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The year is more than half over. If you're not meeting the savings resolutions you made in January, here are some tips that can help.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 28, 2010 12:20PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

If you're like many people, at the beginning of every year you resolve to get your finances in better shape by paying off debt and adding to your savings. But, as with many resolutions, the reality often doesn't meet the goal.

 

All is not lost. There are still five full months left in the year -- time for a quick review of simple ways to save. The goal? To set aside at least an extra $1,000 by Christmas, without sacrificing your quality of life.

 

Analysis finds that 80% of Americans can't read well enough to understand the average credit card agreement.

By Teresa Mears Jul 28, 2010 8:59AM

If you found the "Twilight" series of novels hard going, don't even try to read your credit card agreement. But if you can sail through the King James version of the Bible, you might be able to understand a credit card contract.

 

CreditCards.com analyzed 1,200 credit card agreements and ranked them on difficulty using what's known as the FOG, or "Frequency of Gobbledygook," index, which is actually a real scientific formula. The analysis found -- we are shocked, shocked! -- that gobbledygook was frequent.

 

A new study says credit card fees and rewards are subsidized by consumers who pay with cash, including low-income folks. Is that fair?

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 5:55PM

Remember all that election year hubbub about "spreading the wealth around"? A new Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study (.pdf file) says a big redistribution of wealth -- from the poor to those who are better off -- is happening every day when people use credit cards.

 

It's common knowledge (or should be) that everyone pays more for goods because of fees merchants must pay for credit card transactions. So where does this income distribution come in? 

 

Brent Hunsberger of The Oregonian summed it up nicely:

 

A new school year is a good time to give your kids an allowance and make them responsible for some of their expenses.

By Teresa Mears Jul 27, 2010 3:11PM

This is the time of year when many parents regret not teaching their kids that money doesn't grow on trees. The kids want $10 for a backpack and $20 for new jeans and $10 tomorrow for pizza. They don't seem to understand that the Bank of Mom and Dad has limited funds.

 

As we were writing this week about shopping for school supplies, we came upon advice from Cathy at Suddenly Frugal that reminded us of one of the best ways to teach kids about money: Make it their money, not yours.

 

Parents shouldn't be surprised that their children, even their adult children, don't know how to live on a budget if they have never had to do it. Receiving money on demand doesn't teach the same lessons. Kids need to hold that money in their hot little hands and weigh it against a list of expenses, just as adults do.

 

Crooks use the term "grant," and most require the recipient to pay a percentage up front to acquire the 'free' money.

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 12:48PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

The government-grant scam is one of the oldest tricks in the schemer's book. But it's still very effective.

 

The scam, in which victims are promised free money from the government, has shown up recently in Ohio.

 

Former customers may be entitled to one last withdrawal of assets.

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 12:28PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Customers of now-defunct Washington Mutual may have one last withdrawal coming their way. Millions of dollars in accounts dormant at the time of the bank's 2008 demise are making their way to states' unclaimed property offices.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which oversaw the seizure of WaMu -- the nation's largest bank failure -- and subsequent sale to JPMorgan Chase, handed over nearly $251.4 million to the states this summer. Oregon, for example, received some 27,000 accounts containing $3.85 million.

 

Washington Mutual's millions represent a substantial jump in the states' unclaimed assets, estimated earlier this year at a collective $32.8 billion.

 

Losing your wallet can disrupt your life. Here's how to prepare for that eventuality.

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 11:33AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

In this inaugural post in the Financial Contingency Plan series, I want to discuss one of the most common financial disasters -- losing your wallet.

 

Whether you carry a money clip, an actual wallet, or an entire purse, losing it is one of the most demoralizing financial events that can happen to a person. Your wallet is a compartmentalization of your financial identity and contains your driver's license, your cash, any credit and debit cards, your photos, insurance information, and other financial tidbits.

 

This is what you need to do to prepare for and recover from a lost wallet.

 

Now that it's legal to use your phone on any compatible network and with your choice of software, one question remains: How the heck do you do it?

By Stacy Johnson Jul 27, 2010 8:49AM

This post comes from Dan Schointuch at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Thanks to a set of rules issued by the Librarian of Congress (.pdf file) you can now jailbreak and unlock your cellular phone without violating copyright law -- good news for anyone with an iPhone and a distaste for AT&T.

 

Put simply, jailbreaking and unlocking allow you to use your phone on any compatible network while installing whatever software you'd like.

 

If you're like me, your immediate reaction was total elation -- I can ditch AT&T!!! -- followed quickly by the mounting dread of knowing that every person you have ever come into contact with is about to ask you how to jailbreak a phone. Not good. So, in an effort to get ahead of the oncoming swarm of help-me's, here is everything you need to know to jailbreak and unlock your iPhone.

 

First the risks
 

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