Thursday, January 22, 2009

Extra Baggage

A new chapter is starting in my life, and I think that makes it the perfect occasion for new luggage. Afterall, the ones that I use most often are pretty beat up. Also, they look like everyone else's luggage which makes life in baggage claim tedious as all get out.

Tumi always produces a nice selection. There are features such as TSA approved combination locks. I am used to not locking my luggage due to new regulations, but glad they are getting back to allowing people to lock things from their fellow and sister baggage carousel loiterers. My one complaint with Tumi is that most luggage is available in every color as long as it is black.

One maker who doesn't work solely in a black on black palette is Vera Bradley, who works in paisleys, roosters, and swirls. I haven't actually seen luggage with roosters on them, but I do know handbags are made in that motif. There are a few geometric styles for those who think her designs are too feminine.

If you are a little color shy, Hartman Luggage has styles a bit more classic, with tan leather trims. It may be just a little different than everyone else's.

No matter what you choose, choose carefully, because you will have your set for a few years.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Student Loans: Read the Fine Print

It seems these days that people are accumulating debt earlier and earlier.  Student loans have been in existence for a long time.  However, the way students are marketed to has seriously been ramped up.  They are enticed to refinance, switch loan products, or consolidate every day it seems.

College loans sometimes are shrugged off as not too important because "everyone has them." However, how you keep track and pay for them will affect your future purchases in life, at least for the first few years. They may be weighed differently as far as a type of debt, but if you don't pay them in a timely manner, the mark will go against you.

Private loans sometimes give more flexibility. They allow you to remove a co-signer if you make 48 consecutive payments on time. They also have no application fees from certain lenders and are less likely to be sold. However, availability may be limited due to current market conditions.

No matter what you decide, pay attention to the terms, rates, and any balloon payments so that you don't find yourself in too much debt to handle.

Do it Yourself Tracking...James Bond?

Using a GPS for directions in the car is very common these days, especially with the amount of domestic travel being done. It has really taken on more use being that there is so much relocation, you need a way to get your bearings. Did you know that there are devices that actually work in reverse?

GPS Tracking has long been used in security systems to help the Police track a stolen car, but did you know that now the technology is available to consumers? There is a device that reports the location of a vehicle every five to ten minutes. One episode of Hogan Goes Best featured a plot where Hogan tracks his teenage daughter, Brooke, to find out if she was being truthful about where she was going on her date.

This may be good if you have a fleet of vehicles that you want GPS Tracking on to more properly determine estimated arrival for customers. It will also help immensely when GPS Tracking can save a life. If you have a truck or limo that gets in an accident and the driver is unconscious, you can quickly determine where they are and send help.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Price Shopping? Competition is at Your Finger Tips

I used to mourn Google's decision to discontinue Froogle, the shopping search engine.  In the last year, however, I have found that is a better alternative for comparison shopping on the web.  For each category, it features buying guides, as well as the typical price comparisons on items that you would expect.  

A little known secret is that many shopping guides only include shops that have paid for placement.  On the contrary, crawls the entire web.   

A highly competitive sales category for retailers is  women's clothing.  The guide for the category includes such subjects as building a wardrobe, following trends in the magazines, and eco fashion which is a hot and building category.  Anna Cohen is one designer/clothing company that uses organic cotton in a highly fashionable way. 

I just learned today from the ShopWiki guide that only 14% of clothing is recycled This includes both repurposing old clothes (reusing materials) and donating them so someone else can wear them.  I thought that number would be much higher. That is a big eye opener for me!