The snow is falling hard in my corner of New Jersey. After Christmas in Queens, New York, I rushed home last night to stay ahead of the storm. The current weather reports are calling for 12 to 18 inches of the white stuff on the ground by the time the storm has passed. We’ve stocked up on food to make life easier for us. I’d like to avoid leaving the house if possible.
I’d encourage everyone in the area to stay safe, as well.
Here are some recent articles from the Yakezie for you to read, particularly if you are stuck in a snow storm.
NJ City Collects Over $1 Million in 3 Months From Red Light Cameras. As mentioned on KNS Financial, the town of Linden has contracted a company to manage cameras that automatically take pictures of cars whose drivers violate red lights. Is this about improving safety or about earning money? In the past three months, the contractor sent out 20,000 tickets for a town with 40,000 residents. I agree that towns should do as much as necessary to ensure safety at intersections, but I’m not comfortable with automated cameras and contractors doing the work of police. How do you feel about these traffic law enforcement cameras?
Why Choosing Debit or Credit is Like Picking Salad Dressing. Len Penzo often can’t decide which dressing he wants on his salad when he dines out. If you use a debit card, often a merchant will ask you if you want to use “debit or credit.” This is a misnomer, of course. The retailer really wants to know if you want to use a PIN to verify your transaction (over the debit or check card network) or sign to verify (over the credit card network, on which most debit cards can be validated). In some cases, when you choose “credit,” you don’t have to sign if the purchase is small enough. Both methods operate with your bank account the same way, but you might qualify for more rewards if you choose the signature option when using your debit card.
Is it time to sell year-end capital losses? If you want to use losses on your income tax return to offset gains, lowering your final tax bill, it’s not a bad idea. In the article, Money Reasons explains the rules for using this tax offset. I don’t think this is a good overall strategy for investing; buy when holding stock in a company will be better than not holding stock; sell only when the investment is no longer good (or you need the cash). Getting into the habit of looking to mitigate taxes even if it’s not a good investment decision could result in poor performance over the long run. Personally, I stick to index mutual funds and don’t plan to sell often.
Consumerism Commentary participated in these carnivals:
- Carnival of Personal Finance
- Carnival of Money Stories
- Carnival of Traders and Investors
- Best of Credit Cards and Saving Money
Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published December 26, 2010.