Why Shop at Macy’s

Christmas is upon us and if you have not bought all of the gifts yet where do you go? One choice is Macy’s. Why shop at Macy’s? Macy’s is a department store that grew into a department store chain. They offer essentially one stop Christmas shopping at any of their locations. If you are down to the last minute these folks have a lot of high quality, reasonably priced items, often on sale to fill all of the Christmas stockings on your list.

Macy’s

Macy’s has about 850 stores in the continental USA, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Guam. Of course their flagship store, the world’s largest department store, is on Herald Square in New York City. Macy is also up to date with an online store if your home is unfortunately too far from one of the stores. Macy’s is the largest department store operation in the USA in terms of sales.

What You Can Get at Macy’s

The more appropriate question is what can you not get at Macy’s? Featured home brands include Waterford, Lenox, Home Collection, Fiesta an Charter Club. You can get home essentials and things for dining and entertaining. There are items for the kitchen and luggage for that winter getaway. Heaters are available for those in Northern climates and fans for those in the South. Home décor is featured as is outdoor furniture. You can get your gifts monogramed as well.

Macy’s Gift Card

A great way to shop at Macy’s is with a gift card and a great gift at Christmas is a Macy’s gift card. While researching this article we ran across an offer for a Macy’s gift card. Take a look here for more info and happy shopping. Gift cards are the most favorite gift received and women and close to the top on men’s’ lists. The beauty of a gift card is that you can give that hard to shop for person the card and send them off to make their own choice of gift, thanking you all the way.

Why Shop at Department Stores?

Online shopping can be so easy. Why shop at department stores? Why shop at Macy’s? Not everyone makes gift choices or general purchases the same way. Many of us like to wander through the aisles and floors of a large department store and discover things that we would never have thought of and would never have looked for in an online directory. The rap against online shopping is that everyone has taken their cue from Amazon.com. They track your purchases and even the pages that you linger over. Then they give you choices based on what they think you are interest in or things that people with you search habits have purchased. This tends to limit our range of choices. Go shopping in a big department store like Macy’s and take in the variety. Then you will stagger out the door laden with gifts and have finished your shopping quest in one location.

Home Refinancing Rates

We have written previously about refinancing your home but conditions and interest rates change so here is an update. As noted in a CNBC report mortgage refinancing interest rates are at an 18 month low. Despite low rates applications for home refinancing are also low.

The drop in refinance activity shows how little the shifts in already-historically-low mortgage rates affect today’s borrowers. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased from 4.15 percent to 4.08 percent, the lowest level since May of 2013. Refinance volume is now off 16 percent from a year ago.

The assumption voiced in the article is that the low interest in refinancing is because of the coming holiday season. Interest rates for various loan types quoted in the CNBC article from bankrate.com are as follows:

30 year fixed: 4.12%
30 year fixed jumbo: 4.18%
15 year fixed: 3.10%
15 year fixed jumbo: 3.10%
5/1 ARM: 3.24%
5/1 jumbo ARM: 3.39%

What is a Jumbo Loan?

According to Wells Fargo if you have high property value and are able to make larger monthly payments you can get a non-forming or jumbo loan. This is a loan for amounts in excess of limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

What Is an ARM?

ARM stands for adjustable rate mortgage. The rate for the mortgage varies over the term of the loan. There are various way that this happens.

A variable-rate mortgage, adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), or tracker mortgage is a mortgage loan with the interest rate on the note periodically adjusted based on an index which reflects the cost to the lender of borrowing on the credit markets. The loan may be offered at the lender’s standard variable rate/base rate. There may be a direct and legally defined link to the underlying index, but where the lender offers no specific link to the underlying market or index the rate can be changed at the lender’s discretion. The term “variable-rate mortgage” is most common outside the United States, whilst in the United States, “adjustable-rate mortgage” is most common, and implies a mortgage regulated by the Federal government, with caps on charges.

Beware when getting an adjustable rate mortgage that you clearly understand the terms and conditions under which the lender can adjust the rate.

Best Home Refinancing Rates

To get the best home refinancing rates you may need to shop around a bit. Talk to the lender who has your current mortgage and talk to local banks. Here is a link to an online offer for home refinancing with rates that beat the bankrate.com rates listed at the start of this article.

