Senior woman reads credit card into into phone

Woman loses $1,500 to fake Apple customer service

John Matarese  |  May 23, 2022

Need help with your phone or laptop? Watch out for what’s known as the “tech support scam,” which is now targeting Apple customers as much as Microsoft Windows users, who represented most victims in the past. A woman named Cookie Pridemore had a phone problem after she bought a new iPhone 13. “I got locked …

Man using smartphone

Is your phone listening and targeting you with ads?

John Matarese  |  May 20, 2022

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.Did you ever get the feeling your phone or other smart device is listening to what you …

Woman mows lawn

Home maintenance projects you should tackle this spring

John Matarese  |  May 14, 2022

With inflation raging these days, none of us want to spend more than we have to on home repair. That’s why it’s more important than ever to do some spring home maintenance, to keep minor problems from becoming big ones. For Rhonda Lahman, spring yard cleanup is so important that it is a family affair. …

Why so many people are falling for Zelle scams—and how to protect yourself

John Matarese  |  May 12, 2022

The free payment app Zelle is making headlines these days, but for all the wrong reasons. Every week, it seems, comes a new report of someone scammed out of thousands of dollars. And now Congress is starting to ask questions. That’s because while Zelle is an easy way to send money, it is also an …

Man loses $93,000 after check is stolen and ‘washed’

John Matarese  |  May 9, 2022

The checks are in the mail and, unfortunately thieves these days are well aware of that. Reports of mail theft are soaring nationwide, as criminal rings now steal, “wash” and rewrite personal checks. Joe Duffy wants to know what he can do, after his elderly father’s bank account was drained. “I mean, this is his …

Electric car charges at power station

Hybrid and electric car owners furious about new taxes

John Matarese  |  May 8, 2022

Gas prices are on the rise, so you may be thinking an electric car or hybrid may be the answer. But what many drivers don’t know is that, in many states, you may have to pay an extra tax on that earth-friendly car. A growing number of owners of these cars feel it is unfair. …

Happy mom and daughter hug

Mother’s Day 2022 may be the most expensive one yet—here’s how to save

John Matarese  |  May 6, 2022

From flowers to brunch to jewelry: Inflation is boosting prices on almost all things Mother’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the average family will spend $245 on Mother’s Day this year, including gifts and dinner. So how do you make mom feel special without over-spending? We found some great gifts that won’t break the …

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How to make your home appliances last longer

John Matarese  |  May 3, 2022

Supply chain problems mean it can take months to get a new washing machine or dishwasher these days. So keeping your appliances running as long as possible is more important than ever. Reece Dorsey, manager of a store called The Appliance Loft, says the last thing you need right now is an appliance breakdown because …

Man using smartphone

Warning signs a side hustle job may be a scam

John Matarese  |  May 2, 2022

After last year’s “great resignation,” many people who don’t want to return to the office are looking for part-time work. But, scammers are now lurking everywhere, targeting all those people hoping to find a side hustle. Whether it’s driving people around, delivering food, renting out a room or taking care of someone’s pet, there’s probably …

Planting spring flowers

Why you should buy your spring plants and flowers online

John Matarese  |  April 13, 2022

First, it was books and movies, then cars and furniture. Now you can buy plants, mulch and flowers online without leaving your home. More and more homeowners are doing just that, as opposed to running back to garden centers all spring. Garden center owner Kyle Natorp is preparing for the upcoming Mother’s Day rush. But, …

Contractor saws wood for house

Planning a home improvement project? Expect to wait

John Matarese  |  April 12, 2022

Many of us are planning our spring and summer home projects, such as replacing some appliances or redoing a bath or kitchen. But, beware because that home project or repair could run into all sorts of delays this year and, in some cases, the wait could be longer than it was in 2021. Carolyn Nerenberg …

Do air purifiers really work to combat spring allergies in your home?

John Matarese  |  April 4, 2022

The products and services mentioned below were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Don't Waste Your Money may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.It’s allergy season, and many of us are sneezing and dealing with runny noses as trees, flowers …

Upset woman looking at phone

Warning signs a text message may be a scam

John Matarese  |  March 31, 2022

Getting random text messages from unknown senders? Are they claiming there’s an issue with a bank account? Bruce McGee has. He checked his phone the other day to discover a worrisome message. “It was a text that said my Bosch dishwasher would be charged to my account. But I didn’t order a dishwasher,” McGee said. …

