Personal Finance Roundup

Guide to Holiday Tipping Etiquette [US News] “Even during tight economic times, thanking service workers is important–and expected.”

6 tales: Worst money advice ever [MSN Money] “When it comes to bad financial guidance, these stories from average Americans are hard to top. But they offer valuable lessons on what not to do, financial planners say.”

Which Frequent Flier Program Has the Best Awards Availability? [Wise Bread] “Here are the major airline rewards programs ranked from best to worst in terms of availability.”

24 Ways to Spend Nothing on Gift Wrap, and 4 Ways to Spend Very Little [Money Talks News] “If you plan to buy gift bags, wrapping paper, boxes, or bows this holiday season, you’re wasting your money.”

Most hated fees and price hikes [CNN Money] “What was your most hated fee or price hike?”

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  1. pop top says:

    Re: gift wrapping

    Many charities will set up gift wrapping stations at the mall in front of shops and for a small donation, will wrap your presents for you. I like doing that because I suck at wrapping gifts and I’m helping a good cause.

  2. chizu says:

    Ugh, flying and baggage fees. I’m still raging over it because I just came back from visiting my parents in Asia. Continental changed their baggage policy so my second bag now costs me $70, whereas it used to be free about 3 months ago. On top of that, overweight baggage had gone from $25 to $200. The airport was lined with people frantically taking stuff out of their bags and trying to stuff it into their carry-on instead of paying for the ridiculous $200 fee. This is especially difficult because people have their winter clothes with them in their luggage and those are heavy.

    On top of that, the co-pay for upgrading had gone up dramatically. It used to be $200 for the discounted ticket + frequent miles. Now it requires MORE miles and up to $600 co-pay.

    I asked the staff why the change in baggage policy and how is Japan different from other parts of Asia that they are allowed 2 free bags and the rest of Asia only gets 1 free bag, even though I was traveling farther away. All the staff told me was “Japan is different”. Blah.

    Ugh. I know flying is a privilege blah blah blah and don’t fly blah blah blah. Until someone invents a method of going to Asia from the East Coast that’s semi-affordable and would take less than 2 days, I’m pretty much stuck with this as my only option. I wish I could be flying with other Asian airlines, but that means I’d have to fly out of JFK, and I hate JFK much much much more than EWR. Not to mention the additional 3-4 hours (round trip) of traveling for me is difficult.

    • Cat says:

      I will do whatever I have to to avoid flying a US carrier overseas because of their ridiculous baggage fees. No way in hell can I fly to the other side of the planet for a month with only a carry on.

      Of course, it’s a moot point, since I can’t get a month off from work and/or pay for air travel anymore.

      • chizu says:

        It was bad when my parents visited because they only brought a few sets of clothes with them, and our washer actually broke a couple days after they arrived. Then the weather got cold, which they were kind of unprepared for and didn’t pack any of their winter clothes with them.

        It really sucks because Continental is the only airline that has a direct flight to HKG from EWR so I’m stuck until another airline comes and compete with them. Even though, I wonder if that kind of competition would happen since EWR is a major Continental hub. :/

        • Cat says:

          Best flight I ever had to HK was on Cathay Pacific. But they fly out of JFK, so…

          Also, that was years ago, they may not be so good now.

  3. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    6 Tales – Worst Money Advice Ever

    Another one of those articles where they put one part per page, and you get to click next or whichever page at the bottom. One of my pet peeves. Why can’t they just list the 6 bad things, and make each one a link so you can see all the details?