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Jason Steele
Jason has been writing about personal finance, travel, and other topics on blogs across the Internet. When he is not writing, he has a career in information technology and is also a commercially rated pilot. Jason lives in Colorado with his wife and young daughter where he enjoys parenting, cycling, and other extreme sports.

11 Effective Negotiation Strategies & Tactics to Score a Great Deal

By Jason Steele

negotiation shake handsThroughout most of human history, people gathered at traditional markets to trade goods. The amount paid for those goods was always determined through the process of negotiation. In fact, the price tag is a relatively recent invention.

Today, negotiation is a lost art as few modern Americans remain skilled at the practice. We see a price and expect to pay that amount, with the exception of negotiating when buying cars and homes. But even in those instances, you may end up paying more than you should, if you don’t know how to drive a hard bargain. The bottom line is, if you want to save money, you need to learn how to become a skilled negotiator. Here are 11 ways to do just that.

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Gift Cards 101: How to Buy, Sell & Redeem Different Types of Gift Cards

By Jason Steele

gift cardGift cards, both cash cards and store specific ones, have become popular for birthdays, graduations, and all other “gift giving” occasions. They present a handy way to personalize an individual gift, while still allowing the recipient to pick out what they like.

In this article, we’ll go over the different types of gift cards, why retailers offer them to customers, and how you can get the most for your money when buying them or using them for yourself.

Gift Card Basics

First, make sure you understand the two different types of gift cards:

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7 Things to Consider When Using Credit Cards Overseas

By Jason Steele

credit card on mapI always use my credit cards when I am traveling internationally. They offer convenience, security, and protection that just isn’t available when using traveler’s checks or foreign currency.

In addition, I receive generous cash back and travel rewards of 2% or more every time I use my credit card.

Using a credit card when you travel internationally is a wise choice, but there are also many important factors you must consider when using credit cards in foreign countries.

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How to Impress Your Boss at Work Without Sucking Up

By Jason Steele

men boss at workIt would be nice if we lived in a world where our bosses judged us solely by the quality and quantity of our work. However, the reality is that personal impressions are very important.

In the workplace, impressing your boss can often make the difference between maintaining your position and getting a promotion. In a down economy, it can even be the deciding factor between keeping your job and getting laid off.

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5 Ways to Use New LED Technology & Lighting to Save Money

By Jason Steele

leds light blackLED stands for light-emitting diode. This technology is not new, but it is revolutionizing the way we live, work, and play. LEDs are special because they create light instantly while producing very little heat and consuming a fraction of the electricity of a standard light bulb.

In fact, they are even more efficient than compact florescent (CFL) light bulbs. You can buy an LED light bulb to replace a standard bulb.

You can also find LED technology applied to many other devices as described below.

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How to Find Credit Cards Without Foreign Transaction Fees

By Jason Steele

credit card foreign eurosThe CARD Act of 2009 eliminated almost all of the traditional tricks and traps that banks used to employ to separate you from your money. However, one of the last remaining fees that banks are still allowed to charge is the foreign transaction fee.

The foreign transaction fee is not a currency exchange commission. In fact, purchases in U.S. dollars made outside the country are usually subject to this fee, meaning you don’t even have to leave home to be ripped off. You’ll also pay the foreign transaction fee on some purchases that are merely processed in other countries.

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Hybrid Cars Pros and Cons – Benefits & Problems

By Jason Steele

hybrid car mountainsMy wife and I thought we were doing well with our Subaru wagons since we had avoided the purchase of a gas guzzling SUV. Our “Subies” are fun to drive, hold lots of stuff, and usually see about 22 miles to the gallon.

Nevertheless, our Outback was starting to get up there in miles and was generating repair bills that were uncharacteristic for a Subaru. Being fascinated with hybrid technology, we finally decided to take the plunge and replace the old Outback with a newer hybrid.

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8 Ways to Save Money with a Cheap Cell Phone Plan

By Jason Steele

blackberry phone handThe price of cell phone plans has been out of control for a long time. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to pay over $100 a month to their provider.