Now hiring sign

Fight inflation by negotiating for a higher salary

John Matarese  |  March 29, 2022

Inflation is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of paychecks, but there is a solution: Negotiate for more money. With companies desperate to hire and retain workers, employees are in the driver’s seat right now. “Entry-level is coming in at $20 an hour, $23 an hour,” said job hunter Ramar Burns. “That’s good pay.” …

Driver pumps gas into car

Want to get better gas mileage? Here’s what works—and what doesn’t

John Matarese  |  March 28, 2022

Everyone these days is talking about gas prices and ways to save at the pump. Bosco Engels, however, doesn’t worry too much. He says his Prius gets 50 or 60 miles per gallon — or more. Engles is a “hypermiler” who saves gas by treating the gas pedal like a carton of eggs. “The best …

Hotel room door open

This couple had to pay for their hotel room twice because of a booking mishap

John Matarese  |  March 27, 2022

Juanita Stevenson and her husband booked a hotel in Chicago — through Hotels.com — to celebrate their anniversary. But, when they arrived at the hotel, Stevenson said, “the clerk said ‘I don’t have a reservation for you.’ I said, ‘you don’t have a reservation for me? Here’s a reservation from Hotels.com.” She said: “Yes, that …

Costco sign

Does buying in bulk really save money?

John Matarese  |  March 21, 2022

Buy more now and save more later. It seems like a good idea, which explains why Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale are so popular. Millions of American shoppers, like Tracy Reese, like to buy in bulk to fight inflation, which is currently running close to 10% a year. She says she comparison-shops and ends …

For Rent sign in front of house

Landlords are hiking rent by as much as 30%

John Matarese  |  March 19, 2022

Soaring home prices may get all the attention right now, but rent is rising to unheard-of levels this year for many people who don’t own homes. Nurses’ aide Diamond Trimble just received a letter from her landlord informing her that her rent is about to go up from $650 to $1,035 — more than 30% …

Groom Put on Wedding Ring Bride Hand

Wedding costs are soaring—Here’s what to expect in 2022

John Matarese  |  March 10, 2022

Those planning an upcoming wedding are planning for the biggest day of their lives. But couples-to-be, their families and guests could face serious sticker shock this year, as inflation hits the wedding industry. Consultants are trying to find affordable dresses for nervous couples at bridal shops everywhere, stunned by recent price hikes. Bride-to-be Madison Cox …

W4 tax form with money, calculator on desk.

Tax breaks you might accidentally overlook this year

John Matarese  |  March 10, 2022

The rush is on at Liberty Tax and other tax preparers right now. Customers like Alex Trejo — who just started his own small business — are trying to find all the tax breaks they can. “I’ve got to figure out what am I going to do now, how much do I have to pay …

Cash money on money counter

Buy now, pay later: Money saver or money trap?

John Matarese  |  March 8, 2022

The term “buy now pay later” is common in retail these days. It’s a new and improved version of store installment plans (without the high interest rates) or layaway (where Mom had to stop by the store with cash every two weeks). But is it really a good option for people to buy things they …

Driver pumps gas into car

How to save on gas as prices skyrocket

John Matarese  |  March 5, 2022

With gas prices on the rise, and at more than $4 a gallon in some parts of the country, drivers are all looking for ways to save cash at the pump. Among them, Greg Rottbart, who can’t believe what it cost to just top off his gas tank. “I just paid $44,” he said, of …

Patient receives vaccination in arm

What to do if you get a surprise bill for COVID vaccines or at-home test kits

John Matarese  |  March 4, 2022

The U.S. government is spending billions of dollars on COVID-19 vaccines and at-home test kits. So why are some people being charged for the shots they got last year? Matt Kunkle is a graphics designer who got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine almost a year ago. “I got the COVID vaccine when it was first available …

Man wearing mask shopping in grocery store

Prices on store-brand items are on the rise

John Matarese  |  February 21, 2022

Major brands from P&G to Kellogg’s to Kraft-Heinz have recently announced price hikes. But what about store brands, those inexpensive alternatives? Some of those items are going up in price too. That’s unfortunate for shoppers like Mary Jackson, who turn to store, or “house,” brands to save money. “They’re running out of all the generic …

3G service is ending, cutting off millions of cell phones

John Matarese  |  February 18, 2022

Cell phone carriers will be dropping 3G service sooner than many people may realize. AT&T will begin shutting down its 3G service on Feb. 22 — the first carrier to end the service. Michelle Jones says she has to find her mom a new phone because of the change. “I think she has a flip …

