Time to go 'One for the Money' with Danielle Serino! Here's a look at some of the top consumer stories:
Self Serve bills
If you don’t use autopay for your bills, I highly suggest you think about it. It saves you the time of writing checks, you avoid late fees, or having your service interrupted if you forget to pay.
However, there are some things to keep in mind if you set one up.
-If you are using a credit card to pay, designate one card which you don't use for anything else.
That way, this card isn't being processed by restaurant servers, gas station pump readers or online retailers, which is how thieves steal numbers.
-Some people with auto pay let the company take money directly out of their checking account. I say stay away from that because if you have a dispute, it's much harder to stop the money from getting taken out without your consent.
-My suggestion, is for you to set up auto pay with your bank, so you control when and whether or not the money goes out.
The Money Shuffle
Now on the topic of bills, many cards try to get you to sign on by offering zero percent balance transfers. Some people question, whether or not they should get one? If you carry high interest balances on other cards, the answer is yes!
But here are some things to know if you decide to get one:
-You gotta pay on time. Some cards will bump that rate right up the minute you're late
-You'll probably pay a fee for the transfer…anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the balance you transfer. So you need to figure out if you'll really end up saving.
-You also want to check the rate for purchases. Some cards offer a zero percent rate on balance transfers but charge a different rate on new purchases or cash advances
But balance transfers can be really helpful right before or right after the holidays.
Deals or Steals?
So now that you've transferred to the zero interest card, your best bet is to cut up the old one. But I’m guessing a lot of you are going to want the extra credit to go holiday shopping. And outlets can be a great way to get deals on all those presents you have to buy...if you know how to shop
-Don't just look at price. Sometimes the outlet version of an item is cheaply made and won't last as long as what you'd buy from the regular store. So factor in quality.
-Compare prices beforehand. Retailers know you're looking for savings, and many try to make these discounts seem as deep as possible. So check the retailer's website to see if you're really getting a deal.
-Join outlet clubs They offer exclusive promotions, online and printable coupons, and they'll tell you about special events.
-Watch the return policy. Many regular stores don't take returns from outlet locations so you might have to drive back if you change your mind.
-And don't be afraid to walk away empty-handed. I know, you spent all that time and energy to get there…plus the money on gas. You might feel you have to justify that by spending more than you would otherwise. Don't! Spending money on something you don't need or really want is never a good deal.