30 year fixed: 3.95%
15 year fixed: 2.875%
5/1 ARM: 2.60%

Shop around and take a look at the online offer. Make sure to read and totally understand the terms and conditions of your new home refinancing loan and be sure to do the math to make sure that you can afford to make the change.

Holiday Loans

The holidays are coming and so are the expenses. There are gifts to buy and food for holiday meals. There are trimmings for the tree and the tree itself. On top of this there are the usual expenses of everyday living. If you are short of cash going into the holidays you may want to consider a short term holiday loan. Things that you need to buy are cheaper running up to the holidays and in the month thereafter. Often times you will be saving money by purchasing what you need during this period and not waiting a few months to save up the money and then find out that they raised the prices again.

Finding a Loan

If you have money and credit you commonly do not need a loan and if you are short of cash and do not have good credit it can be difficult to find a loan to cover holiday expenses. In researching this article we ran across and offer for 24/7 Holiday Loans. If you are in need of a little short term cash check these folks out.

Financing versus Saving Up

In an ideal world we would all always have enough cash for the things that we need and want. In that world we could save up money pay check after pay check and buy what our hearts desire at a later date. In the real world there are things that we need now even though we do not have the cash. In this case we need to borrow money and pay interest. Credit cards are the most convenient way to do this but credit card interest is high. The better choice is to shop around for a loan at a more affordable rate and pay it off in installments. Buying and financing is especially attractive when stores offer no interest payment plans. Buying and financing is especially beneficial when you can buy something today that will not be available later and not available at today’s price. This is especially applicable to shopping in the holiday season and aftermath when there are lots and lots of deals on things that you will need to get anyway.

Comparison Shopping

Comparison shopping does not only apply to what you buy. It applies to getting a loan. Make sure that you know what the market is for short term holiday loans before paying an extremely high interest rate. Shop around to find out how much you can borrow and how favorable the repayment terms are.

What You Want and What You Need

And, do not forget that when you take out a loan you will need to pay it off. If you will have the cash flow to make payments you will be OK. If you expect to be laid off soon it may not be a good time to take out a loan unless it is for the refrigerator that just broke or clothes for the kids who keep outgrowing their old clothes. A wise man once noted that there is no problem that cannot be solved in a quiet room with pencil and paper. When you are going to borrow money give it a little thought before running up debt.

Best Black Friday Shopping

What stores offer the best deals for Black Friday shopping? The holidays are rapidly approaching and many people have the long holiday weekend off. After stuffing themselves with turkey and all the trimmings on Thanksgiving, shoppers head to their favorite stores for the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. You may already have the exact store and exact set of purchases in mind but if not, here are a few thoughts on the best Black Friday shopping.

Black Friday

Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This day is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. This is because many people have the day off and have a long list of people to shop for. Retailers use this day to promote holiday sales and always offer discounts. The term, Black Friday, came to be in Philadelphia in the early 1960’s and referred to the terrible traffic jams caused by shoppers. Retailers came to refer to this day as Black Friday because it is the start of the season when they are most in the black, that is to say make the most money. All of this having been said how about the best Black Friday shopping deals?

A Few Hints

The business magazine Forbes has researched this issue and has its own list of the ten top stores for the best Black Friday shopping deals. Forbes uses research from WalletHub who calculated discounts across the board. Here is list and a comment from Forbes.

  • JCPenney: 65.44%
  • Macy’s: 53.52%
  • Rite Aid: 53.34%
  • Meijer: 50.85%
  • Sears: 50.19%
  • Walgreens: 46.74%
  • Office Depot ODP NaN% and OfficeMax: 43.89%
  • Ace Hardware: 41.01%
  • Kohl’s: 39.89%
  • Staples: 38.56%

“Amazon did not provide all the requested info for all their Black Friday deals. As a result some deals could not be included in the calculations,” writes WalletHub’s Richie Bernardo. Other retailers who wouldn’t play ball: Apple, Home Depot, IKEA and Lowe’s.