New car keys exchange hands

New car buyers still face long waits, high prices

John Matarese  |  February 14, 2022

Spring is right around the corner, and many people may be looking to upgrade to a new car, pickup or SUV. But this spring, shoppers are likely to face higher prices and longer waits than they may have expected. With shortages of new cars stretching into a second year, many shoppers like Carmen Decks may …

Bouquet of red roses

How to save money on Valentine’s flowers as prices hit all-time highs

John Matarese  |  February 11, 2022

With inflation rates still high, it should come as no surprise that prices of Valentine’s Day flowers are up this year. In some parts of the country, long stem roses are twice the price they were last year. Anyone buying flowers this year might want to bring some extra cash. But there are some secrets …

Person hands off car keys

Why insurance may not cover full value of older cars

John Matarese  |  February 9, 2022

Soaring used car prices could impact people even if they are not in the market to buy a vehicle. People driving vehicles more than 10 years old may now be under-insured. Herm Harrison has a 20-year-old Ford Crown Victoria. A few months ago, someone hit his pride and joy in the rear quarter panel. “The …

Close up of hands holding phone with unknown caller

Phony deputies are calling people and threatening to arrest them in new scam

John Matarese  |  February 7, 2022

People across the country are receiving threatening calls from scammers claiming to be with their local police or sheriff’s department. Sarah Cadwallader said a man called her, identifying himself as a local sheriff’s deputy. A few hours earlier, he had left a frightening voicemail. “Mrs. Cadwallader, you have some urgent matters that need to be …

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One easy way to avoid appliance and furniture delays? Buy used

John Matarese  |  February 4, 2022

For those shopping for a new refrigerator or living room couch, choices are slim, and waits can be months long due to supply shortages. “When I check on our vendor websites, they are just not available,” kitchen appliance distributor Ken Reiman said in the fall. Since then, supplies have improved a bit, but shoppers still …

Woman looks out airplane window

Canceling a vacation due to COVID-19 can be costly

John Matarese  |  January 31, 2022

Many people have started booking spring and summer vacations. However, there is a lot of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jan Ball recently canceled a trip to visit friends due to the spread of the omicron variant. “We decided because of the virus that we didn’t want to take that risk, bringing something into …

Man in forklift moves 2x4s at lumber yard

Where’s the contractor? Homeowners hit with unfinished projects

John Matarese  |  January 31, 2022

A lot of people decided to start home improvement projects during the pandemic. However, supply chain problems, the labor shortage and companies taking on too many projects have led to a surge of complaints about unfinished and shoddy jobs in the past year. Many homeowners learned the hard way that a little research goes a …

Senior woman reads credit card into into phone

What to know about the Publishers Clearing House scam

John Matarese  |  January 20, 2022

It’s that time of year: Publishers Clearing House awards season. In 2022, some lucky winner will be getting $5,000 a week for life, according to the company’s website and TV commercials featuring NFL great Terry Bradshaw. Marlene, who did not want to use her last name, received a voicemail that said she was the winner. …

W4 tax form with money, calculator on desk.

Filing your 2021 taxes may be more confusing than ever—here’s why

John Matarese  |  January 19, 2022

Tax preparers are bracing for a long and confusing tax season because of stimulus checks and the child tax credits that Americans got in 2021. Many families did not get all the stimulus money and credits they were entitled to, which means they can claim them this year. Lesa Strull has two children and says …

Man wearing mask shopping in grocery store

24-hour grocery stores struggling to stay open overnight amid pandemic

John Matarese  |  January 17, 2022

Grocery stores across the country are opening later, closing earlier and eliminating 24-hour operations as they struggle with staff shortages due to the spread of COVID-19. Sierra King says she is disappointed she can’t go to the grocery store after a late night of work. “I would say they are closing at 10 or 11 …

Upset woman looking at phone

Get an accidental Venmo deposit? Beware of this scam

John Matarese  |  October 13, 2021

Do you use money transfer apps like Venmo, Zelle or Cash app? If so, the Better Business Bureau is issuing an alert about a scam it first started seeing last year and is now receiving complaints about almost daily. It has to do with an “accidental” deposit into your account – which is not accidental …

Beware of DeWalt, Milwaukee power tool scams

John Matarese  |  September 15, 2021

Many shoppers will be trying to get a head start on the holiday shopping season this year, with predictions of shortages as Christmas approaches. But if you are looking to get a jump on buying someone a tool kit, beware of the power tool scam. Not sure what to buy your dad? In many cases, …

