Want to Avoid Overspending This Christmas? Start Saving in September

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Want to Avoid Overspending This Christmas? Start Saving in September
Don’t you want to scream when you see Christmas displays in the stores before Halloween? Or when “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” is stuck in your head for two months, because it starts playing in early November? The Christmas creep can be annoying, but there’s at least one good reason to start thinking about the holidays before the leaves start changing color. It gives you more time to save. With all the decorations, food, parties and gift giving, celebrating Christmas has become synonymous with spending money. The National Retail Federation’s 2018 holiday consumer trend study found consumers would spend an average of $1,000 on gifts, decorations, candy and more. Waiting until November or December to prepare for these expenses means you’ll often end up charging your purchases and paying them off — plus interest — well into the new year. Instead, establish a Christmas saving plan and avoid debt and overspending. Create Your Christmas Saving Plan To save up for the holidays, figure out how much you plan to spend and divide that amount into weekly chunks. In the personal finance sphere, we call this setting up a sinking fund. Make a list that includes who you’ll be shopping for and how much you’ll spend on each person. It may be helpful to refer to what you spent last year. Add estimated costs for decorations, food and holiday events to your list as well. Between parties where you contribute a bottle of wine, gifts for your kids’ friends or an office Secret Santa, plus the bounty of food on the actual holiday, these “extras” can really add up. Total everything and divide it by the amount of weeks left until you’ll hit the stores. Unless you’re a fan of last-minute shopping, this means giving yourself some wiggle room before December 25. We’ve laid out how much you need to save over a 12-week period to come up with anywhere from $200 to $1,000. Another tactic for holiday saving is to determine how much money you’re able to save and create your holiday budget based off that. For example, if you’re able to spare $25 a week to go toward your Christmas savings, you’d save $300 in 12 weeks. That would be your limit for all your holiday spending. If you think you’ll need more, start saving earlier. In fact, you can implement your Christmas saving plan anytime during the year. Keep your holiday savings apart from the rest of your money so you don’t accidentally spend your stash on everyday expenses. If you use a sub-savings account at your bank or credit union, set up automatic savings transfers each week to ensure you stay consistent.  If you take the cash envelope route, make sure you have an envelope exclusively dedicated to holiday expenses and not other short-term goals. Set weekly calendar reminders to nudge you to put the money aside.  FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM How do you distribute your income? 8/5/19 @ 9:38 AM T Budgeting Apps? 3/17/19 @ 8:42 PM Is there a particular budgeting booklet 8/19/19 @ 10:14 AM A See more in Budgeting or ask a money question How to Bulk Up Your Holiday Savings Trimming the fat from your weekly spending is a good way to find extra cash to put toward Christmas gifts. Take out your budget and highlight all the nonessential recurring expenses. You don’t have to give them up forever — just until you’ve finished your holiday shopping. If you want to increase your savings fast, try a no-spend challenge. Or cut your grocery budget by doing the pantry challenge and making meals out of what’s already at home. Saving money isn’t all about making cuts. You can temporarily increase your income by getting a part-time holiday gig (bonus if you get a company discount) or doing odd jobs on Fiverr or TaskRabbit. Make room for the new gifts you’ll get by cleaning out your closets and selling stuff online.  Cut Costs on Holiday Expenses Just because the National Retail Federation says people are spending $1,000 for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to spend that much. Set your Christmas budget for what is financially comfortable for you. Get crafty and make your gifts. (Here are 12 DIY Christmas gift ideas.) Shop early and take advantage of sales. Use old gift cards. Cash in your credit card rewards. Restrict the amount of presents you give your kids by implementing the four-gift rule. Do your holiday shopping online and comparison shop to get the best deal. (These stores offer free shipping with no minimum order.) Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Companies Pay Big Settlements Over Bogus Beer Ads, Harassing Calls

