Tag Archives: Advice

Do You Take Vasa or Moostercard?

monopoly_geld_paper_moneyYesterday, FatHeadDog’s chief financial officer (husband) opened the mail to find correspondence from American Express that they’re raising our credit card interest rates, with an explanation that sums to “that’s the cost of doing business.” My off the bat response–“Let’s call and ask them to lower it. If not, see ya later American Express.”

If you didn’t already know, you can call your credit card companies to ask for a lower rate. In fact, more than 75% of people who call to ask for a lower rate are successful on the first call, according to financial author David Bach in his new book “Fight for Your Money: How to Stop Getting Ripped Off and Save a Fortune.”

Here’s how: Take any of your credit cards that are carrying a balance, flip them over, and call the number on the back. Tell them that you want an interest rate reduction or you’ll take your business elsewhere. Before you call, know the rate you’re currently paying and the kind of rates that other banks are offering. (Bankrate.com is a great source for comprehensive lists of interest rates from credit card companies across the country.)

If the first person you talk to won’t do it, ask to talk to a supervisor. Be aware that there are often many levels of supervisors, so if the first supervisor doesn’t give you what you request, ask to speak to that supervisor’s manager.

Even if the credit card lords are only able to shave off a few points from a high interest rate, it will make a difference. If you have a $5,000 balance, even a 3% rate reduction saves you $150 a year.

What happens if they won’t negotiate? Ask to have the account closed. This will trigger a transfer to the customer retension department–the final stop of customer service whose job is to talk customers out of canceling their accounts. It’ll likely work, and once you get one card down, I bet you’ll find it such a rush that you’ll press onward for all your cards. No? Just me?

Great gift idea

From the experts at Kodak Gallery, who offer periodic photography tips, here’s one great idea for a precious time-capsule gift for mom, dad or grandparents:

A day in the life of…

Kodak photo
Photograph your baby when they first wake up in the morning, and continue to document them at meals, bath time, naptime, playtime, and every other major moment in their day. Try and keep everything very typical to their schedule. Have a proof sheet made from the film and you’ll see a full day-in-the-life story of your baby made by you.
® Amy Postle
Source: Kodak Gallery Exposure| July 2009 newsletter

Have thousands of unprinted digital photos?

When it comes to printing your digital photos, you have plenty of choices–you can take your memory card to your local drugstore for in-store printing, printing at home on a photo printer, or uploading them online for snail mail delivery. Here’s a great starter’s guide from Cnet to printing your digital photos:

Print at home

Printing at home is cheap and long-lasting if you use the right printer, ink, and paper. A 4×6 print will typically cost between 25 and 50 cents, depending on the printer and the ink. Of course that doesn’t include the cost of the printer or user error. Be sure to read Cnet printer reviews to get an idea of how often you’ll need to replace the ink cartridge.

Highlight: convenience

Lowlight: inferior quality

Print at a store kiosk

Store kiosks are convenient, and they let you do a lot of basic editing right on the spot (cropping, adjusting brightness, removing red-eye, etc). If you shop around, you can find stores that let you create 4×6 prints for well under 50 cents each. These do-it-yourself machines are a good alternative if you’re not in the mood for the care and feeding of your own photo printer.

Highlight: great option for those less adept at photo editing

Lowlight: time consuming unless you organize which photos you want to print first at home

Online printing services

Online print services such as Shutterfly, SnapFish, Kodak EasyShare Gallery, and many others are often the least expensive and can give great-looking prints. However, like the good old days, you’ll have to wait to see the results. But that’s fine when you’re printing a large number of images—for instance, all your vacation photos.

Highlights: plentiful coupon codes can be found at Slickdeals.net and this site

Lowlights: can be daunting for less-skilled users

Source: Cnet.com

Cleaning tips you wouldn’t expect

dirty-dishesDo dishes in the tub. When you need to wash lots of dirty dishes fast (especially after a big Super Bowl party), pile them in the bathtub and fill it with hot soapy water. Return later, drain the tub, turn on the shower to rinse, and move everything into a laundry basket for drying.

De-stink the fridge with coffee. Just place a bowl of fresh ground coffee on the shelf. In a few days, it’ll absorb all odors. Then you can discard.

Clean your pipes with antacid. Plumbing is plumbing, right? So drop three antacid tabs and a cup of white vinegar into the clogged sink. Wait a few minutes and turn on the hot water. The gurgling will be gone.

Nuke the microwave. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 cups of water. Boil it in the microwave for 5 to 10 minutes at the oven’s highest power. The cleansing steam will permeate every stain, and all you’ll have to do is sponge it away.

Polish copper pots with beer. Although it pains many greatly to waste perfectly good beer, it’s an acceptable trade-off when facing hours of scrubbing. Simply soak your sullied copper pots in beer and then wipe clean. Beer’s natural acidity will restore the original shine.

Use power tools. To help clean out those hard-to-reach places in your car, clear everything out and open all doors. Then blast dust and crumbs out with a leaf blower.

Source: vocalpoint.com