Why is it that when you walk into one store with your shopping list in hand you leave with exactly what you had in mind, and then at the very next store you have four extra items you had no intention of buying? It could be that you fell for the subtle tricks the second retailer had in store for you. It’s easy to fall for them too. Large numbers of shoppers do. These tactics are meant to relax, compliment, or disorient shoppers without them even know it’s happening to them. How do they do these things, you ask? Here are four of the main ways:


Buy two get the third free! 30% off! 60% off! 90% off! Well, it’s unlikely to get a 90% off deal, but one can dream. Shoppers LOVE a good deal, and stores take advantage by pricing items as such. If you are buying an item that is 2 for $5, you may be inclined to buy two of it so you can get the deal. Makes sense, right? More times than not, you still get a discount when you only buy the one. Now you are stuck with more of the item than you really need. Or sometimes you might see the two similar items side by side with one having a moderately lower price tag than the other, so you automatically think the lower priced item is a great deal. How could the employees place these two items so close together? They are just losing money that way? They’re not. It was a tactical move to buy one of the items, leaving you to buy another item you hadn’t planned on buying. When you see a good deal on an item, check out a comparison site such as Price Grabber to see if the cheaper item is as good a deal as it seems.


Recall the last time you were in a dressing room, looked it in the mirror, and said, “WOW! I look AMAZING!” Did you buy the outfit? If you did, you might have been slightly duped, not that you don’t look amazing all the time, anyways. Dressing rooms can have flattering lighting and mirrors that are designed to make you look up to ten pounds thinner. The mirror might also be stationed at an angle to give you a taller, more slender figure. Next time you are in a dressing room, judge more on how it feels than what the mirror shows.


If you’re driving to the mall and your favorite song makes a welcome surprise on the radio, you might be inclined to do an impromptu performance in your car, accompanied with belted notes, hand jives, and hair whips. You do all of this because the song makes you happy. Now, you’re not going to be busting a move when you’re shopping in public but if a song you like is played overhead while you are walking down the aisles, you are likely to be more relaxed and impulsively spend money. It also helps block the noisy sounds of the other shoppers so you are more relaxed. This is a tactic pulled quite a bit during the holiday shopping season, so if you hear songs about chestnuts roasting on the open fire, you better run.


If you go into a store to just buy one simple product, it might take you a trip to the opposite end of the store. If there was a direct path to any item, there would be less opportunities to tempt you with other products on the sides, or even directly in the middle, of the aisles. Also do not be tempted by the candy, soda and gum in the checkout line. That is where most shoppers do their impulse buying.

For more tricks that retailers use to make you spend more money, you can read the full article on US News & World Report.


Skimmers continue to be a prominent threat when it comes to fraud. They are still found in gas stations, ATMs, and like we have blogged about before, retailers such as Walmart. While we have mentioned to pay attention to potential skimmers in Walmart’s Ingenico iSC250 credit card terminals (also used by other retailers nationwide), we haven’t yet touched on the fact that swiping your card in one of these skimmers in the self-checkout lanes is not the only way that the cyber criminals can steal your card data and pin. Some skimmers have Bluetooth technology that can steal the information with just a smartphone.

As with a skimmer that does not have Bluetooth technology, the front of the skimmer looks like the regular cover of the Ingenico iSC250 terminal with the back having hidden electronics attached. That way, when installed on top of the genuine Ingenico iSC250 terminal, the thieves will have captured the data used when victims swipe their card through the reader. What makes the skimmers with Bluetooth technology built into them so dangerous, is that when the thieves connect their mobile phones to the Bluetooth in the skimmer, they can receive the card data and PIN pad presses on their phone within the 300 feet range that a Bluetooth device transmits to. That means the owner of the skimmer may be sitting outside in a parked car collecting the data of a hundred or so shoppers that swipe their card in the terminal.

One reason that scenario is unlikely however, is due to the fact that there would be too much consistent communication between the skimmer’s Bluetooth and the phone that the battery life is likely to drain quickly, lessening the amount of data they could steal. It is more likely for the thieves to store the information until later as they stay around the range of the device. As always, if you are in the self-checkout lane of a retailer and you see a card terminal that seems to have pieces which are larger than the rest of the terminal, refrain from using the device.

For more information on checkout skimmers and how to protect yourself from them, you can read the full article on KrebsOnSecurity.com.


