Lou's Feed
Apr 16, 2014

Learn the secret codes to shopping success

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As superstore pricing mysteries go, it’s not the equivalent of “The Da Vinci Code,” but there’s still something deliciously elusive about the so-called “Costco Code” that has set the tongues of shopping mavens wagging for the past several months.

At least the plot line is direct enough: If you can interpret what the various sequences of digits and asterisks mean on Costco Wholesale Club price signs, you’re on your way to scoring serious bargains.

Mar 14, 2014

Summer livin’ is easy, but doesn’t come cheap anymore

CHICAGO (Reuters) – As a Brooklyn-based architect, James Schaefer works on properties with some very high-end patios – think in the $100,000 range – which, of course, gets him thinking about his own. His own scale is a little lower, about “$25,000 to get a start at it,” Schaefer says.

For that, his 19 x 35 ft. (5.8 meter x 10.7 meter) outdoor space in Park Slope will get pretty souped up. “We will definitely put in a grill, piped-in natural gas and it would be fun to put a bocce lane in there,” he says. “We’d like a nice table, some lighting and we’d plant a tree, but since we don’t have lots of space, it might be something smaller like a Japanese maple.”

Feb 26, 2014

Why Amazon Prime shoppers may flee with fee hike

CHICAGO (Reuters) – As an Amazon Prime customer since December 2012, Michelle Huffman of Milwaukee has gladly paid the annual $79 fee for the perk of free two-day shipping on items ranging from tea and cookbooks to DVDs and Nestle Smarties (milk chocolate buttons imported from Germany).

But if Amazon.com Inc raises its annual Prime rates by between $20 and $40, as the e-commerce giant hinted it might during a quarterly earnings conference call in January, Huffman will rethink her decision.

Feb 13, 2014
Feb 13, 2014

A high credit score can be a turn-on

CHICAGO (Reuters) – You cannot put a price on love, but you can certainly attach a financial number to a suitor.

Jennifer Murtoff, 39, wants to do just that before she accepts her next date. The Chicago freelance editor who helps city people raise fowl in their backyards is asking a question she hopes will help her weed out the losers: “What is your credit score?”

Feb 5, 2014
Feb 3, 2014
Jan 22, 2014
Jan 22, 2014

Help from a personal assistant can be a half world away

NEW YORK (Reuters) – More than 2,200 miles separate New York City architect Alfredo Munoz from his personal assistant, Karen Cohen, who is based in Panama.

They’ve never so much as shaken hands, and yet he trusts her with everything: his credit card numbers, his worldwide travel, his research. She schedules his business appointments in Spain, India and the U.S. She also buys flowers for his family and friends. (She has even screened a few online dates for him, too).

Dec 6, 2013
    • About Lou

      "Lou Carlozo most recently served as the managing editor at WalletPop.com, AOL's personal finance website. He also wrote and created "The Recession Diaries" column at the Chicago Tribune, where he served as an editor and staff writer for 16 years. The author of a journalism textbook and an adjunct professor at National-Louis University, Carlozo is the lead popular music critic for Christian Century magazine, a contributor to Downbeat magazine and also writes the "Green Dad" column for DealNews.com. The opinions expressed are his own."
      Joined Reuters:
      Bob Briner Impact Award, Biola University, 2007
      Chicago Tribune Innovator Award, 2005
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