Personal Finance Column


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 Personal Finance 
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Valentine’s Day Cheapskate Contest

It’s almost that time. With all that pink and red displayed in every store and jewelry commercials on heavy rotation on every channel, anyone with a significant other can feel their wallets cringing in fear at the approach of Valentine’s Day. So what is it this year? Chocolates? Flowers? A teddy bear with a heart?

This time of year many of us struggle to set some time and money aside to buy a meaningful gift for our significant other — and sometimes, we just don’t. Tell us about a cheapskate moment that you have had for Valentine’s Day that actually worked out for you — a cheap gift your significant other actually liked and thought was meaningful.

The person who submits the best cheapskate Valentine’s Day gift story will win a $150 gift card to Edible Arrangements.
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 Personal Finance 
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5 Chinese New Year traditions for attracting wealth

Many Chinese New Year traditions have a financial bent

Sun nin fai lok! 

On Friday, China rang in the New Year. It’s officially the Year of the Horse.

Across many cultures, a new year represents the possibility of building wealth, health and prosperity. While the Western world makes New Year’s resolutions, Eastern tradition is focused on what most Westerners would call, well, crazy superstition.
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 Personal Finance 
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How to make the most of your wedding registry

Creating a wedding gift registry is a great opportunity. Don't blow it.
Registering for wedding gifts can be a lot of fun. I remember the heady feeling that accompanied wielding the scanner gun. Choosing your own wedding presents — what could go wrong?

But my husband and I soon found ourselves pointing the barcode reader at increasingly silly items, some of which we actually received. I’m sad to say that many of the gifts we registered for were donated to the thrift shop two or three years later, after we realized that they were just taking up room in the apartment.
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 Personal Finance 
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How to get cops to pay attention to your property crime

How to get cops to pay attention to your property crimeIn 2006 my house was robbed in broad daylight by unknown individuals. They took my Xbox 360, my laptop and some of my wife’s jewelry, in addition to some other less valuable stuff.

I was dumb enough not to be carrying renters insurance, so I was out over $1,000 by the time all was said and done.
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 Personal Finance 
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Sick of your cell phone carrier? Unlock your way to cheap talk

Unlocking phones can cut your monthly billsWhen it comes to cellphone use, one size (or, you know, several) does not fit all.

There are a number of reasons you may want to unlock your smartphone. Unlocking your smartphone allows you to continue using the same phone without having to purchase a new one once your contract runs out, and without having to bind yourself to a new contract. For those who spend time traveling abroad, unlocking can also protect you against exorbitant international roaming fees by allowing you to switch to an in-country carrier.
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Comments of the week, game console flipping edition

Game console flipping isn't without risks.Another week, another set of thought-provoking comments from readers.

Readers weren’t too keen on Black Friday. Asked whether they participate, Emm, a recovering Black Friday shopper, thinks it’s become crazier since the days when she showed up for doorbusters:
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What each new game console costs to own

What each new game console costs to ownThe next generation of video game consoles here, and while there are plenty of fan boys out there loyal to their particular brand no matter what, a lot of us haven’t made a decision on which to choose.

For those of us who care more about getting maximum bang for our buck, we’ve put together some information that should help you make the decision on which video game console is best for you.
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 Personal Finance 
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How to fight a price hike when your limited-time cable offer is ending

When limited-time cable offers end, it's time to put on your haggling helmet.Many of us have been there: You sign up for a great deal with a cable or satellite provider, only to face a price hike at the end of six or 12 months.

The good news is that you don’t have to put up with price hikes. With so much competition in the telecom industry, and with cable and satellite providers threatened by newer, cheaper entertainment options, there’s a good chance you can keep your cable bill low.
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