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Saturday, January 31, 2009
Free subscription to the Body+Soul magazine
For a limited time, RewardsGold is offering free subscription.

For details, check out:

RewardsGold: Body+Soul magazine


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posted by Ruby @ 10:11 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Free retirement advice from Kiplinger's - Jan 30, 2009 9 AM-6 PM (EST)
Kiplinger and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) are offering free retirement advice to anyone as part of the Kiplinger's Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Days.

You can contact NAPFA members from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Jan 30 to get answers to your questions for free. You can either call 888-919-2345 or participate in an online discussion with a NAPFA advisor.

For complete details, see:

Kiplinger's Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Days

For transcripts from the previous session, see:

Kiplinger.com: Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan
posted by Ruby @ 7:09 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Free subscription to the Martha Stewart Living magazine
For a limited time, RewardsGold is offering free subscription.

For details, check out:

RewardsGold: Martha Stewart Living magazine


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posted by Ruby @ 7:14 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Free book - Network Access Control for Dummies
For a limited time, Sophos is offering a free copy of Network Access Control for Dummies book.

For details, see:

Sophos: Free Network Access Control for Dummies book
posted by Ruby @ 8:58 AM   0 comments

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Monday, January 26, 2009
Class action settlement: Up to $78 for customers of Bank of America, Fleet Bank, US Trust Company or LaSalle Bank
As part of a settlement, customers of Bank of America, Fleet Bank, US Trust Company or LaSalle Bank may be eligible for up to $78. You can submit the claim online or via mail. Deadline is May 1, 2009.

You are a member of the Settlement Class and eligible for a payment if you resided in the United States at any time between the dates set forth below, had an account at a bank listed below, and meet all three of the following requirements:

Your account was accessible through a debit card, check card, or any other bank card used for debit purchases; AND

You paid at least one:

insufficient funds fee, overdraft fee, returned item fee, or similar fee that was assessed to your account within five business days after a Bank of America debit card transaction either occurred or posted to your account; OR

overlimit fee or similar fee that was assessed for an account cycle in which a Bank of America debit card transaction either occurred or posted to your account; AND
The insufficient funds fee, overdraft fee, returned item fee, overlimit fee, or similar fee was paid between the following dates:

For customers of . . . From Through
Bank of America 12/6/2000 12/31/2007
Fleet Bank, N.A. 4/1/2004 12/31/2007
U.S. Trust Company, N.A. 7/1/2007 12/31/2007
LaSalle Bank N.A. and LaSalle Bank Midwest N.A. 10/1/2007 12/31/2007
...
The total payment to each qualifying Settlement Class Member will depend upon the total number of valid claims submitted by all Settlement Class Members. However, no Settlement Class Member will receive more than $78.
For complete details, see:

Closson v. Bank of America

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posted by Ruby @ 9:27 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 25, 2009
Weekend Quote: Bank of America and its acquisition of Countrywide Financial or Merrill Lynch
The sad truth is that the strategy of forcing others to take the fall for your poor decisions can only work so long. Nobody forced Bank of America to buy Countrywide Financial or Merrill Lynch. These were both ego buys, with a dash of patriotic duty thrown in for good measure. They weren't necessary for Bank of America to keep doing well at what it was doing.

Fortune/CNNMoney.com: John Thain and the curse of being No. 2


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Friday, January 23, 2009
Insider stock purchases - a buying signal or an invitation to getting fried signal in the current market?
CNBC and other financial media are abuzz this week with the recent purchases of Bank of America shares by company insiders. Typically, insider buying is considered a bullish sign on stock since insiders are putting their own money on the line. However, as the Wall Street Journal article points out, in the current environment, be very careful and avoid following the insiders. The past few months have clearly shown that the current crisis is more serious that many of the value fund managers, insiders and other investors had imagined. Insiders from various companies, including Wachovia, Thornburg Mortgage and others rushed in to buy their company stocks thinking that their low valuations were unjustified and buying was the right thing to do. However, the current crisis has shown that insiders aren't better in identifying stock bottoms and if anything, they are often too early in buying. Moreover, these days, insiders seems to be engaging in stock purchase more as a show to encourage others to jump in but again, it pays to be careful since while insider executives have tons of money and can afford to make purchases, most of us don't have sufficient money to throw away, especially now when our bank and retirement accounts are already depleted.
Lewis and his compatriots purchased more than 513,000 shares of common stock Tuesday, as The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick reported. BofA’s shares rose 31% Wednesday, fueled by a wider rally that also lifted Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and other financial stocks.
.....
Let’s look at just a few, brief examples. Last November Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit and his deputies bought 1.3 million Citigroup shares after the stock had fallen below $9. Pandit alone spent $8.4 million. But that didn’t prevent a deeper rout in the stock nor the need of an additional $301 billion in government backstops for Citi’s toxic debt. Oh, and the stock closed Wednesday at $3.67, and that’s after rising 31% on the day.