That is an astonishing amount of money that can even eclipse other utility bills, such as electricity and heating costs.

In my family, we pay an average of about $20 per phone per month for our plan with a major provider. Here are several tricks to help you reduce your monthly cell phone costs.

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How NOT to Use a Credit Card – 10 Uses You Should Avoid at All Costs

By Jason Steele

credit card debt womanHave you ever heard someone talk about how they use their credit card and just had to shake your head? Though the Internet is filled with good advice on how to use credit cards and rewards wisely, some people are just not getting the message.

Of course, what’s really going on is they’re getting a different message; they’re listening to what credit card companies want them to do. And because credit card companies are out to make a profit – a profit off your hard-earned money – that is generally a very bad idea.

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How to Cancel & Get Out of a T-Mobile Contract without Paying the Early Termination Fee

By Jason Steele

tmobile cancelledI’m currently a satisfied customer of T-Mobile, and hopefully, I’ll remain one. But since the time may come when I want to switch providers, it pays to have an exit strategy.

If you have already reached that point, here are some ways to get out of your T-Mobile contract without paying the early termination fee.

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How to Crack US Airways Dividend Miles Redemption for Rewards Travel

By Jason Steele

us airways dividend miles logoYou spend years earning frequent flier miles through travel, credit cards, and various promotions. But when the time comes to book your flight, the airline wants to redeem twice the amount of miles you expected. How many times has this happened to you?

It’s happened to many US Airways customers when they’ve tried to redeem their Dividend Miles. US Airways has severely restricted their award seat availability on their own flights, while making it very difficult to find available award seats on their partners’ flights. Fortunately, there is a large community of travelers dedicated to the challenge of finding awards and they’re willing to share their secrets.

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How to Sell Your House by Owner – Without a Realtor

By Jason Steele

house for sale by ownerOwning a home is one of the biggest investments most people ever make. When it’s time to sell your property, the standard practice is to find a real estate agent.

After the sale, your agent and the buyer’s agent will share about 7% of the sale price as their commission, which amounts to a hefty portion of your equity being lost to the real estate agents.

After buying and selling multiple properties, I eventually realized that I was paying the real estate agents too much money for something I could handle myself. I discovered how to sell a property while retaining significantly more equity than if I had hired an agent.

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5 Revolutionary New Types of Bicycle Parts & Accessories to Look for

By Jason Steele

bike technologiesNothing is quite as enjoyable as the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle. That pleasure can disappear, however, when you have to deal with a flat tire or a malfunctioning derailleur. Jarring rides, poor brakes, and greasy chain marks on pants and legs are some of the other common inconveniences that cyclists have tolerated for more than a century.

Thankfully, manufacturers are adapting technologies from other industries and applying them to bicycles to reduce or eliminate some of these problems. If you have an old clunker gathering dust in your garage, take a look at the next generation of bicycles and how they have evolved to make cycling even more enjoyable than it has ever been. And if you’ve put off a regular tuneup for a little too long, consider some of these practical innovations.

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Top 3 Online Computer Security Threats Travelers Should Watch for

By Jason Steele

hacker computer maskIn an incredibly connected world, it’s easy to feel as if the Internet is safe and accessible no matter where you are in the world. To a large extent, you can go online using computers in cyber cafes and hotel lobbies in nearly every country, but there are risks in doing so.

If you understand how your information can be compromised and take steps to counter those threats, however, you can safely log on to your most sensitive accounts from anywhere in the world.

Here are the three most serious threats facing travelers when they go online, and what to do about them.

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Credit Card Chargebacks 101 – Process & Rules for Shoppers

By Jason Steele

credit card chargeback manWhen credit cards are used wisely, they offer an incredibly convenient way to pay for goods and services. They fit neatly in your wallet, you don’t have to carry loads of cash, and you can easily shop from the privacy of your own home via the Internet – all thanks to a little piece of plastic.

The other bonus? When you pay for things with a credit card, you are guaranteed by law to receive them as promised. If you don’t, federal regulations require that credit card issuing banks reverse transactions in these types of cases in the form of a chargeback.

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