Archive for December, 2012

Wes Moss: Seek good health, wealth in new year

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Like many of you, I spent some of the holiday season traveling to see and spend time with family. That’s easier said than done when it involves three small children age 5 and under.

Between airplane delays, crowded parking lots and long rental car lines, I ended up this past week in snow-covered Michigan, stuck in a house with my in-laws (God bless them), where every family member took turns with a stomach bug, in addition to a double ear infection for my 11-month-old. How relaxing!

As the children and adults finally recovered, it reminded me of a study from the University of Michigan I read earlier in the year about the importance of health in our quest for financial stability. Here are some staggering statistics that tell the story:

– Mean net …

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Coupon Mom: Stock up on staples at Kroger, personal care at Rite Aid

Rite Aid

Keri: Rite Aid has Keri Lotion (15 ounce) priced at $5.99. Use the in-ad coupon on the back page of the store flyer to get $5 off, for a final cost of 99 cents. There is a coupon for $3 off two from the Oct. 14 SmartSource circular if you want to get two, but the store coupon says limit one store coupon per customer. If you bought two with the store and newspaper coupon together, your average cost would be $1.99 each.

Glade candles: Rite Aid has Glade jar candles on sale for $2.99 each. Use the $1.50-off-two coupon from the Dec. 2 SmartSource circular to pay $2.25 each. You will get a $2 +UP Reward on two, so your net cost will be $1.25 each.

7 Up: Rite Aid has 7 Up or Diet 7 Up 12-packs on sale for $3.33 each. You will get a $3 +UP Reward when you buy three, so your net cost will be $2.33 each.

Halls: Rite Aid has Halls cough drops (30 count) on sale for $1 each. Use the coupon for $1 off two from the Nov. 4 SmartSource circular to pay 50 cents each.

Kroger

Meat, …

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3 affordable sparkling wines to stand-in for champagne

Looking for a cheap champagne to ring in the New Year?

Maybe you shouldn’t bother.

If you want to save some cash, but still have a great-tasting toast, try the many sparkling wines that  prove worthy alternatives to champagne. (Also consider grower-producer Champagne, says AJC wine guru Gil Kulers.)

The following three sparkling wines are among the highest rated for taste and price:

Gruet Blanc De Noirs, $16 – A sparkling wine for New Mexico with a blend of fruity flavors.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc De Noirs, $22 – This smooth sparkling wine hails from California and features lots of  ripe fruit flavors.

Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry, $12: From Spain, Cordon Negro Extra Dry was introduced in 1990 to meet demand for a premium sparkling wine that was a bit sweeter than Brut. It is a much loved light, simple cava.

What is filling your glass this New Year’s Eve?

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– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

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Clark Howard: The best websites for travel savings

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

Listen to Clark's live radio show 8-10 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Listen to Clark's live radio show 8-10 p.m. weekdays on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

JD Power has a new ranking of the best travel sites for bargains as decided by you, the traveler.

In first place, we have Booking.com, which is owned by the Priceline people. This site gets almost 400 million unique visitors annually. When you do a hotel search, it shows you the best rate at every hotel.

In second and third place, we have Hotwire.com and Priceline.com. Both are blind-booking sites and I book more travel on Priceline than anywhere else, principally for hotels and cars.

The traditional players like Orbitz.com, Expedia.com and Travelocity.com are all in the middle of the heap.

Two bargain sites for air travel didn’t get great scores: CheapoAir.com and
CheapTickets.com.

Meanwhile, two of my favorites, Kayak.com …

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Jessica Shops: Designer duds, quirky gifts and Room and Board clearance event

TJ Maxx: Seasoned shoppers know the best-kept secret at TJ Maxx is the exclusive Runway department at select stores. Here you will find high-end designers such as Chanel, D&G, True Religion, Hudson and more. Styles include casual, career and evening, and everything from denim to handbags. Examples include True Religion jeans for $99, Hudson for $49 or Chanel priced from $200 and up. These prices reflect at least 60 percent off retail. Look for the “Runway” section at TJ Maxx stores in Dunwoody, Marietta and at One Buckhead Loop in Atlanta.

Living Royal: What started as a quirky online gift shop filled with irresistible gag gifts has grown into a one-stop shop for unique fashions and accessories. You’ll find everything from zipper bracelets to skull cardigans, disco dresses, mustache ice cube trays and more. Code “cars” saves you 10 percent at checkout until the end of the year.

Room and Board: The annual clearance event is going on now. Find significant savings on …

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For holiday returns it pays to know the rules

How many gifts have you opened today? How many do you plan to actually keep?

