. Shop from home and shop early. Many good deals can be found on Ebay, Amazon and Walmart.com year round. Consider Christmas shopping in October instead of waiting for "traditional" holiday shopping season. Shop online and get what they want without spending gas money. With free delivery options, online holiday shopping can be fun and easy. Pick, click and ship. Online shopping is quickly becoming the consumer's choice for fast and easy holiday shopping.

Copyright Amy Wingfield. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Birdbaths: Heated Bird baths Provide Water Year-Round

Nov 27, 2010 Bambi Hokanson

Winter birdbaths provide water for birds - my personal files

Winter birdbaths provide water for birds - my personal files

Birdbaths (also known as bird baths) are very popular for yards during the summer months, but heated bird baths can provide much needed water during the wintertime when streams, lakes and ponds are covered with ice. During the winter, birds are more attracted to water than food. Winter birdbaths, that provide a consistent level of water, supply winter birds with water when other water sources are not available.

Winter Birds Struggle Through Long Cold Months

When fall arrives, most winter birds begin preparing for the winter by banding together and forming flocks. This enhances their protection against predators and improves the chances of finding food and water. They also start changing their diet by searching for food that will be more available through the winter months.

Wintertime is particularly demanding for birds because of less daylight and lengthy, bitter nights. With the lack of warm, dry shelter to protect them from cold wind, rain, snow and ice, survival can be a real challenge. Additionally, the stress from little water, because of the frozen water sources such as ponds, lakes and streams, can be overwhelming for birds. Although winter birds can eat snow, the amount of energy it takes for their bodies to warm and melt the snow is tremendous.

Winter Birdbaths Aid in Survival

Not only are winter birdbaths among birds’ limited resources of water during the wintertime, but they also provide water for bathing. In order to clean and preen their feathers for flying, birds continue to bathe throughout the coldest days of the year.

Heated Bird Baths Keep Water From Freezing

To prevent water from freezing, heated bird baths are ideal during the cold months. It is equally important that the birdbath itself be made to withstand freezing temperatures, or it could possibly crack. Avoid birdbaths with deep walls, because freezing temperatures cause the sides to expand and break.

For those who keep unheated birdbaths up during the winter, ice should be broken and removed from the birdbath daily. This is important, because birds tend to go back regularly to the same places to find water. Heated bird baths can eliminate this chore by providing a consistent level of thawed water.

Because winter Birds are more attracted by water than by food, winter birdbaths are a nice way to keep birds visiting yards throughout the year. Heated bird baths really can provide much needed water for birds during the bitter cold time of the year, and in addition; bird watching can be enjoyed year-round.

Reference

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Backyard Wildlife and Sanctuary: Ponds and Birdbaths (assessed 11/27/10)

Wild Birds Unlimited: Winter Bird Feeding (assessed 11/27/10)

Copyright Bambi Hokanson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Most Commons Types of Identity Theft

Nov 27, 2010 Pamela Parker

Protect your credit information from thieves. - LaTunya Howard

Protect your credit information from thieves. - LaTunya Howard

Identity theft occurs when someone steals a person's financial and personal information to commit a fraudulent act. Shredding documents with private financial information and periodic reviews of credit reports are ways to reduce the occurrence of identity theft. Setting up alerts with banks and credit card companies when irregular activity is suspected with any accounts is another way to reduce the chances of identity fraud. For your own protection, it is imperative to be aware of the three most common types of identity theft.

Credit Identity Theft

Credit identity theft occurs when someone's credit or debit card is used for unauthorized purchases and cash withdrawals. Magnetic card readers, also known as skimming devices, copy the credit card numbers. Credit card skimming can occur when people pay at the gas pump in gas stations. Cashier clerks at restaurants are also able to quickly swipe a customer's credit card with a magnetic card reader.

Preventative measures include paying for purchases with a credit card only when the clerk is in front of you. Use cash to pay for items. Check credit card and debit card balances online or via the phone at least once or twice a week to ensure no unauthorized purchases have been made. Waiting until the monthly bill statement arrives allows any fraudulent activity to occur for a number of days or weeks without the cardholder's knowledge.

Social Security Identity Theft

Social security identity theft involves unauthorized use of someone's social security number to get a job, credit cards or to obtain a loan. Social security numbers can be retained from an old hard drive that was discarded, stolen mail, paperwork thrown in the trash, stolen credit cards, and by retrieving the information from an unsecured website.

Check your Social Security Statement to make sure the earnings and amount of benefits posted to your account are accurate. If bills are received for accounts that are not familiar, contact the respective companies to verify information regarding the account. File a complaint with the company if the account was opened without your authorization. File complaints with the credit bureaus Equifax, TransUnion and Experian regarding any unauthorized activity noted on your credit reports.

