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More homeowners are making extra cash by renting their properties to vacationers. But it may not be legal where you live.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 8, 2010 2:00PM

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


The next time you travel, consider a setting that's unique and potentially more comfortable than a hotel: renting a home from a private homeowner.

The idea is simple: Instead of cramming yourself into a tiny hotel room, rent an entire house. You win by getting a lot more space and amenities for a similar price. The homeowner wins by bringing in extra cash.


The online retailer is enlisting help from customers to pressure manufacturers to use packaging that's easier to open.

By Karen Datko Sep 8, 2010 12:18PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


For the last two years, online retailer has been on a mission to persuade manufacturers to make product packages that are easier for consumers to open. The results so far have been less than stellar.

According to The New York Times, Amazon has been able to persuade manufacturers to make easier-to-open packages for only about 600 of the millions of products Amazon sells. Traditional retailers like products in large cases and multiple layers of plastic because it's believed to deter theft. Amazon says someone ordering online shouldn't have to deal with the frustration involved in liberating products from their packages. 


Thinking of purchases in terms of how long you have to work to pay for them is an effective way to control spending.

By Karen Datko Sep 8, 2010 10:26AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


One strategy that seems to work well for people looking to conquer bad spending habits is to convert purchases into hours of work.

A latte, the classic enemy of frugalists everywhere, doesn't seem too expensive because it's only $4. However, if you earn the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that's nearly half an hour of work -- before you take taxes into consideration. Is a cup of coffee worth a half-hour of your life?


This is why the strategy works. Here's how you can start using it.


Office Depot offers special deal to Facebook fans to promote its new shipping services. Offer is good for shipping 1 item.

By Teresa Mears Sep 8, 2010 10:23AM

Here's a deal we've never seen before: a 50%-off coupon for the U.S. Postal Service.


To get the coupon, you'll need to become a fan of Office Depot on Facebook. Click the photo on the wall post to get the coupon. And you'll need to ship today, Sept. 8, from Office Depot.


As much as we might be blinded to this fact by outsourcing trends and late-night comedy skits, CS reps are people, too.

By Karen Datko Sep 8, 2010 9:37AM

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


Bad customer-service experiences have become part of our collective narrative about modern life. Unmotivated CS reps, enraged callers, outsourced call centers on the other side of the globe are all part of our consumer assumptions the moment we pick up that phone with a sigh and mutter under our breath, "Once more into the breach." 

But with a little experience and some ground rules, I think that call to a customer-service center can be much more productive, if not outright pleasant. In various stages of my life I've sat on each end of that phone line and can offer eight strategies to stack the odds of success in your favor:


In the 1960s, everyone saved green stamps for future rewards. But are today's impatient consumers willing to wait?

By Teresa Mears Sep 7, 2010 2:39PM

In another example of "What's old is new again," Albertsons grocery stores are returning to a classic loyalty program: stamps customers can redeem for cookware.

As other stores offer coupons on cell phones and other high-tech loyalty programs, Albertsons is hoping that its retro promotion will bring back the incredible loyalty customers once had for S&H green stamps.


The Internet is smoking with discussion about whether to end all government interventions and let nature take its course.

By Karen Datko Sep 7, 2010 1:42PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


After trying every stimulus and lever known to economists to rescue the housing market -- and failing -- the country should just let go and allow housing prices to fall as far as they will.

That's what a handful of housing and economic experts told The New York Times in a Sunday article, "Housing woes bring a new cry: Let the market fall." The Internet is now smoking with discussion about it.


Yes, I challenge incorrect prices. I do it to stay within my budget, not to ruin your day.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 7, 2010 11:03AM

I'm the grocery store customer who challenges the scanner. Yes, it slows things up a little. But I'm not going to pay $2.89 a pound just because someone forgot to tell the computer that hams are on sale this week.

That's me. And you? You might be the person behind me, grinding her teeth in frustration because I won't accept anything other than the advertised price.

My apologies if your checkout is delayed by 60 seconds. But that $1.90-per-pound savings times 8 pounds represents almost $16. My budget won't let me back down.



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