Mortgage Rates Hold Steady: 30-Year At 4.14 Percent Nationally

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates barely moved in the past week, with 30-year rates averaging 4.15 percent and 15-year rates averaging 3.24 percent nationally, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
A week ago, 30-year rates averaged 4.12 percent and 15-year rates averaged 3.22 percent.
The numbers from New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.24 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.12 percent
15-year: 3.22 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 4.51 percent
15-year: 3.54 percent

Can Yonanas Make Frozen Fruit Taste Like Soft-Serve?

by Categorized: Food/Beer Date:


This week’s tech column, relatively low-tech this time, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

The Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker earns hosannas from youthful dessert eaters, yet the alpha male isn’t convinced this machine can turn slightly thawed fruit into a healthful treat that looks and tastes like soft-serve ice cream.

So, kids, it’s your Yonanas machine against the alpha male’s Ninja Master Prep Professional blender. Scared already? It’s the $49.99 Yonanas, a too-sweet, make-me-gag reference to your machine’s almost-mandatory ingredient (bananas), against the mighty Ninja, a $69.99 overachiever that tied the $450 Vitamix 5200 as best blender in Consumer Reports’ ratings.

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Rocky Hill Spa Closes: What About My Gift Card?

by Categorized: Gift Cards Date:

Today’s Bottom Line column:

Q: “My daughter gave me a birthday gift card worth $50 to a spa on the Silas Deane Highway in Rocky Hill. Several weeks ago, I tried calling to schedule an appointment and the phone was no longer in service. When I drove to the spa, the building space was empty. There is no forwarding address or phone. Do I have any course of action?”

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BBB’s Checklist for New-Car Buyers

by Categorized: Auto Date:

Recommendations from the Connecticut Better Business Bureau for new-car shoppers:

Determine your budget - This sounds straightforward, but there’s more to budgeting a new car purchase than just the monthly payment itself. How good is the vehicle’s fuel efficiency? Remember that your results may vary from EPA mileage estimates. The website is a good resource for ‘real-world’ mileage data reported by car owners.

How much will insurance cost on the vehicle? Contact your insurance agent for quotes on various models you may be considering. How much will maintenance and repairs cost? Online reliability reports can give you a sense of which models are more expensive to repair.

When considering monthly payments, use online calculators to see how different rates, down payments and loan terms can impact your payment.

Look at the big picture – Don’t become so focused on the monthly payment that you lose sight of the purchase price or total cost over the term of the loan. Extending a loan from 60 months to 72 months for lower payments can translate into additional thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Explore financing options – Visit your local credit union or bank to see what interest rate they can offer, and consider getting pre-approved for a loan. Having this information (or an offer) in hand will allow you to decide whether dealer financing is the best option for you, and gives the dealer a ‘target’ to match or beat.

Comparison shop online - You can get a price quote on a vehicle from most dealerships in a matter of hours, and then compare competing offers. Websites such as provide free information on what you can expect to pay for a particular model in your region, and can help you determine the value of your trade-in.

Look for rebates – Many rebates are available, but some carry eligibility requirements that should be disclosed in advertising, such as loyalty bonuses, active duty military, trade-in bonuses, etc. Make sure you understand these qualifications to avoid disappointment.

Understand leasing options - If you decide to lease a vehicle, make sure you’re clear on the terms of the lease, and the pros and cons as opposed to purchasing. Leasing can mean driving a nicer car at a lower monthly payment than might be possible with a purchase, but if you drive more than about 12,000 miles a year or are concerned about “excess wear and tear” charges, leasing may not be the best option.

What’s the bottom line? When looking at the price of a vehicle, remember that you will also pay fees for documentation, title and registration, along with applicable sales tax.

Mortgage Rates Steady Heading Into Fourth Of July Weekend

by Categorized: Banks Date:

Mortgage rates remained steady in the past week, with 30-year rates averaging 4.12 percent and 15-year rates averaging 3.22 percent nationally, according to data released Thursday morning by Freddie Mac.
Thirty-year rates averaged 4.14 percent and 15-year rates were at 3.22 percent.

The numbers in New England:

This week:
30-year: 4.12 percent
15-year: 3.22 percent

Last week:
30-year: 4.14 percent
15-year: 3.23 percent

A year ago:
30-year: 4.31 percent
15-year: 3.42 percent

FTC: T-Mobile Charged Customers Millions For Bogus Services

by Categorized: Telecom, Uncategorized Date:

The Federal Trade Commission charged T-Mobile USA Inc. Tuesday with adding hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus charges to mobile phone bills that were never authorized by its subscribers.
The FTC, in its suit filed in civil court in Seattle, alleges that T-Mobile in some cases billed customers for subscriptions, typically $9.99 a month, from scammers for flirting tips, horoscope information or celebrity gossip. The FTC says T-Mobile, which received 35 percent to 40 percent of the charges, continued the billing even after customers complained.

Review: Livescribe 3 Smartpen Transfers Written Content Via Bluetooth

by Categorized: Consumer Electronics (TV Date:


This week’s tech column, courtesy of Tribune Newspapers:

If Watson, IBM’s cognitive computer and “Jeopardy!” winner, were taking notes while working with students at Ohio State University this summer or dreaming up another barbecue sauce recipe, it’d probably reach for a Livescribe 3 smartpen.

In human hands unaccustomed to a technologically adroit writing tool, however, the Livescribe 3 instantly dazzles with its sleight of pen. This faux fountain pen, with an actual ballpoint tip, records handwritten notes and transfers them, in real time, to a compatible Apple device synced via Bluetooth. It adds corresponding audio when the note-taker touches the ballpoint to record-pause-stop icons on special Livescribe “digital” notebook paper, activating the iPhone-iPad-iPod Touch microphone.

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