Archive for November, 2010

Avoid electronics deal “gotchas”

You’re on the holiday shopping trail. You’re almost done. You sling your bags over your shoulder as if you were the superhero of shopping.

But wait: A large-screen TV stops you in your tracks. It’s on sale for $327. What a deal! Or is it?

When it comes to electronics, the value of the purchase is far more difficult to calculate than the dollar amount you pay for it. In fact, many of the “deals” this season employ last year’s technology or capabilities — making the “bargain” you’re getting, well, not so fabulous.

Here’s what to look for when eyeing electronics.

TVs: When you’re buying that LCD, check the resolution before slapping down a credit card: 720p is a lower resolution than the 1080p you can abundantly find now.

“You could live with 720p with smaller than 42-inch or 46-inch TVs,” said Andrew Eisner, director of content at Retrevo, a consumer electronics shopping website. “If you’re sitting close and have pretty good vision, …

Continue reading Avoid electronics deal “gotchas” »

Wes Moss: 3 ways to prevent holiday tax bite

Wes_Moss-for-Web-smaller-fiCertified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

How was your Thanksgiving? Hopefully it was great. And by now you have shooed away your visitors and are ready to take on that all-important December task. You know, the one that can affect your wallet for months to come?

No, not holiday shopping … tax planning!

On my Money Matters radio show we constantly remind listeners that it’s not what you earn, it’s what you keep that determines personal wealth. Capital gains taxes can do serious damage to your portfolio’s rate of return. Income taxes can make you wonder why you even bother going to work. When you visit a CFP® Professional you should address both of these issues by asking:

  • What can I do to save more of my income from a tax perspective? Possible answers include deferring a larger portion of your salary into a retirement plan or devising a strategy that utilizes more …

Continue reading Wes Moss: 3 ways to prevent holiday tax bite »

Atlanta Cyber Monday deals

It’s Cyber Monday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. And if you couldn’t find what you wanted on Black Friday (or if you intentionally avoided the crowds), now’s your chance to rack up some great deals.

And in case you’ve been asleep for the past four weeks, there are two buzz words: Free. Shipping. Most places are offering it; some require a minimum purchase.

Be aware that some of these sales began at midnight or even earlier Sunday, so depending on how late you wake up, a few of these offers will have already expired, changed or sold out. But don’t let that stop you from further deal hunting.

Amazon.com: Electronics, including an LG 32-inch 1080p 120 Hz LED LCD HDTV for $499.98, a VIZIO 42-inch 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV  for $549.97 and a Samsung 40-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV for $647 will go quickly.

Walmart.com, which is advertising a whole Cyber Week is offering a Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope for $49, a Comfort Products 10-motor massage and heat …

Continue reading Atlanta Cyber Monday deals »

Clark Howard: Give your doctor a check-up with this database

clarkhowardConsumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a new weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

I’ve been through a recent cycle with a sinus infection that started out as my usual seasonal allergies. Whenever my allergist writes any prescription for me, I cringe because the cost is always an unknown.

In this case, she prescribed both an antibiotic and a nasal spray. Well, it turned out that 10 days of antibiotics cost me $2.05. It was the cheapest script I have ever had from any doctor at any time. On the other hand, the nasal spray was $90! I had no choice other than to swallow hard and open my wallet.

Now, there are doctors who will write scripts in good faith without knowing the end cost to the patient. And then there are doctors who are on the payroll of giant pharmaceutical companies. They’ll push drugs irrespective of cost because it pads their pockets. (I’m not suggesting my allergist is one of …

Continue reading Clark Howard: Give your doctor a check-up with this database »

Atlanta Black Friday wrap-up

What a great Black Friday it’s been-and we want to know what you found. TVs? Game systems? Furniture? What was your best find today, either in-store or online? More importantly, how long did you have to wait for it?

Speaking of the Internet, serious shoppers should rest their fingers this weekend to prepare for Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day of the year.

To get you ready, here’s a list of retailers already offering deals.

Target.com: You can land an XBOX 360 4GB console with 2 wireless controllers bundle for $199 or an AOC 24″ 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV for 249.99.

Walmart.com: Still available are an Emerson 32″ LCD 720p 60Hz HDTV for $198, a Nintendo Wii Limited Edition Value Bundle for $249 and tons of other stuff.

Amazon.com: Score an Apple iPod touch 8 GB (4th Generation) for $199 or a Garmin nüvi 205W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator for $79.99.

