Age Old Question – How Much Do I Tip?

August 27, 2010

Everyone’s gotta make a living, and, for some, tips make the difference between poverty line wages and a decent day’s pay.  So, when it comes to providing a few extra bucks to a valet or furniture delivery guy, what are the guidelines?

For the answers we turn to one of our favorite business columnists.  Kathy Kristof of CBS MoneyWatch gives us the latest low down on what to tip these days, and says, if you can afford it, try not to be cheap!  Click here to read more in her column.

Who’s In Charge of Food Safety And What Is He Doing About It?

August 27, 2010

By Terry Smiljanich:

The latest outbreak of salmonella illnesses (2000 reports between May and July), traced to contaminated eggs from two major Iowa producers and involving more than half a billion eggs, raises once again the issue of food safety in America. Who’s in charge?

Until recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had exclusive jurisdiction over inspection of egg producing facilities. Once eggs entered the marketplace, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had authority to investigate any problems. That has all changed under new rules, effective July 9, 2010, giving the FDA authority to inspect food production facilities along with the USDA.

Read more

Making Money on Facebook

August 27, 2010

Facebook now has 500 million users— and thousands of companies trying to cash in on them.  Winning “fans” on a company’s Facebook page can translate into dollars.  There are at least a handful that have cracked the code.  Click here to read more on CNNMoney.com

Guess Who Saved the Buick?–China

August 24, 2010

By John Newcomer:

When GM filed for bankruptcy last year it agreed that in exchange for federal bailout money it would eliminate half of its brands. The Buick seemed like an obvious choice to move to the salvage yard.  After all, how many Buicks do you see on the roads here in America? But go to China, and it is a different story.

The last emperor of China –Henry P’uYi was a great fan of the Buick.  In China, the Buick is looked upon as an upscale auto and a favorite of the upper middle class of China. Demand is so strong in China that GM sells 4 times more Buicks in China than it does here in the U.S.  What??? Yes, in 2009 Buick sold only 102,300 cars in the U.S. compared to 447,000 Buicks sold  in China.

So what do the Chinese know that we don’t? Well for one, the Buick Lacrosse was voted most dependable car for 2009 and safest for 2010. But alas, apparently Buick suffers an image problem in the United States that it does not have in China.  Here we look at the Buick as an “old person’s” car.  Well, it’s not your grandmother’s Buick anymore.  In China, it is an upscale sedan to be looked upon in awe.

A tip of the hat to the Chinese for saving a great American automobile.

401K Hardship Withdrawals A Disturbing Trend

August 23, 2010


With desperate times come desperate measures. More Americans than ever are tapping into their retirement nest eggs for monetary relief. Hardship withdrawals have hit a 10 year high, but dipping into your 401k early has severe financial penalties. ABC News reports on this risky fiscal trend. Click here for more.

Toyota Drivers Hit Accelerator And Not Brakes Says NHTSA

August 13, 2010

Oops. Seems the reports flooding in about rogue Toyotas accelerating out of control while drivers ‘stand on the brake pedal,’ could have been due to driver error. 35 out of 58 data recorders analyzed by the NHTSA show at the time of the crash the brake pedal was not depressed at all. This runs counter to the reports from drivers which say they were unable to stop their wildly accelerating Toyotas.

While the final NHTSA report has not yet been released, many news organizations speculate that Toyota may not be as much at fault for the crashes, but in several cases panicked drivers just hit the wrong pedal.

Read more here.

Foreclosure Help Not Forgotten

August 9, 2010

The Consumer Warning Network has been hard at work over the past year uncovering the truth behind the ‘foreclosure help myth’ that lenders pose to struggling homeowners across the nation. We told you about the Foreclosure Help Run-around with a homeowner in South Florida and the frustrated couple asking “Why won’t my mortgage company help?” There maybe some hope for people facing foreclosure despite Homeowners Trapped in Unworkable Work-outs. CBS news affiliate WTSP in Tampa, FL reports on the growing home loan modification workshops that help bridge the gap between homeowner and lender. Click here for more.

Buick LaCrosse Tops IIHS Safest Car List

August 6, 2010

The number of vehicles designated as Top Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) dropped by a third in 2010, largely because of tougher testing standards, including a newly instituted roof-crush test. In conjunction with the roof test, the IIHS conducts high-speed front and side crash tests, a rollover test, and test of seat/head restraints to protect against neck injuries such as whiplash.

For 2010, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo make strong crashworthiness showings, whereas Audi, traditionally a high performer across the board, appears only in the midsize category. Several automakers that earned a Top Safety Pick rating last year do not have a winning vehicle for 2010, including BMW, Mazda, and Saab.

More information on vehicle safety can be found in Edmunds Car Safety Guide.

Check out the complete list of 2010 Top Safety Picks chosen by the IIHS at Edmunds.com