4 Scarily Good Savings for Halloween

October 20th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Holiday - (0 Comments)

In less than two weeks there are going to be ghosts, goblins, witches, mummies, vampires, zombies, and probably a presidential candidate or two roaming the streets of your hometown. If you hear a knock at your door, you mustn’t fear, because the monsters are not real. They are just the adorable little children who live next door. Yes, Halloween is just around the corner, so if you haven’t had your accepted dose of candy corn for the month, you better hit a store quick! But just because the month of haunts is halfway over, doesn’t mean you don’t have enough time to get into the Halloween spirit if you haven’t already. There are still plenty of deals you can get on frighteningly fun items. Deals that can save you up to $50! Here are some of the best deals you can find before trick-or-treating starts up in full force:

Grave Grabber Doll

Store: Spirit Halloween

Discount: 25 percent off one item via code: “PIZZA16”, or up to $50 off via code “GET50”

Shipping: From $4.99, or free shipping on $100 via code “GET50”

Spirt Halloween is one of New England’s most recognizable Halloween stores, and for good reason. When you are shopping on their website, using the code listed above to buy one item gets you up to 25% off, even if it’s an item on sale. If you are buying multiple items, the second code will save you $10 on a $65 purchase, $20 off a $100 purchase, $30 off a $150 purchase, or $50 off a $200 purchase. What item would be most worth your money? You can’t go wrong with the genuinely scary Grave Grabber Doll.

Halloween Wreath

Store: Oriental Trading

Price: $6.98

Shipping: $6.99 shipping and handling

Lowest Price By: $2

This item is less on the creepy side and more on the classy side. This ghost filled wreath is a nice welcoming decoration for any Halloween soiree you will hold in the next couple of weeks.

Lightshow Projection Halloween Light

Store: Walmart

Price: $16.88

Shipping: In-store pickup, or $5.97 shipping and handling

Lowest Price By: $1

You can make your house the talk of the neighborhood by having a Halloween light show on your house after dusk. The machine projects LED lighted spiders and other multicolored Halloween creatures that will make even the most undead creature smile.

Morgue Wall Decoration

Store: Walmart

Price: $6.10

Shipping: In-store pickup, or $5.97 shipping and handling

Lowest Price By: $3

The most gruesome item on this list is the morgue wall decoration. Creep out your friends, family, and neighbors with this realistic 4×5 feet depiction of a morgue where some of the doors aren’t closed.

For more of the best deals you can get during the Halloween season, you can read the full article on MoneyTalksNews.com.


Long gone is the time when you were able to choose whether you wanted to update your computer to the latest monthly round of patches. Well, if an estimated 24 hours constitutes a long time gone. Yesterday, both Adobe and Microsoft issued updates that will fix critical security flaws in all of their products. Adobe fixed their Acrobat and Flash Player programs, while the patches for Microsoft will fix at least five problems called “zero-day” vulnerabilities. This means that the problems that Microsoft will be fixing with the update were dangerous due to cyber attackers already using these flaws to their advantage. They are flaws that even software developers have no idea about until the attacker(s) strike, which means they have “zero day” to fix the problem. The other major change is that once this patch is updated, there will no longer be the function that lets users choose which patches get installed.

Previously, reporter Brian Krebs advised users to not install .NET updates until all other patches that month were applied. It is due to.NET updates being large have been the cause of several problems when updating a large number of patches at once.

Nathan Mercer, a senior product Marketing manager at Microsoft, wrote this release explaining their reasons:

“Historically, we have released individual patches for these platforms, which allowed you to be selective with the updates you deployed. This resulted in fragmentation where different PCs could have a different set of updates installed leading to multiple potential problems:

  • Various combinations caused sync and dependency errors and lower update quality
  • Testing complexity increased for enterprises
  • Scan times increased
  • Finding and applying the right patches became challenging
  • Customers encountered issues where a patch was already released, but because it was in limited distribution it was hard to find and apply proactively

“By moving to a rollup model, we bring a more consistent and simplified servicing experience to Windows 7 SP1 and 8.1, so that all supported versions of Windows follow a similar update servicing model. The new rollup model gives you fewer updates to manage, greater predictability, and higher quality updates. The outcome increases Windows operating system reliability, by eliminating update fragmentation and providing more proactive patches for known issues. Getting and staying current will also be easier with only one rollup update required. Rollups enable you to bring your systems up to date with fewer updates, and will minimize administrative overhead to install a large number of updates.”

