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A central bank proposal would limit nonworking spouses' credit access.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 25, 2011 2:57PM

This post comes from Robert Schmidt at partner site Bloomberg Businessweek.


Bloomberg Businessweek on MSN MoneySometimes the best intentions can go awry. Just ask the Federal Reserve, which in its efforts to stop credit card companies from preying on poor people and students has touched off a battle over stay-at-home moms.


Charged with writing rules implementing the 2009 law designed to curb credit-card abuses, the Fed late last year proposed that card companies consider "individual" rather than "household" income or assets when issuing cards. The change, say lawmakers who worked on the measure, is meant to prevent banks from issuing credit cards to college students who then run up thousands of dollars in debt and have no ability to pay.


The Fed, which has spent most of the financial crisis getting slammed for its lax oversight of consumer credit, took things a step further, interpreting the law to mean that it should keep credit cards out of the hands of anyone without a paycheck or ample personal savings. That, of course, includes spouses who don't work -- husbands in some cases but most often wives. In its November proposal, the Fed said those without an income could get a credit card if a spouse co-signed the application.


IHOP will celebrate National Pancake Day with a free short stack -- one per customer until they run out.

By Karen Datko Feb 25, 2011 2:51PM

Need an excuse to eat pancakes on Tuesday, March 1? It's National Pancake Day at IHOP, where customers can get a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., or until supplies run out. Pancakes for dinner? Yum.


In exchange, consider leaving a donation for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since IHOP began the annual event in 2006, it's given away more than 10 million pancakes and raised $5.35 million for that and other charities.


As usual for any freebies and deals, call first to make sure your local restaurant is participating in the promotion.


Here are some other food freebies:


Stretch your vacation dollars with this simple travel tip.

By Donna_Freedman Feb 25, 2011 12:26PM

I just had my supper courtesy of a Tesco market near Piccadilly Circus: a chunk of Double Gloucester cheese, pita bread, grape tomatoes, an apple, a few "custard cream biscuits" (not-too-sweet sandwich cookies) and a Diet Coke.

When I travel, I always carry some foods with me, but I also check to find grocery stores in the vicinity. Supping at the supermarket is a fine way to stretch your vacation budget.

The above-mentioned foods cost me 6 pounds, 53 pence -- about $10.54 in U.S. dollars. But it was more than just supper.


A wallet company reprinted a secretary's Social Security number on a sample card inserted into one of its products. More than 40,000 people later claimed the number as their own.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 25, 2011 10:21AM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


Recently I was looking through the safe that holds all of my most important documents, like family birth certificates, insurance policies and the secret recipe for Mom's sauce, when I ran across my Social Security card.

Now, I'll wager that if you poll a room full of people at a triple-keg Super Bowl party, more than half of them wouldn't be able to tell you the license plate number of their car -- and that's before the kickoff. However, if you asked those same folk to recite their Social Security number, they would all be able to do it forward and backward -- even after the kegs are empty.


Cited for speeding, 20-year-old tells the judge that his smart phone proves he was driving under the limit.

By doubleace Feb 25, 2011 8:23AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

He fought the law and the law … lost.

Sahas Katta, a 20-year-old college student from Davis, Calif., got pulled over and ticketed for driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, at least according to the cop's radar gun.

Katta didn't believe it, and thought he had a way to prove he was right: He was carrying a Motorola Droid cell phone loaded with My Tracks, an app that uses the GPS and accelerometer in the Droid to measure distance traveled, average speed, average moving speed and max speed.


Housing and education cost less back in the day, and people made better money.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2011 2:33PM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner site The Simple Dollar.


I recently had a long conversation with a man in our community who is nearing retirement age. He felt comfortable about his own coming retirement, but he seemed very pessimistic that his children would ever be able to retire. "They just don't know how to save money," he told me.

I told him that although I agree with him that young people should save more, there is also a strong case that it is much more difficult today for young people to establish themselves financially than it was when he was a young adult.


He looked at me strangely. "What do you mean?" he asked.


You can be an Energy Star in your own right by reducing the power your laptop consumes.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2011 11:50AM

This guest post comes from Lou Carlozo, Green Dad columnist at


As laptop users, we're conspicuous consumers not only in the computer marketplace, but in energy usage as well. It's true that laptops use a fraction of the energy of desktops (15 watts vs. about 130), but all you have to do is multiply that times 100 million laptops -- a very conservative estimate of how many units were sold in 2010. Then, between recycling issues, power drain and bad usage habits, you get a clearer picture of their massive environmental impact.


Here's the good news: All sorts of ways exist to reduce laptop waste and power consumption. This week, Green Dad takes a look at 10 ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your PC or Mac, often while saving some cash in the process. Here's hoping that computes just fine for you.


Many travelers take that long -- and longer -- in search of the best bargain and the just-right flight. That could create problems for the airlines up the road.

By doubleace Feb 24, 2011 8:41AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


I wasn't too surprised to learn that 20% of travelers spend five hours or more searching for and selecting an airline flight. Over a two-month period last year, my wife spent at least that long securing our tickets to Europe: San Diego to Amsterdam going, Paris to San Diego returning.

Our requirements weren't particularly complex. We were flexible on the day of flight, both coming and going, and our only time constraint was a desire to arrive in Amsterdam with plenty of time to catch the bus to outlying Haarlem and find our hotel in daylight. We also wanted no more than one stop each way. Most of her time was spent searching for -- waiting for? -- the best price.


It wasn't even surprising to learn that 9% of leisure travelers and 1% percent of business travelers spend about eight hours securing their flight. I know those people.



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