2.12.20 Amazon vs Costco; Maxing out your credit cards; Cheap home security options expanded

Wall Street analysts predicted the demise of Costco Wholesale not that long ago, believing it had no chance against Amazon. But Costco and Sam’s Club are doing well. In fact Costco is booming. People willingly pay membership fees. The Krazy Coupon Lady reports that consistently across items, Costco and Sam’s Club are 10 to 15% cheaper than Amazon. Many use both warehouse clubs and Amazon. Though Costco offers savings, they also offer temptation to buy more. Clark’s answer: Not cart. Hands only shopping limits the purchase and preserves the savings.

Outstanding credit card debt has gone up roughly 50% in the last 8 years in the U.S. A Wallethub survey reports more than a third of card users have maxed out their credit cards. Another third are afraid of doing so. This is NOT good for your long term financial health. The average card carries an interest rate of 16 – 18%. Buying on credit when you can pay the bill in full monthly is great. But maxing out your credit card costs you big in interest and demolishes your credit score. Seriously think this through before you pull out a credit card and charge it.

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Clark reported on his experience going from a professional home burglar alarm to a self-install system. Clark chose Ring and took 3 hours to install it. Monitoring works out to $8 a month when paid annually. Feedback centered on privacy issues with Ring, owned by Amazon. Back to the drawing board. Independent alternatives are getting good reviews. Google's Nest and Simplisafe charge around $300 a year for monitoring. Kangaroo – Kangaroo Home Security | Simple and affordable alarms and sensors rotates specials and like Ring, costs around $100 a year for monitoring. Kangaroo's equipment is comparable, but independent from giant ecosystems. TechHive reviews Minut Smart Home Alarm – a very different system using heat technology. Instead of arming the doors and windows, it senses intruders to trigger the alarm. Minut monitoring is $8 a month, sold around the world – quick and easy to install. Technology is a big disrupter in this industry. Traditional systems have high equipment and monitoring costs and often come with contracts you should never sign. 
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