Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tips for finding a cheap flight

Tips for finding a cheap flight

I personally like to go to Yahoo travel and input my destinations and dates, they usually come back with the lowest fares and airlines, then I go directly to that airline and its usually $50.00-$100.00 cheaper than the other travel site ( Expedia,Travelzoo, etc) below are some more tips.

Here are five tips on shopping for fares.

1. The sweet spot: Buy early in the week.

According to Rick Seaney of, airlines are doing more short-lived sales, with three-day sales becoming the norm. These deals are typically put in the system on Monday nights, so you need to shop from Tuesday through Thursday to get the cheapest prices, he said.

2. Do the comparisons.

You'd love a weekend at the beach and decide you want to go to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on April 9 and return on April 11, in time for work the next day.

On Wednesday, AirTran Airways and Delta Air Lines were offering sale fares on their Web sites for as little as $44 one-way from Atlanta. But that low fare was good for only one destination — Charlotte, N.C., not exactly a tropical location.

Both airlines offered a $74 one-way sale fare to Ft. Lauderdale. But your weekend jaunt wouldn't qualify because Friday and Sunday travel is excluded for the best fares.

For the April 9-11 trip, AirTran was cheaper on Tuesday — $309 was its lowest price, while Delta's was $408.

So, travelers should read the fine print and be aware that terms and fares can change from one day to the next. Example: In Delta's sale, the lowest fare to select U.S. cities was $59 on Tuesday. It was lowered to $44 on Wednesday for the route to Charlotte to match AirTran. Also, the terms of Delta's sale as of Tuesday stated the fares were for travel starting April 12. That was moved up to April 6 on Wednesday for Florida travel, again matching AirTran.

And here's another reason to buy on Tuesdays. On Wednesday, the cheapest AirTran roundtrip ticket for the Ft. Lauderdale itinerary had spiked to $428. Delta's cheapest ticket on Wednesday was still $408. If you could wait a week, you could fly Delta for $209 roundtrip, if you bought the ticket Wednesday. But you wouldn't get brunch because you'd have to leave for home at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, to get that rate. Had you bought that Delta ticket on Tuesday, it would have only cost $149.

3. Be mindful of your location.

Airlines may more frequently hawk fare sales from their hub cities. For instance, Chicago is a hub for United Airlines, while Miami is a hub for American Airlines. More flights into and out of those cities means more seats to fill. This can lead to more chances for discounts, depending on season and other factors.

Veteran Minneapolis travel industry expert Terry Trippler advises people in a non-hub city to be ready to buy just about anytime a sale is offered.

A good example: On Wednesday, Continental Airlines was offering fares as low as $218 roundtrip between Tampa, Fla., and Las Vegas. That was a good deal considering the distance, the popularity of travel to Vegas and the fact that neither city is a hub for Continental.

Those in hub cities can be more patient.
"If I were in a hub city I might wait awhile — especially a hub where a low-fare airline has a decent percentage of the business," Trippler said.

Atlanta is a good example. It is a hub for discount carrier AirTran. Baltimore, where both Southwest and AirTran have a significant presence, is another example.

4. Pay your fees up front.

Some of the good feeling generated from scoring a great deal can dissipate if you get hit with more than $50 in bag fees. So, pack light and use all that space in your carry-on bags.

When you do check bags, be aware that some airlines charge more if you pay the fee at the airport. You can pay up front on your airline's Web site and save some money.

US Airways, for instance, charges $23 to check your first bag online, but $25 at the airport. For a second checked bag, US Airways gets $32 online or $35 at the airport.

5. Wait, but not too long.

You don't have to book months in advance to get the best deals. Many airlines are recycling similar sales over and over again as they seek to fill planes amid a turnaround in demand for air travel.

But, FareCompare's Seaney warns that procrastinators may not find the same deals they did just six months ago. That's because since the end of the third quarter of 2009 seats have become more scarce and prices more firm so airlines have no incentive to release cheap seats to those who procrastinate, Seaney said.

Also, book your ticket sooner for the busier summer season than you would if you plan to fly in the fall or winter.

While some airlines offer last-minute deals to certain points on certain days, in general for leisure travel it is a good idea to give yourself a cushion of at least a month from the time you buy your ticket to the time you plan to travel.