Money to Shop With

You may know of the best Black Friday shopping deals ever and not be able to go shopping if you do not have cash or credit. We were thinking of this when we ran across an offer for a $25 Visa card just for filling out a survey. Take a look. Do the survey. Enjoy the best Black Friday shopping with your Visa Gift Card

Alternatives to Black Friday

Some folks prefer to wait to see if retailers drop prices even more just before Christmas and others prefer to give and receive gift cards so that they can sweep up bargains in the first days of January when stores are essentially running clearance sales. MarketWatch quoted a study released by savings.com predicting the best shopping days with the best discounts this year. They looked at the last five years and when stores dropped prices in the run up to Christmas. Their three best days, best, second best and third best are as follows:

  • Toys, Nov. 26, Dec. 8, Dec. 19
  • Apparel, Dec. 1, Dec. 11, Dec. 18
  • Electronics, Nov. 1, Nov. 26, Nov. 28
  • Novelties, Dec. 15, Dec. 22, Dec. 23

Source: Savings.com

If you want to shop online pick Thanksgiving Day when the rest of the world is eating Turkey and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Home Repairs Warranty

Did your clothes washer spring a leak or did your microwave simply stop working? Let’s say that both appliances are out of warranty and you need to get them fixed. What do you do? Whom do you call? What is it going to cost? You wish that you could get a home repairs warranty for all of your appliances, furnace, etc. Where can you get a home repairs warranty before your dryer, dish washer, oven, refrigerator and stove decide to follow the microwave and clothes washer into non-functioning oblivion?

While researching this article we ran across a useful service on the internet. Take a look here for the Total Protect Home Warranty service. In the meantime here is our review of what to look for in a home repairs warranty.

Range of Coverage

If you pay money every month for a home repairs warranty you expect it to cover at least the following:

  • Dishwasher
  • Washer
  • Refrigerator
  • Dryer
  • Stove
  • Air conditioner or system
  • Water Heater
  • Furnace

You may want to include a few other items in this list as well:

  • Microwave
  • Freezer
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Garbage disposal
  • Range Hood
  • Icemaker
  • Compactor
  • Grill
  • Television(s)
  • Garage Door Opener
  • Garage Door
  • Sewing Machine
  • Digital Camea
  • Camcorder
  • Home Theater
  • Exercise equipment
  • Lawn mower
  • Snow blower

It is unusual to find a service that covers outside appliances such as a lawn mower or your furnace. However, often times your natural gas supplier for your furnace will offer maintenance and repair plan with monthly charges on your gas bill.

Prompt Home Service

You really do not want to have to load up your washer and dryer and take them in for repairs. So, any home repairs warranty should include prompt home visits and all repairs possible on site. If an appliance needs to be taken into the shop the home repairs warranty should cover that possibility and no extra cost. And there should be some sort of guarantee as to the promptness of getting repairs completed and your appliance back at work in your home.

Cost Effective Plans

A home repair warranty should not only provide you with prompt and competent service but it should also be cost effective. In this regard we took this price list from American Home Shield. It give you an idea of what it will cost to repair or replace various home appliances if you do not have a home repairs warranty. If all of your home appliances are of the older sort you can probably expect to pay repair or replacement costs on one or two a year for several years. If that is the case you can simply add up the list of cost and divide by the percentage of appliance that will likely fail each year. The compare that yearly cost to what a home repairs warranty service offers.

 

Household Item Replacement Costs* Repair Costs*
Clothes Dryer $546 $133
Clothes Washer $543 $103
Refrigerator $1,115 $149
Dishwasher $515 $127
Oven/Range $782 $114
Air Conditioner $2,141 $306
Wall Furnace $2,683 $113
Heating with Ductwork $2,885 $390
Water Heater $761 $92
Main Electrical Panel $651 $210


Competent Service

And, you want the job done right. A cheap service that really does not get things fixed is pretty much useless. So, check with the Better Business Bureau or ask for references before you sign up.

When You Need a Lawyer

There are a lot reasons why you may need the services of a lawyer. Many legal issues can be handled by a lawyer in the general practice of law. And there are a lot of issues that require a specialist. When you are having problems with a workers compensation issue or a social security disability claim you often need the help of a specialist. If you have been accused of a crime you certainly want to be represented by a skilled criminal lawyer and not someone who is uncomfortable inside a courtroom. Here are a few of the kinds of legal issues that may require lawyer with special skills.

