Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Credit Card Free Benefits That Can Save You Money

creditcardYour credit cards provide free benefits that could save you hundreds of dollars a year, but you may not know—or may have forgotten—that you have these perks. And given all the limitations and loopholes in the fine print, you may not know which cards offer the best versions of the perks that range from extended warranties and price-match protection to rental-car and travel insurance.

Here’s what you need to know about money-saving perks that are available when you pay for a product or service with a particular card*…


You could receive additional warranty protection for free.

Details: These programs generally double the length of the manufacturer warranty up to one extra year of coverage (up to two extra years with MasterCard World Card). Especially long manufacturer warranties might not be extended, however. Warranties longer than five years are not extended with American Express, and the limit is three years with Visa Signature and Discover…two years with MasterCard World Card…and one year with other MasterCards. Products that lack a manufacturer warranty receive no warranty coverage from the cards. Certain product categories, including motor vehicles, collectibles, perishables, software and rented/leased items are excluded. ­MasterCard and Discover programs exclude refurbished items and damage caused by “wear and tear.” This warranty protection typically is limited to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per cardholder per year, though there is no annual limit with MasterCard.

Best program: American Express has the fewest exclusions.


If you spot a printed advertisement (with a date) showing a lower price than you recently paid for an item, you might be able to get a refund for the difference. (With some programs, even a lower price found on a non-auction Internet site qualifies.)

Availability: Nearly half of ­consumer credit cards offer this, including all Barclaycard, Chase, Citi and Discover cards. It is not available with any American Express or U.S. Bank cards.

Details: Most programs offer either 60 or 90 days of price protection, though Barclaycard and World MasterCard/World MasterCard Elite offer 120 days. Refunds are capped, typically at $250 per item and $1,000 per year. Some programs require cardholders to reenroll each year and/or register each purchase, which few cardholders bother to do. Jewelry, tickets, collectibles, close-outs, fuel and motor vehicles are among the purchase categories that typically are excluded from coverage.

Best programs: Discover and Chase refund up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year per account. Barclaycard and World MasterCard provide the longest price-match refund window.

Change your mind about a purchase and you might be able to get your money back, even if the retailer won’t allow a return—if you bought the item with a card that provides this perk.

Availability: About half of consumer credit cards offer this, including all American Express, Discover and Citi cards but not any Bank of America, Capital One or U.S. Bank cards.

Details: Returned items typically must be in unused condition. A copy of the receipt will be required, and the cardholder might have to supply a written refusal from the retailer to take back the item. Cardholders usually must pay to ship the item to the credit card issuer to get the refund, so this might not be a viable option with bulky products. Discover and American Express typically allow returns within 90 days. Coverage generally is capped at $250 or $300 per item and up to $1,000 per year. Most programs exclude certain products—jewelry, cosmetics and items purchased abroad are especially likely to not qualify. Some programs require annual reenrollment and/or registration of each purchase. MasterCard’s program applies only to products bought from stores that allow returns for at least 10 days.

Best program: Discover’s “Return Guarantee” program features high caps—$500 per item and $2,500 per year—and a long 90-day return window.


The insurance offered by rental-car companies can cost $15 to $30 per day, but you might be able to avoid this expense by charging the rental to a credit card that automatically provides free rental insurance for theft, collision and other damage (but not liability).

Exception: MasterCards that are not World MasterCards do not offer this coverage.

Details: Credit card rental insurance typically is secondary coverage, which means that you must file a claim with your own auto insurance provider—if your policy covers rental vehicles—before this credit card program will pay out. That could drive up your insurance rates. A very small number of cards, including Chase Sapphire Preferred and Diners Club, provide primary coverage as a no-fee perk, which could prevent your auto insurance rates from climbing if you do have an accident.

MasterCard World/World Elite and Discover (aside from Escape by Discover, which is no longer available to new customers) provide coverage for rentals in all countries, but most other cards exclude Ireland, Israel and Jamaica. American Express and Escape by Discover exclude Italy, Australia and New Zealand, too. Rentals lasting more than 30 or 31 days generally are not covered. The cap is just 15 days with Visa rentals in the US and with World MasterCard rentals anywhere.

Discover does not cover “loss of use”—the amount the rental company might charge you because it cannot rent out a damaged vehicle while it is being repaired. (The other programs do cover loss of use, but only if the rental company provides documentation.)

Visa does not cover damage to wheels or tires…or any damage occurring on dirt or gravel roads. MasterCard also excludes dirt and gravel roads that are not well-maintained.

Best program: American Express cards have relatively few exclusions for filing a claim.


You might be eligible for a range of perks if you pay for airline tickets or other travel costs with a credit card. For baggage insurance, you could be compensated for lost, damaged or delayed luggage. For trip-cancellation (and/or trip-interruption or trip-delay) protection, you might get reimbursed for some or all of your nonrefundable travel expenses if you are forced to alter your travel plans. Travel accident insurance might include a hefty payout if you die or are disabled on the trip.

