Money Minute: Backlash Hurts Target Sales; Apple Scores Big China Deal

Target reportedly suffers a consumer backlash and Apple makes a breakthrough in China.

Shoppers may have punished Target (TGT) after the retailer revealed last week that 40 million people had personal information compromised in a data security breach. Analysts estimate the number of transactions at Target stores over this key weekend fell compared to a year ago. Many customers are angry it took Target several weeks to inform the public of the hacking incident.

Reuters reports that other retailers also struggled this weekend.

Rita Qian, AFP/Getty Images
After weeks of rumors, Apple (AAPL) says China Mobile will start taking pre-orders for the iPhone this week, and start selling the devices Jan. 17. That opens the door for Apple to expand its presence in China and reach China Mobile's 700 million customers.

A Dutch arbitration panel has ruled the luxury retailer Tiffany (TIF) must pay $450 million in damages to Swatch. The Swiss watchmaker had accused Tiffany of breach of contract. As a result of the ruling, Tiffany will take a big fourth-quarter charge.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) start the week at all-time highs, after the major averages rallied last week.

Friday's record for the Dow was its 47th this year, but this one was different from all of the others. This is the first inflation-adjusted record for the Dow since January of 2000.

The Chrysler IPO plan is on hold. Fiat Chairman Sergio Marchionne has reportedly restarted talks with a trust run the by the United Auto Workers about buying the 41 percent stake it holds in Chrysler. Fiat doesn't want the union to sell its shares in a public offering. That would make it more difficult for the Italian automaker to take total control of Chrysler.

Lastly, Michaels Stores, the national chain of arts and craft stores, also had planned to go public -- but the company has withdrawn its IPO filing. Michaels is owned by a pair of large investment firms.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

8 Foolproof Ways to Grow Your Savings
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Money Minute: Backlash Hurts Target Sales; Apple Scores Big China Deal

This is my personal favorite! Think of yourself as a regular monthly bill you have to pay. All you have to do is arrange to have a set amount of money directly deposited from your paycheck into a savings account each month.

I recommend using a separate savings account because if you have access to your funds in your checking account, you're more likely to spend them. Again, it might hurt a bit at first to take home a little less every month, but trust me, after a while you won't even notice it's gone. Here's a moment when the "set it and forget it" strategy works wonders.

It feels great to be rewarded for your hard work. And it feels even better to spend that hard-earned bonus on something you’ll enjoy, like a trip to France or an iPad. At the same time, the pleasure of a vacation or new gadget is short-lived compared to financial security.

So make a pact with yourself to put every bonus you get from here on out to good use. If you direct 90 percent of your bonuses straight into your savings account as a rule, you’ll still have 10 percent to treat yourself with (plus the comfort of knowing that you're building a well-earned safety net). I live by this rule.

OK, OK, this seems like an obvious one -- and easier said than done. Actually, most people spend money on more unnecessary items than they think. So take time to look at where your money is going in detail and begin to cut back. Saving $10 here and there could help you put a lot away in the long run.
Many banks offer seasonal accounts meant to save for holidays like Christmas. These accounts give you reduced access to your accounts, charging a hefty penalty each time you withdraw more than permitted. Since emergencies don't occur often, a seasonal account could make sure you're touching it only when needed (just make sure you're not tempted to blow it all on Christmas gifts).
I love this one. Chalk it up to my massive craving for organization, but I'm all about getting rid of things I no longer use. Rather than throwing these unused goods away, start selling them, and put that money into your emergency fund. All you need to do is post them to a site like eBay or Craigslist or Amazon and you can get rid of items from the comfort of your home. You can also take your clothes to a consignment shop to have them sold for you.
Instead of saving your pennies, put aside any $5 bills that come your way. Never spend a $5 bill again, and you'll be surprised by how quickly this silly trick will help you come up with a few hundred dollars to add to an emergency fund.
You could pick up odd jobs via websites like,,, or
If you get a cash-back reward for any spending on your credit card, just make it a rule that those dollars will be dedicated to your freedom fund. It may only add up to $100 extra each year, depending on your spending, but every little bit counts.
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