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Gift cards are big business

Posted by billspaced | 8:46 AM | 0 comments »

Okay, so this isn't a money hack. Rather, it's a reminder to use your gift cards. Otherwise, fees and expirations may eat up your balance before you can use them.

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Save your investment dollars -- invest in indexes

Posted by billspaced | 3:08 AM | , | 0 comments »

If you've read any of my recommended books or my links to the right, you have gotten the impression that I invest my time in sensible resources and my money in index funds. Why index funds?

Because they're cheap. And so am I. Generally, index funds offer the lowest loads available. This is directly related to the fact that index funds aren't "managed" in the traditional sense. Take a look at the Vanguard family of funds and you will see how cheap these funds can be.

Besides being cheap, they're an easy way to "match the market." While many people, including highly-paid investment advisers and fund managers, try to beat the market, most of them fail. Sure, in any given year, many mutual funds beat the market. But how many consistently do this? The fact is that the funds that beat the market change every year.

Index funds are the market. No sense in trying to beat the market when you can buy it. Investment gurus like John Bogle and Andrew Tobias are staunch supporters of investing in indexes. Heed their advice: It's prudent, cheap, and will allow you to sleep at night, knowing that you'll be matching the market with little active management on your part.

The link below will take you to an article about index investing. It's one of many good articles on the topic.

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Double your rental movie capacity

Posted by billspaced | 10:13 AM | | 0 comments »

Blockbuster is offering Netflix subscribers a deal: With each red Netflix tab a subscriber brings into a Blockbuster retail store (and you Netflix users know what I mean), he gets a free rental from Blockbuster.

Surely, it's a way to build a database of potential customers. From my research, both services are very similar in terms of price and packages. I don't know about the service of either, not being a subscriber to either one (I have a 1-year old and don't have time to tie my shoes let alone watch 90 minutes worth of mostly bad movies).

But if you watch movies anyway, especially if you subscribe to cable or satellite, Netflix or Blockbuster might be the way to drastically reduce part of your entertainment bill.

This is how I might do it: Sign up for Netflix. Get that going. Then save all those red tabs into Blockbuster, sign up as a member in their store, and get FREE movies. Then take the Blockbuster trial and see whose service is better. Then drop one after this promotion is over.

If Blockbuster is successful at winning some Netflix customers over, you can be sure that a price war might escalate. Customers win all around, assuming service levels do not deteriorate (big assumption, I know).

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Gift card fraud

Posted by billspaced | 6:50 AM | 0 comments »

'tis the season. Gift card season. They are such wonderful gifts, things you can use to buy what you want at your favored stores.

However, some of them carry a price. And some of them are downright unusable. As in, counterfeit, stolen, or cloned.

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