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Common cents

Coupons: How useful are they?

Shanxi Upsdell

News reports have mentioned more consumers turning to coupons as the recession continues. Reuters reported in March that coupon redemptions jumped 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with 2007. It's not just supermarket clippers, either. Coupons from mass merchandisers have taken a bigger market share compared with ...

A house for no money down

Mike Belt

Yes, you can still buy a house for no money down. At least some people can. Sound like a middle-of-the-night infomercial? It’s not. At least two mortgage loan programs have money to loan without down payments. One is through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program. The other is ...

Avoid owing more income taxes next year

Mike Belt

By April 1 most of the nation’s workers will find the amounts on their paychecks a little higher than they used to be. That’s the date for implementation of the federal tax break known as Making Work Pay. A few taxpayers, however, could find themselves owing more to the federal ...

Some companies are hiring

Mike Belt

At least some employers in the Topeka and Kansas City metropolitan areas expect to be hiring workers during the second quarter of 2009, according to a Manpower Inc. survey. From April to June, 14 percent of companies surveyed in Topeka and 11 percent in Kansas City plan to hire more ...

A lesson learned

Shanxi Upsdell

I learned a valuable lesson recently when taking my secondhand car to an area dealership for servicing: Always beware if the mechanic comes out smiling. It's even more frightening if the mechanic proceeds to say something like, "There's something very wrong with your car!" with barely concealed excitement. In my ...

Identity theft grows; so does price of gold

Mike Belt

Next week, March 1-7, is National Consumer Protection Week. Identity theft is at the top of the list when it comes to the need for consumer protection and caution. Consider the following information distributed by The Associated Press: The number of identity theft victims last year in the U.S. was ...

Mediation tried for consumer complaints

Mike Belt

The Kansas Attorney General’s office has started a new consumer mediation program to resolve some matters without having to bring the parties to court. “Through my new mediation program we can return money to consumers without stepping foot in a courtroom,” Attorney General Steve Six said in a news release. ...

State launches stimulus plan Web site

Mike Belt

Kansas has a new Web site that is being used to put out information about the new federal stimulus package. Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson announced it Tuesday, the same day President Barack Obama signed the stimulus plan.Parkinson said that as additional information about the stimulus and its effect on Kansas ...

2008 stimulus check causes tax confusion

Mike Belt

Many people are busy filing their income tax returns this time of year and the federal Internal Revenue Service is finding a large number of errors on early returns.The errors involve how to account on 2008 returns for last year’s economic stimulus payments.The stimulus payments affect taxpayers’ eligibility for the ...

Data sticks a common loss and found item

Mike Belt

CNN is carrying a story today about a man in New Zealand who recently found confidential U.S. military files on a used MP3 player he bought while in Oklahoma a year ago.That news comes at the same time the results of a survey conducted by Credant Technologies of Dallas were ...

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