Cyber Monday 2011: Tips for Safe Shopping and Scoring the Best Deals Online
News from International Business Times:

Last year, Cyber Monday accumulated nearly $ 1 billion in online sales, surpassing Black Friday. In 2011, the search term “Cyber Monday deals” has increased over 400 percent in global monthly searches, according to Google statistics data, proving this year will be even bigger.

While Monday marks a frenzied online shopping day, brick and mortar stores panned out quite well on Black Friday this year, with a 6.6 percent increase from 2010. Shoppers spent a record $ 11.4 billion nationwide according to a report from ShopperTrak, which collects data from 25,000 outlets across the country.

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Need cash? Pawnshops edge into the mainstream
News from Houston Chronicle:

NEW YORK – Pawnshops are beckoning from the shadows.

At a time when banks have shut their doors on those with bad credit, a growing number of borrowers are pawning their jewelry, electronics and other valuables to make ends meet.

Consumer advocates say the development is concerning because the interest rates on loans from pawnshops can be as high as 20 percent a month. But pawnshop operators say they provide a critical lifeline to a group with few other options.

“It’s a short-term loan – it’s designed to bail someone out and be done with it,” said Ed Bean, who owns Suffolk Jewelry & Pawnbrokers in Boston.

A common misconception is that pawnshops simply buy the various knickknacks that customers bring in. But the more lucrative aspect of the industry is issuing loans against those belongin…………… continues on Houston Chronicle

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