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft encompasses the unauthorized use of a person's name and insurance information to obtain medical treatment and prescription drugs. Medical identity theft can result in the filing of false health insurance claims, creation of false medical records, and collection activity for medical treatment that wasn't received. Medical information can be stolen by someone finding insurance paperwork that was carelessly discarded and not properly shredded. Fraudulent activity can also occur when someone pretends to be a health care provider representative and requests health insurance information over the phone or via email.

Ways to remain vigilant of health insurance information include requesting copies of medical records from health care providers, and reviewing statements from health insurance carriers of benefits paid throughout the year. It is also important to store health insurance cards and paperwork in a safe place. Contact the health care provider immediately to request that any discrepancies in your medical bills or records be corrected.

Being the victim of identity theft can be extremely inconvenient. The longer the identity theft continues without being noticed, the more expensive and time consuming it can be to resolve the situation. In terms of medical identity theft, your medical condition and treatment can end up being compromised if your medical records are incorrect. Remaining attentive and cautious at all times when divulging and discarding information is crucial in order to protect yourself.

Sources:

Federal Trade Commission, Identity Theft (accessed November 27, 2010).

Identity Theft Resource Center, Working to Resolve Identity Theft (accessed November 27, 2010).

Copyright Pamela Parker. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Tips for Black Friday Shopping

Nov 26, 2010 Val Blakely

shopping cart - Val Blakely

shopping cart - Val Blakely

How do you rack up on all the bargains that Black Friday can offer? Truth be known, you can't, unless you follow a few simple tips. But just as a word of caution, realize that you are only human, you can't be in several locations at once. You can however, enlist a partner (or two) in crime, allowing you to expand your reach. Still, you must realize that hundreds and even thousands of people want these same deals, so if you do not make it there quick enough, take your losses and move to the next item on your list. There is really no need to knock someone down, fight, be rude or likewise to anyone.

The Huddle

Before you and your crew enter a store, get your plan ready. Quickly decide who will go where and what each person will be looking for. If you have cell service inside the building, you can call one another, and communicate to each other about the items you run across that may not be on your list so everyone doesn't show up at the check out with the same things.

The Bargain

Be advised that hundreds and even thousands of people are seeking these same deals. Ask yourself before taking home a $10 pink guitar, do I really need this? Do you have someone on your list that can use this? If you have all boys, why grab a pink guitar that's not on your list simply because it is 75% off?

The Cart

Before you snatch up a cart, be advised that these sales do drive people in by the hundreds. Maneuvering a cart can be difficult, leave you in a traffic jam and slow you down tremendously. Having only one person with a cart can be to your advantage if there are multiple shoppers on your team. This also leaves one person more agile, mobile and free to move quickly around the store dropping items back by the cart carrier when necessary.

Safety

Safety should always be key, especially when shopping alone. If you can put your keys, cards and cash in your pockets, don't carry a purse. Though it may be a fashion don't, consider wearing a fanny pack for this one day or cargo pants with secure pockets. You might consider clipping your phone to your waistband during Black Friday shopping. Try to keep long hair pulled back so it doesn't fall down into your eyes, blocking your vision at any time. This could cause you to have an accidental fall or prevent you from seeing predators in park area. Keep close contact with family while out shopping. Sending occasional texts so someone knows where you are.

Have fun shoppers. Enjoy being out with everyone, even if it is 4 a.m. Be safe and help spread a little holiday cheer. A smile can be contagious.

Copyright Val Blakely. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Guaranteed Ways to Obtain a Free Credit Report Once a Year

Nov 25, 2010 Asa Ghaffar

Get Your Free Credit Report Once a Year - Image by hefty191

Get Your Free Credit Report Once a Year - Image by hefty191

Every U.S. citizen has a legal entitlement to a free credit report once a year from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Whether you decide to get them all at once or request one every 4-months, the choice is entirely yours. Just remember that each credit reference agency holds totally unique information.

Never work on the assumption that correcting the information held by Experian will resolve any issues with the data held by TransUnion or Equifax because it won't. After you've got your credit reports for free, carefully check what information is held about you.

Why we Need a Free Credit Report Once a Year from Experian, Equifax & TransUnion

Your free instant credit report enables you to identify any fraudulent attempts to obtain credit. If you don't recognize the source of a credit check, you're able to make further enquiries. It may be that your identification has got into the wrong hands and urgent action needs to be taken. More likely, the lender or issuer uses a different name or third party to credit check you.

A free credit history report also enables you to see any credit report errors. Many American citizens are surprised at how much inaccurate data's held about them. You're legally entitled to get these errors corrected personally or with the help of a credit repair attorney. For example, if you've filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you'll want to know why a credit agreement that was included in your bankruptcy agreement continues to show as active.