Directors at Wachovia snapped up hundreds of thousands of shares in October and early November, only weeks before the bank was shoved into an arranged marriage, first with Citigroup and then Wells Fargo. At Washington Mutual, the bank’s decline was presaged by a months-long buying spree by directors and officers–none of which persuaded investors or depositors of WaMu’s viability long enough to forestall an FDIC near-seizure and fire sale to J.P. Morgan.
....
The lesson? That investors believe that no one, including executives, know enough about the market these days to confidently predict all the factors that could affect the future of any company.
For complete article, see:

WSJ.com: Bank of America: Can a $15 Billion Problem Be Solved by Buying 513,000 Shares?

Related article:

SeekingAlpha.com: Lessons the Market Taught Us in 2008
posted by Ruby @ 10:56 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, January 22, 2009
Free Audiobook - Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Unabridged)
For a limited time, Audible.com is offering a free download of Stephen Covey's audiobook - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The download requires you to create a user account, if you don't have it already, with Audible.com. In addition, you need to download software to manage the audiobook.

For details, see:

Audible.com: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Unabridged)
posted by Ruby @ 8:05 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
250 points from Priority Club Rewards for brief survey
For a limited time, you can earn 250 points from Priority Club Rewards for taking a brief survey.

For details, see:

Priority Club Rewards Online Survey

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posted by Ruby @ 11:36 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Jan 20, 2009: $25 worth of cosmetics giveaway
As mentioned in one of my previous posts, today is the day when many major department stores will be giving away $25 worth of cosmetics to class members as part of a class action settlement. Stores include Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Parisian, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Younkers.

For complete details, including whether you are a class member, see:

In re Cosmetics Cases (Azizian, et al. v. Federated Department Stores, Inc., et al., Docket No. 4:03-CV-03359-SBA)
posted by Ruby @ 9:44 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Weekend quote - Challenge
When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out.

- David Weatherford


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posted by Ruby @ 9:26 AM   0 comments

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Friday, January 16, 2009
Free live tax advice from Intuit TurboTax
Through January 31, 2009, Intuit, developer of TurboTax software, is offering free live tax advice to every one at the Web site: FreeTaxQuestion.Hours of operation are 7:00 AM to 7:00PM PST Mon - Sun
No purchase is required. Any taxpayer can talk to a live TurboTax tax expert who will answer their personal, federal tax-related question for free (a $29.95 value) through Jan. 31 at www.FreeTaxQuestion.com. Taxpayers can submit a question online and they’ll receive a personal call back, at a time they request. This is a limited time offer and subject to availability through January 2009
For related article, see:

Yahoo Finance: Taxpayers Have More Tax Questions, TurboTax Has Free Answers
posted by Ruby @ 9:34 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, January 15, 2009
Problems with Olevia HDTV
Last year, in November 2007, we had bought the 42" Olevia LCD (Model 242-T11). The tv works good but recently started having problem with the channel change buttons.

As we were away, we hadn't used the TV for a few weeks. Recently, when I turned it on, the TV was working fine but for some reasons, the channel up and down buttons on the TV as well as on the remote stopped working. The only way I could change channels was by entering the channel numbers directly (using the 1 through 9 buttons) on the remote control. All other buttons located directly on the TV as well as on the remote were working fine. Removing and reinserting the remote control batteries also didn't fix the problem nor did a quick search on the internet provided much clues.