  • Auto accidents
  • Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Defense
  • Divorce
  • DUI/DWI
  • IRS Tax Issues
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Workers Compensation

If you have a family attorney he or she can handle must legal matters and refer you to a specialist for the rest. If you do not have a personal attorney it can be difficult when you need a lawyer and do not know where to start looking. In this regard we have found a useful referral source for when you need a lawyer. Visit this link for help finding the attorney that you need.

Making the Right Decision

Attorneys can be very expensive. However, there are many situations in which you will not need to pay a cent for an initial consult and many situations in which you will not pay a cent for anything. For example, in personal injury or malpractice claims it is common for the lawyer to receive a percentage (commonly 30%) of recovery as well as his or her expenses. Along the way the lawyer covers all expenses. If a lawyer does not take your case he or she should provide you with a written statement to that effect. If you believe that you are in the right and still deserve help do not be afraid to get a second, third or fourth opinion.  The plain fact of the matter is that a personal injury or malpractice lawyer may not understand your case and already be busy. When he or she turns you down it does not mean that you have a bad case. It may simply be a business decision on their part. Because lawyers are expensive it can be tempting not to pursue issues or try to represent yourself. This is the wrong way to go. Many legal matters that are unclear in the beginning could end up either costing you a lot of money or result in a substantial payment to you for damages.

The Clock is Ticking

Matters in which you have suffered injury often have some sort of time limit for collecting damages. When you need a lawyer is commonly sooner and not later. When you do go in for a consultation, be sure to find out if your matter is time sensitive and to what degree. Often times all that is needed is for your lawyer to file papers in matters such as personal injury or medical malpractice to protect you from time running out on your right to damages. If you do not know where to turn, check out this link for help when you need a lawyer.

Student Loan Relief Solutions

The average college grad has more than $26,000 in debt at graduation. More than thirty-seven million people have student loan debts which amount to roughly a trillion dollars owed. If you are having problems paying your student loans be aware that there are student loan forgiveness, cancellation and discharge opportunities available through the U.S. Department of Education.

In certain situations, you can have your federal student loan forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Find out whether you qualify due to your job, disability, the closure of your school, or other circumstances.

Visit the Federal Student Aid site of the Department of Education to learn more. Here are a few of the issues addressed on the web page:

  • When loans can be forgiven, cancelled or discharged
  • How to find out if you qualify for loan forgiveness, cancellation or discharge
  • Whether you need to make payments while your case is being reviewed
  • What happens when your loan discharge is approved
  • What happens if it is denied
  • Miscellaneous frequently asked questions

Student Loan Consolidation

An alternative to seeking loan forgiveness is to consolidate student loans. An article in Fox Business reminds us of the potential pitfalls when refinancing your student loans.

If you’re looking for a way to make your student loan payments more affordable, chances are you’ve looked into or heard of student loan refinancing options.

Borrowers with federal student loans can refinance by taking out a Direct Consolidation Loan, or they can take advantage of some non-federal refinancing out there. Keep in mind that most private consolidation options will require a credit check of some sort. If you have a good credit score, that could be great news since you’ll get an even better interest rate. But if you have bad credit, refinancing may actually be more expensive than sticking with the loans you have now.

It’s possible refinancing will cost you a lot of money if you overlook crucial components of what your new deal will look like. Make sure you’ve considered the possible impact of this decision before you apply by reviewing the benefits of your loan in its current state.

We have written previously about refinancing for your home. No matter how you proceed in refinancing it is always a good idea to sit down in a quiet room with pencil and paper and do the numbers. Consolidation can provide good student loan relief or it may not. The only way that you are going to find out is to get the numbers and do a little figuring. For a good place to start looking for student loan relief solutions visit this link. They offer analysis of your debt situation without extracting any obligation. Real life examples include reducing a $157 a month payment to $45 a month, reducing the length payments and reducing the amount eventually paid.  There is no good reason to continue paying too much on your student loans when there are other options. Check them out now. You can do so at no cost and you may find out that you qualify for debt forgiveness or can negotiate your debt down to a more manageable number!

