th1 150x150 Whose Christmas costs more? When it comes to paying off holiday debts, who finishes last? If you guessed “low-income shoppers,” you guessed wrong.

According to a study from the NerdWallet personal finance site, the middle class takes longer than anyone else to finish paying for its Christmas celebrations.

People who earn from $50k to $75k take an average of 2.6 months to finish paying for holiday expenses. Compare that to folks who earn $50k or less and take an average of two months.

“Those who spend more in an effort to ‘keep up’ end up paying the price later,” says Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at NerdWallet.

“Middle-class households could end up in a risky position this holiday season if they have ample credit to make purchases but incomes too thin to comfortably pay the bills later.”


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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 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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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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th9 Traveling for Thanksgiving? You need this bag.Heading to your family of origin for turkey day? Or going somewhere as un-familial as possible?

Either way, it’s irritating to have spend big bucks for teeny-tiny toiletries in order to satisfy the Transportation Security Administration.

Thus I’m offering yet another TSA-friendly travel kit, in plenty of time to receive it before your long Thanksgiving weekend trip with a carry-on bag.


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th4 150x150 Is orange and black the new black?Before I forget: Women can get a bunch of free medical tests from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11 (that’s today) at any Sam’s Club with a pharmacy.

Among them: thyroid, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure. You don’t have to fast for these tests. For more details, see my previous post on the subject.

Now: Back to All Hallows Eve. According to the National Retail Federation, just over one-third of U.S. adults plan to do the Monster Mash this Oct. 31, either at private homes or bars. Remember when Halloween used to be about kids and cavities?

That’s the main topic of my monthly gig at Retail Me Not. “What to buy in October: Look for boo-coup Halloween steals and denim deals” notes that while the Grinch may have stolen Christmas, adults have purloined Halloween.


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