Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.
Re-cap of the top 2012 money tips
With the economy still struggling, personal finance has been at the top of many Americans’ minds. The age-old saying “every little bit helps” has rung true as loud as ever in 2012 as people continue to look for more ways to save. Fortunately, the Internet has made it easy for many consumers find useful tactics and strategies. CBS MoneyWatch finance expert Kathy Kristof summarizes some of her best money-saving tips from last year.
Get the best personal finance tips of the year at CBS News.
2013: a year in preview
Wealthier homeowners are making luxury improvements to their homes, and more and more are paying with plastic. Their justification is that if they are going to be shelling out $100,000 or more in renovations, why not get a fancy yacht cruise or VIP event tickets with exclusive access to artists or celebrities out of the deal? It’s just another way that credit card owners are using loyalty rewards to get more from major expenses. Though credit card reward perks can be a nice benefit, however, consumers should be wary of potential pitfalls.
Read the full article at the Boston Globe.
Not everything is more expensive these days
Investing in stocks is a risky game. Mutual funds help diversify a portfolio, but are also tied to the ebb and flow of the market. Seeking safer havens for their money, investors often turn to banking products, comforted by an FDIC guarantee. However, shiny gimmicks and incentives can put uninformed consumers out of a lot of money.
Learn why some items may actually cost less this year at Wall Street Journal MarketWatch
Occupations for those without 4-year degrees
The increase in the price tag of a college education is far outpacing inflation, potentially putting college degrees out of reach for some. For those who have no desire for a bachelor’s degree, there are still a wide variety of jobs available to those with only a high school diploma or 2-year degree on their resume. The health care industry, for example, has a number of unfilled positions thanks to growing demands from America’s aging population.
Read about more jobs that require no college degrees on Yahoo! Finance.
Minimum wage workers to make more in some states
The reality of higher tax rates is the big, dark, looming cloud for 2013, but if you live in one of these ten states and make minimum wage, there is a silver lining. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that 855,000 workers in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington will see their pay checks increase an average of $510 per year, as those states enact increases to their minimum wages.
Read more at CNN Money.
What to know before dumping clothes in the donation bin
Collection bins for clothing donations can be found in thousands of parking lots across the country. What many consumers don’t realize, however, is that many of them are operated by for-profit organizations, so less of the proceeds are getting to charities. These often mislabeled or misleading bins have had a negative impact on donations, in turn hurting the ability of companies such as Goodwill to fund charity programs.
Read more at USA Today.
Get ‘em before they’re gone
The Hostess Twinkie was one of the hottest items at the end of 2012 as word of the famous snack manufacturer’s closing quickly spread. But it’s not the only item about to disappear from store shelves. If you tend to be a hoarder of things soon to be obsolete – or just want to stock up on spare parts – take note of this list compiled by Bloomberg Businessweek. Included are incandescent light bulbs, stamp collections, and iPhone accessories.
Read more at Businessweek.