Finally, I emailed Olevia's Tech support and through their help, was able to resolve the issue. Basically, I needed to do the Auto Channel Search again. The steps were as follows:

1) Press the SOURCE button on the remote (or the TV itself) until CABLE is visible on the upper right (as per the Tech Support, I needed to make TUNER visible, but since I didn't have that option, I just set it to CABLE and that proved option proved to be fine in resolving the problem.
corner
2) Press the MENU button on the remote,
3) Press the DOWN arrow key until you see SETUP, press ENTER.
4) Press DOWN until you see TV, press ENTER.
5) Press DOWN until you see AUTO CHANNEL SEARCH, press ENTER
6) Press DOWN until you see CABLE (for antenna, use AIR), then press ENTER.
7) Choose the STANDARD (if STANDARD does not give you the channels, try AUTO) option. The scan process starts and takes about couple of minutes to complete.

The above steps did the trick and I can now change the channels using the buttons on the TV and remote.

Here's the contact info for Olevia's Tech Support in the US:

Olevia's Web site: Olevia Tech Support
Phone: 866-965-3842
posted by Ruby @ 7:54 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tips for growing wealth
The BankRate.com article provides various tips from readers for growing wealth. Among the tips:
1. Grow Your Own Food
2. Set Limits and Stick to Them
3. Buy Savings Bonds
4. Redirect Your Raises
5. Split Raises in Half
6. Track Spending
7. Spend Less by Budgeting
8. Save by Using Credit
I especially liked the tip on proper use of credit cards - earning rewards and getting interest free money for few days before paying it off in full.
My husband and I do not carry any significant amounts of cash -- have approximately $20 to $40 maximum in each wallet.

All purchases -- food, gasoline and nominal retail purchases -- are on the card. All credit purchases are paid up completely every billing. Savings are twofold: 30-day float and no credit card interest ever for the past 30 years or more. Our motto is, if we pay any interest charges, they must be tax-deductible!
For complete article, see:

BankRate.com/Yahoo Finance: How Real People Grow Their Wealth

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posted by Ruby @ 7:08 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, January 11, 2009
Weekend quote - Strength
"One who smiles rather than angers is always stronger"

- A Chinese saying


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posted by Ruby @ 9:19 AM   0 comments

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Friday, January 09, 2009
Free copy of Suze Orman's book - Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan (pdf format)
Till 11:59 PM Jan 15, 2009, Oprah.com site is offering a free copy of Suze Orman's book - Orman's 2009 Action Plan (in English and Spanish). (The paperback edition of the same book is listed for $9.99 at Amazon.com)

For the free e-book, see:

Oprah.com: Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan book
posted by Ruby @ 7:45 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Cosmetics class action lawsuit settlement: $25 worth of free cosmetics giveaway on Jan 20, 2009 to class members
As part of the cosmetics class action lawsuit settlement, many major department stores will be giving away $25 worth of cosmetics on Jan 20, 2009 to class members while supplies last. Stores include Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Parisian, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Younkers.
Class member will be eligible to receive, while supplies last, a maximum of ONE free cosmetics product from one of the Manufacturer Defendants from which he or she purchased Department Store Cosmetics1 during the class period, May 29, 1994 through July 16, 2003, from the list of products below. If a class member has only purchased products, during the class period, from one of the Manufacturer Defendants listed below, then that class member is only entitled to receive a free product from that Manufacturer Defendant. If a class member has purchased products, during the class period, from multiple Manufacturer Defendants, then that class member must choose the ONE free product he or she wishes to claim from one of those Manufacturer Defendants. Again, these products are only available while supplies last, and no rainchecks will be issued. If your store has run out of settlement products from the Manufacturer Defendant(s) from which you have previously purchased Department Store Cosmetics during the class period, then you may claim a product (again, while supplies last) from another Manufacturer Defendant.
For complete details, including whether you are a class member, see:

In re Cosmetics Cases (Azizian, et al. v. Federated Department Stores, Inc., et al., Docket No. 4:03-CV-03359-SBA)
posted by Ruby @ 7:40 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Finding FDIC-insured banks offering high-yield savings accounts and CDs
Recently, came across an article from the Wall Street Journal regarding an auction site, called MoneyAisle.com, which allows you to find FDIC-insured banks that are offering CDs and savings accounts with high interest rates. Basically, this free site is similar to various mortgage/insurance type sites where you provide some basic information (in this case, the initial deposit and the state of residence when finding high-yield savings account), and the sites come back with their recommendations. Similarly, after inputing the required information, the MoneyAisle.com site provides the highest yield that its member banks are willing to offer for your money. The site is free and does not require you to accept the bank's offer.