Note: Another good site I use for places like Vegas or Jamaica is Usair ways travel site(, I use that for Air and Hotel packages and they seem to be the cheapest from my past researches. For those thinking of NYC for the first time might want to check that out there package deals.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Things you can only buy at a Chinese Walmart

Things you can only buy at a Chinese Walmart

1. Crocodiles

2. Bulk Rice

3. Mixed Meat

4. Orange Juice And Cooking Oil

5. Turtles

6. ?????

7. Walmart Brand Spirits ($0.15)

8. Rib Cages

9. Assorted Dried Reptiles

10. Beautiful Boxes Of Liquor and spicy Beef Granules

12. Pig Faces

Monday, May 17, 2010

For the big $pender$ :)

Interesting read from CNN

(CNN) -- A whole industry caters to air travelers looking for the cheapest airfares, but that was the last thing Rob Cockerham wanted.
He was hunting for the most wallet-busting, credit-card maxing, extravagant plane tickets he could find.

Cockerham recently spent an evening calling a dozen airlines as part of his quest and found plenty of choices. How about $11,000 for a roundtrip flight in first-class from California to Johannesburg, South Africa?
Or almost $19,000 for a roundtrip journey from the West Coast to Sydney, Australia? And the ultimate budget buster: He was quoted more than $26,000 for a trip from California to London, England, and back.

"It was amazing. I kept thinking I could buy a car ... I could get a boat for that. I could take 40 trips for that amount of money," said Cockerham, who lives in Sacramento, California, and documented his findings in his blog,

Sticker shock
Cockerham's quest was an experiment -- he had no intention of buying any of the tickets -- but it uncovered a fascinating world of extreme airfares that few people can imagine, let alone afford.
You can see some of them for yourself: Plug some international destinations into any airline website, choose refundable first class as your cabin of choice and let the fun begin.

Some recent examples of sky-high fares offered by U.S. commercial airlines included Miami, Florida, to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for $7,400; Chicago, Illinois, to Tokyo, Japan, for $17,400; and Los Angeles, California, to Sydney, Australia, for almost $25,000.

But does anyone ever actually book those fares?

"It is extremely rare, almost unheard of that anybody pays those true, full retail prices," said consumer adviser and HLN money expert Clark Howard.

"The funny thing about sitting in first class is that almost nobody sitting in first class actually paid real money for that seat. ... The overwhelming number of people are in some method or fashion upgrading from a lower price ticket in the next cabin down."

Even if passengers do pay to sit in the front of the plane, most don't purchase full fare first class -- the most expensive option because it's fully refundable and has absolutely no restrictions, said George Hobica, president of

The difference can be striking. Hobica found one flight from New York to London in business class for about $2,000, but when he chose a refundable fare for the same seat, the price jumped to $5,000.

Traveling in style

But there are some cases in which price doesn't matter. Major multinational corporations would pay extreme airfares if they had to, said Rick Seaney, the CEO of People could also be forced to pay exorbitant fares if they absolutely had to be on a particular flight and there were few seats left, he said.

In addition, a select few carriers in the world -- like Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates -- have reputations so strong that they can actually quote a price in the tens of thousands of dollars for a ticket "with a straight face" and get people to pay it, Howard said.

They also offer luxury that most travelers could only dream of, like private suites, multicourse meals created by acclaimed chefs and complimentary chauffeur-driven cars to and from the airport.

That still wouldn't be worth it for Cockerham, 41, who got the idea for his extreme airfare experiment after one of his friends traveled to India for a work assignment and flew in business class -- a ticket that cost $6,000 from California.

"His girlfriend and I were talking and we were like wow, you can fly coach for $2,000 and business class is $6,000. So my God, a $4,000 difference for legroom," Cockerham said.

He was also amazed by the gulf between an airline's customers: For many, a $10 increase in a bag fee is cause enough for an uproar while a select group of others may readily plunk down $10,000 for a seat in first class.

The private option

But at those prices, wouldn't it make sense to rent a private jet?
It depends.
If a flight is less than 2,000 miles, the ultrawealthy will fly private, Howard said. Transoceanic travel, however, is so enormously expensive using this option -- as much as $200,000 -- that paying $25,000 for a ticket on an ultraluxurious airline makes more financial sense by comparison.

For some people, it may also be a chance to show off a bit while traveling in style.
"You have certain types of celebrities that are very private, and some like John Travolta, who flies his own plane. Then on the flip side, you have ones that wouldn't mind being seen," Seaney said.
Still, Cockerham couldn't imagine paying those kinds of prices, even if he were a millionaire.

"I think I would have to have some really bad experiences in coach first," he said.

More @

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Traveling across Europe

Traveling across Europe

For those thinking about a tour of Europe the best way to do that is by train.

Here’s a list of train operators so you can check prices, do not get train prices from Rail Europe as this is an agency that charges substantial fees in addition to the ticket prices.,
Paris-London-Brussels: . Tickets go on sale 120 days before travel.

France: but say you are from Great Britain. If you say you are from North America, you may get transferred to RailEurope with its higher prices. Tickets go on sale 90 days before travel.

Italy: but it is highly unlikely you will be able to book through this site, as it hardly ever accepts cards issued outside Europe. If you have problems, just buy the train tickets in Italy.
You will not get "screwed over" if you buy your tickets in Europe: the tickets will be at the published prices. However, many of the operators offer substantial discounts for advanced purchases over the net. The cheap tickets can sell out quickly, so get in early if you can.

I also recommend checking out the website of Rick Steves,, and his travel books.

Friday, May 7, 2010

How to Clear Your Cache

When you roam the Internet, accessing Web pages, files, images and other downloaded content, your Web browser caches, or stores, all that on your computer. That way, those files -- which are called temporary Internet files -- don't have to be retrieved again each time you click the back or forward buttons.

Why should you clear your cache? There are two reasons:
• Free up space on your computer
After a while, the cache fills up and needs to be cleared -- at least once a quarter -- so your Web browser will function most efficiently.
• Protect your privacy
At work, you may not want others to see where you have browsed, while at home, several people may use the same computer. If you have privacy concerns, you'll want to regularly clear your cache.

Clearing your cache takes just a few minutes. You can do it yourself by following the steps below, or there is software such as System Mechanic that can clear your cache automatically.

How to clear the cache in Internet Explorer 8
1. Open Internet Explorer. Click the Tools menu on the top left of the IE toolbar.
2. Click on "Delete Browsing History."
3. Select "Temporary Internet Files."
4. Click the Delete button at the bottom of the window and your temporary files will be deleted instantly.

To set Internet Explorer 8 so it automatically clears the cache:
1. Open Internet Explorer. Click the Tools menu on the top left of the IE toolbar.
1. Click on Internet Options.
2. Click the Advanced tab.
3. Scroll down to the Security section.
4. Click to check the box next to the option labeled "Empty Temporary Internet Files folder when browser is closed."
5. Click OK. This will delete everything except cookies.

How to clear the cache in Firefox 3.5 or 3.6
1. Open Firefox. Click Tools on the top left of the Firefox tool bar. Select Options.
2. Select the Advanced panel.
3. Click on the Network tab.
4. In the Offline Storage section, click Clear Now.
5. Click OK to close the Options window

To set Firefox 3.5 or 3.6 so it automatically clears the cache:
1. Click Tools on the top left of the Firefox tool bar. Select Options.
2. Select the Privacy panel.
3. In the History section, click on the "Firefox will:" drop-down box and choose "Use custom settings for history."
4. Check the box for "Clear history when Firefox closes."
5. Click on the Settings button.
6. In the Settings for Clearing History window, click the checkmark box next to Cache.
7. Click OK to close the Settings for Clearing History window.
9. Click OK to close the Options window.

If you need additional help or your Web browser is not listed here, search your browser's Help menu for "clear cache."

More @|htmlws-main-n|dl5|link3|

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paying off debt with a 401(k) loan

Paying off debt with a 401(k) loan

Good read from CNN

Question: Should I borrow from my 401(k) to pay off debt?

Answer: If nothing else, the financial crisis changed our attitudes (at least temporarily) toward debt. Before the meltdown, borrowing was a pure plus. It allowed you to have a bigger house, a bigger car, a bigger life. Some people even believed, to their subsequent dismay, borrowing was a sure-fire way to bigger investment returns.

After the crisis, we're more likely to think of debt like the albatross in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, something that weighs us down that we're desperate to be free of.

According to a recent TD Ameritrade survey, 39% of Americans now define financial success as being debt free.

So I understand -- and generally applaud -- your urge to pay off debt.

But let's be clear. By borrowing from your 401(k), you won't actually be paying off debt in the sense of eliminating it. You'll be replacing your existing debt with another loan.

So the real issue is whether it makes sense to transfer your debt to your 401(k).

As a rule, I don't like to encourage people to think of their 401(k) as a piggybank to dip into or borrow from. Using it that way can conflict with and undermine its true purpose, which is to provide you with a nest egg to support you in retirement.

That said, there are circumstances in which a 401(k) loan may be better than some of the alternatives. But even in those cases, it's important that you understand the risks of tapping your 401(k) for a loan.
The dangers of a 401(k) loan

If you're paying a high interest rate on your current loan (or loans, as the case may be), then you may very well be able to cut your interest costs by paying them off with proceeds from a 401(k) loan.

Terms can vary from one plan to another, so you'll want to check out what conditions yours sets (assuming your plan allows them, as most do). Typically, 401(k) participants can borrow the lesser of 50% of their account balance or $50,000 and repay it via payroll deductions over a five-year term at a rate of one percentage point above prime. That would put the interest rate today at 4.25%.

Given that attractive rate, borrowing from your 401(k) may seem like a no brainer. But before signing on, there are number of things you need to consider.

Perhaps the most significant issue is that if you switch jobs or are laid off from your current position, most employers require that you repay the loan within 60 days. Fail to do that, and the outstanding balance is considered a distribution on which you'll owe tax and, if you're under 55, a 10% penalty.

Another downside is that some plans don't allow you to make contributions to your 401(k) while a loan is outstanding. That can have two unpleasant effects. One is that by missing out on new contributions while repaying the loan you'll end up with a lower account balance at retirement than you would otherwise have had. The other is that, without new 401(k) contributions lowering your taxable income, your current tax bill is likely to go up.
Money problems? Ask the Expert!

Despite these caveats, you may still see a 401(k) loan as a better deal than the loan arrangement you have now. Fine, but before you borrow from your 401(k), you still want to see if there are other comparable or better options.
Alternative sources of cash

One possibility is finding another loan that's as or nearly attractive as what you'll get from your 401(k). Granted, that's a tall order if your 401(k) is letting you borrow at prime plus one. But you might be able to come close with a home equity line of credit.

The rate you'll get will depend on a number of factors, ranging from your credit score, the size of the loan and how eager a bank is to lend. On average, though, home equity lines were charging 4.8% or 5.13%, depending on the amount borrowed. And with a little shopping around, you might be able to do better (although you'll also have to take a home equity line's other fees into account when assessing its cost).

Even if a home equity line of credit doesn't match or beat a 401(k) loan on rate alone, it has other advantages that might make it a more appealing choice. One significant difference is that, unlike interest on 401(k) loans, interest on a home equity line of credit is usually tax deductible. Depending on your tax rate, that break could make the home equity line's after-tax rate comparable to or even lower than the 401(k)'s rate.

And while we're on the subject of taxes, remember this: not only do you not get to deduct interest on a 401(k) loan, you actually end up paying tax twice on the money you use to pay interest on the loan -- once before you make the loan payment and again when you eventually make withdrawals from your 401(k).

And while perhaps not a huge advantage, you also typically get more flexible repayment terms with home equity lines.

Given all this, I think it's certainly possible that, unless the 401(k) rate is significantly lower, someone might prefer the home equity line of credit to a 401(k) loan, if for no other reason than you don't have to worry about a big repayment in the event of a job change or loss.

Bottom line: If I were you, I'd first try to find a way to get out of debt without raiding your 401(k). That could mean stepping up payments on the debt you already have or replacing your current debt with a home equity line or other loan that has a lower rate of interest. Better yet, you could do both.

But if you decide to go ahead and borrow from your 401(k), then at the very least consider how you'll handle the situation should you leave your job and be faced with having to repay the loan much faster than you'd anticipated

More @

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

10 Common Credit Score Fictions

Good read from Yahoo Business, Read up so your in the know about your credit and the affects of your score..

