Posted by Jean
Are you excited for Thanksgiving? I did my grocery shopping over the weekend (my assignments: brussels sprouts, fresh cranberry sauce, and dinner the night before; my mother still does the turkey) and it helped get me in the Turkey-day spirit. A week ago, I was still angry over the October snow and not at all ready for the holiday season to begin, but now I’m looking forward to watching the Macy’s parade, eating a little too much pumpkin pie and relaxing during a few days off.
Yes, that’s right — I said relaxing. If you can’t tell, I have no plans to join a Black Friday midnight line in front of Best Buy — even if they are showing the Harry Potter movies to help pass the time. You know that woman in the Target commercial who runs through the aisles to the tune of Rocky’s training song? That won’t be me. And judging from a new survey, it won’t be many of you, either. In fact, only 44% of consumers say they plan to shop in a mall on Black Friday this year.
However, wanting to avoid the mall doesn’t mean you have to swear off shopping altogether. According to a new article on CNN Money, you can still nab plenty of great deals from the comfort of your living room. For instance…
- At Sears, all Black Friday deals (like 50% off Kenmore washers and driers) are available online until December 19. And for orders over $99, you get free shipping!
- On Toyrus.com, all of the in-store deals and discounts will be available starting at 9pm Thanksgiving night.
- Amazon.com has created its own “doorbuster” deal for the day: a Canon PowerShot 12 megapixel digital camera will be available online for $199, down from the usual $349.
As I mentioned last newsletter, retailers know that Americans are reluctant to part with their money this holiday season, so they’re doing anything and everything to get back into consumers’ good graces — including opening their doors on Black Friday at midnight, because many people have said they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early. But as the controversy over at Target has reminded me, open doors at midnight mean salespeople who had to sleep through much of their family gathering in order to be energized at that hour. So if you do decide to head to the stores on Friday, be sure to give your cashier an extra smile and word of thanks. After all, that’s what the true spirit of Thanksgiving is all about: gratitude.
Now here’s the other news of the week:
Because you know you miss George Costanza
Or at least, I miss George and the gang. I was reminded of this in a cab last week when I saw this ad for Google Wallet.
Not much has changed since I last wrote to you about Google Wallet, Google’s initiative to turn your phone into your wallet and simplify your financial life. It’s still a cool thought, but it’s still only available for Android users. However, in the name of simplifying your financial life, I wanted to share this Wall Street Journal article that lists four of the most useful financial websites out there right now. Some, like NerdWallet, you may have heard of. Others — like SaveUp.com, an awesome site that rewards you for paying off debt and building your nestegg — are fairly new. All are worth checking out.
And one site that didn’t make the list but is I think worth knowing about is Manilla. Manilla links all your accounts — your cable bill, electricity bill, credit card bill, and even Groupon and LivingSocial accounts — and puts them under one neat online file with one neat username and password. So at the beginning of any given week, you can log in and see the due dates for everything. No more rotating between multiple websites (or weeding through stacks of mail) just to find out what is due. Neat, right?
Financial literacy varies by state
According to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), New Hampshire is tops when it comes to financial literacy, and Louisiana needs its residents to take some remedial courses.
Using a short quiz to assess financial knowledge, the study revealed that financial literacy can vary significantly among states. The reason for this disparity is unclear, but the study’s head author, Sudipto Banerjee, said the results indicate “there may be a reason for policy intervention at the state level to help Americans achieve a financially secure retirement.”
How does your state stack up? You can find out on page 10 of this PDF. Just don’t lord the results over your in-laws at the dinner table on Thursday…
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone!