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Some professionals and service workers can't accept cash, but there are ways to get around that rule.

By Karen Datko Nov 23, 2010 4:06PM

This guest post comes from Coupon Sherpa.


This isn't your standard holiday tipping guide. Plenty of people will tell you to give the maid one day's pay for the holidays or slip the trash collector $10 to $30 the next time he wakes you at 6 a.m. Instead, this is your annual guide to tipping those who can't accept tips.

These people may work equally hard all year round, yet are precluded from extending their palms by company standards, government regulations or simple rules of etiquette.

To make the whole process easier on you, we went to the proverbial horses' mouths and nailed down exactly what types of gratuities are acceptable for non-tippable professionals.


When it comes to maintaining your score, diligence pays off -- because lots of people are looking.

By Money Staff Nov 23, 2010 3:41PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner site US News & World Report.


 U.S. News & World Report on MSN MoneyIn many of my recent columns I've been writing a lot about credit reports and credit scores. Most of us don't need to be reminded of the importance of reviewing credit reports and fixing any errors, we know that keeping a clean and accurate credit report is important.

If you're one of the many Americans who already own your home and a car (or don't plan on buying either in the near future), you probably think that your credit score itself isn't that important. If you aren't getting a loan in the near future, why should you worry about your score? Unfortunately, your credit score is more important than you think and is being used by many institutions to help make decisions about you.


People are spending money to eat out again, but they still want deals. Plus, other restaurant trends for 2011.

By Teresa Mears Nov 23, 2010 3:13PM

After three difficult financial years, restaurants have something to celebrate:


People are eating out again.


Restaurant business is up in all price ranges, from fast food to fancy sit-down restaurants, Bruce Horovitz reported at USA Today.


"It's a substantially better environment than it's been for years," Hudson Riehle, research director for the National Restaurant Association, told Horovitz. Same-store sales were up in September, the first increase in six months, the association reported.


But big changes are ahead for the industry, reports Technomic, which has been tracking the industry for more than 40 years.


Spending your golden years abroad can be very rewarding. But before you make such a big commitment, know what questions to ask yourself.

By Money Staff Nov 23, 2010 1:35PM

This post comes from Kathleen Peddicord at partner site US News & World Report.


 U.S. News & World Report on MSN MoneyBefore you consider where you might retire overseas, you've got to develop a little self-knowledge. Determine what is important to you and what changes you would not be able to tolerate. What products, services, amenities, and pastimes would you miss from your current life if they weren't part of your new one?

No place is perfect. No matter where you go, you will find things you like and things you don’t. It’s a question of priorities and preferences. Here's a quiz to help you get to know yourself well enough to be able to make the best overseas retirement choice. These are the key issues to evaluate.


If women are buying themselves expensive lingerie, that's a sign of economic recovery, analyst says.

By Teresa Mears Nov 23, 2010 1:11PM

If you want to know how the economy is doing this holiday season, don't even bother collecting all those boring numbers about economic indicators and the Consumer Price Index.


Just check to see how the push-up bras are selling.

Sales of nonessential items such as the Victoria's Secret Miraculous Push-Up bra, which claims it will add two cup sizes, are a key indicator of the health of the economy, analyst John Morris told Rachel Beck of The Associated Press.


Why do so many holiday deals come with rebates? Because many shoppers forget to redeem them. Here's how to stick it to the man(ufacturer).

By Stacy Johnson Nov 23, 2010 11:28AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


A few years ago, while I was driving my goddaughter to gymnastics class, I stopped by the post office so I could mail in a $50 rebate on a computer I had recently bought.

Sometimes, 10-year-olds ask the best questions:

  • "Why do you need to mail a rebate for a computer? Why don't the people who made the computer just let you do it online?"
  • "Why do they have rebates at all? Why don't they just lower the price of the computer in the first place?"
  • "Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid?"

No, I told her, lots of people think it's stupid.


Here's how your mobile phone can help you shop this year.

By Karen Datko Nov 23, 2010 10:48AM

This post comes from Jennifer Waters at partner site MarketWatch.


If you want to be a smart shopper during the holidays, don't leave home without your smart phone.

Retailers have ramped up their Internet sites and interactive software to make it easier for mobile phone users to search for deals, find coupons and comparison shop. At the same time, software applications and social media have become feeding frenzies for consumers to share their finds, seek another opinion or just get directions.


Here are scammers' top online plans to steal your money or your identity this holiday season.

By Karen Datko Nov 23, 2010 9:51AM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


The Christmas shopping season is traditionally a boon to retailers and scammers alike.


McAfee, an Internet security firm, has revealed its "12 Scams of Christmas" -- the 12 most dangerous online scams that computer users should be cautious of this holiday season.



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