Before you apply for credit, you're able to correct any inaccuracies and maximize your chances of a successful mortgage, credit card or loan application. Lenders can't tell whether you have bad credit or bad data; the onus is firmly on you to remedy any mistakes. Always allow sufficient time for credit reference agencies to correct any issues as this won't happen overnight.

How to Obtain Your Totally Free Credit Report Online, by Post or by Phone

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has only authorized one company to provide your completely free credit report and that is AnnualCreditReport.com. be weary of any company who claims that they are also authorized by the FTC because they won't be. Depending upon your personal preference, you can order your free credit report once a year in one of three ways:

  • Visit AnnualCreditReport.com and make your request online.
  • Telephone (877) 322-8228.
  • There's a form at the back of the annual credit report request brochure. Just complete and send it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Obtaining Your Free Instant Credit Report & Credit Score Online

Most people are dismayed to discover that, although they're entitled a free credit report once a year, they cannot see their credit score for free. The Fair Credit Reporting Act makes no provision for providing you with a free credit score which can be a potential issue if you're planning to apply for credit in the near future.

However, once you've got your free credit history report, there's nothing to stop you from signing-up to a 7-day trial offer. You can then see your credit score and cancel the trial before it comes to an end. That way your credit card won't be billed and you've got the information you need.

Sources

"Your access to free credit reports." Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Copyright Asa Ghaffar. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

  • Get Your Free Credit Report Once a Year - Image by hefty191

    Get Your Free Credit Report Once a Year - Image by hefty191

  • Apply for a Free Instant Credit Report - Image by marydawn_md

    Apply for a Free Instant Credit Report - Image by marydawn_md

  • Credit Reports for Free Online - Image by dharma-putra

    Credit Reports for Free Online - Image by dharma-putra

  • Order Your Free Credit History Report - Image by realestateadvocate

    Order Your Free Credit History Report - Image by realestateadvocate

  • Totally Free Credit Report - Image by projectreadyhartford

    Totally Free Credit Report - Image by projectreadyhartford

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Microwave Consumer Reviews: Counter Top & Over Range Microwaves

Nov 24, 2010 Bernard P. Nelson

Cheap Microwave Oven - hisks

Cheap Microwave Oven - hisks

Three “Best’ countertop microwaves and two “Best” over the range microwave ovens were reviewed on the ConsumerSearch (CS) website:

  • GE Counter Top Profile JES2251SJ.
  • Panasonic Counter Top NN-SD688S.
  • Sharp Counter Top R-230KW.
  • GE Profile Over the Range JVM1790WK.
  • Samsung Over the Range ASMH9187ST.

ConsumerSearch claims "...at no point are our editors influenced by advertising or other commercial considerations." The organization investigates and recommends a variety of products. The company, a service of About dot com, provides on-line product ratings and reviews.

Panasonic Counter Top Microwave Oven Consumer Review

The Panasonic NN-SD688S (est. $140) counter top microwave oven was designated “Best Mid-Sized Countertop Microwave” by CS. The model comes with inverter technology providing uninterrupted power as opposed to other microwaves whose cooking cycles between heat and no heat.

The 1.2 cubic foot NN-SD688S model is “stylish...[the] stainless-steel design earns high marks.” The model has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval which extends the two year warranty an extra year. The magnetron tube has a five year warranty.

The Panasonic NN-SD688S “...earns high marks from several professional reviewers” states CS. Their longer review lists the Panasonic’s “pros:”

  • Defrosting is excellent. Sensor to prevent overcooking. Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Stainless design is stylish.

The CS longer review lists the Panasonic’s “cons:”

  • The model is noisy. When door is opened (during cooking only) light doesn’t come on. Display is not easy to read.

The Amazon website has 34 owner reviews giving the Panasonic NN-SD688S 4.1 out of five stars:

  • 17 owners gave the model 5 stars. 11 gave 4 stars. 2 gave 3 stars. 1 gave 2 stars. 3 gave 1 star.

Amazon lists the NN-SD688S “Product Features:”

  • 1300 watt with 1-1/5 cubic feet. Screen is multilingual with button control panel and “pop-out dial.”
  • Inverter technology with 10 power selections.
  • Popcorn button.
  • Delay start timer.
  • Quick minute increase or reduction of cooking control.
  • One year limited warranty.

GE Consumer Counter Top Microwave Oven Reviews

The GE Profile JES2251SJ (Est. $225) was designated “Best Full-Size Countertop Microwave” by CS. The inverter model has 2.2 cubic feet of space and a 16 inch turntable. The GE Profile comes with attractive features including adjustment for humidity levels. The only “con” mentioned in the CS review is some owners report breakdowns after two years of use.

The GE Profile JVM1790 WK (est. $500) was designated “Best Over-the-Range Microwave Oven” by CS in their mini review. Owners generally praise the model featuring a convection oven mode for improving baking and roasting food. The model has 1.7 cubic feet of space and a 13.6 inch turntable.