Toysrus.com: Get up to 75 percent off action figures, up to 50 percent off stuffed animals and up to 60 …

Continue reading Atlanta Black Friday wrap-up »

Atlanta Black Friday deals: In stores and online

Be careful out there today, Black Friday shoppers. The roads are slick. Also, let’s be considerate of others, okay?

You may not be able to find doorbusters anymore, but there are still great deals to be had! Here’s a list of places you can still scout out deals online, plus a rundown of bargains reported earlier today. Check back for minute-by-minute coverage. Also, check out our photo gallery of shoppers from this morning.

Online

Target.com: You can still land an XBOX 360 4GB console with 2 wireless controllers bundle for $199 or an AOC 24″ 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV for 249.99.

Walmart.com: Still available are an Emerson 32″ LCD 720p 60Hz HDTV for $198, a Nintendo Wii Limited Edition Value Bundle for $249 and tons of other stuff.

Amazon.com: Score an Apple iPod touch 8 GB (4th Generation) for $199 or a Garmin nüvi 205W 4.3-Inch Widescreen Portable GPS Navigator for $79.99.

Toysrus.com: Online is offering deals including up to 75 percent off action figures, up to 50 percent off …

Continue reading Atlanta Black Friday deals: In stores and online »

Black Friday social media deals!

Here’s a great roundup of social media coupons out there for all you smartphone-toting Black Friday shoppers out there!

Black Friday is upon us and that means that retailers are scrambling to offer the best door-busting (or mouse-busting) specials and promotions to entice eager holiday shoppers.

Thanks to the success of Cyber Monday, retailers and online shops have long embraced the web as a place to promote and showcase deals and specials. What’s unique this Black Friday, however, is the large number of specials and promotions offered by retailers to customers who use location-based apps and services.

Read the full article here: 10 Social media deals to check into on Black Friday.

Don’t forget: If you’re going out shopping on Friday, text us at 404-890-0AJC or tweet us @atlbargains (#blackfridayatl) to let us know where the deals are, where the deals aren’t and which lines to avoid.

Also, don’t forget to grab the Thursday newspaper this week for loads of shopping …

Continue reading Black Friday social media deals! »

Laptops, iPad, eReaders top electronic gifts this season

Consumer spending on electronics will reach an all-time high this holiday season, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

Shoppers are planning on spending an average of $232 on electronics this year, an increase of five percent from last year and the highest level since CEA began tracking holiday spending.

Additionally, almost half of consumers will buy electronics for children on their list and two in five will buy an electronic gift for their spouse/significant other. This means you should go for any laptops, iPads or TVs first on Black Friday.

“Giving electronics as a holiday gift, either to a loved one or to yourself, is more popular than ever,” said Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis. “Not only are three in four adults planning to give [electronics] as a gift this year, but more consumers want electronics as a gift for themselves, demonstrating that electronics will be the must-have gifts of the season.”

Despite positive projections …

Continue reading Laptops, iPad, eReaders top electronic gifts this season »

Your Cyber Monday deal strategy

Haven’t finished (or started) your holiday shopping yet but can’t bear the crowds again?

The National Retail Federation says consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87 on holiday shopping this year, up slightly from $681.83 in 2009. That means the sea of shoppers you swim through each year isn’t getting much shallower.

Whether you want to finalize your mostly completed shopping list or tackle it in one hardy lunge, follow these tips to capitalize on deals for Cyber Monday, the online version of Black Friday, and avoid the brick-and-mortar crowds.

Sign up in advance

Many Monday sales aren’t posted yet, so sign up for e-mail alerts from your favorite retailers to receive first notice. Better yet, follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the most up-to-date info. You can always unfollow, unfriend or unsubscribe from them later.

Test-drive electronics

If you do have the time, energy and heart to hit the malls and shopping centers, try out items such as cameras, cell …

Continue reading Your Cyber Monday deal strategy »

Wes Moss: Retirement plans mean big decisions for small business owners

Wes_Moss-for-Web-smaller-fiCertified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

If you are self-employed or own a small business you are too smart to believe that Social Security will provide a dream retirement. But with everything else you have heaped on your plate, you may not have taken the time to implement a company retirement plan. Let’s start right now.

There are three good reasons to establish a retirement plan for your small business:

  1. Save for your own retirement
  2. Reduce your overall taxable income
  3. Provide a benefit to both you and your employees.

You may think retirement plans are too expensive for your company. Not necessarily. There are several options that allow you to tailor to your needs and budget. Among the more popular offerings:

INDIVIDUAL 401(k)

If you are self-employed or working with your spouse, it’s hard to beat the Individual or “Solo” 401(k). The expenses and administration …

Continue reading Wes Moss: Retirement plans mean big decisions for small business owners »