We had dinner at a friend's house recently who was thrilled to show us his cool high definition TV. Very impressive! Clark Howard is one of my favorite consumer gurus and this is what he had to say about HDTV:
This is going to be a great year for high definition on your TV set. According to new statistics from the electronics industry, 25 percent of households are now hi-def. Just 18 months ago, that number was probably seven or eight percent. There's more hi-def programming being churned out, too. The Discovery Channel made a big ratings comeback thanks to Discovery HD, which features incredible photography that renders beautifully in hi-def and has really captivated viewers. Now, Direct TV's goal is to have 100 HD channels before the end of the year. What's happening there is that they're scared of the triple-play packages from the cable companies -- where you get cable, Internet and phone -- so they're fighting back with this promise to offer more hi-def programming. Clark's approach to hi-def is to let the early adopters get in the game and drive the price down as the quality of programming up. That's already happening. Many of the major TV networks now put out hi-def transmissions in addition to regular broadcast signals. Meanwhile, a plasma TV today costs a quarter of what it did 36 months ago. And this Christmas, you can get a hi-def set for under $500 bucks. Still too expensive for your taste? The irony here is that you get a better picture from a hi-def transmission if you use conventional rabbit ears on your old TV set than if you actually pay for the hi-def programming and equipment. On the retail front, the way people purchase hi-def equipment is changing as well. Electronics retailers like Circuit City and Tweeter are in trouble because people buy their equipment at Wal-Mart, Costco and Sam's Club. In fact, the only electronics retailer doing well in hi-def sales is Best Buy.
My twin sister lives in Las Vegas and discovered this great web site: http://www.vegasseatfillers.com/ It's a company that gives away free show tickets to help theaters fill their seats so their show looks like a big hit. If you're planning a trip to Las Vegas, check it out!
The author of "Chicken in the Headlights" (Matthew Buckley) told me about this great web site: http://www.bookmooch.com/ that kind of works like a barter system for avid readers. You put books on your list that you're willing to give away for free. For every book you give away, you're eligible to request a book from somebody else. You pay shipping when you send a book, but not when you get one.
The country has seen a surge in foreclosures lately due to the secondary loan market. Facing foreclosure can be a scary thing. It doesn't have to end as terribly as you think it might. Instead, try to arrange for a "short sale" with your lender to actively market your property. It can help pull you (and the lender) out of the hole. Never heard of a "short sale" before? In the case of a short sale, the lender agrees to accept less than the loan balance if you can get the place sold. Why would a lender want to do this? Well, it turns out that it costs a lender $70,000 on average to foreclose on one home, according to industry estimates!!! So a short sale is something of a win/win situation for lender and borrower alike. The neighborhood also wins in this situation because for every house foreclosed on, the average selling price of other homes in the immediate area drops 1.5 percent. Foreclosure is like a cancer that spreads in a neighborhood, but it can be healed with prevention by contacting your lender and setting up a short sale to actively market the property before the fact. An answer of "no" today may be "yes" tomorrow, as the lender may have to first get a waiver from someone they sold the loan to in order to permit that short sale.
Ok, on to happier subjects! I found this interesting article about saving tons of money on groceries. Check it out! http://www.grocerycouponguide.com/saving-90-percent-on-groceries.html
And now for some fun freebies:
1 year free subscription to DIET & NUTRITION MAGAZINE https://www.gvpub.com/subscribe/tdn_subscribe243.shtml
SUNSWEET DRIED FRUIT SAMPLES http://www.sunsweet.com/products/samples.asp
Free hearing aid batteries: http://offers.energizer.com/perfpack/default.aspx?flowerpower
Alrighty, that's it for now. Have a wonderful week!