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Lay it down: 6 tips on making a smooth mattress purchase

Published: Friday, October 27, 2017 @ 12:43 PM

Make the best mattress choice by following these tips from financial and health experts Shop every 8 to 10 years Consumer Reports found the highest satisfaction rating among those who opted for adjustable-air mattresses Take off your shoes and lie down on each mattress for a full 15 minutes Consider couple's mattresses extra carefully Most shoppers who try to haggle are successful, saving a median of $205 on their purchases Search for free delivery or haul-away services

Between the high prices and the huge impact good sleep has on physical and mental health, choosing a mattress is a big decision.

"If your mattress is uncomfortable, it could disturb your sleep, exacerbate orthopedic problems or possibly have a negative impact on your long-term health," Michael H. Bonnet, Ph.D., a neurology professor and sleep expert at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine told Consumer Reports.

RELATED: 5 cheap purchases that cost you more in the long run

Make the best choice by following these tips from financial and health experts:

Shop every 8 to 10 years

After that much time, your mattress is probably worn thin in places and has lumps in others, Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine, told Health.com. Other tell-tale signs that you need a new mattress include rips, divots, sinking hips and shoulders and allergy triggers (indicated by going to bed breathing fine and waking up with the sniffles), according to Consumer Reports.

Check out the ratings

In a survey of 62,000 subscribers, Consumer Reports found the highest satisfaction rating among those who opted for adustable-air mattresses, with 80 percent saying they were highly satisfied with their purchase. "Adjustable air mattresses, such as those sold at Sleep Number stores, rate very well in both our mattress tests and reader survey, especially among those who report neck pain, back pain, sleep apnea, and other health problems." In comparison, 75 percent of memory foam owners and 65 percent of innerspring mattress owners said they were highly satisfied with their purchases. 

Buying a comfortable mattress - even if it's more expensive - can help you get a good night's sleep.(CONTRIBUTED BY YOGABED/For the AJC)

Try before you buy

Sure, it's awkward. But Consumer Reports stands by its long-standing advice to take off your shoes and lie down on each mattress for a full 15 minutes. If you'll be sharing a bed with a partner, bring them, too. 

Consider couple's mattresses extra carefully

Look for a mattress with adustable firmness for either side of the bed. The size of the bed also matters. "If you have a small bed, you can't get away from one another," Dr. William C. Dement, professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, told Health.com. "If they're restless, kicking you all night, or a loud snorer, that's awful."

Haggle, selectively

Not everywhere that sells mattresses is open to price negotiation, but a separate 2016 Consumer Reports survey of 20,000 subscribers found that sometimes even online sellers will bargain with shoppers. "Shoppers we surveyed met the most success at mattress-specialty stores such as Mattress Firm, Mattress Warehouse, Mattress King, Sleep Train and Sleepy's. Most shoppers who did try to haggle were successful, saving a median of $205 on their purchases."

Search like a ferret for the freebies

Consumer Reports also describes how their surveyed subscribers tended to get something free along with their mattress purchase. The key is asking. Delivery or haul-away services were common, but free mattress protectors or a bed frame were also possibilities. The consumer watchdog publication did note that retailers who offer extras with a mattress purchase usually charge more for the mattress purchase. They advise balancing the total price of the mattress purchase and the freebies in the decision-making process and evaluating whether the freebie was something you'd purchase anyhow before allowing a giveaway to influence your purchase.

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Local students learn how to combat scams, fraud

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

Students in the Miami Valley are learning to recognize fraud and scams, and finding out how they can protect themselves from these potential money pitfalls.

Several schools in our area teach a free consumer life skills and financial literacy curriculum called FoolProof. 

The goal of the web-based, interactive coursework is to teach a healthy dose of skepticism in a scam-filled world.

Related: "Shimming” is the latest threat to shoppers

Kettering, Xenia, Franklin, Stebbins, Greenville and Lebanon high schools offer FoolProof classes.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will find out more about what the students learn and what they can teach us about avoiding scams and fraud. 

Watch tonight on WHIO-TV at 5pm.

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Audit-proofing your taxes 

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

Audit-proofing your taxes

First, the good news.  The IRS is auditing fewer taxpayers.  

In fact, audits are at an all-time low. You can’t completely audit-proof your tax returns, but there are ways to make your chance of an IRS investigation less likely. 
Failing to report taxable income and cryptocurrency income, are among Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine’s list of audit red flags.

Math errors, sizeable donations, home office deductions and deductions of unreimbursed business expenses, for example, commuting costs and clothing, are also going to raise eyebrows at the IRS.

RELATED: IRS ID theft prevention steps appear to be working

One of the biggest red flags is income.

The more money you make the more likely you’ll be scrutinized by the IRS, according to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.  

If you make $200,00 or more, there is a one in 80 chance of an audit, and if you make more than $1 million your odds are one in 25, according to Clark Howard’s website, Clark.com.

News Center 7 consumer reporter Rachel Murray will have insight from a local tax preparer about ways to audit-proof your tax return tonight on WHIO-TV at 5.

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‘Shimming’ has emerged as the latest threat to shoppers

Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 @ 1:58 PM

Shimming has emerged as the latest threat to shoppers

There’s a growing threat to your credit and debit card information, and you might not be aware of it.

It’s called “shimming.” 

New Recalls: power banks, PAW PATROL hats and more

 Scammers insert paper-thin devices into credit card chip readers that can copy your data. 

The information can’t be used to make a chip card clone, but it can be used to create a traditional mag-stripe card, which could be used to fraudulently make purchases or withdraw cash, according to Creditcards.com.

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New Recalls: power banks, PAW PATROL hats and more

Published: Friday, April 06, 2018 @ 2:35 PM

Power bank chargers, children’s play hats, and personal space heaters are among the latest products being recalled, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Portable power bank charging stations by Re-fuel by Digipower are under recall after five reports of the products overheating and melting.

The Grab and go Family Packs are three lithium-ion battery chargers in black, grey and green on a recharging docking station. 

They have the item number RF-TRIP on the bottom and were sold at the Container Store from October of 2017 through February 2018. 

Stop using the recalled chargers and contact the Container Store at 888-266-8246 to receive a full refund. 

 

Some Paw Patrol fireman hats with a flashlight attachment are under recall because they could burn your child.

There are four reports of overheating flashlights on the Nickelodeon PAW PATROL Deluxe Marshall Hat sold at Spirit Halloween stores. 

Only flashlights with SKU 01292093 and date codes 1703RY01, 1603RY01, and 1503RY01 are part of the recall.

Remove the batteries from the recalled flashlight and dispose of it. Contact Spirit Halloween at 866-586-0155 for a full refund. 

Personal electric space heaters by Vornado are under recall due to fifteen reports of them catching on fire.

The VH101 Personal Vortex heaters were sold in black, coral orange, greyed jade, fig, ice white, red, and cinnamon. 

Stop using the heaters and contact Vornado at 855-215-5131 for a full refund. 

Recreational off-highway vehicles by Polaris are under recall because cracked exhaust silencers have sparked three fires.

There are multiple model years and model numbers included in this recall. Click here for the full list.

Stop riding the recalled ROVs and contact Polaris at 800-765-2747 for a free repair. 

 

Some Scotch thermal laminators by 3M are being recalled because the plastic enclosure can overheat and burn you.

There are 10 reports of laminators overheating but no injuries. 

Stop using the white and teal recalled laminators and contact 3M at 800-772-4337 for a full refund. 

 

These recalls and past recalls can be found at www.cpsc.gov.

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