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Cheap LED light bulbs cost more upfront -- between $8 to $10 apiece -- but begin to pay off within 18 months.

By Cheapism.com 4 hours ago
This post comes from Elizabeth Sheer at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyAt the beginning of the year, standard 40- and 60-watt incandescent bulbs began their slow fade into obsolescence for both manufacture and sale. In their stead, consumers are turning to LED bulbs, a relatively recent entry into the realm of indoor lighting. LED bulb prices dipped into $10 territory this year, and we found some that are even cheaper.

That's still a lot of dough for a light source. But LED bulbs last up to 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. And they are light years ahead of the CFL bulbs that constituted the first wave of replacement lighting. LEDs light up instantly, stay cool, work in low temperatures, and don't contain mercury, which requires responsible disposal.

LED light bulbs © Scott Olson/Getty Images
We researched five brands to see how long it would take for the cost of an LED bulb to break even with that of an old-school incandescent. Based on manufacturers' data for yearly operating costs, plus the upfront cost of the bulb, the cheap LEDs on our list break even with an incandescent within 18 months.
 

PCs and travel are hot, big-screen TVs and Apple aren't so much, in our August Buying Guide.

By DealNews.com 6 hours ago
This article comes from Lindsay Sakraida and Louis Ramirez at partner site DealNews.

Deal News on MSN MoneyAugust is a brilliant month for many reasons. It's veering towards the end of the summer season, which means clearance sales galore; it features a holiday weekend that will usher in big department store sales; and the kids will start heading back to school soon, so us adults can get back to our normal, screech-free schedules.

All of this makes August an excellent month, and to celebrate, we're taking at a look at what's good and bad to buy for the next 31 days. (It's mostly good!) We waded through our archives of sales, coupons, and daily deals, and also looked to current product trends, to find out. Read our guide, and be sure to sign up for the DealNews Select Newsletter so you don't miss one of the best deals.  

Not using the magic plastic properly and responsibly can be ruinous to your credit rating and financial health.

By MSN Money Partner 8 hours ago

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCredit cards are like a double-edged sword. They can be quite beneficial if used wisely, or wreak havoc on your finances and your credit if handled irresponsibly.


Cutting up a Credit card © Floresco Productions/Corbis To help prevent the latter from happening, here are some credit card sins you definitely want to avoid:


1. Ignoring your credit profile

When was the last time you accessed your credit profile and took the time to review the information in it?


It's easy to assume that your report is stellar because your past reviews indicated so. However, all it takes is one bad move on your part -- or that of a fraudster who has stolen your identity -- to lower your credit score.


Your credit report could also contain errors, which are commonplace these days, according to a Federal Trade Commission report released last year. As we previously told you:

 

Yes, you can actually eat, play or pamper yourself at these U.S. airports.

By MSN Money Partner 8 hours ago

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyNo one wants to be stuck in an airport, sitting for hours with nothing to do. But what if you could fill your down time with a massage or yummy eats from a renowned restaurant, or let your kids burn off some energy at a huge playground, all without leaving the airport?


Airport check-in © Comstock/CorbisIf you think that sounds too good to be true, you're wrong. According to Wendy Perrin of Travel Truth, many U.S. airports feature traveler-friendly activities, businesses and attractions for you or your entire family to enjoy.


So instead of grumbling the next time your flight is delayed by several hours at one of the popular airports below, you might want to make the most of your time by trying one of Perrin's many suggestions. Among them:

 

When it comes to sunglasses, the best product doesn't always go to the biggest spender. Here's why.

By MSN Money Partner 9 hours ago

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIt's summertime, so you know what that means -- trips to the beach with sunglasses perched on your nose. For some, the appearance and designer brand of their shades are just as important as those of their bathing suit and may even exceed its price.


The primary functions of sunglasses, whether designer or not, are to shield your eyes from the sun's harmful rays, to boost visibility by eliminating glare and provide an optimal level of comfort. So why do people insist on sporting the most stylish and expensive pair of frames?

 

When it comes to holiday shopping, a bargain is a bargain no matter what time of year it is.

By Credit.com 10 hours ago
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyTalk about Christmas in July. Carrie Rocha has already started her holiday shopping. "A few weeks back I picked up a $60 toy for $4, and, truth be told, I picked up a whole lot more than that," she wrote in an email. "I spent about $80 total and got $350+ in toys."


Gift © Brian Hagiwara, Brand X, CorbisIf you think the holidays start too early as it is, you may find her approach a bit overboard. But several years ago, Rocha and her husband dug out of debt, paying off some $50,000 in consumer debt, a process she detailed in her book and website PocketYourDollars.com. One of their strategies, she says, was to “stop pretending the holidays don’t come every year.”


Whether you want to think about it or not, the fact is the holidays will be here before you know it. So unless you have plenty of money to throw around or plan to forgo festivities altogether, now is the time to start planning for a debt-free and less stressful holiday.

 

Here are the things that drive customers batty.

By Credit.com Wed 6:22 PM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyA dissatisfied customer typically is not a quiet one: Venting to friends, launching a social media assault on the offending service provider and exchanging tense words with customer service representatives are among Americans' favorite ways of dealing with bad experiences. You can also reach out to agencies dedicated to resolving consumer issues, and because of those complaints, the Consumer Federation of America has a good idea of what bothers people most.


Angry businessman © Imagesource/CorbisToday, with the North American Consumer Protection Investigators, the CFA released its most recent edition of the top consumer complaints. The rankings are based on 268,380 complaints received in 2013 by 40 agencies in 23 states that responded to the national organizations' survey. The top issues remained the same as they were in 2012: issues with automobiles and associated services; home improvement and construction; and consumer credit and debt.


Consumers' biggest complaints

In their report, CFA and NACPI noted mostly the same local agencies responded to this and last year's survey, but some did not, and a few new ones reported 2013 complaints. As a result, the rankings are only a snapshot of top complaints to participating agencies, and shifts in rankings from previous years aren't necessarily indicative of an increase or decrease in problems within certain industries.


Here are the most common complaints among the thousands included in the report:

 

Most credit cards offer insurance protection if you use them to rent a car. But some have better coverage than others.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 5:49 PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou are standing at the desk of the car rental company and the agent asks, "Do you want the collision damage waivers?"


Customers Checking in Car Rental Agency © Lawrence Manning, CorbisUh … .


The moment of confusion

For a lot of us, this is a moment of confusion. Of course you don't want it. It's one more expense. In fact, the price of these damage "waivers" can nearly double the cost of your vehicle rental. (Supplemental insurance coverage offered by rental car companies is called a waiver because, when you pay for it, the company agrees to waive its right to collect for damages from you.)


But should you purchase the rental car waivers anyway, just to be safe?

 

You probably don't need it. The chances are good that you're already covered -- very likely by your credit card, and probably by your personal auto insurance, too.


What you may not know, however, is that some credit cards' rental car coverage is better than others.

 

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