Winter Safety Tips That Won’t Cost You A Pretty Penny

This is a guest post by Karen Ho Fatt.

Winter is the season of treachery – dark nights, cold temperatures and slick surfaces increase the risk of injuries from falls and accidents. Indoors, the risk of fire goes up from heating sources, and seniors are three times more likely to die or be injured in a house fire than younger populations, according to MSN News.

This winter, make a plan for staying safe, warm and dry. You’ll enjoy winter more and reduce the risk of injury. Continue reading

Avoid Fraud In Your Power Mobility Purchase

This is a guest post by Sam Peters

If you have been watching any daytime television over the past fifteen years, you know there is strong competition for your mobility dollar. Your government sponsored healthcare is willing to spend big money on your increased mobility and companies are in a marketing war to receive those benefits. Gone are the days of walkers and manual wheelchairs and in are the days of power scooters and wheelchairs. It is easier than ever to keep an active lifestyle.

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30 Money Saving Tips for Senior Citizens

This is a guest post by Teena Celis.  Although it applies to US citizens, citizens in most other countries will find the ideas useful.

The rising costs of everyday commodities are causing people all over the world to cut back on their expenses. Disposable incomes are getting limited; it’s getting tougher for people to make ends meet. 59% of available senior income is going towards housing and health care. This means there’s not much left over for food, transportation and other needs. How does a senior person save money in this kind of scenario?

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Ways to Save Money This Holiday Season

This is a guest post by Kimberly Wilson.

Let’s face it. As we continue the holiday season, more consumers are piling on more debt that they are already having trouble paying. It can be a tough situation because you want to make your loved ones feel special, but sometimes the seemingly best gifts can come at a high cost. Fortunately, it is more than possible to save money over the holidays and make your loved ones feel appreciated; it won’t even have to take a Christmas miracle.

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5 Money Saving Tips for Seniors who Travel

This is a guest post by Patty Kleen.

One of the greatest benefits of being a ‘senior’ is the freedom to do more traveling, but whether you want to explore the United States or the world travel is not cheap. There are some ways you can cut expenses, though, and still thoroughly enjoy your journeys. Here are five steps to take that will let you stretch your travel dollar.
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Groupon: A Useful Site for Frugal Shoppers

If you’re interested in finding good deals as I am, then you should check out the latest trend in frugal shopping. It’s called group-buying, an activity that has been around for a while certainly, but which is now really popular due to social networking sites that focus especially on making deals available to many consumers at once.



These sites essentially use the leverage of lots of consumers to create good deals. The most popular site that uses the power of group-buying is called Groupon. To give you an idea as to how popular it is, consider this: Google just tried to buy Groupon for nearly 6 billion dollars, according to Forbes, but the Groupon folks turned down their offer! You know if Google is interested, then it’s big.

If you’re unfamiliar with Groupon, here’s how it works. The site contracts with businesses in cities to offer a special group discount to everyone who buys through Groupon. Groupon only offers one deal a day, so users have to wait for the next day if they don’t like the current deal. Also, Groupon uses a pledge system that essentially holds the discount coupon from consumers until a minimum number of people have pledged to purchase the product or service. Once that minimum is reached, the site charges its users and releases the coupon so everyone who purchased it can print it out. By having a required minimum number of sales, Groupon can protect retailers and businesses from losing money. Groupon earns income by taking a cut of the transaction.

So how does Groupon help you? Well, if you take a moment to browse the site, you’ll see that many of these deals are huge discounts. It’s common to see discounts for up to fifty percent off of a product or service. Also, Groupon can help you out because the site often partners with local businesses, so you can take advantage of great savings in your area. For how complicated the entire operation seems, the actual Groupon service itself is really simple: you decide if you want the discount, pledge your payment, then wait to print out the coupon.

Of course, there are a few disadvantages to the service that you’ll want to be aware of. For example, Groupon serves many cities; however, it might not serve your specific city. In that case, you could always look for competitor’s sites. But, with the recent move by Google, we might expect Groupon to significantly expand its area of operation. Another problem with Groupon is that it has been criticized for actually taking advantage of the power of group buying to negative effects on retailers. The Gap lost, according to Mashable, nearly $7.5 million during a nationwide promotional sale through Groupon. Other retailers, such as Posie’s Café in Oregon, have also reported losses, especially because Groupon does not put a cap on purchases.

Groupon is a great resource for frugal shoppers, certainly, but it can also have its problems. If you’re interested in the service, give it a try, but also do some more research to see if it’s right for you. Remember, frugal shoppers are still a part of a community, especially if they patronize local businesses. Spending your money wisely is the hallmark of a frugal shopper.

By-line:

This guest post is contributed by Barbara Jolie, who writes on the topics of online classes.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: [email protected]

Best Banks



Having a bank is a necessity in modern-day living, but unfortunately many people are dissatisfied with the available choices.  At the start of this year Forbes listed America’s Best And Worst Banks, but it was somewhat surprising to see what they analyzed.

With Bank of America and Citigroup buoying their balance sheets and repaying billions of dollars in taxpayer bailout funds, the casual observer might assume the banking crisis is just about over. The casual observer would be wrong.  Lots of banks are going under these days. Here are the best and worst among the 100 largest.

