Category: Where’s my money?

Too Much Disposable Income: Jos. A. Bank’s Buy 1 Get 7 Free Promotion

To me it would seem like you would only need to shop at Jos. A. Bank at maximum 3 times a year to get a years worth of wardrobe. I am not sure how they get repeat customers, because if things are always on sale, why not just buy a whole bunch in one go. Macy’s doesn’t even have this many sales. Do you have to consistently replace clothes, because they don’t last that long?  Maybe they have crack in the clothing. (Note 1: there was a story about the flame retardant in furniture giving people cancer today, another reason not to sit-down. Note 2: Is the reason why we love money, because of the cocaine found in dollars?) Jos. A. Bank’s buy 1 get 3 free promotion seems to have been going on, since the recession in 2008.

I have always pondered, if I was male would I go to Jos. A Bank or Men’s Warehouse, because I identify with the cool bald guy in the chair that says “You’re gonna like the way you look.”  Jos A. Bank always has male prep school looking models. To be truthful, if I was a male and had that bald guy’s swag, it really wouldn’t matter if I wore Men’s Warehouse all the time. But, I guess that’s the point.

Anyways the debate is finally over, because the crack that JoS. A. Bank puts in their clothes, must have gotten to their marketing team with this new buy 1 get 7 free promotion.

Buy One Sport Coat, and get:

  • 2 pairs of pants;
  • 2 sweaters;
  • 2 sportshirts +
  • Android Smartphone (w/2 year contract).

I noticed that this is not online, so it is probably just in store. I am not sure if it is nationwide either. However, if you were  holding out for the buy 1 get 4 free promotion, hold out a little longer because the apocalypse of Jos. A. Bank sales may soon be coming to a store near you. Although, I am pretty sure, Jos. A Bank will try to outdo itself again.

Why can’t women have these deals!

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Too Much Disposable Income: Brookstone is Now a Sex Shop?

Brookstone Outlet Store, Kittery Maine

Brookstone Outlet Store, Kittery Maine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you been to your local Brookstone lately? For those of you who are unaware, Brookstone sells electronic gadgets similar to the now defunct Sharper Image. I consider Brookstone another one of those places you go when you have too much diposable income and/or are looking for latest greatest technology to buy that you are convinced will make your life easier.

During Sharper Image’s going out of  business sale I had a field day, thus I haven’t felt a need to enter any gadget store in a while. I still don’t know how to fully utilize the stuff I have now, which includes a satellite clock radio with some very complicate weather predictions. However, after riding the plane and feeling bored I picked up SkyMall, the notorious catalogue of stuff for people who have too much disposable income. I must say that the assortment of gargoyles are looking much better these days. Although, I still do not feel the need for any Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings jewelry. Nonetheless, there were some gadgets that caught my eye. This was the start of me subconsciously thinking that I need some more gadgets.

So on my latest trip to the mall, in which I was accompanied by mother, I was drawn to Brookstone. I was already excited by the new outdoor speaker for the ipod/iphone that included several cool lighting features, when I saw the neck massagers. Side Note: apparently, experts are now using a life vest design for neck massagers, but what they don’t realize is that it is really an upper back massager. The new massagers were on the right in the front of the store along with foot massagers and personal massagers.

In the personal massagers section, they had the massagers that  look like microphones, which are used to pinpoint areas of stress. As I looked down, I couldn’t figure out why the microphones were getting smaller. Then, I saw a massager that was a ring. I was like “Wow, I guess you can massage one finger at a time.” Then, I put all the context clues together and looked at my mom, waiting for confirmation. My mom said, “That looks like a dildo.” Then we started cracking up, when a salesman approached us and said “It is what you think it is.” He then followed it up with, you should contact Brookstone about this, because I am having a hard time with it being on my sales floor.

