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The new rules improve the chances that you'll get more value from the card before it expires or inactivity fees eat up the balance.

By Karen Datko Aug 18, 2010 5:54PM

Sheryl Harris of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland has some good advice: If you're planning to buy a gift card, wait until Sunday, Aug. 22.

 

That's when new federal gift card rules take effect, along with the final protections for credit card customers that were included in the Credit CARD Act and phased in over time since the bill was signed into law last year.

 

Here's what's in store:

 

Latest mobile shopping app 'rewards' customers for entering the store, trying on clothes and more. Useful or creepy?

By Teresa Mears Aug 18, 2010 3:59PM
Mobile shopping apps, coupons by cell phone -- every day we hear about another technology aimed at parting us from our money. Or, helping us find bargains. Or, surreptitiously collecting data to share with marketers.
 
The latest shopping app, called Shopkick, kicked off this week. The free app, so far available only for iPhone and only in selected cities, knows when we're in the store, offers us rewards for stopping by and gives us even more rewards for specific actions, such as trying on clothes.
 

The consumer bankruptcy filings, coupled with stubbornly high foreclosure numbers, paint a picture of a consumer still struggling to get footing.

By Karen Datko Aug 18, 2010 1:58PM

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

 

There was more evidence this week that economic recovery has yet to find much traction -- at least for consumers. The number of U.S. bankruptcy filings has risen to levels not seen since 2005, when changes to the bankruptcy law took effect.

Bankruptcy filings rose 20% in the 12-month period ending June 30, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. A total of 1.57 million bankruptcy cases were filed in federal courts in that period, compared with 1.3 million in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2009.

 

Credit cards are a great way to pay for nearly everything while traveling, if used correctly and with caution.

By Karen Datko Aug 18, 2010 11:35AM

This post comes from Nora Dunn at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Your next vacation won't happen without money -- both prior to and during your trip. But with currency conversion discrepancies, high surcharges, and the risk of theft or loss, managing your money on the road isn't as simple as you may think. As part of our Travel and Money series, let's review the best ways for using your credit card on the road.

There is no denying that credit cards are very necessary for travel, as they're often required to book travel arrangements (like flights and accommodation) in advance. They're also incredibly convenient and useful -- but must be used correctly, and with caution.

 

Mosquitoes can be a dangerous and obnoxious pest. But you can bug them as much as they bug you without putting the bite on your budget.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 18, 2010 10:35AM

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

 

Nothing will ruin your summer fun like mosquitoes. These pesky bugs are not only annoying, they can be dangerous disease-spreaders as well. So it pays to keep them to a minimum.

But that doesn't mean spending a ton of money on things like electronic traps or slathering yourself with unpleasant, expensive and nasty sprays. Put mosquitoes out of your misery with these five simple, inexpensive steps.

 

We all dream of hitting the big time but rarely consider the cost.

By Karen Datko Aug 18, 2010 9:16AM

This guest post comes from Lauren at Richly Reasonable.

 

The other evening Husband and I had a very existential discussion ... about "Jersey Shore." I'm betting that even if you don't watch the show, you've heard about it. Cast members have been in the news recently over their reported contract negotiations for more money. 

 

For those of you who don't know, the premise of the MTV show is a group of guido-types (as they call themselves, not me) live in a house together, go to clubs, lift weights, and tan. I've watched it and it's slightly entertaining. Don't judge me.

 

"What could be existential about a reality TV show?" you ask. 

 

JetBlue reprises its 'All You Can Jet' pass with unlimited trips for a month. It's $699 if you fly Fridays and Sundays.

By Teresa Mears Aug 17, 2010 4:26PM

JetBlue is repeating its All You Can Jet promotion, offering a month's worth of unlimited flights for $699. If you don't fly Fridays or Sundays, you can get the deal for $499.

 

The pass is good for travel between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6 and is on sale through Friday, Aug. 20, or until supplies run out.

The promotion was wildly popular last year and sold out early. People used the pass for all kinds of travel, from tours of music venues to job searches, The Associated Press reported. The airline garnered a lot of publicity as people shared their travels on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

 

The pass, which sold for $599 last year, is an even better deal this year, because airfares have risen, George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com, told AP.

 

Does your boss want you to "operationalize" or "eat your own dog food"?

By Karen Datko Aug 17, 2010 3:47PM

Yesterday we learned how to use new software to detect unwanted tone in e-mails before we send. Today we'll focus on how to rid our work communication of jargon.

You know the drivel we're talking about: "action items," "cradle-to-grave," "creatives" and "drink the Kool-Aid," to name a few. A fun website called Unsuck It offers substitutes for awful expressions you've heard too much of.

 

The site lets you type in your phrase of choice and offers the "unsucked" substitution. Or, you can scroll through the glossary.

 

Some examples:

 

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