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Companies Pay Big Settlements Over Bogus Beer Ads, Harassing Calls
You’re in for a cool brew on Kona Beer if you bought the brand because you thought it was made in Hawaii. You also might benefit if you were the recipient of harassing phone calls or took a bogus supplement.  See if you qualify for any of this month’s highlighted class-action settlements. Kona Beer Hawaiian Origin Beer drinkers who thought they were drinking brew made in the tropical islands of Hawaii may be eligible for up to $20 from Kona Beer. If you bought a 4-pack, 6-pack, 12-pack or 24-pack of Kona Beer between Feb. 28, 2013 and June 14, 2019, you could be eligible for the following: $1.25 per unit for a 4-pack of Kona Beer $1.25 per unit for a 6-pack of Kona Beer $2 per unit for a 12-pack of Kona Beer $2.75 per unit for a 24-pack of Kona Beer Purchases of single cans or single bottles are not eligible for the settlement. The class-action suit alleged that Kona Brewing Company used imagery including surfers and Waikiki Beach to trick customers into believing the beer was brewed in Hawaii.  In reality, Kona beverages were brewed in New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington. Under the terms of the settlement, you can claim to up to $10 without a proof of purchase, or up to $20 with proof of purchase. For a full list Kona Beer varieties covered by the settlement and to submit a claim by the Oct. 7, 2019 deadline click here. Los Angeles Natural Gas Tax  If you were a customer of Southern California Gas Company and were charged a Los Angeles City Users Tax for natural gas use between Dec. 12, 2012 and April 12, 2019, you could be eligible for a portion of a $32.5 million settlement. The class action alleged Los Angeles residents were charged a 10 percent fee based on the amount of gas they used. The city allegedly began to base the fee on the amount also paid for other surcharges, which resulted in city residents paying more than $30 million in additional, unfair taxes. The city agreed to remove the additional tax amount, saving gas customers an estimated $6.18 million per year. The settlement fund will automatically be awarded to L.A. residents who were Southern California Gas Company customers by reducing their natural gas tax bill for 36 months between five and 10 percent.  Because the settlement fund will be automatically awarded, affected customers only need to make it known if they wish to object to or opt out by Aug. 19, 2019. For complete details, click here. FoodState Supplements (MegaFoods, Innate Response) Did you buy vitamin supplements by FoodState, including brands MegaFoods and Innate Response Formula, between Jan. 11, 2011 and Sept. 15, 2018? If so, you could be entitled to a portion of a $2.1 million class-action settlement regarding allegations of false advertising. FoodState was accused of falsely stating its supplements contained more nutrients from “whole foods” than they actually did. The company also allegedly included magnesium stearate in some supplements but did not include it on its list of ingredients. The compound, which may be found naturally in certain foods, can irritate the bowels of some consumers.  Class members who submit a valid claim by the Aug. 19, 2019 deadline will receive $25 per bottle, up to a maximum of $100. For the complete list of all the supplements covered by the settlement and to submit a claim, click here. National Holdings Telemarketing Did you receive a call from National Holdings Corporation between Nov. 11, 2010 and May 24, 2019, despite your number being registered with the National Do Not Call List? If so, you could be eligible for an estimated cash payment of $20. A higher or lower payment amount is possible depending upon the number of valid claims received. The calls, which allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, were made by either National Holdings representatives or by Shampan Lamport on behalf of National Holdings.  Click here to file a valid claim by the Aug. 23, 2019 deadline.  PTZ Insurance Robocalls If you received unsolicited phone calls from PTZ Insurance, you could qualify for a portion of a $5.5 million class-action settlement. The calls used a pre-recorded voice to play a “Day 2” or “Day 6” message and were made between Oct. 16, 2013 and Nov. 30, 2016. The lawsuit alleged the calls violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. The value of each claim will depend upon the number of valid claims received and could range from about $46 to $92.  Eligible consumers should have received a claim number and PIN to file a claim. For full details, click here and file your claim by Aug. 28, 2019. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM How I'm Making Money on Poshmark 12/31/18 @ 4:47 PM C Buying & Reselling On eBay 4/5/19 @ 2:52 PM Dumpster 7/27/19 @ 4:19 AM Selling stamp collection 7/31/19 @ 2:13 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question New York & Company (California Only) Clothing store New York & Company will provide customers who bought items in California up to a $25 discount voucher to resolve claims the retailer used false prices to convince customers they were getting a great deal. If you purchased items at any California New York & Company outlet store between June 9, 2013 and May 23, 2019 or from a New York & Company retail store in California between Feb. 11, 2012 and May 23, 2019, you could qualify for a voucher. The lawsuit alleged the clothing retailer advertised its outlet merchandise prices as a certain percentage off of regular retail prices, but the “sale” merchandise allegedly never was sold at the listed retail price. Customers can receive a voucher worth $7.50 off of any purchase or 25 percent off a purchase up to $100. Click here and file your valid claim by Sept. 9, 2019.  CVS Algal-900 DHA Supplement If you bought a CVS-branded Algal-900 DHA dietary supplement that included a claim that it was “clinically shown to improve memory” or had “clinically shown memory improvement” on the label, you could receive a full refund or $7 in vouchers. The lawsuit alleged the claims about memory improvement were deceptive. CVS customers who bought the supplements between Nov. 15, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2016 could be eligible for a variety of different awards, based on the proof of purchase and whether a CVS ExtraCare account was associated with the purchase. For complete details and to file a claim by the Dec. 12, 2019 deadline, click here.   This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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17 Simple Home Repairs That Will Save You Cash

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17 Simple Home Repairs That Will Save You Cash
Homeowners fantasize about making fabulous changes to their homes: adding rooms, beautifying the grounds and remodeling kitchens and baths. In reality, however, these dream projects may not be financially possible. Don’t let that stop you, however, from taking good care of the home you have. By keeping up with small repairs, you’ll both save money by heading off the big expensive fixes... [...]
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Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk

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Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk
Capital One is enhancing one of its popular business credit cards with a cardholder benefit that pays for federal trusted-traveler programs aimed at helping flyers get through airport security lines quicker. Learn More Starting May 21, 2019, the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business will reimburse cardholders for the cost of applying to TSA Precheck or Global Entry programs, which... Gregory Karp is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: gkarp@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @spendingsmart. The article Capital One Spark Miles for Business Adds Precheck/Global Entry Perk originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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