Sharp Counter Top Microwave Oven Consumer Review

The Sharp R-230KW (est. $75) was designated “Best Compact Microwave” by CS. The model provides 0.8 cubic foot space with a 10.75 inch turntable. Owners report the model works good, and most reviews state the R-230KW does a good job of cooking and is “easy to use.” The model comes with a touch pad display and defrost feature.

The Samsung SMH9187ST (est. $260) was designated “Best Budget Over-the-Range Microwave” by CS. The stainless steel model provides 1.8 cubic feet of space with a 14-inch turntable. The microwave does not have inverter or convection features, but owners report the SMH9187ST does a good job of cooking. Reviewers applaud the “powerful venting system” keeping smoke and heat away from the range.

The ConsumerSearch mini reviews web page provides additional information about each of the four CS "Best” microwave ovens. The mini reviews page provides links to longer CS “Our Analysis” reviews of the same microwaves and provides additional links to outside sources reviewing the same models.

Sources:

Microwave Reviews, ConsumerSearch, Mini Reviews, “Microwaves: Reviews,” March, 2010.

Panasonic Microwave Review, ConsumerSearch, “Our Analysis” Review, “Panasonic NN-SD688S: Best Mid-sized Countertop Microwave,” March, 2010.

Amazon Microwave Owner Reviews, “Panasonic Prestige NN-SD688S, 1.2cuft 1300 Watt Sensor Microwave Oven, Stainless Steel by Panasonic,” Owner Reviews Dated.

Copyright Bernard P. Nelson. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Car Buying Tips: How to Buy a Car From a New Car Dealer

Nov 24, 2010 Jennifer Silva

Try these tips for buying a car to save money - ralev com

Try these tips for buying a car to save money - ralev com

Buying a car can (and should) be a fun, informative experience. Unfortunately, it's also often a needlessly stressful and overly expensive one. Use these tips to protect yourself and get the best deal possible.

What's the best way to keep yourself from being taken advantage of at a dealership?

The number one way to keep yourself from being taken advantage of is to do your research before you go to the dealership. Things you should do include:

  • Learn everything you can about the car/cars you're interested in. Not only do you want to learn everything about the particular model that you think you want to buy, but you also want to have some "back pocket info" for other makes and models, particularly competitors in the same class. This information can come in handy when sales people try to convince you that a particular feature is class or model exclusive and it's really not. Reviews and consumer reports are great for learning about cars.
  • Check online for invoice prices, lowest prices and factory rebates. When it comes to getting a fair price on a car, knowledge is definitely power. Before going to the dealerships, make sure you've researched local prices, know invoice prices (so that you can know what's a fair price for a vehicle and what's inflated),and know what factory rebates are available. This will give you a better idea of how much "wiggle room" is available when it comes to negotiations.
  • Call multiple dealerships and ask about current rebates. If a dealership is particularly desperate to move vehicles they'll often tack on extra incentives and rebates beyond those offered by the factory, especially at the end of the year.

When is the best time to buy a car?

There are certain times of the day, week and month when you're more likely to get a good deal. The best times to shop for a new car are:

  • Near the end of the year. Factories often offer substantial year-end model discounts starting in the fall. And because dealers are eager to move last year's models off the lot and make room for the newest models (where there's a higher profit margin), they'll often sweeten the deal with additional dealer discounts.
  • The last (or second to last) day of month. Dealers are always looking to make deals at the end of the month, when they're about to post their numbers. You'll often get a better deal at the end of the month than you will at the beginning, when the dealership and sales consultant are less desperate for a sale.
  • Middle of the day during the week. When demand is high, it's hard to get a deal. That's why midday weekday shopping is best. Most dealerships are ghost towns at these times and sales people are eager to make every walk-in count.

What is the best way to negotiate for a car?

When it comes to car negotiations, there are three things you want to remember:

  • If you're paying in cash, don't let them know that until you've settled on a price.
  • If you're using a trade-in, try not to let them know that until you've settled on a price.
  • Don't negotiate on monthly payments, no matter how often the dealership tries to steer the negotiation that way. Negotiate on final price and interest rate so that the dealership can't cloak a high final cost in a low monthly payment. And remember, the sooner you can pay off your loan, the less the car will cost you.

Questions to ask when buying a car

Ask lots of questions. If you've done your research, you should know the car you want inside and out so you should have plenty of material to work with. Most sales consultants don't know nearly as much about their cars as they want you to believe, so you want to use that to your advantage. By asking lots of detailed questions, you're building value in yourself and arming yourself with potential objections for when negotiation time comes.

What is the Road to the Sale?

Just about every car dealer on the planet is taught to sell using a sales technique called "the Road to the Sale." In addition to being a tool for building value in the dealership and quickly moving a sale to close, the road to the sale is a psychological tool meant to discover and counter your objections before you voice them.

