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It's a passive, business-as-usual approach to consumption that requires the very least of us.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 30, 2011 9:20AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


We live in a world that loves sound bites and oversimplifications. We embrace concepts that sound wonderful without much critical thought. All the noise around recycling is a classic example of what happens when an idea gets a lot of press, but in isolation doesn't really solve much.


The larger and more inclusive mantra of "reduce, reuse, and recycle" is the real game-changing idea, yet we often forget about the first two "R's" and what they truly mean. To me, the three R's are in descending order of importance. Here's why.


News from Japan and the Middle East have driven mortgage rates lower.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 3:05PM

This post comes from Amy Hoak at partner site MarketWatch.


MarketWatch on MSN MoneyAs world events dominated the news in recent weeks, mortgage rates enjoyed a reprieve from a climb that began late last year, keeping the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage down below 5% at the start of what is traditionally the home buying and selling season.

While multiple factors move mortgage rates and it's impossible to pinpoint the exact reason why they're up or down, we do know this: The tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster in Japan likely caused a flight to quality by worried investors, moving more money from riskier investments into safer U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, said Robert Rauf, a mortgage banker with Real Estate Mortgage Network in Manasquan, N.J. Ditto for conflicts in the Middle East, including the current situation in Libya.


From supervising construction workers to bartending, women earn more than men -- sometimes a lot more. With video updates.

By MSNMoney partner Mar 29, 2011 2:43PM
Women still don't earn as much as men overall, but they're getting closer. Women now get about 81 cents for every dollar that men earn -- up from 76 cents in 2000, Forbes reports.

Men earn more in almost every type of job across the board. Except for 15 of them. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 15 professions in which women outearn men -- sometimes by a lot.

Would you believe that a construction supervisor is one of them? Men are 97% of the workers in the construction business, yet men earn below the median, at $963 a week, Forbes reports. Women earn slightly more, perhaps because they are more specialized or better trained.

Here are some other jobs in which women make more:

Post continues after video discussing the gender-pay gap: 

Things were going well for a married couple with kids until they got greedy and built a home they couldn't afford to keep.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 1:59PM

This guest post comes from Nickel at


The foreclosure crisis has been going on for a couple of years now, but it wasn't until this week that it really hit home. My wife called to tell me that our former neighbors -- I'll call them Bob and Sue -- had lost their house and would be moving to another state.


For background, I should note that Bob and Sue were part-time homebuilders for the better part of the past decade. While Bob worked full time and Sue stayed home with the kids, they also built houses on the side. Every couple of years, they'd start building a new house. When it neared completion, they would put it, along with their current house, on the market, and then live in whichever one didn't sell.


Our efforts to start investing or even pick a diet plan can be stymied when there are many options to consider. Here's how to pull the trigger.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 1:26PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


I've intended to buy a new mattress for, oh, about a year now. I've actually gone to Macy's and lain down on probably 20 or so mattresses to figure out what I like and don't like. I've looked at reviews of mattresses online, and at one point was pretty close to pulling the trigger.


But I haven't. This is probably a 10-year investment, and I feel a lot of pressure to make the right choice. So instead I've continued to sleep on my too small, cheap Sealy that gets way too hot in summer and is surely less comfortable than even the least comfortable mattress I've tried out.


Even if there is a better mattress at a better price out there for me, getting a less-than-ideal mattress is better than the status quo. So why can't I make a decision?


Our honest financial look at 11 years in one home proves what one blogger labels 'an ugly truth.' Still, it was worth it.

By doubleace Mar 29, 2011 12:13PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

Looking back, it seemed so simple when it came to our home purchases: Buy low, sell high.

We first bought in 1970, paying $15,500 for a three-bedroom, two-bath on a 50-by-100-foot lot on a tree-lined street in southeast Portland, Ore.

Eleven years later, we sold for $65,000 and bought a 2,700-square-foot brick English Tudor, also three bedrooms and two baths, in north Seattle. Cost: $72,000.


The New York Times is now charging for digital content for nonsubscribers. But with a little ingenuity, there are ways to scale the pay wall.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 29, 2011 11:31AM

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


The New York Times has begun charging for its digital content -- a big deal because the venerable newspaper churns out so many exclusive stories and fascinating graphics (for example, this one, which lets you figure out how to balance the federal deficit).


If you are a home delivery subscriber of the Times, you still have unlimited free access to their news online. But if you're not, what used to be free now costs $15 a month for access to the website and mobile app -- or $20 a month for both the website and the iPad app. Want the website, phone, and iPad in one package?


Are these sites a good deal or just a way to trick you into spending money on something you don't need?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 10:03AM

This post comes from Miranda Marquit at partner site Bargaineering.


"Social shopping" has become very popular. Through websites like LivingSocial and Groupon, it's possible to get discounts on products and services in your local area. Social deal websites send you tips about which deals are available, and then you can go spend money -- getting sometimes half off or more -- on different items.


One of the questions you have to ask yourself as you sign up for Living Social, Groupon or any other social deal site is this: Am I really saving money? Or are you just looking for a reason to spend it?



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