Open Letter to Brookstone:

Dear Brookstone,

I think it is great that you have provided a place where people can easily access products for pleasure and believe that you could become a market leader. Note to Self: Find out more about Brookstone’s financials.  However, please be aware that trying to slip products for pleasure in the personal massage section is very uncouth. Second, if it a product for pleasure, say it and write a proper description of what the product does. Third, I am sure that you could sell more product, if you put these products in the back of the strore. People need to time to peruse without the glare of unapproving bystanders.

Sincerely,

Peevish Magnifying Glass

Click Here for Brookstone’s Personal Massagers, which once again commingles products for stress and pleasure. Lelo is the key terminology that differentiates the products.

I Want One: Native Unions’s Retro Pop Phone

Lenny Kravitz using phone via Flickr by farm8

A while ago, I got into an argument with a lady who works at Wendy’s. She stated that it was dangerous to have your cell phone so close to your ears. I was using my headphones at the time. I was wondering how far away is my phone supposed to be.

I joked with a friend about an idea called “cell mate.” (Patent is very close to pending.) A “cell mate” is a long cord with a receiver  attached to cell phone that  sits in a radio flyer wagon. Envision placing your cell phone in a radio flyer wagon and dragging it. At the same time, you would use your other hand to to hold the receiver.

I was hoping that this would address the concern that the lady from Wendy’s had about radio frequencies. I was predicting that 5 ft would be enough to put her apprehension of using a cell phone with headphones to rest. Although, since I was unable to find the time to do market research, I put the idea on hold. Apparently, someone else was able to complete the study about the proper distance accepted by apprehensive cell phone consumers.

Native Union found that the retro “Pop Phone” with an approximately 3 feet cord reduces radiation absorbed by the head by 95%. In addition to reducing radiation, these phones also give you that cool 1980s feel. I discovered the design while watching Taiwanese Drama Skip Beat and ever since, I believe that the possibilities for this phones are boundless. As phones get thinner and thinner, this huge phone attachment seems like a necessary anomaly.

Every now and then, people want to use an older method of performing an action, because it makes it seem more real. Apparently, holding a big block to your head and talking is one of these actions. Some other examples include: taking the steps instead of the escalator or elevator, going inside of a gas station to pay, doing math calculations using paper, walking to another person’s desk to talk, maintaining friendships by meeting with people offline, and watching t.v. in real time.

Plus, cool people look cooler when they use it! (See Lenny Kravitz above.) Nerdy people look cute. See manager in Skip Beat.

I Want One: Nike FuelBand, More Than An Upgraded Pedometer

Mike Parker, CEO de @Nike, lanzando el Nike+ F...

Do you really need it? No. But, can you easily justify the purchase? Yes.

The Nike FuelBand is a bracelet that monitors your activity with a 3-axis accelerometer.  The accelerometer measures calories burned through your movements and steps taken. Also, Nike has set up a software that allows users of the bracelet to measure the amount of activity they do each day through NikeFuel points earned. The software is similar to Nike+, because it allows users to set daily goals, create challenges, show milestones, make records, share accomplishments through social networks, personalize results, and track progress.

Worries… Well there are a lot of privacy concerns, given that Nike will now have an undisclosed amount of health information about its customers. However, today most people have already given up on privacy, whether they know it or not. Furthermore, knowing all of this, I still want one.

Others do too. Nike FuelBands have been sold out everywhere for a while. Nike stores are tweeting when they get more in stock, which creates a mad rush to that particular store. I will wait for my local store to tweet.

Note: They are also out of stock online.

Note: I am not in no way related to Nike i.e. I am an unpaid fan helping Nike to increase their bottom line.

Too Much Disposable Income: Roadside Assistance, Big Box Store Memberships, and Silver Polishing

Coburg pattern fork and spoon ends by William ...

Image via Wikipedia

This is a new line of posts. Basically, these are clues that people with too much disposable income like to leave to inform you that:  1) they think they have so much money, they don’t care where it goes; 2) they don’t have time to pay attention to their money, because it is coming in so fast; or 3) they don’t recognize the costs, because they think their lifestyle is normal.