By uncovering what your needs, price range and likes are, the sales consultant is not only finding a car you'll want to buy, they're also creating a situation that makes it harder for you to say no (because you've already, at some point, voiced a need that the car fulfills and you'll feel emotionally obligated to stick to what you've said). There's really nothing inherently unethical about the Road to the Sale but it's still important to know that you're on it so that you don't confuse sales pitch with friendship.

5 Tips to Get the Best Deal on a Car

In summary, the best five things you can do to get a good deal on a car are:

  1. Do your research.
  2. Time it right.
  3. Negotiate the right way.
  4. Ask lots of questions.
  5. Know the Road to the Sale.

Further Reading

Car Sales: The Road to the Sale

TLE101

Copyright Jennifer Silva. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

  • Try these tips for buying a car to save money - ralev com

    Try these tips for buying a car to save money - ralev com

  • Car shopping should be fun - packthecoo

    Car shopping should be fun - packthecoo

  • Know the road to the sale - thiagofest

    Know the road to the sale - thiagofest

  • Learn how to negotiate for a new car - clix

    Learn how to negotiate for a new car - clix

  • Ask questions to save money when car buying - flaivoloka

    Ask questions to save money when car buying - flaivoloka

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Stores are Open on Thanksgiving Day for Last Minute Shoppers

altNewsPage

Published Nov 25, 2010

What Stores are Open on Thanksgiving Day for 2010?
Photo by ControltheWeb, Creative Commons

What stores are open on Thanksgiving? Keep this list handy if you need to run to the store to get something you forgot or want pre-Black Friday deals.

Although most people think of Thanksgiving as a day to spend visiting family, a few stores will be open for business on November 25, 2010. Thanksgiving travelers might need to grab some groceries along the way, and some of these stores are offering Black Friday shopping deals early for people who are willing to forgo football and shop instead.

Walmart is Open Thanksgiving Day

Almost every Thanksgiving traveler will eventually pass by a Walmart store, which is handy because Walmart will be open for Thanksgiving. Unless local laws prevent them from having extreme holiday hours, Walmart will stay open in part to prevent Black Friday shopping frenzies from causing accidents. On November 11, 2009 ABC news reported that Walmart stores would be staying open longer, starting on "Thanksgiving morning and remain open through Friday evening, rather than closing Thanksgiving evening, and reopening early on Black Friday." Read more about Walmart's Black Friday shopping deals for information on what they have planned this week.

Sears Opens for the First Time on Thanksgiving

Sears will have more limited hours than Walmart, but the store will also be open on Thanksgiving. In areas where Sears is allowed to be open, their store hours will be from 7 until noon. Sandra Guy of the Chicago Sun Times points out how unusual it is for the retailer to be open, saying that "Sears will open on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in its 124-year history." Sears will also have some Black Friday specials while they are open. Sears has some great Black Friday electronics deals this year.

Old Navy Starts Gobblepalooza on Thanksgiving

Old Navy will be open on Thanksgiving, so if your weather report turns colder than expected while you are traveling, you can hop over to Old Navy to get some cute sweaters to wear during all the family Thanksgiving pictures.

Old Navy started a site just for their Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, but be warned: turn the volume down on your computer before you open the Gobblepalooza site. From there, you can look up store hours and find out what shopping deals are available at your local Old Navy store.

Kmart Starts Black Friday on Thanksgiving

I4U News is reporting that Kmart stores will be open from 6 am to 9 pm on Thanksgiving. They will also have some Black Friday deals for sale. Like Walmart, most Kmarts have some groceries and drugstore types of items, which could be handy for people who have last minute guests arrive or people who need to grab a few quick ingredients.

Now that stores are starting to stay open on Thanksgiving, it changes the holiday a little bit from a traditionally family day. Instead of having to plan everything in advance, you can run to the store to pick up a few forgotten items. Open stores are more convenient for shoppers, but whoever is working will have to be away from their families on a very family-oriented holiday.

Sources

"Kmart Thanksgiving Day Deals Unveiled" was written by Luigi Lugmayr for I4U News. The article was published on November 16, 2010.

"New Safety Rules for Black Friday Crowds" was written by ABC staff and published by ABC on November 11, 2009.

"Sears to be open Thanksgiving for First Time" was written by Sandra Guy for the Chicago Sun Times on November 9, 2010.

Copyright Alex Sharp. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Search for Missing Royalties Funds: Musicians, Actors and Writers

Nov 23, 2010 Sylvia Cruz

Unclaimed Royalty for Recording Artists - Alvimann at Morgue File

Unclaimed Royalty for Recording Artists - Alvimann at Morgue File

Royalties are monies owned to the original creators or heirs of literary, visual, digital and art work. The work is generally copyrighted or licensed by the owners and fees are paid based on each time the work is sold or distributed. Fees and royalty payments are negotiated in contracts or agreements.