Indications and Risk of Xarelto

Xarelto is a new medication meant to decrease the risk of stroke and blood clots in people with atrial fibrillation (an irregular beating of the heart). The drug is also prescribed for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism (clots deep in the legs and in the lungs). And Xarelto is used to help prevent clots after surgery. Like all medications that help prevent clots Xarelto can also cause bleeding. There have been deaths from bleeding attributed to Xarelto. Here we have put together information available about the indications and risks of taking Xarelto taken from the manufacturer’s web site. As always when taking a prescription drug make sure you are clear about why you are taking it and what the risks are and never be afraid to call your doctor if you have questions.

Why Use Xarelto

A common reason to use this drug is if you have atrial fibrillation. The atrium is the upper part of the heart where the heart beat initiates. When the atrium fibrillates it does not send a constant stream of impulses to the lower part of the heart, the ventricles. So, the ventricles beat anyway. But the quivering of the atrium which is not beating in rhythm is a common cause for blood clots. If a clot forms in the left Atrium it can pass on to the brain and cause a stroke. Or, if the clot forms in the right Atrium it can pass into lungs, a pulmonary embolism. And, if a clot forms after surgery or for other reasons in the deep veins of the legs it can break loose, pass through the right chambers of the heart and also lodge in the lungs, another way to get a pulmonary embolism. All of these outcomes can be dangerous and even fatal.

Are There Other Choices?

Doctors also prescribe warfarin, heparin and variations of these drugs to treat, break up or prevent blood clots. Sometimes patients are simply advised to take baby aspirin a couple of times a week. This can reduce the likelihood of a clot and is generally less likely to cause bleeding. Aspirin is also not as effective in preventing clots. Bleeding is the dangerous side effect of Xarelto and other drugs used to prevent to treat clots.

Risks of Taking Xarelto and other Clot-Preventing Drugs

If you are taking Xarelto your risk of bleeding goes up if you also take aspirin, drugs like Advil, other clot prevention drugs like warfarin or heparin or Plavix. When taking Xarelto people are more likely to bruise easily. In general you should not be taking this drug unless you have a clearly defined indication such as atrial fibrillation. If you get prolonged nose bleeds, blood in your urine, vomit blood, see that your stools are black and tarry or are coughing up blood you need to see a physician immediately.

If You or a Loved One Experienced Significant Bleeding

There should be clearly defined reasons why you are taking a drug like Xarelto. You should be advised of these reasons so that you understand. You should be advised of and understand any and all risks. If there are clear warning signs you should advise your physician and he or she should act according to the medical standard for the use and that drug. If you believe that standard medical practice was not followed in your case and that you suffered unnecessary consequences such as dangerous bleeding you are entitled to damages. In addition any drug manufactured and prescribed in the USA must do what it is said to do and must not carry unnecessary risk for the patient. These can be difficult questions to answer and are best left to experts to decide. If you believe that you or a loved one were hurt by the use or misuse of Xarelto consult someone who can help. In researching this article we found a useful website in this regard. Click this link to learn more. If you have any questions about any of this consult your physician and if you are not getting clear answers visit the link.

Home Loan Refinancing Help

Do you need home loan refinancing help? When refinancing a home you are seeking to replace an existing debt with a newer one. There are several reasons why you may wish to do this but in the end you want better terms than you currently have. This can be a tedious and difficult process. Getting home loan refinancing help up front is always a good idea. Here are a few thoughts about home loan refinancing, where it is available and best ways to proceed.

Why Do You Want to Refinance?

Common reasons for refinancing include:

  • Taking advantage of significantly lower interest rates
  • Consolidation of several debts into a sign home loan
  • Reduction of monthly payments with loan restructuring
  • Covert your variable rate home loan into a fix rate loan
  • Take equity from your home for a new business or other purpose

When you are having financial problems you are typically refinancing a home to restructure your debts. As an example, debt consolidation services commonly roll high interest credit card debt obligations into a home mortgage. This gives you a lower debt and lower monthly payments. But remember that doing this also gives the lender the right to force a sale of you home if you cannot keep up on payments.

