Mitch's Feed
May 19, 2015

Wedding photography pushes the limits of novelty

May 19 (Reuters) – Recording Amanda Bortzfield’s wedding
last summer at the Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Florida, was
no simple – or cheap – task. Still photography and video added
up to more than $23,000, not far off the average total cost for
a wedding in the United States.

“The end results far surpass anything I could have
imagined,” says Bortzfield, 27, whose overall wedding costs were
significantly more than average, to say the least.

May 14, 2015

How much should you give as a wedding gift?

BOSTON, May 14 (Reuters) – When you go to as many weddings
as Stephanie Wong does, you need to come up with some guidelines
for gift-giving. During the past two years, Wong, 32, who works
in marketing for a book publisher in San Francisco, has been to
about a half-dozen weddings. She expects to attend three more
this year.

The amount Wong spends is all about her relationship to the
people getting married, how fancy the wedding is going to be and
whether she brings a date.

Apr 14, 2015

Sharing-economy jobs make taxes uber-complicated

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – Before Jane LeBoeuf started driving for Uber and Lyft, doing her taxes was cheap and easy.

LeBoeuf would swing by the local H&R Block office, pay $150 and end up with a refund. But now, that is not the case.

Apr 14, 2015

YOUR MONEY: Sharing-economy jobs make taxes uber-complicated

April 14 (Reuters) – Before Jane LeBoeuf started driving for
Uber and Lyft, doing her taxes was cheap and easy.

LeBoeuf would swing by the local H&R Block office,
pay $150 and end up with a refund. But now, that is not the
case.

Apr 8, 2015

How much is your hotel loyalty worth?

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – When it comes to hotel stays, Gary Burris is loyal to a fault.

In about 20 years of traveling, he has stayed 1,079 nights in Marriott International Inc hotels, where he expects – and receives – a certain level of service, says the 51-year-old sales manager for Oregon-based Tec Laboratories.

Hotels covet loyalty from customers like Burris. More than two-thirds of frequent travelers stay with the same hotel company more than half their days on the road, according to a 2014 study on hotel loyalty by Deloitte Consulting.

Mar 24, 2015

In U.S. winter storms, some passengers found rewards

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – Among the hundreds of thousands of fliers on canceled flights this winter, there were actually a few happy customers. Well, maybe not exactly happy, but at least placated by apologies and freebies from the airlines.

Take Elizabeth Schirmer, whose destination wedding in Mexico got upended by bad weather in late February in Rochester, New York. She and her three flying companions, including her groom, endured a hassle-filled journey with multiple plane changes and long layovers.

Mar 24, 2015

YOUR MONEY: In U.S. winter storms, some passengers found rewards

March 24 (Reuters) – Among the hundreds of thousands of
fliers on canceled flights this winter, there were actually a
few happy customers. Well, maybe not exactly happy, but at least
placated by apologies and freebies from the airlines.

Take Elizabeth Schirmer, whose destination wedding in Mexico
got upended by bad weather in late February in Rochester, New
York. She and her three flying companions, including her groom,
endured a hassle-filled journey with multiple plane changes and
long layovers.

Mar 12, 2015

Five reasons to beware of autopaying bills

March 12 (Reuters) – Autopaying bills is a no-brainer. You
are never late with a payment, and you do not have to spend all
that time going through stacks of bills, filling out checks, and
then stuffing and stamping envelopes.

But Brent Cumberford learned the hard way that automatic
bill paying is not as simple as setting it up and walking away.

Feb 18, 2015

How to turn your dog into a cash cow

Feb 18 (Reuters) – Your dog may never make it like the
beagle Miss P, winner of the 2015 Westminster Kennel Club’s best
in show award, but he or she may still have a shot at becoming a
YouTube star or nabbing a modeling contract based on an
Instagram photo.

It happened for Tuna, a Chiweenie mix of Chihuahua and
dachshund. This unlikely Internet star, found as a stray at a
California farmer’s market, has more than a million followers on
Instagram (instagram.com/tunameltsmyheart) because of his
cartoonish overbite. A book, “The Underdog with the Overbite,”
goes on sale in two weeks with a list price of $14.95.

Feb 17, 2015

How to trim your Internet bill

Feb 17 (Reuters) – You can cut your land line and sever your
cable TV, but if you want to stream the new season of “House of
Cards,” you need to hang on to your Internet connection.
Whatever savings you might achieve by ditching other services,
you will almost certainly give them back as your bill for Web
connectivity inexorably creeps up.

Consumers now pay an average of $50 a month for a broadband
connection to the Web, which is up from a monthly average of
about $40 a decade ago. But costs can vary widely – ranging from
$10 to $120 – depending on whether the service is bundled with
cable and phone, is an introductory rate, and depending also on
your connectivity speed.

    • About Mitch

      "Mitch Lipka is editor of TheConsumerChronicle.com and is a veteran consumer columnist, editor and reporter. Most recently, he led a 10-person consumer reporting team at AOL’s personal finance channel, WalletPop.com. He received the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer writing on the web and is the 2011 Best Friend honoree from Kids in Danger for his work covering child product safety. Mitch has been a reporter and editor for more than 25 years and has worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Consumer Reports. The opinions expressed here are his own."
    • More from Mitch

    • Follow Mitch