Royalties for musicians, producers, performers, writers and heirs may go unclaimed due to change of address, error in record keeping, change in company’s ownership or owners’ death. Generally, unclaimed monies get turned over from financial institutions to state’s governments. However, royalty funds can be located at guilds and unions representing musicians, actors and writers and at recording companies.

Missing Money from Royalties – What are they?

Uncollected royalty payments come from various sources and are owned to different artists, authors and their heirs. For example, music royalties may be owned to a singer who recorded a song in the past. The contract between the singer and the recording company may have stipulated for fixed royalties income over time. This also includes digital streaming recordings on internet and satellite radio.

An individual may have contributed an idea for a book, movie or documentary using a licensing agreement. This agreement may have given the owner of the idea rights to collect royalties in exchange for its use. Other examples include movie actors, authors of books and other written material and movie producers.

Find Unclaimed Royalty Money at Recording Companies

Major recording companies maintain online databases of uncollected royalty monies. These funds may come from undeliverable and returned mails by the Post Office. Funds may also be attributable to errors in bookkeeping. Some companies keep the unclaimed royalty owners names on a database online. Examples of recording companies that maintain missing money online databases include; EMI Music, Capitol Records, Warner Chappell Music and Sony/ATV Music.

Recording businesses that do not provide online data for unclaimed royalties may be contacted via their Accounting or Bookkeeping departments. These departments can assist royalty owners in doing the research for uncollected payments and with questions about their accounts.

Look for Uncollected Royalty Income at Guilds and Unions

The Screen Actors Guild, SAG, holds residuals gone unclaimed by actors and their heirs. The guild’s website at sag.org can be searched by name to locate missing residual and royalty monies. Most of the unclaimed funds belong to guild’s members who can’t be located with the address on record or to their heirs.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFTRA, is a non profit union representing artists and authors. The organization has unclaimed royalty monies for some its members. The website ahra.org has information on unclaimed checks and how to claim royalties for individuals on the database.

Find Unclaimed Residuals Money at SoundExchange.com

Sound Exchange is the organization that gathers digital performance royalties for distribution to owners. Royalties sources include digital music channels, internet and satellite radio for streaming sound recordings. Beneficiaries include independent and prominent artists, music labels and heirs. Recording artists need to register with Sound Exchange to file and receive the unclaimed royalties. There is no charge for registration service.

Other Unclaimed Money Articles

Copyright Sylvia Cruz. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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New Credit Card Interest Rate Law Loophole Benefits Companies

Nov 24, 2010 Carmen Sofia Grant

Variable Rate Cards are Not Protected by new Law - Rotorhead

Variable Rate Cards are Not Protected by new Law - Rotorhead

Credit card issuers will not be allowed to increase interest rates on credit cards without permission. If they want to increase the rate on a credit card rate, they have to give 45 days notice. At that time, if the cardholder chooses not to deny the increase, then the account will be closed. This new law was intended to provide extra protection for consumers, but credit card issuers are good at attempting to make back revenue.

Variable Rate Cards are not Protected by the new Credit Card Laws

One way that credit card companies are finding ways to keep revenue coming in is by changing fixed rate cards to variable rate cards, or by only offering variable rate cards. There is no protection under the new CARD act of 2009 for cards with variable rates. Variable rate cards are exempt from the new law, and card issuers have been quick to use this loophole to their advantage. Most cards are now variable rate cards, since card issuers know that they will be exempt from the new law. Pay attention when opening a new account and make sure that it is not pegged to a fluctuating rate, like the prime rate, which is the most common.

Advance Notice for Increasing Credit Card Rates

If a card issuer decides to increase the credit card rate, the cardholder has 45 days to decide whether or not to accept. If the cardholder says no, then the company will cancel the card and the person will have 5 years to pay off the balance. However, putting a time limit on the debt will increase the monthly minimum, sometimes by two to three times the original payment. This is because the cardholders take the total debt owed and divide it by 60 months (or 5 years). For some people it might make more sense to accept a rate hike and then power pay the balance at a later date when higher payments can be tackled better.

Increasing Rates Might not be Permanent

If a card holder cannot afford to have the card canceled, and has to accept the rate hike, they are not completely out of options. They can call back 6 months after the increase and ask them to lower it. Credit card companies will listen sometimes, especially if cardholder has been on time with payments and just happened to be late on one six months back, for example.

Always remember that there are options when dealing with credit, and they should be weighed wisely before making any decisions with credit cards.

