Saturday, November 22, 2014

Avoid Airfare Hikes

Ever notice that when you check a flight price online but do not book the flight then, a return visit to the website can show a higher fare for the same flight?  It may be the work of customer-tracking cookies that alert the website that this is a return visit, meaning that you may be eager to buy even at a higher ticket price.  To snag the original price, use a different browser for the second visit to the website.

Source:  AARP newspaper, November 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Best Prices

There is a website that lets you create price watches on Amazon products.  You are alerted to price  changes and can browse products with the biggest prices drops.  The website is as follows:

Another smart tool is InvisibleHand, a browser extension you can install on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.  Whenever you land on a page selling a product, it automatically searches the web for the lowest prices on the item.

Source:  Money Magazine, September 2014, Page 26

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cell Phone Coverage

If you would like to check out your cell phone provider performance anywhere in the world, please do the following:

  • Log on o
  • Click Coverage Map button
  • Click Network button to get your provider (Can only do AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon).  You will get a drop down to choose your carrier
  • Type in your address in the search box and click the search button

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Here are some interesting apps for cell phones:

  • Gas Buddy - Free - Android, iOS, & Windows - Finds the cheapest nearby gas in the U.S. and Canada
  • iExit - Free - Android & iOS - Lists food, gas, lodging, and other services at interstate exits and rest areas
  • Google Maps - Free - Android, iOS, & Windows - Downloadable maps of 220 countries and territories, transit directions and maps for more than 2,800 cities, live traffic conditions, automatic rerouting, and lane guidance.  You can also search places to eat shop, and play in unfamiliar cities.
  • Night Sky Lite - Free - Android & iOS - Point your phone or tablet at the sky, and the app will identify the stars, planets, and galaxies
Source: Consumer Reports, August 2014, Pages 24 & 25

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beyond Credit Reports

Here is how to access the most useful web sites for detecting possible ID theft.

To access them, please follow the path as follows:

  • First put in a search for: Beyond Credit Reports Sid Kirchheimer
  • From the results listing click on Free Credit Reports Protect You From Identity Theft - AARP
  • Then you will be at the article to read titled - Databases Can Help Spot ID Theft
Source:  AARP Bulletin April 2014 Page 30

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Better Hotel Room Rates

Here are 5 ways to get a better hotel room rate:
  • Know The Market - The web-based price predictor feature on The Suitest forecasts how room prices are expected to fluctuate for the next month - use it to find the right time to buy in any market.  Then cross-check with Deal Angel and Bing's Hotel Rate Indicator - both of them compare quoted rates with a hotel's average cost, telling you which deals are really worthwhile.
  • Stay Notified - Sign up for e-mail notification from Yapata, and the booking site will alert you if room prices go down; if you make a reservation with Tingo, they will track your rate and refund you if a cheaper one pops up.
  • Book Blind - You can save up to  60% with mystery booking pioneer Hotwire and Travelocity's Top Secret Deals.  The trade off is that they don not tell you where  you are staying until you have paid.  For that, turn to Bidgoggles and HotelDealsRevealed which can help you figure out what property might be behind the curtain.  Better yet, Guestmob offers similar discounts if you let it choose one of four predetermined hotels for you (all in the same part of town).
  • Try Your Luck - Priceline's Name Your Price has an auction tool which lets you propose a rate to properties that you are considering.  Equally worthwhile is BackBid which allows you to submit the details of an existing, refundable reservation, and similar hotels  will try to outdo one another on savings.  You can also try to win big with Roomer.  Like Stub Hub for hotels, it is a resale marketplace for nonrefundable bookings - sold here at rock bottom prices.
  • Procrastinate - Same-day booking apps such as HotelTonight (free iOS) and (free, Android, iOS) yield up to 70% off regular rates, if you are willing to wait until the last minute.  Due to its popularity, there usually is plenty of inventory to choose from daily.  A tip here is that the deepest discounts surface on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and right after holidays.
Travel + Leisure March 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Car Wiper Blades

Clean the rubber edge of your car's wiper blades with a paper towel dampened with glass cleaner or water and a little dish detergent to extend the life of the wiper blades.

Source:  Consumer Reports, January 2014