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Money September 2015

Dollar Sense

The Worst Places to Hide Money in Your House

By Teresa Ambord

Many sources say that a huge user of power is your tabletop cable box. The New York Times says that little cable box uses as much power in a year as your big refrigerator. It’s always on “standby” and if it has a DVR attached or connected, the power use is higher.

Everyone keeps a little cash for emergencies, right? We do our best to hide it, but the trouble is, most of us hide it in places that burglars can easily find. Chris McGoey, a Los Angeles based security expert lists a couple of the worst places to hide cash.

  • In your bedroom. This is where most of us hide cash, jewelry, and easily grabbed valuables. McGoey says this is the first place crooks look. Forget the dresser, the night stand, under the mattress, in the closet. “Burglars will flip the bed over almost every time,” he says. McGoey also says burglars know people may tape an envelope of cash under a piece of furniture, like the bottom of a drawer. So… forget that.
  • In the fridge or freezer. A surprising number of people do this, and burglars are onto this trick. Many people try to disguise cash in a food wrapper of some sort. Don’t bother. Thieves may not only find the cash, but ransack your fridge and dump food out of the freezer in the process.

Also don’t hide cash in a place you’ll forget about. My friend bid on a box of men’s clothes at an estate. Before she washed them, she went through the pockets and found nearly $600. Some people suggest writing a note to yourself that you will understand but a thief won’t.

McGoey also listed the best places to hide money. I decided to leave those out, since thieves can read too, and I don’t want to add to his checklist. If you avoid the hiding places noted above, you’ll be ahead of the pack.

 

Social Security Numbers for Sale, Discount Prices

Just about everyone knows these days, you have to safeguard your Social Security number (SSN) or risk being a victim of identity theft. But do you know how much that number is worth on the black market? Not as much as you’d think.

Bloomberg News reported a few years ago that an SSN is worth about $3. Your mother’s maiden name is worth $6. But the password to your bank account, now that’s worth $1,000. Even so, in the hands of a thief, your SSN can unlock your identity and open doors to bank accounts, credit accounts, benefits from the government and fraudulent tax returns. Don’t let the low price fool you. Your SSN still has to be carefully guarded.

 

Power Hogs

Do you know what appliances in your house suck up the most energy? You can probably guess some big energy suckers, like your refrigerator and deep freezer, especially if they are older. Most things that feel hot to the touch, including some chargers, use a lot of power. But many sources say that a huge user of power is your tabletop cable box. The New York Times says that little cable box uses as much power in a year as your big refrigerator. It’s always on “standby” and if it has a DVR attached or connected, the power use is higher. What can you do? Unless you are trying to record programs while you’re gone or while you’re not using the TV, you can plug the cable box and TV into a power strip, and turn the whole thing off. When you turn it back on, it takes just a little bit longer to come on than you might be used to, but it can save you a pretty penny on your electric bill.

 

What is This Pill? 

You found a pill you can’t identify. Now what? Perhaps you swept the floor or moved the couch, and found a loose pill. It might be yours, but you’re not certain. What can you do? Don’t guess what it is. You can find out exactly what the pill is for by going online to drugs.com/imprints. The website will ask the shape and color and it will ask you to key in any letters and/or numbers that appear on the pill. For example, a pill might say BP on one side and 656 on the other. In the website box marked “imprint” type in BP656 or 656BP. The pill name and the strength and the reasons for taking the pill should pop right up.

 

Birthday Freebies and Freebies Just for Joining

Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to keep these freebies updated. But just to be sure you don’t waste a trip, you might want to check with the restaurant before you go to make sure the deal is still offered. Many of these require that you print a coupon. Just think… if you have a ton of friends or a slew of grandkids, you can treat each one to a freebie on his or her birthday.

Every month I post a few birthday freebies. But you can view the whole list here: http://www.heyitsfree.net/birthday-freebies/

Wendy’s

http://www.heyitsfree.net/wendys-birthday-freebie/

Signup Freebie: $1 off any premium sandwich.

Birthday Freebie: $1 off any premium combo.

 

Zoe’s Kitchen

http://www.heyitsfree.net/zoes-kitchen-birthday-freebie/

Birthday Freebie: Free BOGO coupon for an entree.

 

Teresa Ambord is a former accountant and Enrolled Agent with the IRS. Now she writes full time from her home, mostly for business, and about family when the inspiration strikes.

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