Not only is Dec. 26 the day for shopping post-holiday sales, it is also the day many people will return the presents they don’t want. From gift cards to ugly sweaters, retailers will be ringing in returns as they ring up sales.

Just be sure you know the rules of returns, as many aren’t as straightforward as they may seem.

One of the biggest issues is the time limits placed on holiday returns.

Some stores are requiring merchandise purchased between October and Christmas be returned by mid-January, says Carey Rossi, editor-in-chief of ConsumerSearch.com. “Even if you receive a gift, you have to think, ‘Omigod, if I really don’t like this I have to return it within the first two weeks of January.’ Some people don’t get around to some of their presents until then.”

Retailers such as Amazon offer slightly more time — until Jan. 31. Kohl’s advertises hassle-free returns and does have …

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Wes Moss: How dividends can affect share price

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Here’s a common question I get in my role as a financial advisor who advocates income investing, which includes the purchase of dividend-paying stocks: Why do the prices of such shares seem to fall by the exact amount of the dividend they just paid me?

As one client put it: “I had a $100 stock and it paid me $1 this quarter. But on the day I received my $1 in cash, the share price went down to $99. Isn’t that company just giving me my own money back?”

No;  the company actually is passing on profits to you. And you are gaining something.

Here’s how it works: On the day the dividend is issued, an investor receives his or her $1, which represents the person’s share of the company’s earnings for that quarter. The company itself has likely …

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More shoppers like me are self-gifting

For the past 10 years, the National Retail Federation has conducted a year-end consumer spending survey that breaks down the ways in which people spend their money over the holidays. Most of the $6.9 billion to be spent this season will be on gifts for family, friends, co-workers and pets.
And, well, for ourselves.
“Self-gifting,” as the survey calls is, has reached an all-time high — with nearly six in 10 shoppers planning to spend an average of $159.62 on little sumpin-sumpins that will never see the shade of a Christmas tree.
This made me laugh because I am a notorious self-gifter, to my family’s dismay. As my wife puts it, I wait until Christmas time to buy myself “every piece of clothing anyone ever wanted to get you, any new music, any new book — all the perfect gift items.”
The flip side is that I never ask for anything. When my kids ask what I want for Christmas, I either try to defer my response or come up with stuff dads should ask for, like slippers and bathrobes.
I …

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ABH Weekend deals: One Midtown Kitchen, Wendy’s, High Museum and Pike Nurseries

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Happy Holidays!

Even though you’re probably frantically preparing for holiday festivities, take time to enjoy a few deals happening this weekend and beyond.

ONE. Midtown Kitchen: Visit ONE. midtown kitchen before or after the Atlanta Botanical Garden holiday lights show to get 50 percent off your check when you show your Holiday Lights ticket stub. Offer is valid on ticketed day only. Holiday lights discount cannot be combined with any other promotion. Max discount is $20.00. Dine in only. Only one discount per table or four bar or counter seats. Only one discount per visit. For more information and to make your reservation today visit the website or call 404-892-4111.

Wendy’s/Toys “R” Us: Now through December 29, customers can receive a $1.99 Wendy’s Kids’ Meal with this coupon. You will also find a $10 Gift Card Offer at Toys“R”Us inside one of the eight holiday-themed Kids’ Meal toys . The $10 Toys“R”Us gift card is good with a qualifying purchase of $75 at …

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Coupon Mom: Chocolate, toothpaste, spices and soda among savings

Publix

Jam, spices, evaporated milk, cookies, rice: Look for Publix’s new “Happy Holidays” coupon circular in the AJC and in store racks. Combine Publix store coupons with manufacturers coupons when possible to increase your savings. The circular has a $1 Smuckers jam store coupon, and there is a 35-cent manufacturers coupon in the Nov. 4 RedPlum circular, which Publix will double to 70 cents. Total savings, $1.70 per Smuckers item.

Use the 50-cent McCormick spice coupon from the Dec. 2 RedPlum circular to pay only 99 cents for selected varieties, including ground ginger, allspice, poultry seasoning, cinnamon, chili powder and cream of tarter. I’ve never seen cream of tartar for 99 cents!

Use the coupon for 50 cents off two for Carnation Evaporated Milk (12 ounce) from the Sept. 30 RedPlum circular to pay 50 cents per can. Quaker Soft Baked cookies (six pack) are on sale for $1.99. Use the $1 Publix store coupon in the circular to pay only 99 cents per box. Minute …

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