Let’s start off with a practical examples. These relate mostly to adults with children.

Roadside Assistance: They have triple coverage. Are you renewing your AAA service, when roadside assistance is provided by your car dealer and your auto insurance?

Big Box Store Memberships: Are you a member of Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s, because you swear you can’t get everything at one store? Really?

Products for Silver Cleaning: Do you have Tarn-X in your household, meaning you have lot’s of silver? If you just have silver plated stuff, you probably never thought about polishing it.

Note: I am not saying that having a lot of disposable income is a bad thing, but I think it’s funny when people don’t realize that they have a lot of disposable income.

Podcast Review: NPR’s Planet Money

Grant commemorative dollar coin

Image via Wikipedia. It's Grant guys!

All Planet Money Podcast are available at NPR’s website.

Planet Money is a podcast that focuses on business and economics. Now, that may sound boring, but it is delivered in a format that is enlightening, captivating, and funny. In a nutshell, they explain or solve complex business and economic issues in simple terms and in less than 30 minutes. What more could you ask for?

Top 5 Reasons to Listen to Planet Money:

Financial Schemes: My latest favorite podcast is Dollar Coins in The Wild. Sidenote: the U.S. Mint has temporarily stopped producing dollar coins. In addition to discussing a marketplace that used an alternative forms of tender and modern day barter colonies, the hosts also discovered a dollar coin money making scheme. At the time of the story, people were using their reward point credit cards to buy dollar coins! For example, I would purchase 1,000 dollars of dollar coins with my credit card. By using my credit card, I would receive airline miles on top of my 1,000 dollars of dollar coins. Apparently, the broadcast of this story was so popular that the U.S. Mint quickly took measures to shut this down. 😦

Planet Money Indicator: It’s a short segment at the beginning of the podcast that discusses a number in the news, which is a financial indicator. Recently, the numbers have been focused on unemployment, industry sales, debt, and GDP.

You Will Like This, If You Enjoy Reading the Economist: Oftentimes, economists come on the show to discuss their latest research papers in the context of current events. Some economists that were recently featured on the show, include: Herman Daly, Robert Mendelsohn, and Severin Borenstein. Moreover, it also shows how past economic theory is applied today. See Keynes v. Hayek, a discussion regarding the extent that spending, taxing, and regulations can control or prevent a nation’s boom bust cycle.

Explains Things That You Think You Know, But Don’t: France and Germany, A Love Story discusses the origins of the Euro.  What If We Paid Off All The Debt, takes a look at the negative effects that would result if the U.S. did not have any debt. Finally, there is a podcast that discusses the fallout of another country’s financial crisis, which was caused by a housing bubble entitled Japan’s Lost Lesson.

White Collar Criminals: Sam Antar, cousin of Crazy Eddie, talks about the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s investigation into his family’s business. The shenanigans of Crazy Eddie’s retail stores included inflated profits and overstated income. See Inside the Mind of a Financial Criminal.  In How Office Politics Could Take Down EuropeJack Abramoff discusses lobbying, need I say more…

MoviePass: All the Trips to the Movies You Want for $50 Per Month

Interior of Cinema 9, Hoyts movie theater, Wes...

Image via Wikipedia

I know $50 dollars a month sounds steep, but this is a great option for 2 types of people.  First, people living in highly populated markets that charge $15 dollars or more per ticket. Second, people who are still avid moviegoers, that’s right all the movies you can watch. I was an avid moviegoer in the 90’s and early 2000’s, when there was a reason to go to the movies.

Moving on, right now MoviePass is “invitation-only Limited Private Beta for charter subscribers, who can extend invitations to friends and family.” (I am not quite sure what that means). Since, I consider readers of my blog friends, here is my invitation link for my friends. No, we are not quite family.