Busted banks are still keeping the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. busy. In the past two months, 41 went under, surpassing the total of 26 for all of 2008. What’s more, by some measures bank balance sheets are in worse shape today than they were at the height of the financial crisis.

It is of course necessary that your bank will still be there when you wish to get your money.  However that is a very minimal criterion in selecting a bank.

Unfortunately reports since then indicate that on other dimensions, banks are not doing very well. One title suggested that Customer Satisfaction With the Biggest Banks Plummets.

While customer satisfaction with banks over all remained unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2009 from the year-earlier period, customer satisfaction with some of the biggest banks has declined to the lowest fourth-quarter levels in years.  The results, from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, back up similar findings from a Forrester Research report.  This found that customers of the biggest banks in the United States were the least likely to believe their financial institution did what was best for them as opposed to what was best for the institution’s bottom line.

A report from Reuters today shows that there is no improvement: Large bank customers  are even more dissatisfied.

Some of the largest U.S. banks were ranked very low for retail customer satisfaction.  A US marketing research company study by J.D. Power and Associates implies that as some of the biggest banks get bigger, customers may not be happy.  The three biggest U.S. retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Chase, Citigroup’s Citibank, and Bank of America Corp’s Bank of America — consistently rank at or near the bottom for customer service in the regions they serve.

This dissatisfaction with banks and the service they provide seems to be the case wherever you look.  Here are some results from the UK on how different services rank for customer satisfaction.

According to a recent survey conducted by moneysupermarket.com, it is hairdressers and hotels that that we think provide the best service. While banks and estate agents are thought to offer the worst.  Restaurants, coffee shops, garden centres, supermarkets, clothes stores and entertainment centres such as the cinema and bowling alleys all scored highly with consumers.

Here below are the results for this year.  Compared to last year’s survey it would appear that the service provided by banks has actually got worse. Banks have dropped a place in this table.

banks customer service

The industries at the bottom of the table have all traditionally suffered a bad press. Most of them – banks, energy companies, estate agents – demand hefty fees of their customers and provide necessary and essential  services, rather than luxuries.

Unfortunately the attitude in many banks may be as Tom Peters said, that “we are no worse than the others”.  If you are looking for one of the best banks, hopefully you can find one that searches for banking excellence, which includes not only safeguarding your money but also delivering a high level of customer satisfaction.

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Google Offers Credit Card Comparisons


Google has up till now presented free (organic) search results accompanied by sponsored results.  The credit card comparison it now offers in the UK represents a significant departure.  As is noted in the footer:

Actual rates and other information may vary. Sponsored results shown only include participating credit card issuers. When you click on a card’s “Apply Now” link, the information you entered on this page will be shared with the issuer.

This new Google initiative is drawing the inevitable adverse criticism from the competition.  Here is how Moneysupermarket.com describes the additional values it brings to such credit card comparisons:

moneysupermarket.com’s successful formula comes from helping customers find the right card for them, with the option to search the whole credit card market, whilst providing help and support, such as independent reviews, to guide the customer’s decision making process.

In this latest move Google has abandoned its successful search model which comes from showing customers a combination of whole of market results, ordered by what is most relevant, plus sponsored results based on how much the advertiser pays. In this test they are simply listing cards that are prepared to pay to advertise, regardless of whether they are a great deal for customers. We are disappointed that Google has chosen to only feature sponsored products in this solution with nothing to support customers.

As well as seeing just a fraction of the credit card market customers who use this Google tool whilst it is in trial will miss out on at least one fantastic exclusive card coming soon only to moneysupermarket.com.

Paul Carpenter has a different concern about the Google credit card comparison website:

Verticals and niches are, to me at least, all about domain expertise and experience and I rely on brand perception to tell me where to find that.  As Google races against Bing to operate in verticals like this, it will be interesting to see whether its brand will resonate outside its core function. I suspect not, and I really don’t know why the tech market is so fetishistic about this stuff. Would you buy Coke jeans, or Marlboro branded microwave meals? Brands that are malleable enough to cross boundaries are vanishingly rare – an honourable exception being Virgin, who work in everything from cruises to space travel.

Clearly this test is very different from search activities that Google has worked on in the past.  Whatever the result of this test, it has big implications for where Google will be putting its efforts.

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Watch Out For Online Scams

Be warned that Online scams abound even on some of the most reputable websites such as Craigslist. Apparently some buyers are more interested in scamming you than in scoring a great deal.

Alan Munro posted an ad on Craigslist to sell a windsurfer board and was asked to email the prospective purchaser an invoice through PayPal. He did so and got an email that seemed to come from PayPal, saying that a remittance had been made. But since the invoice was in U.S. dollars, he was asked to pay the exchange difference before the money was released. Paypal does not send such emails and this was a scam.

Craigslist and other similar services such as Kijiji, suggest some simple rules to avoid getting taken in:

  • Ensure that all transactions take place locally with local people you can meet face to face. Go to a public place with many people around, such as a coffee shop.
  • Never send or wire money to buyers, which includes mailing cheques or using payment services such as PayPal, BidPay, Western Union or MoneyGram.

Applying just those two simple rules will ensure that you do not get taken in by these ever more prevalent scams.

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