Mitch's Feed
Oct 22, 2015

U.S. store credit card bait hard to resist but costly for consumers

Oct 22 (Reuters) – U.S. retailers dangle enticing bait to
sign up for store-branded credit cards but biting could be a
costly decision for consumers, particularly for pricey items
like engagement rings, computers or dining room sets that may
take months, or even years, to pay off.

A recent analysis of 64 cards from 42 retailers by ( found that the average
interest rate for a store-branded card is more than 23 percent.
Jewelry chain Zales topped the list with a rate of 28.99
percent, followed by office supply store Staples at
27.99 percent. The average credit card has an interest rate of
15 percent.

Sep 15, 2015

How to evaluate the costs of studying abroad

Sept 15 (Reuters) – Studying abroad may be an alluring idea
in college. But the cost makes it a reality for only about
300,000, or 1 percent, of students each year, according to
NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Program prices vary widely by school, region, and other
factors. Brown University students, for example, must pay
$24,136 for a semester in such locations as London and Kyoto,
Japan, excluding health insurance, travel, housing, meals, books
and miscellaneous expenses.

Aug 10, 2015

Tips for back-to-school savings from a thrifty mom

Aug 10 (Reuters) – With back-to-school supply promotions
starting soon after school lets out, and not stopping till the
yellow buses start rolling again, it can be challenging figuring
out where the real deals are.

Reuters asked Tara Kuczykowski, a mother of five in
Columbus, Ohio, and author of the popular
blog (, for her best tips on shuffling
through these deals, figuring out when to buy online, or when
spending more could make sense.

Jul 30, 2015

Rethinking airline points strategy with the Points Guy

July 30 (Reuters) – Earning and using airline miles used to
be simple. Fly 25,000 miles and earn a free flight. It is not so
simple anymore.

The process of redeeming miles is changing in a way that
makes it more difficult for all but elite flyers to earn

Jul 9, 2015

What you need to know about traveling to Greece

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – As Sue Scanlon prepares to visit northern Greece this summer, she is keeping a close eye on the crippling financial crisis that has enveloped the historic Mediterranean nation.

“We have completely rethought our spending options,” said Scanlon, who lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, and works for student travel company Teach by Travel. “We will take it day-to-day and adjust our plans accordingly.”

Jul 6, 2015

What your credit card covers for car rentals

July 6 (Reuters) – In the midst of moving from Atlanta to
St. Louis last year, Thomas Nitzsche discovered his parked
rental car had been hit by another car, causing $791 in damage.

To keep costs low, he had rejected the “collision damage
waiver” (CDW) insurance offered by the rental car company, which
can run as much as $45 a day and can include a deductible.

Jun 25, 2015

Auto insurance loyalty can cost you

By Mitch Lipka

(Reuters) – When Jonathan G. Stein became unhappy with his long-time car insurance carrier earlier this year, the 41-year-old lawyer from Elk Grove, California switched to a new company.

How was he rewarded for his disloyalty after nine years? With savings of about $300 a year and a boost in his under-insured motorist coverage.

Jun 18, 2015

Hotel discounts are hard to keep if you extend your stay

June 18 (Reuters) – Investment adviser Mitch Tuchman scored
a deal any traveler would be proud of: $280 a night for a recent
stay at the luxurious Viceroy Hotel in Manhattan, where the
going rate can exceed more than $500 on a weeknight.

But when a change in plans required him to stay another day,
all bets were off. The price soared to $720 a night.

Jun 8, 2015

When booking travel online, it pays to shop around

June 8 (Reuters) – When Christel Shea was trying to book a
trip from Providence, Rhode Island to Greenville, South Carolina
a couple of weeks ago, it took more than one online search for
her to identify that the best buy was to fly into Charlotte,
North Carolina and rent a car for the hour-long drive.

Shea, managing director of the group tour research site (, used a combination of
Google Flights ( and Bing Travel
(, and then eventually booked
through American Airlines because you cannot book
directly through Google.

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.

    • About Mitch

      "Mitch Lipka is editor of 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, 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."
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