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More banks are paying you to open accounts, but 'free' money has a cost.

By Karen Datko Nov 3, 2010 12:26PM

This Deal of the Day comes from AnnaMaria Andriotis at partner site SmartMoney.


There is no such thing as free money -- unless, of course, you want to open a checking account. Several banks have started offering cold, hard cash to get new customers in the door.


But hidden in the fine print are fees and rules that will wipe out the windfall.


Cash incentive offers have more than doubled over the last year, says Schwark Satyavolu, chief executive of, which tracks bank account trends.


The chaos that moving creates affects all aspects of our lives.

By Karen Datko Nov 3, 2010 8:38AM

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


The thought of moving is enough to strike fear in the hearts of the bravest souls. Relocating on the cheap -- without the benefit of a team of professional movers, a sea of boxes and bubble wrap, and a small fleet of vans -- well, that's just plain hard.

But, for most of us, high-end moving services aren't part of our reality, and moving involves straining the bonds of friendship, frustrating all-night packing marathons, and eating croutons and bacon bits for lunch because we've packed the rest of the food.


With some simple preparation, a laser-like focus, and lots of patience, moving on a budget can be less of a hassle. Here are eight tips for successful DIY moving:


Brazilian court orders fast-food giant to pay former employee who gained 65 pounds on the job.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 7:33PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


McDonald's has lost a high-profile obesity lawsuit, with a Brazilian court ordering the fast-food giant to pay $17,500 to a former manager who says he gained 65 pounds while working at a franchise.

The employee, whose identity was not made public, said he went from about 155 to 231 pounds during his time with the company. The plaintiff said the random presence of "mystery clients" -- who are tasked with visiting franchises and evaluating their food quality, cleanliness and customer service -- made him feel obliged to sample the food every day.


What if doctors' offices were like the gym: pay $50 to $150 monthly and come as often as you like -- without insurance? It's already available.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 2, 2010 6:10PM

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


You've probably heard of Doctors Without Borders. Maybe it's time for doctors without insurance.


Thanks to a little-known provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as health care reform, beginning in 2014 a new type of medical practice will be allowed to compete within state-based insurance exchanges. They're called direct primary care practices or "medical homes."

By eliminating insurance companies from the health care equation, these practices promise to lower the cost of medical care by up to 40% -- according to some experts -- the amount sucked up by insurance company profit and overhead.


There are subtle differences between these two huge shopping days, so you need a strategy.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 4:27PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.


In the holiday spending smackdown, there are two big shopping days when people start opening their wallets and crossing off their lists.


One is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when people have traditionally camped out in the cold for hot in-store deals. The other is Cyber Monday, a flurry of online-only sales three days later. 

What's the difference? Increasingly, not that much, says Dan de Grandpre, CEO of, as retailers shift more Black Friday deals to the Web. But there are some subtle differences that can help you plan your shopping strategy.


Housing was looking good for a while but prices are falling again. One expert predicts they'll drop 8% more.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 3:52PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


The question on the lips of many homeowners in America is: How much longer will my home's value be sliding down the drain?


No one knows, of course. But a useful activity -- even if it's not comforting -- is watching the direction of housing prices around the country. (Tell us how you are getting through this. Would you rather just cover your eyes?)

Even if you don't have a dog -- er, a home -- in this race, the fate of housing is the fate of the whole economy. So we've all got a stake in the outcome.


Companies are charging customers for roadside assistance, unless they pay a daily fee up front. But whose fault is a flat?

By Teresa Mears Nov 2, 2010 2:18PM

Just in case you don't have enough fees when you travel, the rental car industry is piling on more.

It's not just the "privilege fee" or the "energy surcharge" or the fee for an extra driver.


Now if THEIR car has trouble on the road and you haven't paid the daily roadside assistance fee, you may pay extra for a repair, such as fixing a flat tire.


This maker of fine cotton stationery is also the sole provider of currency paper to the U.S. government.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 12:44PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


Who is Crane & Co. and why would we want to know 10 fun facts about it? Open up your wallet or your purse and pull out a bill. Crane & Co. manufactures the paper the money is printed on.


In fact, Crane & Co. actually prints money for Sweden, Saudi Arabia and India, and supplies currency paper to a number of other countries. While they're also a high-end stationery provider, 80% of their revenue is from currency business accounts.


Here are a few more fun facts about Crane & Co.:



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