It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week, which means it’s nearly Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Then we really won’t be able to avoid the holiday commercials and music everywhere we go. Companies with existing gift cards are already pushing them hard.
Gift cards are extremely convenient, especially since so many can be sent by email. But the thing that kills me is that the recipient knows the exact value you spent on the gift.
Plus, gift cards are also inherently risky since it’s not guaranteed the stores will be there forever. Then again, it’s very hard to beat the luxury of getting to buy whatever you want in a certain store or restaurant.
Read on for my list of my 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week, many of which offer great tips for holiday shopping!
Several weeks ago, I had jury duty for the first time. Even though my dad is a lawyer and my husband is in law school, but I never really stopped to think about how much the legal system financially impacts everyone involved, from jurors to the families of the defendant and victims. We can all do our best to obey the law, but nobody is perfect, and one wrong move can wreck us financially.
I am back from my trip to Costa Rica, and I had a great time despite the fact that I returned to a week of intense jury duty. As I always do when I travel, I enjoyed observing how money is handled differently. From a lack of credit card acceptance to massive coins, things definitely operate differently abroad.
Learn about some of the many differences I observed between the way day-to-day finances are handled in the U.S. versus Costa Rica. Plus, read my roundup below of my 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!
Understanding the fine print on a gift card is hard. Trust me, I’ve spent the better part of a month looking through more than 60 examples.
But after weeks of deciphering Web pages, calling toll-free customer service numbers or even calling or visiting individual stores while researching CreditCards.com’s 2011 gift card survey, I think I have a solution for the problem.
Earlier this week, a friend posted on Facebook that he went to a drive-through restaurant. As he pulled up to the window, the cashier smiled and said that the person before him left behind a dollar for his order — a random act of kindness. My friend was taken aback by this small but kind gesture. He decided to pass it along to the next person, feeling the need to pay it forward.
It felt fitting when I read that today is World Smile Day. You know that famous yellow smiley face icon you see everywhere? It was created in 1963 by artist Harvey Ball. Times are tough, and we could all use a genuine smile here and there or a random act of kindness. On this day, let’s all take a deep breath, remember that we are all in this together and share our beautiful smiles with the world.
If you’re looking for great advice on budgeting, holiday shopping or warding off identity theft, these 10 of my favorite personal finance posts from the past week will put a smile on your face.