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 Grandparents.com 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 SlickFiller.net will find the 39-cent bolt or 79-cent cup hook that will push you over the $35 threshold?


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th8 Paycheck too small? Maybe youre just ugly.If you’ve got a face made for radio or a body that doesn’t fit Madison Avenue’s image, you may feel that you’re not getting a fair shake. And you may be right.

For example, tall people earn more than shorter ones. Overweight men earn less (and overweight women earn a lot less) than non-obese coworkers.

And this one really frosts me: A Harvard University study indicates that women who wear makeup are seen as “more trustworthy and competent.” Hey, not all of us want to put on war paint each day.

Unfair, but true: How your looks affect your pay,” on Money Talks News, discusses the ways bosses can legally discriminate against you.

Sometimes those ways are pretty ridiculous. One employment law expert has heard from people who got canned because supervisors didn’t like their shoes. Seriously.


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th3 Should you drop collision coverage?If you’re thinking about ditching collision, don’t do it based on some imagined formula. Although most people drop it by the eighth year of ownership, there’s no hard-and-fast (fast and furious?) rule.

Or so I found out while researching “When to drop collision coverage – and risk it all” for Insurance.com.

You’re required to have collision until your auto loan is paid in full. It repairs or replaces your wheels when you’re hit by an uninsured driver or when you have an at-fault accident. (Damn you, black ice!)

Insurance.com analyzed data from half a million car insurance quotes and found that year eight is when the biggest number of owners bid adieu to collision. Some swear by “the 10 percent rule”: If the annual premium is 10 percent or more of the car’s value, better to bank those bucks against a replacement vehicle.

But it’s not always that simple. Collision coverage is another example of how those living on the margins pay more.


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How spam is made.

th How spam is made. Apparently there’s a spam template floating around the Internetz. Anyone who blogs has likely seen its spawn, i.e., would-be “comments” that sound a lot like other “comments” you received that day. Or the previous week, or year.

That’s because they’re not comments at all. They’re camel noses.

Folks promoting their websites or who are being paid to promote other people’s websites cut and paste chunks of these templates and mass-mail them to every blog extant. Approve them once and they can get into your tent any time they want in the future.

Or, rather, their spam-mails can. If you’re new to blogging, be really wary about which comments you approve. Should the English seem very clunky or the comment off-topic (or a blatant non sequitur), check the return e-mail address/web page attached to the e-mail. You’ll almost certainly see something like “cheap retro Jordan size 8” or “teeth whitening” or “cheap FIF coins.”

Today I got an e-mail from a really clueless spammer who cut-and-pasted the entire freaking template: 2,828 words. Taken together they look like an English-as-a-second-language version of Mad Libs.


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th4 150x150 Swimsuits, gleaning and Christmas in July.For women, there are two kinds of bathing suits: the kind you promenade in and the kind won’t fall off when you dive into a pool/get hit by a wave.

The latter actually happened to me when I was a young teen, down at the Jersey Shore. Luckily my feet were planted in the sand so the suit bottom didn’t have a chance to float off, but for a few very anxious seconds I felt like the little girl at the end of this old Coppertone ad:

July is the best time for discounts on both bathing suits and summer clothing, according to a merchandising specialist at Retail Me Not. Tips for finding good deals on such can be found in my current post at RMN’s The Real Deal, “What to buy in July: Celebrate the best of summer, right in your own backyard.”


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