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Archive for June 2008

How To File For Unemployment Benefits

Published 6/30/08  (Modified 6/17/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

For those of you who are fortunate to have a stable job and blessed with being gainfully employed, congratulations and more power to you. For those of you who are currently unemployed or out of a job, I feel your frustration. I've been there before and know how scary and uncertain the experience can be.

In this fluctuating and unpredictable economy, you never quite know what is lurking around the corner. Life comes at us fast and sometimes job stability, occupational predictability, and all positive aspects of full time employment can disappear in a flash. Sometimes it can be due to our own fallibility and less than perfect work performance, and sometimes it can be due to slowdowns in the economy at large. Life is unpredictable and it's hard to be certain whether there is such a field that's a sure thing anymore. During the past few years, jobs and careers related to the real estate and housing market were hot and in great demand. However, years later, with the collapse of the housing bubble, many of the jobs previously fueled by the burgeoning real estate market have mostly disappeared. Even upper echelon MBA-type financial positions at top firms like Merrill Lynch have been down sized and trimmed back, resulting in many educated employees suddenly out of work.

If you find yourself one of many who have been laid off, I feel for you. I've been through a sudden job lay off before and it's not an easy feeling or experience to go through. Not only does

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Money Blue Book Weekend Roundup - 6

Published 6/28/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Since it's a lazy weekend afternoon for me, here are some finance and frugality reading material I thought you all might enjoy. There are so many exceptional new and old personal finance bloggers on the web today. I would like to share some of their blogging work with my readers here. During the last few weeks I also participated in numerous blog carnivals that I am finally getting around to linking back to. Yes I know, I can be a big procrastinator sometimes (I suck). Here they are:

Personal Finance Blogger Friends:

Carnival of Personal Finance:

Carnival Of Debt Reduction:

Carnival of Money Hacks:

Carnival Of Money Stories:

Carnival of Twenty Something Finances:

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Countrywide Visa Rewards Credit Card Offers 2% Cashback On Everything

Published 6/27/08  (Modified 12/19/13)

By MoneyBlueBook

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available.

Countrywide Bank is currently offering the Countrywide Rewards Platinum Visa Card for a remarkable 2% cash back on all purchases. Very few other credit card offers come close - except maybe the similarly advertised 1.5% cash back Fidelity Visa Signature Card. Most other top value cash back credit cards restrict higher rebates to special purchase categories such as grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants. This card's one of the best non-restrictive purchase cards out there.

The only caveat is that to get the high 2% cash back rebate, you'll need to redeem your rebate points as a deposit to your Countrywide savings account, money market account, or as a payment towards a Countrywide mortgage loan. With the offer, you'll receive 1 purchase reward point for every $1 you spend using the credit card. Everytime your rebate balance reaches 2,500 points, you can redeem your points for an instant $50 Countrywide bank deposit or mortgage payment - essentially a 2% cash back offer.

This offer is basically your base 1% cash back offer for non Countrywide bank account holders with an additional special bonus rebate on top for those who are. With the standard purchase offer, you only get 1% back, redeemable for gift cards to a participating merchant of your choice, or a $25 check to use towards home improvement and related supplies. But if you are a Countrywide bank or mortgage customer as well, you'll get double the rewards, effectively. There is no annual fee, and best of all for high

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Paying By Credit Card At the Gas Pump and Refusing To Use Cash

Published 6/25/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Oh great - well I hope this articledoesn't foretell or signify a trend that's going to be widely picked up by the gas industry in the coming future. While they've been one of the most credit card friendly industries in the past, some gas station chains are apparently starting to scale back their payment options in favor of cash due to diminishing profit margins caused by higher gas prices and rising credit card interchange fees. The credit card interchange fee, a percentage of the total sales price paid to credit card companies by the merchant on every transaction, is usually fixed at somewhere just under 2% - but the dollar amount of the fee rises with the price of the goods or services. As gas prices have risen dramatically, so have the credit card acceptance fees that gas pump merchants pay, drastically cutting into their profitability.

I Always Use My Credit Card To Pay For Gas And Don't Intend To Change This Payment Practice Anytime Soon

While I understand why some gas station owners and advocates are pushing for the move back to cash payment only for gas purchases, I hope this is not an emerging or widely adopted trend. Paying cash at the pump may work for some, but it's not going to fly for me.

I take frequent road trips and one of the most appreciated benefits of fueling at the gas pump is the ability to easily slide into a gas station off the freeway, punch in my prepayment, fuel up,

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Sometimes Shopping Online Isn't Worth The Inconvenience Or Hassle

Published 6/24/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

These days, you can buy pretty much everything under the sun online. All it takes is some fancy keyboard typing and mouse clicking, and you can Google your way to an ideal product that offers both perfect features and perfect pricing. Theoretically if you wanted to, you could put yourself under house arrest, never venture out of your house again, and still live a relatively comfortable and convenient life by surviving on supplies and groceries ordered through the Internet. All you would need is a trusty computer or laptop, equipped with a reasonably fast high speed internet connection, and you would be good to go. With the emergence of online bargain shopping, consumers no longer have to pay the higher retail mark up prices due to overhead costs found at brick and mortar stores. Consumers are now free to go with online merchants who are passing along their own cost savings to online customers due to not having to pay extra expenses associated with maintaining physical retail locations. On the whole, prices found online for the exact same product otherwise available in a regular real life retail store are almost always lower. Frequently, the cost savings can be tremendous - as much as 10-25% savings simply by ordering the desired product online rather than purchasing it at a corresponding retail store location.

Unfortunately, there is one significant and readily present downside to shopping for products online - the inevitable wait time and frustrating inconvenience of having to wait around for days and weeks for the

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The Future Demise and End Of Newspapers and Print Media

Published 6/21/08  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

The other day I shuffled past my pet parrot's metal cage and casually glanced at him. He looked up at me and smiled. Well he didn't actually smile - that would be weird, not to mention it would be an exceedingly remarkable feat for a bird to do - but he did seem to want to tell me something. I glanced down at the bottom of his cage and realized what he was so antsy about - it was time for me to clean his bird cage. The bird poo clumps and endless feather fluffs were starting to dirty up the bottom lining of his cage and it was time to replace his bird bedding. So before cleaning his bird cage, I went and did what I've been doing for the last 10 or so years - I went to the supermarket and bought a copy of the Sunday newspaper to use as bird cage lining. When I got home and proceeded to clean his cage, dumping out the old newspaper sheets that held his former poop droppings, an interesting thought occurred to me. Although I've been buying newspapers regularly and consistently for many years now, I haven't once actually sat down to read one. It seems the only reason I even have them around in the first place is to use them to line my pet parrot's bird cage. Over the years I've learned that newspaper print pages contain the perfect combination of non toxicity and biodegradable composition that is uniquely more absorbent than

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