Three best ways (and three worst ways) to finance holiday shopping

4. Retailer plans (worst)

Richard Drew/AP/File
Shoppers at Apple's flagship store in New York, look at iPads and iPad Minis, on Black Friday last month. The merchandise may be cool, but the deferred interest plans offered by Apple and other retailers can trip up shoppers if they don't read the fine print.

According to a recent Card Hub study, more than 60 percent of the major retailers that offer financing use deferred interest plans. These provide an initial interest-free period yet retroactively assess finance charges on the original purchase amount if you don’t pay the full balance during the introductory term. It’s best to steer clear of financing offered by the likes of Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Walmart, and Macy’s this year.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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