th5 150x150 Are thieves targeting your new car?Probably not, according to Choosing a red car won’t mean higher insurance rates, either.

These are just two pervasive myths out there, according to the insurance-quote site. While new cars certainly do get stolen, professional thieves are much more likely to steal older models and part them out, and color is not considered when companies determine rates.

“I hope no one passed up the red Miata they really wanted because they thought the insurance would be more expensive,” says Amy Danise, editorial director of

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th How to spend less on Christmas 2014.Planning to do any Amazon shopping this holiday season? Have I got tips for you.

10 Amazon Shopping Tricks to Save You Tons of Money,” over on the page, actually features 10 categories, some of which have more than one tip involved. For example, did you know that Prime members get a half-hour head start on Lightning Deals?

That a tool called PriceJump will compare Amazon tags to those of 5,000 other online merchants? That Amazon-specific sites will do the best-price legwork for you? Or that if you haven’t spent quite enough to get free shipping a site like will find the 39-cent bolt or 79-cent cup hook that will push you over the $35 threshold?

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th1 150x150 Get free retirement info on Nov. 18.Just a heads-up to remind you about the Retiree Next Door Tweetcast that takes place tomorrow.

I’ll be one of the two dozen or so PF wonks involved in the hour-long event, which is being hosted by and certified financial planner Jeff Rose.

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th4 5 reasons procrastinators are screwed at Christmas.Every year we see some kind of commercial about last-minute holiday shopping. Often it’s the stereotypical dude rushing through the store on Dec. 24 (because apparently all men are clueless bumblers when it comes to the holidays).

Oh, you’re all out of Appropriate Gifts? I’m sure my wife/kids/parents will LOVE a set of car air fresheners or this mega-hot salsa collection!

No doubt these commercials sell lot of, well, whatever the sponsor is trying to sell.

We also see humorous essays about parents trying to get that season’s Must-Have Toy, or folks scrambling to track down the one thing that spouse/partner truly wanted. Usually the item is found on eBay or Craigslist at a vastly inflated price – but hey, it’s Christmas, right?

The stress, disappointment and overpayment are so preventable. All it takes is just a little bit of planning. Just a tiny bit. Those who don’t plan are likely to have their pockets picked every 25th of December — and they may lose out in other ways, too.

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th3 150x150 Giveaway: The three conference swag box.In the past few months I’ve attended conferences in New Orleans, Austin and Kansas City, Mo. If you’ve ever attended a conference you’ll know how many items are available from the expo hall, the conference rooms and the “Welcome!” bag.

Previous conference-swag giveaways have been popular, so I decided to do it again.


That’s right: I brought home so many oddments that they wouldn’t all fit into a single Priority Mail flat-rate box. That means two giveaways rather than one.

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20140909 MoneyTips Fincon The retiree screen Res FINAL 150x150 What does it take to retire successfully?Where I grew up, people worked for as long as possible and felt diminished by retirement. Now it’s seen as a second chance.

Some people still say they plan to spend their golden years improving their golf swings or lying around in hammocks, but increasingly retirement is becoming an opportunity to start over: trying a different type of work, learning a new skill, maybe even running off to join the Peace Corps.

If you’d like to learn more, tune in to the Retiree Next Door Tweetcast next Tuesday, Nov. 18. Co-hosted by and certified financial planner Jeff Rose, the one-hour event will answer common questions and any additional queries sent in by listeners.

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th2 150x147 The most wanted Christmas gift? Cash.Shocking, huh? Filthy lucre was the favorite holiday gift among those surveyed by the Ebates cash-back shopping site

At 39 percent of the vote, it blew away a few categories that surprised me: tablets (15 percent), smartphones (12 percent), tickets to an event/destination (10 percent), televisions (7 percent).

Maybe the majority of respondents don’t have relatives wealthy enough to pony up enough for a new e-gift or a weekend in the Bahamas. Still, they seemed hopeful that somebody would send a few dollars their way.

Or maybe they’re having trouble making it in the current economy (recovery? what recovery?) and even a $50 bill in a Christmas card would give them a little breathing room.

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GetAttachment1 How frugalists do Manhattan.I saw “The Book of Mormon” from a front-row seat on Broadway for $32. No, a number is not missing from either the beginning or the end of that figure.

My name finally got drawn in the daily ticket lottery. I’ve entered the drawing every day during every trip to New York for the past few years, never dreaming that I’d actually have a shot.

The guy sitting behind me said he’d paid $500 for his seat. That’s my rent, dude. No way am I paying that much for a show, no matter how acclaimed. I still can’t believe I paid so little, but the accompanying photo proves that I did indeed shell out just $32 for seat A-105. The Lottery Dude also handed each winner a cool “I won ‘The Book of Mormon’ lottery!” badge as a souvenir.

But that was just one way I saved money on this trip.

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th1 Two Phoenix meet ups: Nov. 9 and Nov. 12.It’s been a successful vacation so far, i.e., I completely lost track of time. While I had every intention of posting a potential Phoenix meet-up, I started relaxing instead.

Now it’s Saturday evening already and I should have given people more time to see if they could fit this into their schedules. That’s why I’m proposing two meet ‘n’ greets.

If you’re interested in saying hello in person — and, more to the point, maybe meeting like-minded frugalists in your town — then I’d love it if you could make it to either of these:

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th The Black Friday 2014 giveaway.Some people think Black Friday is fading away. Me, I think it’s simply spreading out.

Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the way whether you like it or not — and you can bet that Saturday and Sunday will have their own forms of deal-mongering, too.

Don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday? Prefer to buy locally? Do what works for you. But this week’s giveaway is designed to provide a little help for shoppers of all stripes, plus a little entertainment afterwards.

Up for grabs are:

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th 1 How secure is your identity?Here’s a startling stat: Nearly one in three persons surveyed by Experian believe they’re not at risk of identity theft because “thieves only want wealthy people’s identities.”

Wrong. It’s not how much money you make, but rather how much cybercrooks could make from you. 

“Identity thieves use data as their commodity, selling it to the highest bidder or for personal gain, so it’s important for consumers to protect their personal information,” says Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education for Experian’s ProtectMyID.

Put another way: My long-unemployed mother was a victim of identity theft, and another relative who is self-employed had to get a credit freeze after someone tried opening credit cards in his name.

Both cases seem to have stemmed from credit-card applications filched from mailboxes. The bigger risk these days is cybercrime, if the Experian survey is any indication. 

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th2 150x150 Talkeetna in December: Join us!Once again the Talkeetna Bachelors Auction and Wilderness Woman Competition is approaching — and once again, Linda B. and I have rented the entire top floor of the Latitude 62 hotel and restaurant.

We’re lining up some other wild wimmen to accompany us, but there’s always room for a few more. Why not make this the year that you throw caution (and possibly good sense) to the winds and join us?

The actual event is Saturday, Dec. 6, but we always go up on Friday afternoon. This year the bachelors of Talkeetna have an actual theme for the party, along the lines of the Roaring ’20s/Great Gatsby/Talkeetna Speakeasy. “We haven’t settled on a title, but you get the idea,” said my e-mailed invitation.

“Dress the part if you’d like, or come as you are. We will take your donation no matter what you’re wearing.”

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