Rental scams explode in tight housing market

John Matarese  |  September 9, 2021

With homes and apartments so tough to find this year, many renters are desperate to find anything. That’s how one woman ended falling victim to a rental scam. Mariah Dates had no luck finding a rental home until a cute two-bedroom house popped up on Facebook Marketplace for just $700 a month. “I emailed the …

Get ready for toy shortages and price hikes

John Matarese  |  September 8, 2021

We’ve seen all the price hikes in stores this year and by now, we are used to product shortages. But both problems are about to hit toys just as the shopping season starts. Why? Forbes magazine blames a pandemic-related shipping container crisis, with Chinese ports backed up and shipping fees at all-time highs. Shipping containers …

Why you may find half-empty racks at clothing stores right now

John Matarese  |  August 31, 2021

Shoppers are ready to restock their closets for the fall and winter, but many are asking, “Where’s all the clothing?” Kristin Sterling was trying to do some school shopping at TJ Maxx. Inside, she found a much smaller selection than she has seen before. “I’ve been looking for baby items, as well as for a …

New car keys exchange hands

How to score a deal on a car, truck or SUV in 2021

John Matarese  |  August 31, 2021

This has been the toughest year in memory for buying a car, truck or SUV. New vehicles are scarce, and used cars are selling for record prices. If you are looking for a new pickup truck or SUV, be prepared to take whatever the dealer has. So, maybe you are considering a used vehicle instead? …

Money and Tax Return

Why millions of tax refunds are still delayed

John Matarese  |  August 13, 2021

Millions of taxpayers still have not received their 2021 tax refund and are growing frustrated with a lack of information from the IRS. Refunds that used to arrive in two weeks are now three months late, with no updates as to when they might go out. Mike Seidenman is among those who are frustrated. He …

Delta variant threatening fall and winter travel plans

DWYM Staff  |  August 5, 2021

Just weeks ago, Americans were preparing to travel, booking airline tickets, casino trips and winter cruises. Now, a resurgence of COVID-19 due to the delta variant is threatening the return to travel normalcy. So what should prospective travelers do now? Each day the headlines are worrisome when it comes to fall and winter travel: Mask …

Bars are now facing a liquor shortage

John Matarese  |  July 30, 2021

With all the stress of the pandemic, many got a bit of relief from an adult beverage. However, now there’s a liquor shortage. Molly Wellman is a sought-after mixologist (an expert bartender) who has noticed some popular brands are getting hard to find. “There’s shortages everywhere,” she said, while mixing a negroni. “It has gotten …

Maui is overrun by tourists right now, so you may want to reconsider travel plans

John Matarese  |  July 30, 2021

As Americans hit the road and take to the skies again this summer after the long pandemic, many are making plans to visit Hawaii. But one Hawaiian island is now asking airlines to slow down their return because they can’t handle the sudden boom in tourists. Normally, Hawaii welcomes tourists as a major source of …

Some used cars now cost more than new versions

John Matarese  |  July 26, 2021

Savvy shoppers have always purchased used cars and trucks instead of new ones to save thousands of dollars. But in this crazy year, some used cars now cost more than a new version. The price of used cars has gone up in 2021 because of soaring demand and the computer chip shortage that has been …

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How to request a flexible work schedule as offices reopen

John Matarese  |  July 22, 2021

For millions of workers, this summer is bringing a return to the office after 14 months of working from home during the pandemic. But some people are not ready for it, having become comfortable working remotely and taking care of children or pets while working. Others are growing worried about catching the delta variant of …

7 common car maintenance myths AAA wants us to stop believing

DWYM Staff  |  July 15, 2021

As we head out on summer vacations, many of us check the oil and look over the car before we go. But some car maintenance tips that mom and dad taught us, that we’ve assumed for years, are actually just myths. That’s according to a new AAA report called Debunking Common Myths about Car Maintenance. …

Mercari is a popular new way to buy and sell stuff—here’s what you need to know

John Matarese  |  July 9, 2021

Watch out eBay, Etsy, and Facebook Marketplace: There’s a new kid getting a lot of interest. More and more buyers and sellers are turning to Mercari, with its lower fees and ease of selling. If you are looking to buy or sell used household items, clothing, jewelry, or crafts, Mercari has seen its popularity soar …

Man in forklift moves 2x4s at lumber yard

The lumber price bubble is finally bursting

John Matarese  |  July 9, 2021

It appears that the lumber bubble has finally burst. Lumber prices are finally coming back down to earth, following a spring that saw prices double — and then double again. Lumber futures fell more than 40% in June as consumer demand dried up for $50 and $60 sheets of plywood. Last year, those sheets of …