This patch policy is a little different for business customers. If you are a customer on the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows 8.1, you will be receiving monthly rollups which both security and reliability issues are fixed with a single update. The “Security-only updates” which is an option not given to home users will only give the security updates that were released that month. This causes users and enterprises to have to remove the entire bundle from their system if part of it does not work.

For those updating the Flash player, do it as soon as possible. If you use any browser other than Internet Explorer you have to update flash twice. One for IE and once for all other browsers.

For more information on the new Microsoft patches, you can read the full article on KrebsOnSecurity.com.


Think of the last time you went to a restaurant for dinner with some old friends and the night was filled with laughs, reminiscing, and a heart to heart or two. Now think of the moment when the bill came and the good times came to an abrupt end the second your waiter dropped the bill on the table. The light thud the check holder makes on the wood or plastic may as well be the sound of an atomic bomb. The people who were your friends only a few moments before have now become your enemies. Some will suggest splitting the bill. Some will want to pay for your own individual items, some will complain that you all should have told the waitress that you wanted separate checks in the first place. Some will have cash and some will have cards and then fighting if we should put the whole bill on one card or not. Some may try to sneak to the bathroom to avoid paying all together. Paying a bill can end friendships, relationships and more. Well, maybe not that bad, but they are still uncomfortable situations nonetheless. Ones that can be avoided. Here are awkward situations where a bill needs to be paid and how to pay it with the least stress possible:

First Date

It seems that it’s inscribed on our DNA at birth the knowledge that when a couple goes out the man has to pay. This unwritten social rule doesn’t hold water like it used to. The times have changed and it especially doesn’t work for same-sex couples. Instead of the man paying for every meal you have, let whoever did the inviting be the one who pays. If you get to Date 2, switch off on paying the bill.

Gas during A Road Trip

One thing that can dampen a road trip (besides rain, of course) is fighting on who’s paying at each gas station. Before your road trip starts, discuss on how you want to handle the gas situation. You can all agree to spit gas costs. Just make sure to keep all of the receipts. You can also settle it by having a rotation of who gets to pay every time you need gas.

Your Birthday at Your Favorite Restaurant With Friends

While it IS your birthday, you are also the one who is hosting the dinner which by etiquette standards means you are the one volunteering to pay for the bill. If you are staunchly against paying the bill or you don’t have the finances, then let that be clear to your friends before you invite them out.

Your Friend’s Birthday With Friends

Same with when it was your birthday, if you’re hosting you pick up the tab. If your friend invites you out to dinner for their birthday, then they will have the bill covered and you can sit back and enjoy the tasty free meal. If you’re hosting dinner for your friend, then make sure you have enough cash on you. Just don’t forget to enjoy your meal!

For more information on who pays the bill in certain situations, you can read the full article on US News & World Report.


4 Topics to Discuss Before You Get Married

September 29th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Marriage - (0 Comments)

Marriage, marriage, marriage. Could there BE any bigger commitment (cue Chandler Bing voice)? While marriage is a huge emotional commitment it can also be a huge financial one too. With such an enormous step in your life, it is essential for you and your partner to discuss some of the major financial decisions that you will inevitably face during your relationship. Here are some of the most important topics to discuss:

Credit Scores and Outstanding Debts

When searching for good mortgage rates, car loan deals, or any other borrowing perks, your credit score matters. By combining your life with your partner’s, you also combine your credit scores. It is beneficial for the both of you to know what your combined credit score will be so you know what to expect after the wedding. It is equally important to know what debts you both have outstanding because, like with everything else, what’s mine is yours…and what’s yours is mine. If you know what I mean.


Do you and your partner want children? A child comes with extra food, clothes, use of utilities, possibly college, etc. How many would you like? If it is difficult for you to have children, would you two consider adoption? If neither of you want children, would either of you be interested in surgery to ensure there will be no pregnancy? Make sure all of these questions and more are answered before saying your vows.


Vacations can be a lot more stressful than relaxing if you don’t discuss beforehand. Hopefully your honeymoon trip discussion happens with ease.  If you’re the woodsy type and your partner loves staying in hotels, that may cause a problem. Discuss with them and see if you can find trips that both of you would enjoy. You can also compromise and trade off vacations every year. Maybe one year you will be in a tent under the stars and the next year you will be soaking up the sun in a cabana near the beach with a drink in your hand.

