People gearing up to ship extra-large packages this holiday season might want to save a few more pennies (or think about buying smaller gifts) before heading to the FedEx store, as the shipping company says it will be increasing some rates starting November 2. [More]
While Amazon used to be the site where you bought affordable books, CDs, DVDs, and electronics, the online retailer is quickly gaining ground as a seller of designer apparel and accessories. [More]
Consumers’ Changing Banking Habits Led To 1,400 Bank Of America Branches Shuttering, More Cuts To Come
Over the past several years, Bank of America has revamped the way it provides banking services in an effort to cut costs and respond to consumers’ changing banking habits. Those operation modifications have not only included shutting down some drive-thru windows, but the closure of nearly a fifth of the company’s branches. [More]
The aftermath of a now all-too-common data breach can be frustrating for consumers: canceling credit cards, monitoring credit reports for irregularities, and working with banks to recoup unauthorized purchases. But the hacks can also be expensive for the targeted company, with the average cost now sitting at a 10-year high of $3.8 million. [More]
If you’re debating whether or not to cut the odd cousin or two from your wedding invite list, you now have a solid financial justification. A new study claims that the cost of weddings is at a five-year high even though the number of invited guests is shrinking. [More]
Living in the city seems much more expensive than the suburbs, until you consider transportation costs. Good points us to a new tool from The Center for Neighborhood Technology that maps the percentage of income various areas spend on transportation and housing combined. Turns out living in the suburbs can be less cost effective.
Something to research when you’re thinking of moving.
Be very careful about activating any sort of over-the-counter prepaid debit card, reports the New York Times. They looked at a handful of prepaids currently on the market and discovered ridiculously high hidden fees—the first two months of use can cost you up to $80.
A new survey from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared annual costs around the world for consumers who have cellphones, and the U.S. is in the top three for most expensive. How expensive? DSLReports notes that “on average, the OECD found that Americans pay $635.85 on cell phone service, compared to $131.44 per year in the Netherlands or $137.94 per year in Sweden.”
Healthcare Blue Book, a new for-profit website, allows prospective patients to find “fair prices” on surgery, hospital stays, doctor visits, and medical procedures. The audience here is people who either don’t have insurance, have a high deductible, or are considering medical treatments that their insurer won’t cover.
The new government estimates are out on child rearing, and now “a middle-income family can expect to spend $291,570 including inflation to raise a child born in 2008 to adulthood” (not including childbirth or college), reports Reuters. In today’s dollars, it works out to between $11,000 and $13,000 annually. If you’re planning on having a family in the future, here’s another incentive to get your financial house in order first—take control of your debts and spending, learn how to budget, and start saving. You’re going to need it, unless you can score a reality show on basic cable.
An ambulance ride with American Medical Response in Topeka, Kansas will soon cost an extra $543 for folks weighing 350 pounds or more. Though AMR already owns cots that can support up to 500 pounds, they claim that because of rising demand from so-called “bariatric patients,” they now need to buy winches and “extra large and reinforced cots.”
Our sister publication Consumer Reports knows that you’d like to trim your baby budget without risking the safety of said baby, so they’ve put together 3 tips that will help you do just that.
Brian begged and pleaded but Verizon simply wouldn’t tell him how much his DSL would cost after taxes and fees, unless he signed a one-year contract. The customer service representatives staffing Verizon’s operation centers claimed that it was too difficult to figure out all that math nonsense for every jurisdiction. When Brian pushed and insisted that surely they had to know how much their service cost, he was told that “there wasn’t anyone in Verizon that knew the answer.”
A $3 billion deficit and expected losses of $6 billion more have led the Postmaster General to suggest cutting mail delivery from six to five days.
Want to know where your fifties go when you fill up your car with gas? GOOD’s latest chart breaks down the assorted costs, and compares them with other places around the globe. You can grab a free printed copy at any Starbucks, or go here to check it out in bright RGB goodness.
If there’s one group of Americans who don’t carry their weight and need to pay more money to the healthcare industry, it’s those layabout senior citizens! That’s why their Medicare drug premiums are increasing by an average of 31% for the 10 most popular plans beginning in 2009. If you were with Humana, formerly the cheapest Medicare drug plan you could get (its premium was $9.51 in 2006), you can expect to pay $40.83 per month in 2009, an increase of 60% over this year’s rate. As you would expect, Humana is no longer the cheapest option—so it may be time to shop around for a new plan.
Foodmakers are planning to bombard you with advertising to keep you from ditching their carefully groomed brands for some blechy cheapo generics. Pay no attention as they try to re-brand their products as cheap and affordable. Here’s a small preview of what to expect…