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They're designed to separate you from your money. How to come out ahead.

By Karen Datko Oct 28, 2010 9:32AM

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


Looking for a good deal? How's 50% off sound? Once a bargain-basement super deal, getting half off is now about what shoppers can -- and should -- expect from a sale, experts say.

And in preparation for the holiday rush, stores have figured out how to give it to them and still turn a profit.


Many Americans think they'll be working past age 65 -- and some are OK with that.

By Money Staff Oct 27, 2010 7:24PM

This post comes from MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston.


Liz Pulliam WestonFrance threw a collective hissy fit at the idea of moving that nation's minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.


Here in the U.S., we shook our heads in wonder. A recent survey by Sun Life Financial found 52% of respondents believe they'll have to work at least three years longer than originally planned because of economic conditions and lack of savings, with just as many expecting to retire at 70 as at 65.

Many of my readers despair of ever being able to retire, and those who think they will often pick age 70 as the point they'll quit work.


 "I'm 57 and I'd love to retire now, but there's no way financially!" a reader named Pam Buford from Kearney, Mo., confided on my Facebook fan page. "I'll probably have to work until I drop!"


The right debt-relief agency can really make a difference. The wrong one will destroy your peace of mind and your credit.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 27, 2010 4:35PM

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


You've probably seen the commercials on TV and heard them on the radio: "Debt-free in 24 to 36 months! One low monthly payment!"


These kinds of promises are often a lie. Not all debt-relief agencies are scams, but many aren't going to help you. In fact, they can seriously hurt you by wasting your time, your money, and potentially trashing your credit history.

Luckily, a new federal rule, which took effect this week, makes life more difficult for companies doing a reprehensible thing -- ripping off consumers seeking help with overwhelming debt. It's the very definition of kicking people when they're down.


A fast-growing salmon is on track to be the first genetically modified animal sold for human consumption.

By Karen Datko Oct 27, 2010 3:22PM

This post comes from Martha Lynn Craver of partner site


A fast-growing genetically engineered salmon is a good bet for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. It would be the first genetically modified animal sold as food.


Dubbed "Frankenfish" by opponents, the new version of Atlantic salmon was developed by AquaBounty Technologies. It grows almost twice as fast as farm-raised salmon, thanks to one growth hormone gene from a chinook salmon and another from an eel called the ocean pout. The application has been pending before the agency for well over 10 years.


The average 30-year fixed rate is expected to jump above 5% next year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

By Money Staff Oct 27, 2010 2:00PM

This post comes from Amy Hoak at partner site MarketWatch.


Mortgage rates may be as low as they'll get -- rates are on course to rise, slowly moving toward 5% by the end of next year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's economic forecast, released Tuesday at the group’s annual convention in Atlanta.

The group predicts rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will average 4.4% in the fourth quarter of 2010, increasing to a 4.7% average in the first quarter of 2011, and climbing to 5.1% by the end of next year. That’s barring any "blockbuster" announcement from the Federal Reserve next month, said Jay Brinkmann, chief economist of the MBA.


The Fed has said it could take more policy actions to stimulate growth, and Brinkmann said that's likely to come in the form of an additional purchase of Treasury securities. But the market has already anticipated that, and the move has already been priced into current rates, he added.


Will scapula meat be an acceptable alternative to actual wing parts? Wing lovers are eager to find out.

By Karen Datko Oct 27, 2010 12:46PM

This post comes from Neema P. Roshania at partner site


Mmm, chicken wings fried and dipped in hot sauce. The tasty morsels are so popular that chicken producers have difficulty keeping up with demand. After all, chickens have only two wings each, with two edible parts per wing.

So-called boneless wings -- small bits of breast meat fried and served with sauce à la wings -- are acceptable substitutes for some folks, but true wing aficionados say they're no replacement for the real thing.

Now comes perhaps a more promising solution to the wing shortage: meat cuts that include the two scapula bones and their surrounding meat and skin.


We sifted through lots of suggestions on the Web to find you our favorites.

By Karen Datko Oct 27, 2010 11:25AM

Halloween is just days away, and you have not the faintest clue about your costume.


Not to worry, even if you don't have much cash. Lots of blogs have inexpensive suggestions, like "85 easy, frugal Halloween costume ideas" from our partner Wise Bread. If adult and edgy appeals to you, there's Coupon Sherpa's "30 trendy Halloween costume ideas for 2010."


But that's just the start. There's a lot to sift through on the interwebs. Some are throwbacks. (If you showed up in jammies and silk robe, with pipe in hand, how many people would guess "Hugh Hefner"? ) Some are silly. ("Wrap yourself in wrapping paper with a tag: 'From: God, To: Women.' What are you? God's gift to women." We think not.)

Since not everyone can be Lady Gaga -- or can they? -- a hugely popular choice this year, we've identified some of our favorite fast and frugal costumes to help you out.


Inexpensive doesn't have to mean boring, especially when bubbles and balloons are involved.

By Karen Datko Oct 27, 2010 10:27AM

This post comes from Craig Ford at partner blog Wise Bread.


My daughter recently turned 5. In case you don't know, birthday parties are a big deal to a 5-year-old.


Our family lives in a Third World country, so we knew we'd have to get creative when it came time to plan our frugal birthday games. In the end, we came up with some great games that the kids absolutely loved.


My wife and I loved the fact that we spent less than $10 on the games.



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