Bank Accounts

A marriage is an even split of your entire lives. It’s a co-investment of…everything. This means finances are split down the middle as well. You need to have a talk with your partner to see if you are going to have one bank account, keep separate bank accounts, or do both. Your shared bank account can be used for saving and large purchases while your separate bank accounts can be used for fun. Settle all these arrangements before the wedding arrangements are ordered.

For more topics to discuss before heading to the altar, you can read the full article on huffingtonpost.com.


Getting older is certainly not easy, but with age comes knowledge and great experience. You’ve worked so hard in your career and raising families, and now it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy your golden years. To reward you for a job well done, there are several financial perks that come with being 65+ years YOUNG! Here are some things to take advantage of and ways save money along the way:

Community Services

Many communities are committed to offering services that will help senior citizens throughout retirement. Some cities and towns provide low-cost transportation to doctors’ appointments or grocery shopping. Also, the local senior center is a great place to make friends, exercise, learn, and have fun! You can also check out your town’s library which may have programs that might interest you.

Free College

Thousands of Millennials are learning the hard way the high cost of college. Luckily, that might not be a problem you have to face if you want to head back to school. Hundreds of public colleges and universities, as well as private ones, offer tuition waivers for senior citizens.  There are also opportunities to sit in and observe classes for free as long as there is space available. It’s never too late to learn something new so go on and hit the books!

Senior Discounts

Senior Discounts have come a long way since just getting 10 cents off a cup of coffee. You can save some serious cash on a plethora of goods and services. Next time you go out to dinner, attend a show, learn at a museum, or see a movie, ask if they can offer you a discount. A couple bucks here and there, every time you go out, really adds up quickly and can be used for a rainy day.

Travel Deals

If it’s not too late to start learning, it’s certainly not too late to start traveling. You can stay at hotels (sometimes even luxurious one), rent cars, and travel on Amtrak trains, Greyhound buses, and Southwest airline planes for reasonable discounts once you hit your sixties.

For more financial perks that come with getting older, you can read the full article on US NEWS & World Report.


Well, undergrads. You’ve finally gone back to school. Some of you have been counting down the days. Some of you have been a little hesitant. For some of you, this is the first year of college so it’s been both exhilarating and terrifying. You have a newfound independence that you have to adjust to. You can go where you want, when you want to but remember it’s not all fun and games. Sometimes, there’s laundry to do! Another thing you have to do yourself is budget your money. That’s more difficult than the hundreds of essays and projects you’ll do over the next 4 years. Edvisors.com states that 64% of college students have mismanaged their money and ran short on funds by the time summer rolled around. Luckily, there are many tricks to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. Here are ways to go through the school year properly managing your money:

Buying Old Textbooks

Buying your text books new from the college book store or Barnes & Noble is so 2010. There are several ways to buy them cheaper, possibly saving hundreds of dollars. You can buy your books on sites like Ebay and Amazon. You can rent your books on Chegg, Bookrenter, CampusBookRental, or even ask a friend from school to borrow theirs. The options are nearly endless.

Changing Meal Plan

Do you sleep in anytime you don’t have an 8:00am? We understand. It’s a luxury to not wake up early if you don’t have to. It’s also a luxury to have an all-you-can-eat meal plan. If you’re not a breakfast person (and your budget is getting tight) downgrade to a two-meals-a-day plan instead.


There are billons of scholarships. Billions. From writing an essay to even bowling. A little extensive research and you could be saving thousands for college.

Utilizing Student ID

This ID isn’t just made to take up space in your wallet and a nice little memento after graduation. This ID gives you access to library computers, printers, access to the shuttle, and excellent student discounts for restaurants, movie theaters, art galleries, and other fun activities in the surrounding area.

For more information how college students can manage their money, you can read the full article on US News & World Report.


