Money

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The best Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are often from US retailers and are largely unavailable to international consumers. If you're itching to get your hands on a bargain from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Newegg this Black Friday, there are ways to get around the shipping restrictions. Here are the details.

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It's easy to be sceptical of banks. If you don't like big banks, there's an alternative, though: credit unions. Credit unions have become increasingly popular, but there are still a lot of misconceptions about how they work and what they offer.

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping events on the US calendar, with retailers offering discounts of up to 80 percent on big ticket items. If you're stuck here in Australia, there's no reason why you need to miss out on the action. Here are seven online shopping tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargain hunters.

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ShopMate is a freight-forwarding service run by Australia Post that solves a common online shopping problem. In short, it sets up a US postal address so that you can buy items that don't ship internationally. Purchases are then forwarded onto you for a "small" fee. It sounds great on paper, but is it actually worth the money? Well, that all depends on what you're buying.

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Each Boxing Day, countless Australians take part in the annual tradition of returning unwanted gifts for an exchange or refund. Usually, the retailer accepts the proffered item with no questions asked. But what would happen if they refused? Are merchants legally obligated to provide a remedy of some kind or are they allowed to send you packing?

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During the last year, my wife has made the choice to get her masters degree in order to not only improve her professional skills but also increase her range of employment opportunities and income. I'm glad that she's doing it and I'm fully supportive of her doing so. We can afford to pay for this degree on our own without tapping any kind of financial aid and we're both very confident that the higher degree will pay for itself in just a few years. So, what's the problem?

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Watching the sunset on the beach every day. Doing a cross-country road trip whenever you feel like it. Finally devoting time to that hobby you've been dreaming of turning into your full-time gig. If you're like a lot of folks, one or all of these are something you want to do in retirement someday. And to help turn these visions into reality, you're probably contributing to a superannuation, hoping that compound growth will help you build a nest egg sizable enough to make those dreams come true.

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They say a sucker is born every minute, but shady businesses are good at convincing you you're a genius, not a sucker, for giving them your money. Many of these outfits prey on people want to improve their finances, which adds insult to injury. You know to stay away from Nigerian princes, but there are some less obvious, perfectly legal scams people fall for all the time.