Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Supporting Our Local Shops and Stores

This aggravated me a bit. The website for Newsnet Five featured a story about shopping: how to use the local stores to find exactly what you want and then go online and buy the items elsewhere. Even shoes, the article exclaims, can be tried on locally so you know exactly what you want, and then you can take your business to the Internet and save money.

First of all, most of us have limited disposable income. I hear that. But I can't help but think that taking our support away from local stores hurts our economy and therefore affects our pocketbooks anyway. Secondly, there are shipping costs to consider so how much are you really saving by buying it on line? Thirdly....okay I guess you see where I am coming from without beating the drum too loudly.

The article talks is about Angie Lau the consumer reporter for Channel Five. I don't have a gripe with her when she is saving us money locally. I just don't see encouraging people to buy somewhere else. Am I wrong? Is there such a huge mark up in a storefront operation that enables you to truly save enough to overcome shipping costs? I checked on line, picked a pair of shoes from the Steve Madden website (example used by the 'consumer savings' article). The shoe was priced on line at $79.00. It costs (according to their website) $14.95 to ship one pair of shoes. I called Nordstrom and they said $82.00 is the price for the same shoe.
Do the math. You can read about her (Angie Lau's) 'discoveries' and 'suggestions here. Peace Out - 3C

Interest Rates To Hold Steady...For Now

At least for now. A Market Watch article by Greg Robb. The Federal Reserve has been pretty consistent at keeping the rates low....their target goal remains 5.25%. I gather what was intriguing about this is that the concern for inflation has still not translated into a change in Federal Reserve Policy - which has stayed the same since August 2006 and earlier.

Translated, to me, it means the FR feels our market will recover on it's own without a need for tweaking on their part. To read more about the Market Watch coverage of this new development, go here.

For those of you who are stock and Market wonks, here is Market Watch's 'take' on Ben Bernanke and his style compared to Alan Greenspan. Apparently we no longer have to watch how the Chairman is carrying his briefcase to see if interest rates will rise or fall :-)

Mortgage rates for the week are hovering around 5.75% for a 30-year fixed rate loan. I found it curious that a 30 year market loan rate is listed as better than a VA Loan this week. If you are curious about other types of rates/loans, check out this week's results here.

Loft Living In Cleveland

Have you ever thought about living Downtown or more importantly, living in a loft? For people who like open space in their homes, living a 'loft' lifestyle could be the way to go. There is an article in Crain's Cleveland today written by Zachary Lewis. He interviews a loft-dweller who just happens to reside in the Grand Arcade. His story is interesting because he aptly describes one cool aspect of buying a loft: designing your own space and being able to feel like it is truly created by you.

Some people may choose to try out 'loft living' as renters. The Bingham in the Warehouse District is a terrific example of apartment living for lofters (I just made up that word!) Browse their website and see for yourself.

Several true advantages to loft-living Downtown: close to transportation (leave your car at home, save gas, take RTA to the airport). Another advantage is all the natural beauty that surrounds you - great architecture, the lake, scuplture.

This is a fun article at Wise Geek who I believe is a Chicago resident. Cool take on loft living and lifestyles. Peace Out - 3C