You cut the best deal you can on that cell phone, and then the friendly salesman has a pitch at the end: For just $5 or $7 or $10 a month, you can protect that device that costs $400 or $600 or $800.
Hey, $7 sounds a lot cheaper than $600, right? But most consumer groups, from Consumer Reports to Dave Ramsey, advise against it. Read the policy: You might face a deductible up to $200, plus the company might agree to provide only a refurbished phone.
Invest in a good case instead, and keep the old phone handy as an emergency back-up in case the butter-fingered worst occurs.
• Mailing a check to a charity? You can count it toward your 2015 tax return as long as the postage date on the envelope is before the end of the year. To make sure you have proof, don’t just drop your donation in the mailbox — send it certified or registered mail, Consumer Reports advises.
• If you send your check via a service like UPS or FedEx, you may have missed your chance: You need to verify the charity received your donation before the end of the year. Consumer Reports recommends asking the charity for a confirmation email that your donation is received before the end of 2015.
• For those who want to donate via credit card, as long as the donation shows up on your December credit card statement, you’ll be in good shape.
• Occasionally, charities will allow people to donate via text message. In that case, the proof you need is your cellphone bill, Consumer Reports says. The charge should display on your phone bill before Jan. 1.