Archive for February, 2011

Wes Moss: Will gas hit $8 per gallon?

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

The media is having a field day with all of the unrest in Northern Africa and the Middle East. First Tunisia and Egypt, and now unrest has spread to Algeria, Jordan and Libya – home of professional wrestler look-alike Muammar Gaddafi. Didn’t we get rid of that guy in the 80s? Well, the result of all this unrest and what’s affecting you… is the shut down of oil flow from that country, which produces about 3% of the world’s crude.

Less oil coming out of the ground means less supply, which means higher prices. Some analysts are saying oil could hit $220 per barrel – up from $85 earlier this month.

With oil at $85 a barrel you can expect to pay around $3 per gallon at the pump. (I’m not talking about premium here because I never use premium.)

If you can remember the summer of 2008 when gas prices were over $4 per gallon, a barrel of oil …

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Free Chick-fil-A waffle fries | 30 days of free deals | Up to 70 percent off American Apparel

Free Chick-fil-A waffle fries

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a dipper or a squeezer — Chick-fil-A is going to give you free fries. In celebration of the new Heinz Dip & Squeeze Ketchup, Friday is free fry day at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide. Between 2 and 4 p.m., ask for Heinz Dip & Squeeze and the free fry day promotion at Chick-fil-A restaurants to receive a free medium order of Chick-fil-A waffle potato fries, limit one per customer. Heinz Dip & Squeeze Ketchup is an innovative new package that allows for both dipping and squeezing and holds three times as much Heinz ketchup as the traditional packet. Chick-fil-A is the first restaurant partner to carry Dip & Squeeze Ketchup nationwide. Check out the Chick-fil-A or Heinz Facebook pages for more information.

30 days of free deals

If you love the small-town, funky feel of Asheville, you’ll love March in our city. I have to credit our travel writer for unearthing this amazing series of deals. For the entire month of …

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The Atlanta Bargain Hunter will return Monday

The Atlanta Bargain Hunter will return Monday. Happy deal hunting!

– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter

See a great deal I should know about? Email me at ldavidson@ajc.com. You can also follow me on Facebook or on Twitter @atlbargains.

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Clark Howard: New car gadgets come at a premium

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

ClarkHowardI have an easy way for you to save money on your next car. Think aftermarket when it comes to car technology.

My wife only buys used cars and her last one came with a built-in GPS unit. The vehicle was a little more than two years old when she got it and even by then the GPS unit was obsolete and hard to use by today’s standards. If you buy a dash-mounted GPS when you get your car, you’ll pay up to 10 times what a portable one costs — and that portable one will run circles around it.

Smart Money magazine recently ran a story about what a rip it is to buy car electronics from auto manufacturers. The GPS is the most obvious example. The technology in GPS units goes through a revolution almost every six months. But there’s no way you buy a new car every six months, so you’re always behind the curve.

Another example is all …

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Clothing donation deals: Help someone out and save

15 percent off Dressbarn

Dressbarn will hold its ninth annual “Send One Suit Weekend” beginning Thursday. The donation drive collects gently used professional attire to donate to the non-profit organization Dress for Success, which helps women re-enter the workplace. Dressbarn locations nationwide will serve as drop-off sites for donations, and contributors will receive a tax credit and 15 percent off coupon. For a complete list of locations and acceptable items, visit dressbarn.com.

$5 off for formal wear donation

Prom is a memorable event, and it’s important that young women attend such an occasion with a feeling of beauty and pride. Plus Size Clothing Recyclers, which provides inexpensive options for full-figured women, seeks to provide plus-size teens with affordable, proper-fitting and age-appropriate formal wear.

Bring all clean gowns (sizes 12 and up) with no stains, rips, missing buttons, missing zippers, or discoloration in by March 18. All recyclers will be …

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Filing your taxes online: Use this software comparison chart

It’s tax season again. And if you’re like me, you usually wait far too long to do them.

This year, I filed them earlier (last weekend), and I am reveling in the peace of knowing they’re finished. Done and done. And each year I try to pick the best software while avoiding my arch-nemesis company.