Here's the quote from the Wall Street Journal's article:
Problem: You're too nervous to invest in the stock market, but your bank is offering paltry yields on CDs.
Solution: Auction your cash to the highest bidder. At MoneyAisle.com, more than 100 small and midsize banks compete for consumer deposits through live auctions. When a customer comes to the site and asks for the terms of a CD or high-yield savings account, the banks bid against one another -- through automated auction software that runs on the Web site -- to win the deposit. The cost is free to consumers, and you don't have to commit to investing anything before you see the results of an auction. Participating banks, which are all FDIC-insured, are screened by an independent bank-rating agency to filter out the riskiest banks.

Savers can also find high-yield CDs with brokered CDs, which are offered by banks and brokerage firms around the country, and typically sold through brokerage firms and financial intermediaries. As the big brokerage firms expand their deposit business, many -- including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch -- are offering attractive yields to lure buyers. Keep in mind that brokered CDs have different rules. If you cash out before they mature, you may lose some of your principal.
After reading the article, decided to give MoneyAisle.com a try for finding a high-yield savings account. The process was very simple. I simply had to indicate the amount of my initial deposit and the state of residence. The site then displayed the results of its auction process, with the yield increasing until the process is complete. The site then shows the highest yield you can get for your deposit. To find the name of the winning bank, you do need to register.

I played with three different amounts of initial deposits. With the deposit of $2,500 and $5,000, the site showed a yield of 2.96%, which increased to 3% if I entered $10,000. Similarly, for the 5-year CDs, the site came back with the APY of 3.32% and 4.14% for deposits of $2,500 and $10,000, respectively. So with higher deposits, it's possible to get higher interest rates. I found the site to be a good tool in getting an idea of how much yield you can get for your deposit.

For the complete article and MoneyAisle site details, see:

MoneyAisle.com

Wall Street.com: How to Fix Your Life in 2009

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St. Jude Novena - a good prayer
The St. Jude Noveena prayer: needs to said 9 times a day for 9 consecutive days for the fulfilment of your wishes. You need to publish it afterwards.
May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and forever.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us.
St. Jude worker of miracles, pray for us.
St. Jude helper of the hopeless, pray for us.
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Sunday, January 04, 2009
Weekend quote - Ups and Downs of life
"We went from having practically everything we wanted to having nothing.....Today I have no home and no money. At 56 years of age, I have to start over."

- Johnny Watkins (Auto Dealer), Source: Wall Street Journal: The Trials of the Auto Dealer


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posted by Ruby @ 9:02 AM   0 comments

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Saturday, January 03, 2009
Novena prayer
Here's the sacred novena prayer - to be said at least 9 times each day, for nine days:

May the sacred heart of Jesus be adored, glorified, loved, and preserved throughout the world, now and forever.

Sacred heart of Jesus pray for us.

Saint Jude worker of miracles, pray for us.

Saint Jude help of the hopeless, pray for us.
posted by Ruby @ 5:58 PM   0 comments

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Friday, January 02, 2009
2009 401(k) and Social security taxable earnings
The 2009 limits for 401(k) plan contributions have increased along with the maximum taxable earnings subject to the Social Security tax (SST).

The 2009 limits are as follows:

401K (Maximum annual contribution): $16,500 (up from $15,500 in 2008)
401K Catch-up: (Max annual contribution): $5,500 (up from $5,000 in 2008)
Social Security: Maximum taxable earnings (6.2% of Federal taxable income): $106,800 (SST: $6,621.60) (up from $102,000 (SST: $6,324.00) in 2008)
posted by Ruby @ 10:15 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, January 01, 2009
Financial do's and don'ts for a happy future
Happy new year! With the start of the new year, the BusinessWeek article provides a reminder regarding valuable personal finance dos & don'ts. The list includes:
1. Don't try to predict the future.
2. Do keep enough cash available.
3. Do invest internationally.
4. Don't try to pick one winning investment. Diversify.
5. Do think about energy efficiency.
6. Don't stop contributing to 401(k) and other retirement accounts.
7. Do live below your means. Save.
8. Don't make sudden moves.
9. Do pay off expensive debts.
10. Don't give up on stocks.
For other dos and don'ts, and for complete article, see:

BusinessWeek/YahooFinance: Personal Finance: 20 Dos & Don'ts for 2009

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Favorite Quote
"If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you do not have in life, you will never have enough".
                - Author Unknown
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