Availability: Most rewards cards—and some nonrewards cards—offer travel accident and baggage insurance. Cards offering trip-cancellation protection include Barclaycard ­Arrival World MasterCard, Chase Sapphire/Sapphire Preferred, Wells Fargo Visa Signature and a number of Citi cards including Double Cash, Hilton HHonors and ThankYou.

Details: Baggage insurance typically is capped at a few hundred dollars and generally pays out only when losses are not fully covered by the responsible airline. Lost luggage on trains, buses and other forms of public transport might be covered as well. Some programs even cover carry-on bags…and a few include baggage-delay protection, which covers the cost of replacing essentials when your bags arrive later than you do.

Examples: Discover pays up to $500 for replacement essentials if your bags are delayed at least three hours. Chase Sapphire Preferred covers up to $100 per day for up to five days if bags are delayed more than six hours.

Trip-cancellation coverage tends to be capped at around $1,500 and generally pays out only if the cardholder can prove that the trip was canceled or interrupted for one of a very limited number of reasons, such as serious illness, injury or natural disaster.

Travel accident insurance typically pays out only if the traveler suffers accidental death (or a major disability, such as the loss of a limb) during transit to or from a destination, not while at that destination.

Best programs: Chase Sapphire and Chase Sapphire Preferred offer trip-cancellation coverage up to $5,000 per person per trip ($10,000 total per trip/$20,000 per year max).

*Card issuers may make changes at any time.

Source: Jill Gonzalez, spokesperson for, a financial website operated by Evolution Finance, which also operates the credit card comparison site

Your Local Library has Free Streaming Movies

Your local library wants to compete with your Netflix subscription. Here’s how to get free streaming movies and TV shows without paying a penny!

Recently, I had 2 people upset with me when I was talking about Kindle Paperwhite, a superior book reading device that has a street price of $119. I talked about the ways you can borrow books from other Amazon readers when you have the Paperwhite.

Two people asked why I didn’t mention borrowing e-books for free from local libraries. Check with your local library to see how you can do e-book lending. (As a general rule, any book that is out of copyright — such as the classics — will also be free through Google Books or Amazon.

The idea of e-book lending is convenient for you and great for libraries because they need less inventory on hand. You typically get to keep the e-book on your device for 21 days before it gets automatically “returned” to your library.

Now I read a Denver Post story that says you can stream movies for free at a number of library systems across the country. Check with yours to find out about how the streaming arrangement works.

One of the big providers is, which was built specifically with the library market in mind. The free service offers 200,000 movies, TV shows, CDs, and audio books.

Other popular services for movie and TV show streaming that might be teaming up with your local library include and The latter is, as its name suggests, heavy on the independent films.

Again, you’ve got to check with your local library to see which, if any, of these programs they’re participating with. Remember, the movies are free to stream. There is no additional cost because your tax dollars are already paying to support your local library system.



The #1 Secret You Don’t Know about Outlet Shopping

outlet shoppingDo you like outlet shopping?  What you think is a deall may not be a deal at all because of a secret that the outlets keep closely guarded.

Outlet shopping moves from exurbs to the suburbs

Outlet centers had their origins in rural mill towns. They were typically attached to factories and were a dumping ground for irregulars, factory seconds, and unsold inventory from manufacturers.

Then in their next incarnation, they moved closer to mid-sized and bigger cities. Though they were always careful to stay 50 miles or more away from the city core.

Yet the outlet business model has become so key to retailing that now outlet centers are often in the suburbs. They’re no longer in the exurbs 50 miles away. Continue reading

Eyeglasses for Half the Price

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A pair of eyeglasses can cost hundreds of dollars, but there’s no need to pay anywhere near that much. Quality eyeglasses can be bought online for less than $15 a pair for standard prescriptions…and even complicated prescriptions generally can be filled at various Web sites for $30 to $100, including the frames and lenses.


Even if you prefer not to buy eyewear online, there still are places you can shop where your price is likely to be less than $200 for glasses that might cost $400 or more elsewhere.

We asked consumer advocate Clark Howard to explain what eyeglass wearers need to know… Continue reading

Buying a New Mattress?

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Seven traps to avoid

Mattresses might be soft to sleep on, but they are notoriously hard to buy. Various stores sell very similar mattresses under different names, thwarting attempts to compare prices. Salespeople often steer shoppers toward ultra-expensive products. And manufacturers highlight features that consumers can’t easily evaluate. As a result, many shoppers pay hundreds of dollars more than necessary—or end up sleeping for years on mattresses that they hate.

Beware of these traps… Continue reading

Yard Sale Success Guide

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Holding a garage or yard sale can be a great way to clear out clutter and earn some cash. Here’s how to increase the odds that your sale will be a success… Continue reading

Baking Soda Uses

List of helpful, healthful applications for baking soda…

Easy, effective wash for fresh produce to protect against food borne bacteria and pesticide residue. The powdery quality of baking soda makes it useful as a gentle scrub for fruits and vegetables, and it’s especially effective for fruit such as pears and apples that you may want to eat raw without peeling. How to use it: Continue reading