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Are you ready for the XP apocalypse?

Beginning Tuesday, Microsoft will no longer provide free updates or tech support for its Windows XP operating system.

To help you through what some people are calling the “XP Apocalypse,” the Geek Squad at Best Buy has some advice.

To find out if you’re using Windows XP, click here.

When Tuesday rolls around, you won’t notice a major difference. You’ll still have all the computer programs you use and they’ll still work. But without those Microsoft updates, you’ll be vulnerable to new viruses and you won’t have “patches” to fix bugs or improve performance. You’ll also have little to no support from software makers.

Depending on how old your computer is and how capable its built-in hardware is, you might be able to just upgrade to a newer version of Windows and avoid all of those problems.

To find out if your computer can handle that, download and run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant, which will scan your computer and tell you if upgrading is an option.

If you really, really want to keep running XP, be aware of the risks and take some steps to protect yourself. PC World has some great advice here.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Free financial webinars

Webinar

If you've ever wished for help with your personal finances, it's here.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service offers a full schedule of free, live Web seminars  on an array of financial topics.

"Recession-Proofing Your Finances," will stream Tuesday at 9 a.m. followed by "Consumer 101: Knowing your rights," at 12:30 p.m.; "Couples and Money" at 6:30 p.m.; "Vision Quest: Setting your goals," at 8 p.m. and "Surviving Financial Crisis, Dealing with Divorce," at 9:30 p.m.

A full day of webinars is scheduled Wednesday and Friday, including seminars on debt, retirement, budgeting, renting, home ownership, credit scores and a fun one called "Grocery Shopping and Coupon Savvy."

The free, live seminars continue during the month of September and throughout the year.

To view a calendar listing of seminars, click here.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann



Save some money on your wedding

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

 

Wedding
You can save thousands of dollars booking your wedding on a non-peak day, such as a Friday or Sunday, or in an off season, such as in the dead of winter.

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Follow care labels

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

Laundry

You may find a good bargain on a piece of clothing, but what good does it do you if you end up ruining it after one wash? That's why it's important to always follow a label's laundering instructions.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Time to update homeowner's insurance?

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

Renovations

If you've done major renovations that could affect your home's value, or if you've inherited valuable items, it's time to update your homeowner's insurance.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

For a rainy day

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

Save

Have at least 10 percent of your gross income automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into a high-interest savings account. You'll barely miss it and it will add up quickly.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Dyeing for clothes that last?

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

 

Extend the life of your wardrobe with the fabric dye. When colors start to fade after repeated washings, give them a boost with home kits such as Rit and they'll look like new.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Get a better hotel rate

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

 

If you notice an empty-looking parking lot when checking into a hotel, try to negotiate a better rate. They're more likely to give you a break if they have a lot of empty rooms.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Have breakfast for dinner

Here is today's MoneySmart tip of the day:

 

Have breakfast for dinner. Some breakfast foods, such as eggs and oatmeal, make some of the most nutritious, inexpensive meals around.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Layaway makes a comeback online

Many retail stores have brought back layaway--the trusty, incremental payment method of old. And now it's available for online purchases, too.

 

Sites such as eLayaway.com and Lay-Away.com serve as middlemen for companies such as the Apple Store and KitchenAid, allowing folks to pay for items a little bit at a time before taking possession of them.

 

The service was revived after credit card companies tightened up on personal credit and recession-battered consumers gave up credit cards altogether.

 

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

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