You walk into a supermarket, list in hand, only going to buy trash bags, toilet paper, a couple notebooks for the kids, coffee, and some bread. You pick up your trash bags, you roll your cart down to the toiletries aisle where in the middle of the main aisle you see some pillows for $10 bucks. They look like they’re good quality and you need a new pillow so you toss it in the cart. You pick up some toilet paper. On your way to pick up some notebooks you see $15 slippers showcased right in front of yours eyes. You need new slippers right? And they look so comfy! You toss them in your cart. On your way to get coffee and bread you pass the $5 movie bin. When’s the last time you bought a movie? Are these movies on Netflix? Who cares! They’re 5 DOLLARS. You toss four of them in the cart. Finally when you’re at checkout you throw some gum and a bottle of iced tea since you’re waiting for your turn, they aren’t that much money, and they’re just right there next to you in line. What started as a strict list of things you needed to buy ended up costing you around an extra $50. Impulsive buying is a common problem with shoppers and can cause a decrease in monthly debt payments, maxing out credit cards, and many more problems. Here are ways to tackle those impulsive buying habits:

Stick to Your List

Easier said than done. Once you step through the automatic sliding doors and into the world of deals, steals, and buy two get one frees, you have to stay committed to the list. Do not buy one single item not previously written down. If you really needed that item, you would have put it on the list in the first place. If you are a weekly shopper keep the list on a prominent portion of the refrigerator and have yourself and the rest of your family add to the list once they are finished with an item. This list keeps your mind organized on what you want and what you need when you are shopping.

Use Cash

Simple solution. Sometimes difficult to implement. The next time you go out shopping do not bring your debit or credit card with you. When you have your card with you, you are more likely to go on a spending spree. If you have just enough cash for items you are going to buy, you physically cannot buy any extra items.

Go Alone

Your shopping experience can be a little more hectic when you have family and friends with you. Your kids may convince you to buy a toy they really, really, really, really, really need this very second, your relatives may be conversing with you which makes your mindlessly buy excess items, or you may be with a friend who likes to spend more money than they save and it rubs off on you when you’re with them. When you shop by yourself you can be far more clear-headed.

Don’t Buy Items You Can’t Return

If you keep your receipts, you cast a decently sized safety net after your shopping spree is over and you’ve realized that you may have made a mistake. You can just return the item and get your money back a day or two later. This doesn’t work however if the purchases are final. Before you pay for the item, ask about the return policy.

Nap Beforehand

It’s far more difficult to stick to your strict shopping plan if you’re tired. Tiredness can weaken the most steadfast smart shopper. Before you go shopping, make sure you are rested up and not hungry. Non impulsive buying can happen more infrequently if you do.

For more ways to break impulsive buying, you can read the full article on MoneyTalksNews.com.


You did it! You put in the work, you stuck to your guns, and saved. Now you have paid off that irritating debt that has acted like a dark cloud looming over your mind and wallet. Now that that’s over with, you’re going to have extra money coming in. What are you going to do with it? If you splurge too much, it might not be long before you put yourself back into large debt. This is why you need to take carefully considered steps to make sure you are using your money correctly. Here are the recommended steps:

Reward Yourself

First things first. You just paid off a debt. For the good work, give yourself a little reward. Take the money that you would have spent on next month’s payment and use it to go out to dinner or a mini weekend getaway, as recommended by certified financial planner Charlie Bolognino.

Prioritize Your Goals

So, you rewarded yourself. Now what? The best thing you can do for your financial health is to determine your top priority. What areas of your budget can you improve now that you have extra money to allocate somewhere else, as stated by certified financial planner Jean Keener. It might be another debt you need to put money towards or might be a savings goal.

Start Paying Your Next Debt

Now that you figured out which debt you need to pay off next, start putting money towards it. Maybe it’s a loan. Maybe it’s a credit card payment. Waste no time and hop back into paying off the next one. You were used to monthly debt payments a couple of days ago, so it should feel like no time past; just pick up where you left off.

Add to Your Emergency Fund

Did you have to break into the emergency fund to get the debt paid off? If so, take one third of the old monthly payments and add it to your emergency fund until you are back at your original amount. You never know what will happen tomorrow. The other two-thirds is recommended by certified financial planner Kim. E. Jones to go to funding long-term investment goals and occasionally treating yourself.

Save for Next Big Purchase

You may have been looking for a new car, new home, or exciting new vacation but didn’t have that little extra cash to pay for it. Now you do. Just make sure you do not have to take out credit for it. If you don’t, start saving the monthly payments long enough, and you might be on a balmy beach island before you know it!

For more steps to take after you paid off your debt, you can read the full article on US News & World Report.