TLE101


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Where to Buy Toys and Video Games Online

Nov 23, 2010 Janis Masyk-Jackson

Buying Toys Online - chelle

Buying Toys Online - chelle

Buying toys online is a quick and easy way to purchase toys without having to go through the hassle of shopping at malls and waiting in long lines. Some of the most popular online sites to purchase toys are Toys "R" Us, Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon. However, there are numerous other sites to consider.

Buying Toys Online

FAO Schwarz's website offers classic toys like train sets, dolls, games and stuffed animals. In addition they have several exclusive gifts including FAO Schwarz Oceans Play Mat for $54.99, the FAO Classic Rocking Horse selling for $59.99 and the FAO Schwarz boxing set for $29.99. For people who know little girls who love fairies, be sure to check out their exclusive collection of Birthstone Fairy Dolls.

Fans of Legos and Star Wars can find great gifts from Starwars.lego.com. The site features several Legos kits which are sure to entertain Star Wars fans of any age. Some kits on the site include:

  • Plo Koon's Jedi Starfighter
  • Venator-class Republic Attack Cruiser
  • Cad Bane's Speeder

What little girl doesn't adore dolls? The online site of Americangirl.com is dedicated to girls and offers dolls and a wide assortment of accessories. What's really unique about this site is that it provides matching girl and doll pajamas.

Purchase Toys Online

Looking for educational toys online? At Leapfrog.com, educational systems can be purchased along with audio books that are suitable for different age ranges. These can provide children with hours and hours of fun, while being educational at the same time.

At Youngexplorers.com, shoppers can find many award-winning toys. Kids will delight with the Star Rocket Kit for $29.95. Babies and toddlers will love the Elephant Musical Stack and Play for $29.95. Boys can have fun with the Zoom Zoom Garage at the cost $69.95, while girls can get creative with the Make Your Own Cards Kit being sold for $21.95.

More great toys and games can be found out FatBraintoys.com. Be sure to take a look at Dado Cubes which sell for $26.95. The site features many games including memory games, board games and DVD games such as Planet Earth DVD Game Tin with Card Pack offered at $24.95.

Buy Video Games Online

Looking to find out where to buy video games online? For starters, there's Gamestop.com. Gamestop sells a variety of game systems along with games for Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS2, DS and PSP. Games purchased can be new or pre-owned.

Looking for cheap toys online? Check out Atari.com. Go retro with the Atari Flashback 2+ game console for only $39.99. This system has 40 games built into the console including:

  • Centipede
  • Haunted House
  • Combat
  • Missile Command
  • Super Football

No matter what type of toy or game someone is looking for, there are numerous online sites where shoppers can find online toy stores featuring anything from cheap toys, to educational toys, to classic toys and video games.

Readers may also enjoy The Best Gift Ideas For 6- to 8-Year-Old Girls, along with The Best Gift Ideas for 4 - to 6 -Year-Old Boys, and The Best Gift Ideas for 1- to 3- Year-Old Girls.


  • Buying Toys Online - chelle

    Buying Toys Online - chelle

  • Online Toy Shop - seemann

    Online Toy Shop - seemann

  • Lego Star Wars Toys - ppdigital

    Lego Star Wars Toys - ppdigital

  • Educational Toys Online - duboix

    Educational Toys Online - duboix

  • Buy Dolls Online - wax115

    Buy Dolls Online - wax115

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black Friday ads in the Houston area

Nov 22, 2010 Kim Elliott

Black Friday - Cincy savers

Black Friday - Cincy savers

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we all know what that means, Black Friday is the very next day. Millions of shoppers will be running over each other fighting over the last $9 DVD player. If you are one of these people that are going out amongst the masses there will be plenty of places in Houston that will help you satisfy your Black Friday urges.

We start with Walmart. This place will be insane with people and deals. Walmart this year will be offering deals on everything, electronics, clothing, home essentials, pet supplies, toys, gardening products, shoes, groceries, movies, books, DVDs, video games, HDTVs, bedding and health and beauty products. Choose from hundreds of name brands including Apple, HP, Kodak, Sony, and Garmin. A few deals they are running is, a Philips 4GB MP3 Player - $29.00, Samsung Wi-Fi Blu-ray Disc Player BD-C6500 - $138.00, HP 15.6" Laptop w/Intel Celeron Processor, 3GB Memory, 250GB Hard Drive, Windows 7 - $298.00, and much more. Doors open at Midnight so get there early.

Target looks like Walmart's competitor this year. This years Black Friday deals start with toys, shoes, accessories, health and beauty products, furniture, video games, electronics, video games, books, movies, bedding, CDs, home decor, home appliances, and more. A few deals running are, Girls and Boys toddlers PJ's starting at $5.00, toys, Boost Mobile Non-Contract Phones - $39.99, Canon SX120 Digital Camera with 10X Optical Zoom, 10 Megapixels and 3"LDC Screen - $129.00. Doors open at 4:00am.

