As 2017 draws to a close, we take a look back at the most widely read Consumer Reports money articles of the year. 

How Social Security Will Change in 2018

Benjamin Franklin on the $100 bill behind Social Security cards.

The big news for Social Security in 2018 is a small pay hike for the program’s 61 million beneficiaries. The average monthly payment will go up by 2 percent: from $1,377 to $1,404 next year.

Other changes to Social Security are on the horizon for next year as well—small but significant tweaks that could affect you, no matter what your age. That makes now a good time to understand the intricacies of how this important program works, so you will be able to make the right planning and claiming decisions.

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Best and Worst Charities for Your Donations

Someone writing a check to charity to illustrate one of Consumer Reports' top money stories of 2017.

Choosing charities by name alone is a mistake some donors make, and their money sometimes ends up going to less-than-worthy groups. These organizations perhaps spend too much on administrative costs or are outright scammers, says Bennett Weiner, chief operating officer of the charity watchdog BBB Wise Giving Alliance

To help you discover charities that are worthy of your support and those to avoid, we’ve provided a list of organizations that the watchdogs agree deserve high and low ratings.

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Pros and Cons of Amazon Prime

An Amazon box.

Before signing up for Amazon Prime, consider whether you will take advantage of the services it offers.

Here’s what you need to know.

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Security Freeze vs. Fraud Alert: Deciding the Best Option

A poor-to-good meter to illustrate the best option for protecting your data.

The recent security breach at Equifax has left some 143 million consumers scrambling to understand the difference between a fraud alert and a security freeze, and which works best in protecting their personal information.

The tools work in similar ways to prevent fraudulent use of your credit data, so it’s easy to mix them up.

Here’s how to choose between a freeze and a fraud alert, and the best way to protect your credit.

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Where to Find the Best Grocery Store Prices in America

A woman weighing at her options at a grocery store.

If you’re looking for the lowest grocery store prices, here are eight national and regional chains where you’ll find them.

According to our Consumer Reports supermarket report, these retailers, ranging from vast warehouse clubs to an upstart from Europe, had the most competitive prices. The report is based on a survey of more than 50,000 Consumer Reports subscribers completed earlier this year by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

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Best Luggage Brands: Consumer Reports Survey

Luggage at an airport baggage check.

Carrying bags and walking through busy airports and train terminals can be a hassle. One way to make things easier is to use suitcases that are durable and easy to handle.

To find the best suitcases, the Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed nearly 65,000 Consumer Reports subscribers. 

Read the full story.

How to Save on Car Insurance

A woman on her cell phone after an auto accident.

Our exclusive analysis of billions of annual premiums reveals surprising factors that can drive your premium up or down. Learn how to shop smart for the best deal and still get coverage you can count on.

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The Newest Ways to Deal With Robocalls

An illustration of a cybercriminal on a smartphone.

If it seems as though you’ve been getting more annoying automated phone calls than ever before, it’s because you probably have. In September alone, 2.4 billion robocalls were made in the U.S., more than twice the amount in September 2015, estimates YouMail, a provider of voicemail and call-blocking services.

The good news is that there are also more ways to stop or at least minimize the annoyance of these calls and the potential of being scammed by them.

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How to Cash In on Cash-Back Credit Cards

Someone handing over a credit card for a pile of cash.

Consumer Reports finds the card combos that can save you hundreds of dollars per year. Here are the details.

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The New Rules of Retirement Planning

An illustration of a home, a palm tree, coins and a Social Security card to symbolize retirement.

Everything you thought you knew about retirement has changed. Take our quiz to better prepare for your later years.

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