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A Haiti relief worker who took advantage of T-Mobile's aid offer faces a hefty bill. Proposed FCC rules would target such 'bill shock.'

By Teresa Mears Oct 14, 2010 11:22PM

Kerfye Pierre, a 27-year-old federal government employee, was visiting a pregnant sister in Haiti when the earthquake struck last January. When T-Mobile offered free phone calls to, from and within Haiti, she had a U.S.-based friend get her a phone so she could communicate with friends and relatives in the U.S. while she helped with the relief effort.


Imagine her surprise when she found out the service she thought was free actually cost $34,872.


Apple hacks: 39 incredible, somewhat inedible uses for extras.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 9:07PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


The U.S. will produce about 9.4 billion pounds of apples this year (.pdf file) or just about 28.4 billion individual pieces of fruit. That's a lot of apples. Maybe too many to eat.

Fortunately, there are dozens -- no, hundreds -- wait, THOUSANDS of other uses for those delightful orbs of deliciousness, and CHG has 43 of 'em right here.

  1. Predict your romantic fortune. According to, throwing an apple peel over your shoulder could reveal the identity of a boyfriend-or-girlfriend-to-be, since it, "would form the initial of your lover's name." I'm guessing X and Q don't show up much.
  2. Practice your pumpkin carving. Test-whittle a pumpkin pattern on its smaller, cheaper fruit cousin, and you'll make fewer mistakes when it's showtime.
  3. Teach someone how to bunt.

Automotive reviews say General Motors' new 'all-electric' car is not that different from the Prius.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 6:45PM

This post comes from Truman Lewis at partner site


General Motors is hoping the "all-electric" Chevy Volt delivers a big charge to its domestic sales, but critics are making the shocking charge that the car is really a hybrid, more along the lines of the Toyota Prius, which uses both gas and electric engines in combination.

The controversy began with, Motor Trend, Popular Mechanics and other auto-focused scribes but has spread to the august New York Times, which harrumphed the other day that GM's insistence that the car is fully electric is "hard to understand."


A record-low rate of 4.19% is still not luring buyers, but more homeowners are refinancing.

By Teresa Mears Oct 14, 2010 12:53PM

Forty-four years ago, my parents took the big plunge and bought their first house. With a Veterans Administration loan, they got an interest rate of about 4%.

Who would have thought their grandchildren would be able to buy a house at the same interest rate all these years later? Well, they could if they had better jobs.


Yes, mortgage rates fell again this week, to an average of 4.19% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the lowest rate since Freddie Mac began keeping statistics in 1971. National Bureau of Economic Research statistics, from a time when loan rules were different, show that the last time we saw rates that low was 1951.


How to save on TVs and fridges this holiday season.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 11:41AM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromAnnaMaria Andriotisat partner site SmartMoney.


The holiday season may still be one Halloween away, but retailers are already gearing up for one of the hot gifts of the year: refrigerators.


According to many analysts, retailers are expected to offer more deals on home appliances and electronics in the run-up to the holidays than they did last year.


A mother's attempt to teach her daughter about budgeting backfires.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 9:45AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


Melinda writes in:

My 12-year-old daughter and I are having a money war of sorts. At the start of the school year last month we went shopping for clothes together. I said she could spend $250 any way she chose as long as she got a certain number of items -- some underwear, some socks, some jeans, some shirts, and so on. I told her that she could spend more, but it would come out of her allowance.
She proceeded to buy only the minimum amount of socks and underwear so she could buy another shirt that she liked. Now she's having to do laundry twice a week and is complaining all the time about it. I told her to use her allowance to buy the underwear and she says that's completely unfair. What do you think?

In short, know when to spend and when to save, and how to donate wisely.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 8:02AM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site USNews.


When you start earning a steady income for the first time, it's easy to spend too much on luxuries or to take on debt. But it's also the best time to set yourself on the path toward wealth.

These tips, based on my book "Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back," will help you spend smarter, save more, and even give back to the causes you believe in.


Save one-third of your income. Putting $1 out of every $3 you earn into the bank might sound like a lot, and it is.


Turning financial paperwork into confetti won't solve the whole problem. For that, laws need to change.

By Money Staff Oct 13, 2010 10:08PM

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


Liz Pulliam WestonShredding is good. I'm all for shredding. But shredding isn't enough.


But safely destroying old financial records alone isn't enough to protect your identity. Neither is buying a locking mailbox, safeguarding your Social Security card, monitoring your accounts online, using anti-virus and anti-spyware software or being careful what you post on Facebook.

All of these steps can help, of course, but some of the biggest threats to your identity lie beyond your control -- in the big databases of your personal financial information that companies gather, sell and often fail to protect.



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