Old Navy will be having a doorbuster offer of a free Dance Central Kinect game for XBox 360 with any $25 purchase. Other great deals include, Boy's Arctic Hoodies - $15.00, Girl's Basic Tees - $5.00, Men's Long Sleeve Fashion Tops, $8.00, Women's Long-Sleeve Fashion Tops - $8.00. Doors open Midnight.

Hastings in Conroe you will be able to purchase books, CDs, video games, electronics and DVDs for great prices this Black Friday. Choose from name brands including Apple, Haier, Samsung, RCA, Memorex, Sony, Case Logic and more. Deals include, 30-50% off selected books, Sylvania 7" Notebook w/ Windows CE - $99.99, Apple 30GB Ipod Video - $99.99, Apple 30GB Ipod Video - $99.99. Doors open at midnight.

Best Buy will have great deal on everything in the store, you can purchase electronics, televisions, DVD players, Blu-ray players, MP3 players. home audio systems, car audio systems, computers, cameras, music, movies, software, games, video games, and home appliances. Deals include, Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth Headset - $49.99, Samsung 410G Cell Phone w/Free Bluetooth Headset - $39.99, Acer 20" G205HV Widescreen LCD Monitor - $89.99, Toshiba 15.6" Laptop w/AMD Turion II Dual-Core Mobile Processor, 3GB RAM and 320GB HD - $349.99. Doors open at 5:00am on Black Friday.

Toys R' Us has great deals on everything, puzzles, dolls, board games, video games, and game systems and much more. You can get 50% off on most everything in the store, including a Riptunes 2 GB, MP3 player for $15.99 marked down from $39.49, Barbie Fashion Fairytale, Flairy dolls gift set on sale for $18.49 marked down from $36.99 and a V-Tech learning laptop on sale for $14.99 marked down from $29.99. Toys R' Us opens at 10pm Thanksgiving night.

HAPPY SHOPPING!!

Copyright Kim Elliott. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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Health Canada Warnings: Amana Care Herbal and Arrow Brand Oil

Nov 22, 2010 Tamara Laschinsky

Health Canada warns consumers about banned items - Dave Johnson with permission

Health Canada warns consumers about banned items - Dave Johnson with permission

On November 22, 2010, Health Canada issued a warning to consumers that two products have somehow entered the Canadian market and consumers should not use them. It is believed the products entered Canada with a traveler or purchased online.

The two products consumers must be aware of are:

  1. Amana Care Seven Slim Herbal Capsules
  2. Arrow Brand Medicated Oil and Embrocation

Neither product is allowed to be sold in Canada due to serious health concerns and they have entered Canada illegally.

Amana Care Seven Slim Herbal Capsules for Weight Loss Banned in Canada

The alert started with the Israel Ministry of Health and concerns products made by Amana in Lebanon. Amana Care Seven Slim Herbal Capsules is marketed as a dietary supplement intended for weight loss.

The product contains:

  • Sibutramine which used to be used to treat obesity but is now illegal in Canada due to association of increase risk of cardiovascular side effects like heart attack and strokes.
  • Sildenafil is used to treat errectile dysfunction and should only be taken with under supervision of health care provider.

Side effects from these drugs are:

  • Heart attack/stroke
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Life-threatening if taken with nitrate drugs
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Facial flushing
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal vision
  • Hearing loss

Arrow Brand Medicated Oil and Embrocation for Cuts, Scrapes and Cold Remedy Banned in Canada

The U.S Food and Drug Administration warned that this product may be in Canada due to being brought in by travelers or purchased over the Internet. It's Spanish name is Aceite Medicinal La Flecha and may also be in Mandarin.

The product is made by Kwan Dong Tung Pak Tong Medicine Manufactory Ltd. (Hong Kong) and distributed by Casa El Oriental de Fermin Fong (Dominican Republic).

It is used to treat many illnesses like:

  • Cuts,burns, scrapes
  • Insect bites, sprains, dislocations
  • fainting fits, stiff muscles
  • headaches, coughs, colds
  • stomach-aches, cramping, toothaches
  • Claims to prevent influenza and contagious diseases

Package instructions say to take orally or use topically, but no dose recommendation is given.

The ingredients are potentially poisonous, especially for children. They can also be poisonous when applied to large areas of the skin or when heat is used to increase absorption.

  • Methyl salicylate is poisonous when ingested and not allowed for oral ingestion as per Canadian regulations.
  • Camphor is poisonous when ingested if in excess, especially for children
  • Eucalyptus oil is poisonous when ingested, especially for children

Side effects include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Burning sensation in mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Fatality

Health Canada warns consumers to avoid these products and ensure remaining product is no longer used. If consumers are concerned about their health from using these products, Health Canada recommends consumers consult their doctor.

Copyright Tamara Laschinsky. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

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