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Shopping at Costco saves money, even after paying the $55 membership fee, but comes at the price of buying in bulk and limited selection.

By 6 hours ago
This post comes from Emily Lugg at partner site on MSN MoneyNowadays there are an endless number of ways to shop at a discount -- coupons, e-commerce, clearance racks, bargain stores, and membership clubs, just to name a few.

Costco Wholesale Store in Clarkton Wash. © Francis Dean/Rex FeaturesCostco is one of the most popular warehouse clubs nationwide, but how does it stack up against the conventional retail competition? With our $55 membership and a shopping list in hand, Cheapism decided to find out.

After comparing our shopping cart at Costco to comparable products found at Kohl's, Best Buy, Kroger, Staples, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, we calculated nearly $400 in savings on 19 items owing to our Costco club card. Shopping at Costco shaved 25 percent off the total bill elsewhere.

Debt collectors have their tricks of the trade to convince people they need to pay up big, right now.

By MSN Money Partner 9 hours ago

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyOwing on balances you can't afford is bad enough, so the last thing you need is a debt collector hounding you about it. And don't think for one minute that they'll cut you any slack. These folks are in it to win it, and they want to make as much money as they can.

Worried Man © CorbisUnfortunately, many take unfair and illegal advantage of debtors because many debtors lack basic knowledge about their rights. To avoid falling for collectors' traps, you must understand the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Federal Trade Commission explains some of your rights here.

Here are nine little-understood facts your debt collector doesn't want you to know:

1. You are not obligated to communicate with collection agencies

Tired of receiving the phone calls and letters from pushy collection representatives urging you to pay or else? You can stop those companies dead in their tracks with a cease-and-desist letter.

But understand that they may pursue legal action if you do so.


Your teenager probably still has a lot to learn about operating a motor vehicle.

By Money Staff 10 hours ago

This post comes from Paul A. Eisenstein at partner site CNBC.

CNBC on MSN MoneyTeenager drivers, who are often less experienced behind the wheel, are nearly three times as likely to be in a fatal car crash as drivers ages 20 and over. So the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued its first list of used vehicles that it most recommends for young motorists.

Woman with license © Blend Images, SuperStockThe organization put a premium on safety features such as airbags, electronic stability control and anti-rollover systems, and most of the recommended offerings are low on power. The picks offer something for almost every pocketbook, ranging in price from around $4,000 to $20,000.

"A teenager's first car is more than just a financial decision," said IIHS President Adrian Lund. "These lists of recommended used vehicles can help consumers factor in safety, in addition to affordability." 


Do you have $669 handy to pay for back-to-school supplies? If not, we've got 15 tips for you.

By MSN Money Partner 11 hours ago

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you have school-age kids, I hope you have an extra $669 in your bank account to spend in the next month.

According to the National Retail Federation (.pdf file), that's how much the average household will spend to send their K-12 students back to school this year. If you have a college student, expect your costs to creep up past $900 before you give that final wave goodbye.

But maybe you don't have $669 extra in your checking account. Well, we certainly don't want you to have to pull out the credit card. Instead, here's how to go back to school on the cheap.


Your bank may be charging that incredibly high amount if you overdraft your account with a debit card.

By 12 hours ago
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site on MSN MoneyWould you agree to pay a 17,000 percent APR for a loan? Of course not, but many consumers are paying stratospheric rates when they opt into overdraft programs offered by their financial institutions, according to a report released Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Woman surprised (© Purestock/SuperStock)I am one of them.

A few years ago, I used my debit card for a very small purchase -- less than $10 if I recall correctly -- but didn’t realize there wasn’t enough to cover it. (For fraud protection reasons I keep a very small amount of money in the account that my debit card is tied to. If I need to use it for a purchase or to get cash, I transfer in more from my other account.)

The fee for my $10 mistake was $35. Ouch.


An survey finds that Americans are open to -- and even eager for -- cars that drive themselves.

By QuinStreet 12 hours ago

This post comes from Mark Vallet at partner site on MSN MoneyAre you ready for a car that drives itself?

How about one without a steering wheel?


A Nissan Leaf outfitted as an autonomous drive vehicle on display at the North American International Auto Show© Jim West/Alamy

Results of a new survey from show many U.S. drivers are ready for a computer co-pilot, but less willing to hand over control completely.


The goal is simple: Use technology to get from Point A to Point B more safely and efficiently than drivers could ever do by themselves. But there are competing visions on how to get there.


Traditional automakers such as Nissan want to ease us into the computer-driven future as they slowly add autonomous features to traditional vehicles.


Google, on the other hand, wants to plunge straight into the deep end with podlike cars that lack a steering wheel, gas pedal and brakes.


The technology isn’t decades away. In many respects, it’s already here.


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

By Thu 5:55 PM
This post comes from Elizabeth Sheer at partner site 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 Thu 3:10 PM
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.  


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