Things to Be Aware of

Getting out of an existing mortgage can be difficult and expensive. It is common that fixed term mortgages have penalty clauses, also called call provisions. There may be a penalty to get out of you current mortgage. There can also be refinancing transaction fees. There are times that these penalties and fees eliminate any advantage that might otherwise come from refinancing a home. It is really important when refinancing a home to do the numbers. Figure the up-front, ongoing, and potentially variable costs of refinancing to decide whether to refinance or not. If this is unclear to you get help. When researching this article we ran across a service that might help. Click here for more info about home loan refinancing help.

The Point about Points

Just like when you got your first mortgage there are points to consider. These are usually one percent of the total loan amount although if you pay higher points you may get a lower interest rate. When a lender really wants your business he may offer negative points and actually finance part of your mortgage. Here, again is where getting expert help is essential as it can make the difference between a successful refinancing and significant problems later on.

A Few Possibilities

Here are a few options just offered in the last couple of years by the Obama Administration. They are designed to help homeowners like you who may find themselves owing more than their home was worth. Those listed here to not require an appraisal.

FHA Streamline Refinance: This option offers extremely low interest rates in refinancing a home provided that one has an FHA home loan that was endorsed before the end of May in 2009.

VA Loan Refinance: This option may be of help if you are a veteran of United States military service. The Veteran’s Administration offers Interest Rate Reduction Refinances IRRR for Veteran Home Owners who wish  to reduce their interest rate, with no appraisal.

HARP Refinance: The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) was launched in 2009. This is a program to specifically help people whose homes fell in value to less than the amount of their mortgage due to the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008.

USDA Home Loans: This is a United States Department of Agriculture program. It is largely limited to those whose livelihoods fall within the jurisdiction of the USDA. If you qualify refinancing a home can be very beneficial.

As always when dealing with property sit down and do your math. Shop around for the best deal. There are various businesses that do this routinely.  For more info visit this link.

Disney Family Cruise

With the North American winter set to arrive in a few months a great idea just might be a cruise. In fact, if you are thinking of surprising your loved one with a fantastic gift for the holidays a cruise can be ideal. With these thoughts in mind we are taking a look at a cruise option for people who like to travel and have children. Traveling with the kids can be a lot of fun and it can be difficult if you end up having to continually cater to the needs of one of the family and miss out on things that others want to do. One great option in this regard is a Disney family cruise. These cruises go to lots of great places and they feature entertainment suitable for all ages. There are typically day care/babysitting services available so that mom and dad can enjoy a romantic dinner while the kids are safe and secure, and not bored. And if you go on a Disney family cruise you will find that the cruise is set up for a family and is not a swinging singles get together which is commonly inappropriate for couples with small children.

The purpose of a Disney family Cruise is to do something fun and exciting with your family. There are romantic vacation destination and cruises that cater to the idea of finding that someone special on a cruise. But if you already have that someone special in your life and the two of you have three children, you probably want a Disney family vacation cruise. Any if you have already visited Disney Land, Disney World and other assorted theme resorts you may want to see more of the world. A Disney family cruise is a great way to do this and do so in an environment that is safe and fun for all. You can take a Disney family cruise to lots of places.

Alaska
Bahamas
California Coast
Caribbean
Disney’s Castaway Cay
Europe
Hawaii
Mexico
Panama Canal
Transatlantic

More often than not the port you leave from on a cruise has a lot to offer. So, where can you cruise from with a Disney family cruise?

Dover
Copenhagen
San Diego
San Juan
Barcelona
Galveston
Miami
Port Canaveral
Vancouver

These are all great cities to visit and there is nothing wrong with spending a day or two touring your departure port city before heading off on a Disney family cruise.

The cost of a Disney family cruise varies with the departure port, size of your family and the package you choose. Here is an example for a January 4, 2015 Caribbean cruise departing from Miami, 2 adults and 2 teenage children. The 5 Night Western Caribbean Cruise sells for $2,816 for an inside stateroom. If a Disney family cruise interests you take a look at their web site and dream a little.

Making the Cruise a Little More Affordable

In researching this article we ran across an offer that might help you or help someone whom you want to send on a Disney family cruise. It is a $1000 Visa Gift Card. Take a look. It might just be the thing that you need.


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