If you willingly pay an annual fee for a credit card that earns airmiles (most reward cards do come with a hefty price), you might want to re-think that decision. The problem is airlines are changing the rules to shorten the time before miles expire. Several years ago I learned this the hard way.
It looked like junk mail but for some reason I opened the envelope from United Airlines. Turns out it wasn’t junk, but I have a sneaky suspicion whoever designed this mailer hoped I’d toss it in the shredder. It was notification that my 38,000 MileagePlus miles would expire on New Year’s Eve if I didn’t activate my account by adding more miles to it before the stroke of midnight. Quite frankly, in the hustle and bustle of the season, booking a flight just so I could log a few more miles wasn’t exactly on my Christmas list.
It’s not easy to rack up 38,000 air miles. Either you have to actually put $38,000 on a qualifying credit card or fly a lot on that airline, which is how I earn miles. Thankfully, I wasn’t so loyal that I’d purposely book a United flight at a higher price, just to earn the miles. Having enough miles in my account to actually book a free trip someday was like a trophy to me. But knowing the miles were about to evaporate got me thinking in a new way. Continue reading
Got big heating bills this winter even though you keep the thermostat set at “Brrrrrr”? Science may be able to offer you a better and cheaper way to stay warm at home. But first a few facts:
Feeling warm or cold has nothing to do with air temperature. We get warm from our surroundings that have been heated by infrared radiation. The sun produces harmless infrared lightwaves that are invisible and responsible for making us feel warm.
If you are a regular reader of this column you know there are two appliances that get a daily workout at my house—the coffeemaker and steam iron. Over the years I’ve tested many brands, models and options. My conclusion is that for these two items, price does not always indicate a superior product. I prefer what I call the best inexpensives.
When it comes to making coffee and pressing clothes, I don’t need or want fancy options. What I’m looking for are reliable workhorses that can get the job done, don’t need to be coddled and keep working well for a long time.
Here are my recommendations for the two best inexpensive coffeemakers and steam irons—any of which would, in my opinion, make excellent Christmas gifts. But then I also happen to be one who loves to find household appliances under the tree: Continue reading
Want to put a thousand bucks back into your wallet in the coming year? If you’re paying around $100 per month now, pulling that plug would more than do it and without leaving you high and dry for TV entertainment.
If even the thought of such an extreme measure feels for all the world like losing your favorite binky, I understand. Oh boy do I.
It’s been three months now since we cancelled our cable TV service, loaded up the cable box, DVR and remote control and dropped them off at the local Time Warner office. While I can’t say we dialed our monthly entertainment costs back to $0, we have reduced the cost by more than $100 a month.
What we had before: Basic cable service including several premium sports packages like ESPN and movie channels. My husband is a sports fanatic, while I approach the level of “junkie” when it comes to cable news.
What we have now: Local free broadcast channels and access to movies, TV and sports that are available live and otherwise, online as well as an audio feed for cable news channels. Continue reading
Do you have any idea how much money you spend each month to feed your family? Even if you think you know, you may be shocked to learn the truth.
Recently I heard from a reader in Ohio who decided to keep track of how much she spent on food for one entire month. She was all but speechless when she told me it came to more than $850. On food. Now, had she planned to spend that much as part of a carefully charted budget, that would be one thing. But this is the same person who’d told me previously that she thought that number was more like $450 “at the most.”
It’s no secret that food costs are skyrocketing. Every week I am amazed if not worried. While we can’t control the cost of food, we can control the ways that we spend our food dollars.
There’s more at play that just the cost of food. There’s the time required to track sales, shop carefully then prepare and cook our meals. I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get. I rely on multiple sources, but probably none as much as the online menu planning service, eMeals.com. This is simply genius. Here’s how it works: Continue reading