When it comes to credit reports and scores, knowledge is power. Here are the real facts behind 10 common credit score fictions:

Fiction: The more money you make, the better your credit score will fare.

Fact: Your income has nothing to do with your credit score. It’s not reported to the credit bureaus or listed on your credit report.

Fiction: Once you’ve paid a past-due debt, it will drop off of your credit report.

Fact: Late payments and other negative information remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of the initial late payment. Bankruptcies typically stick around for 10 years from the bankruptcy filing date. While that black mark may continue to soil your credit report, however, its effect on your credit score will lessen over time.

Fiction: Credit bureaus never make mistakes.

Fact: Nearly eight in 10 credit reports contain a serious error or some sort of mistake, according to a survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups. Because many errors can negatively impact your credit score, it’s important to check your credit report regularly and dispute any inaccuracies you find. To take a look at your credit report and score for free, and dispute credit report errors online, visit

Fiction: Practicing a cash-only policy will help your credit score.

Fact: Having good credit is a function of having credit available to you and using it responsibly. If you don’t have or use credit, you may have no credit history at all and if you do, your credit score won’t be as good as someone who consistently demonstrates responsible use of credit over time.

Fiction: All credit reports and credit scores are the same.

Fact: You have three main credit reports – one from Experian, Equifax and Transunion – plus a variety of credit scores. The information listed on each of your credit reports may vary and your credit scores – even if based on a single report – may also vary. No one credit report or score is better than the others. They all seek to document your credit history and assess your credit risk.

Fiction: How responsibly you manage your checking, savings and investment accounts will impact your credit score.

Fact: Like income, your checking, savings and investment account activity is not reported to the credit bureaus and does not affect your credit score.

Fiction: Closing credit card accounts will help your credit score.

Fact: When you close a credit card account, you may be affecting your “credit utilization.” Credit utilization is simply how much credit you use (balances) compared to how much credit is available to you (credit limits). Closing a credit card account lowers the amount of credit that’s available to you, which may increase your credit utilization percentage if you maintain balances on any of your other credit cards. A higher credit utilization may negatively impact your credit score.

Fiction: Pulling your own credit report will lower your credit score.

Fact: When you pull your credit report for your own educational purposes, it’s considered a “soft inquiry” and will not affect your credit score. On the other hand, when a creditor or lender pulls your credit report for the purpose of extending you credit or a loan, it’s a “hard inquiry” and may negatively impact your credit score. (Learn more about credit inquiries.)

Fiction: If a bill or debt isn’t generally reported to the credit bureaus, missing a payment won’t affect your credit score.

Fact: Any time you pay a bill late or don’t pay at all, that activity can be reported to the credit bureaus. Different companies have different policies about reporting late payments or negative information, but never assume that just because you’ve never seen a particular bill listed on your credit report that it can’t negatively impact your credit score if you don’t pay it.

Fiction: Disputing accurate information will remove it from your credit report.

Fact: You can only dispute information on your credit report that is inaccurate. When you dispute information on your credit report, the credit bureau has 30 days to investigate. If it finds the dispute to be valid, it will remove the inaccurate information. If, however, the dispute claim is found to be false, that information will not be removed from your credit report. Beware of credit repair companies claiming that they can get negative – albeit accurate – information removed from your credit report. This practice is illegal and these companies are generally scams.

more @

Saturday, May 1, 2010

507,000 laptop adapters recalled for burn risk

READ UP if you have one....

NEW YORK ( -- About half a million laptop power adapters are being recalled, due to faulty wiring that can melt plastic and burn consumers.

The recall includes 507,000 Targus-branded universal power adapters for laptops, which are manufactured by Lake Forest, Calif.-based Comarco (CMRO).

The adapters, which come in models that plug in to wall outlets or car chargers, were sold at retailers including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot and Staples for between $89 and $149 starting last year.

Comarco received 518 complaints about faulty wiring which caused part of the unit to overheat. In 53 incidents, this defect melted the adapter's plastic casing.

A few customers also reported minor burns, Comarco said in a press release.

Consumers should immediately stop using the adapters and call Comarco's recall hotline at (877) 781-5186 to order a free refurbished replacement, the company said.