Your July 4th will cost more today than it did exactly a year ago. More than 34 million Americans drove more than 50 miles to celebrate today, and along the way, they found “the most expensive gasoline prices for Independence Day since 2008.”
It didn’t get any better when they arrived. If you’re grilling today. “The average cost for a summer picnic for 10 is $58.72, or $5.87 per person,” says the American Farm Bureau. “That’s about a 5-percent increase compared to a year ago.”
SCAMS: Shop loss
We’ve all read horror stories of Target customers who had to spend hours and even days and even weeks sorting out their financial lives after last year’s massive theft of credit card numbers from the massive retailer.
But what price do those retailers pay? Besides bad PR, they lose customers. “Our study found that 12 percent of shoppers would stop shopping at a retailer hit with a breach,” says a new study from retail consultants Interactions Marketing.
HOUSING: Good news and no news is good news
Nationwide, housing prices are climbing, but mortgage rates aren’t.
“May’s housing report shows all but eight of 146 markets reporting year-over-year price increases,” says Realtor.com. “The median listing price of homes in May 2014 rose 8 percent over last year to $214,900.”
Meanwhile, Bankrate reports, “Mortgage rates showed little movement this week, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate remaining at to 4.28 percent.”
JOBS: Down to the last man
The job market is rebounding, but women are getting most of the bounce.
“Although the total number of jobs lost in the recession has been recovered, men are still short 582,000 from their pre-recession peak,” says the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “Women regained their peak in September 2013.”
FAMILY: Wedding receptions and recessions
The recession made marriages better.
“The 2008 recession made couples increasingly conscious of the importance of credit scores and discussing finances,” declares a new survey from Experian Consumer Services.
“In fact, 61 percent of couples married after the recession discussed their credit scores before getting married, compared with only 35 percent of couples who tied the knot before 2008.”
BILLS: A hot mess
Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.
A survey of more than 2,000 adults released Wednesday says, “64 percent are concerned about the cost impact that running their air conditioning this summer will have on their electric bill.”
Then again, 55 percent will “spend more money this summer than last year to keep their homes cool if needed.” They should read Debt.com and save.
In between polling the country on serious issues like healthcare, the Mideast, and the economy, the Harris poll people revealed this week that, given the choice of six recent ex-presidents, 28 percent of Americans would “want Bill Clinton helping them on the grill for their barbecue this Fourth of July.” Ronald Reagan was second with 22 percent.
Meanwhile, 29 percent say. “George W. Bush is most likely to end up falling in the swimming pool with their clothes on.”