Personal Finance: 10 tips for holiday shopping
News from Sacramento Bee:

First it was the door-busters dangled by America’s retailers on Thanksgiving night.

Then Black Friday, which tumbled right into Small Business Saturday. And next? It’s Cyber-Monday.

All those shopping invitations; all those chances to dig deeper into debt.

And it’s only November.

With that in mind, here are 10 tips to keep your holiday shopping season a little more jolly and a lot less jarring on the wallet.

1. Makin’ a list

One of the best ways to avoid overspending is to write down a list of everyone you want to give to, from your kids to your haircutter. Decide what you can comfortably spend for each person.

“(A list) helps you prioritize how much you can realistically spend for the season,” said Casey Bond, managing editor for, a personal finance site based in El Segundo. “Sit down, make that plan: This is how much I really want to spend.”

2. Embrace technology

A number of new tech tools make it easier than ever to snag holiday bargains, said Jake Gibson, chief operating officer of consumer finance site in San Francisco.

One of his favorites: “Passbook,” an iPhone app through which you gather all your gift cards, boarding passes, digital tickets, rewards cards and coupons on your smartphone.

“It’s a pop-up notification on your phone … ……………. continues on Sacramento Bee

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Disintermediating higher education
News from Dallas Morning News:

Few expenses are scarier than college tuition. At private and public colleges, tuition has been rising faster than inflation for decades. One example is my alma mater, MIT. As I entered, the tuition crossed $ 1,000 a year.

Yes, it was a long, long time ago. Tuition rose to about $ 1,200 a year by the time I graduated in 1962. I didn’t think much about the cost at the time because my stepfather paid the bill. He didn’t have to, but he did. Although he never finished college himself, he made sure that I graduated without a dime in debt. I could never thank him enough.

The total cost of my tuition over four years was less than $ 5,000. Measured another way, the payback period was about nine months’ gross salary at my first job. Viewed as an investment in equipment, getting an MIT education was, as they say, a no-brainer. If tuition costs had risen in line with inflation, that original $ 1,000 for a year’s tuition would now be $ 7,972, according to the CPI calculator on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Today the actual tuition is $ 40,732 (not including room and board), so it’s pretty safe to say that everyday inflation hasn’t been the driving force behind the increase in college tuition. More important, the payback period, based on a likely starting salary for new graduates of about $ 65,000, is now about 2.5 years. That’s a big increase, but it’s sti…………… continues on Dallas Morning News

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