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Budget Do’s

Brainy, Budget Do's, Cocktail Chatter, Finance

Lose Your Phone – You’re Not Alone

March 29, 2012

Susan SermonetaDon’t feel bad ladies – lost phones are so common, a study by Lookout, a mobile security company, discusses on the hows, whys and wheres of lost phones and concluded with the stat that we all lose our phones about once a year. For smart phone users, that is about $250, nationally and unrecovered phones cost consumers up to $30 billion a year.

Funny findings…

People in some U.S. cities have a higher chance of losing their phone: Philadelphia residents lose their phone two times more than New York City dwellers, while San Franciscans and New Yorkers lose their phones three times more than Chicagoans.

of course there is a reason Lookout paid for this study—it’s their business. In 2011, Lookout claims to have located 9 million lost smartphones, which equals one phone every 3.5 seconds

We also liked these 10 Tips from CNN – To get your phone back.

1. Use a loud and piercing ringtone
2. Call or text your mobile number
3. Call your operator to disconnect your SIM card.
4. Retrace your steps
5. Use phone labels
6. Offer a reward in your welcome message
7. Use a customized background picture
8. Get a brightly colored phone
9. Lock your SIM card
10. Lock your phone

Budget Do's, Finance

Coupons in the darndest places!

June 24, 2011

Andrea Woroch our favorite consumer savings guru is back with a helpful list of coupons. Not a clipper? Haven’t wanted to deal with the hassle -think again. Woroch points to research released June 1, 2011 by eMarketer, which states 88.2 million consumers will use digital coupons as an important part of their shopping experience in 2011. That’s 47 percent of adult Internet users, a statistic that’s destined to rise in the near future.

Part of the fun, is finding them. “Happily, coupons have become even more pervasive and are now available just about everywhere you look,” says Woroch, “whether it be via the Internet, social media, smartphone or bank statements.”

Here favorite resource for these shopportunities is with, 30 days of savings tips, and much more.

Here’s 10 from her list of 30. For the complete list go to

1. Smartphone Apps
More than one in four mobile users in the U.S. own a smartphone, which makes coupon applications amazingly handy. For example, the free app that offers mobile coupons is perfect for I Love Coupon Month as it actually allows you to search for coupons while shopping. The coupon is then displayed as either a scannable image or numeric code that the cashier can enter at the register. You receive an immediate discount.

2. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, even YouTube provide links to coupons from just about every merchant and service you’ve heard of. Need a new dress? Visit your favorite retailer’s Facebook page and print out a coupon. Heading to the grocery store? Check their Twitter feed for coupon links. Lastly, look for coupon bloggers who create instructional videos on YouTube that include similar links.

3. Daily Deal Services
By now, nearly everyone has heard about daily deal services, the largest of which are Groupon and Living Social. The success of these two behemoths has led to major clonage, including many companies focusing on specific regions or cities. Here’s how it works: You register with the site and receive daily emails detailing major savings for various services and merchants. If you’re interested, just click on the deal, pay and download the attached coupon.

4. Bank Statements
BillShrink works with 2,000 banks to analyze consumer spending habits and provide coupons implanted in your bank statements above certain purchases. In essence, this method allows retailers to target coupons specific to your likes and needs, instead of requiring customers do the research.

5. Loyalty Card Coupons
Most major supermarket chains allow shoppers to upload coupons from their websites to loyalty cards. The trick is to remember which coupons you’ve actually loaded so you don’t forget or buy the wrong product. This marketing method is beginning to cross over to other companies. For example, Shell gas stations offer fuel discounts for repeat customers with rewards cards.

6. Manufacturers’ Websites
Wanting to get a cut of the action, manufacturers began offering their own online coupons, some of which are printable coupons you can use in their stores. Others offer coupon codes for online purchases. The variety of coupons available may surprise you. Everyone from furniture to health-food manufacturers have gotten in on the game. For example, Lane Recliners recently advertised a $100 coupon usable with a minimum purchase of just $499.

7. Emailed Newsletters
Sign up for email newsletters offered on merchant websites and many will regularly send out coupons. If you plan on registering for a bunch of these newsletters, you might want to create a separate email account so your personal inbox isn’t overwhelmed.

8. eBay
The online-auction site devotes an entire section to coupons, many of which are sold via the “Buy It Now” status. This means you can purchase the advertised coupon immediately without waiting for the auction to expire. The day I checked there were more than 81,000 coupons on offer.

9. Online Store Circulars
Subscribing to a newspaper for the circulars is still the number one way to find coupons, but many merchants now post these sale flyers directly on their websites, allowing you to download coupons or access the coupon codes.

Another coupon aggregate site, allows you to download coupons directly to your grocery loyalty card. The cashier then swipes the card at checkout and “poof,” instant savings. The service is available for over 3,500 grocery stores across the country. Signing up for a free membership entitles you to additional savings and services.

Budget Do's, Finance

Don't Pass That School Bus — and Other Increased CA Tickets for 2011

January 6, 2011

Don’t even thinking of parking in the bus lane, reading a text or passing that little yellow school bus with flashing lights. Take a look at the new increased ticket rates in California.

Did you move recently? Failure to notify DMV of address change within 10 days will cost you $214 (tip: head to your nearest AAA to get the addressed changed.)

We know you’re in a hurry but you’ve got to stop at that red light or it will now set you back $436.

Still taking part in the California roll? Failure to stop at a stop sign is now $214.

That school bus taking up the entire road and slowwwwllllllyyy loading children? Stay put. Passing a school bus with flashing red signals is now $616.

Even reading a text while driving will now cost you $148.

We know, you just had to run to the dry cleaners — well don’t park in that bus loading zone unless you want to shell out $976.

Talking ‘hands-free’ but using your iPhone headphones? Covering both ears with earplugs or headsets will cost you $178.