How it works:

  • MoviePass subscribers can print out vouchers that give you access to 36,000 screens
  • Mobile version MoviePass , i.e. for those who want tickets on the go, will be available 2012
  • Additionally, MoviePass plans to offer subscribers exclusive access to advance industry screenings, events, set visits, and prizes

Disclaimer:

I have not started using MoviePass yet and receive no monetary benefit by referring people to MoviePass. However, it is an interesting venture that could change the movie industry. Moreover, I am tired of paying exorbitant prices for tickets on top of  my $15 dollars worth of concessions. Therefore, I hope this works out.

For more information on MoviePass and other articles about MoviePass, hereis the link to their blog.

Neiman Marcus Has Finally Entered the 21st Century; They are Accepting Visa and Mastercard

Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, CA

Image via Wikipedia

I remember the days when the only way to shop at Neiman’s was to have AMEX, NM Card, or Cash. However, someone in a leadership position, or rather CEO Karen Katz, must have realized that in order to reach a younger generation and the less prosperous, they needed to expand their card policy. In a world where all retailers are struggling, Neiman finally made an obvious move to close more sales. One less excuse while shopping. Touché Neiman Marcus.

I just got the email today, November, 19 2011, so I am assuming that this policy is already in place.

Can you survive on $1000 a month?

dollar close UP

Image by shyb via Flickr

Spent is a game that simulates the choices a person in poverty faces. This game is not pleasant, but it is fascinating. If you didn’t think it was easy to slip into poverty or homelessness, this game may make you reconsider.

I thought that I had a grasp on the issues surrounding poverty, but Spent brought some new topics into view. In the game, I was neither a helpful child to my parents, nor a sympathetic parent to my child. The pivotal decision that led to my outcome was where I chose to live. After playing, I found myself questioning where I should live in relation to any job. In the end, I had around $350, but could not pay next month’s rent. Needless to say, I was happy the game ended there.

Spent was created by Urban Ministries of Durham and its advertising agency McKinney.

The game only takes about 10 minutes. If you took the time to play, please share your thought below.

Close to Free Checking Accounts

Check Writing

Image by CarbonNYC via Flickr

Since the scandal over debit card fees, my attention has been set on finding a checking account with the fewest and lowest fees.  Here, is a rundown of some of the best offers I have found.

BEST IN CLASS

Ally Interest Checking Account: $0 monthly fees

  • No minimum balance
  • $9 overdraft fee
  • No ATM fees at any ATMs nationwide (they will reimburse you for ATM fees that other banks charge you at the end of each statement cycle)
  • Variable rate account where balances $15,000 (quoted at .8% as of today) or more get an even higher rate
  • Unlimited check writing and free Ally standard checks
  • Note: that this is an online bank and has no branches
GOOD

Bank of America e-banking: 0 monthly fee (for when you do banking online instead of using a teller)

  1. Must do all withdrawals and deposits through the ATM
  2. Must sign up for paperless statements (statements will be emailed)
  3. Otherwise $8.95 monthly fee ($35 overdraft charge)

Citibank Basic Checking: $ 0 monthly fees

  1. $8 monthly fee UNLESS you do one of the following each month:
  • Direct Deposits
  • Any Debit Card Purchase
  • Bill Payments2
  • Auto Deductions
  • ACH Payments
  • Checks Paid
  • Cash Withdrawals at any ATM
STANDARD

Wells Fargo Value Checking: $5 monthly fee ($100 to open)

  1. Monthly service fee is waived when:

Chase Total Checking: $12 monthly fee ($25 to open)

  1. Monthly service fee is waved when:
  • Have direct deposits totaling $500 or more
  • Minimum balance of $1500
  • $5000 average daily balance with linked deposits or investments
  • Chase is promoting $100 to $200 cash back, when you open with $100 and keep the account open for 6 months, however you have to calculate the monthly fee into that if you have not met the requirements above

Honorable Mention: ING Direct (online bank)

If you know of any other banks that I should add to the list or have suggestions for other banks I should look into, please fee free to contact me or make a comment below.