When I was in college, a large tax preparation company representative charged me an exorbitant amendment (1040x) fee when I realized I hadn’t reported my savings account interest (less than $10). I, in my naïveté, didn’t want the IRS to hunt me down over unreported income, and paid something like $35 in addition to my basic preparation fees. In fairness, I know this company probably had an established amendment fee, but I think it would have been better customer service to waive it in this situation. The amendment took less than five minutes to file.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I make sure my documents are organized and I’m ready to complete my taxes in one session. But it doesn’t …

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Free frozen yogurt | Free pancakes from IHOP | The Gap deal

Free frozen yogurt from Pinkberry

PinkberryHaven’t jumped on the frozen yogurt bandwagon yet? Now’s your chance to try it out for free. Buckhead’s new Pinkberry is celebrating its grand opening March 3 by offering free yogurt to its customers. It’s packed with calcium, live cultures and has the seal of approval from the National Yogurt Association. And with flavors including coconut and blood orange, it’s enticing for even the most exotic dessert fans. Stick around for a chance to win a $25 Pinkberry gift card every 30 minutes throughout the evening. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. 3637 Peachtree Road, Atlanta.

Free pancakes from IHOP

Feed your own appetite — and support others. On March 1 IHOP will give away a short stack of complimentary buttermilk pancakes to guests throughout the United States. Anticipating that free flapjacks will spur a generous spirit, each guest is encouraged to make a voluntary contribution to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This marks IHOP’s sixth year of National …

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Is insuring jewelry a good deal?

There’s lots of bling in the air now that Valentine’s Day is over. Ladies — and some gentlemen — are flashing diamonds like backstage passes. And there’s no shortage of information on how to insure all of this new jewelry.

But when it comes to insurance, what many jewelry buyers want to know is, “Is it worth it?”

Here are some questions to help determine if spending the money on jewelry insurance is right for you:

Is it a family heirloom?

Mary Ann Hawthorne, who inherited a diamond from her grandmother a couple of years ago, says she didn’t even think about insurance until it was retrieved from a safe.

“When I saw it and realized how large it was, I knew I needed to get it insured,” the Sandy Springs resident says. “It was just over a carat, maybe a carat and a half.”

Hawthorne says she pays $81 a year to insure the ring and encourages others with family heirlooms to do the same. “It’s not that expensive,” she says.

Raymond Evans, a State Farm Insurance agent in Alpharetta, …

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Wes Moss: What are your retirement plans and concerns?

What does retirement mean to you? The word itself comes from “retire,” a French word that means to withdraw to a place of seclusion — a monastery, perhaps. That’s probably not how you see yourself spending your post-career years, at least not all of them.

Wes_Moss-for-Web-smaller-fiBut how do you envision your retirement? And will you be ready when the time comes to give up the daily grind? Not just financially ready — but emotionally and psychologically ready?

“Old age is no place for sissies,” Bette Davis famously said. And, it turns out, neither is retirement.

First, let’s address an anxiety I’ve seen plague people at every income level: thinking retirement isn’t even possible, regardless of whether you’re making $50,000 per year or $500,000.

Impossible? No. Difficult? Yes. But between your savings, Social Security, the potential of a company pension, and the reduced cost of living you will incur as an empty-nester retiree, you will almost certainly be able to stop working at some point. Maybe …

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5 movie rentals for $2 | Presidents Day sale at Best Buy

Five movie rentals for $2

Didn’t score the Redbox deals last week? Here’s a movie rental alternative. Get five one-night rentals for only $2 from Blockbuster Express today through Groupon. Visit the website to find a kiosk near you. That’s equal to five cheap date nights, one movie marathon weekend or a blissful staycation — you decide. Voucher valid through May 1.

Presidents Day sale at Best Buy

While it’s not exactly a blowout sale, Best Buy has discounted some items here and there to make it worth your while to swing by today. Visit local stores or shop online to take advantage of the electronics giant’s Presidents Day deals and offers.

Sales include:

– By Lauren …

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