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Buy a new refrigerator, and you could see your utility bills drop because of new energy-efficiency standards.

By MSN Money Partner 3 hours ago

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you've been thinking about replacing your refrigerator, now may be the time to buy.

New federal efficiency standards for fridges could reduce energy use by up to 25 percent, compared with 10-year-old models, potentially saving you big bucks on your utility bill, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Maytag energy efficient four-door refrigerator
 © PRNewsFoto/Whirlpool CorporationBased on recommendations from energy-efficiency proponents and appliance manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Energy issued revised standards for refrigerators and freezers in August 2011, the Appliance Standards Awareness Project said. Those new standards took effect Sept. 15.

A manufacturers association press release said a fridge built under the new rules offers significant savings:

In 1978, the average 18-cubic-foot, top-mount freezer refrigerator consumed about 2,250 kilowatt-hours per year. Today’s top-mount refrigerator has a larger average capacity, about 19.7 cubic feet, and uses just 412 kilowatt-hours per year. That equates to an electric utility savings of about $220 per year.

Be sure you know the ins and outs of sharing a credit card account before you and your partner sign up.

By 3 hours ago
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site on MSN MoneyIt's exciting for a couple to move in together. All of the sudden, their facilities and utilities are being shared, and it is not uncommon for couples to explore sharing their finances. While most joint bank accounts are a straightforward arrangement, a joint credit card account can be much more complicated.

Couple with paperwork © IT Stock Free, JupiterimagesWhat are joint credit card accounts?

A joint credit card account is one that has two primary account holders of equal status. That means that both joint account holders have access to the line of credit, and all other credit card functions such as disputing charges, transferring a balance, reporting a card lost or stolen, requesting a credit limit increase or closing the account. Joint account holders are also able to redeem any rewards available.

Also, joint credit card account holders have equal responsibility to repay any debts charged to their cards.


Pretax flexible spending accounts can help you save money, especially now that the use-it-or-lose-it rule has changed.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago

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


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou may be missing out on a money-saving perk at work: a flexible spending account. Today's FSA is more user-friendly than it used to be.

FSAs allow workers to set aside a pretax portion of their paycheck for eligible health care expenses, like eye or dental care, fertility treatments and other medical expenses that your health insurance doesn't cover.

Insurance Money © Comstock Images/JupiterimagesMany Americans shied away from FSAs in the past because of the use-it-or-lose-it policy, which required that you forfeit any money left in your FSA at year's end. Then the U.S. Treasury Department revised the policy late last year. Now employees can roll over up to $500 of unspent FSA money.

The New York Times reports:

Some employers made the change right away, but adoption was limited because the rule was announced after open enrollment was already underway at many workplaces. More employers are expected to adopt the carry-over for 2015, which means their workers will be made aware of it this fall. "Every indication is that most are choosing to offer the rollover opportunity," said Robert Natt, executive chairman of Alegeus Technologies, which provides payment systems for employers and benefits administrators that offer various tax-favored accounts.

Review your insurance benefit information during open enrollment this fall to see if your employer offers an FSA and has adopted the new rollover policy.


Keep all of your plastic in order and your finances won't suffer.

By 4 hours ago
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site on MSN MoneyThere are some good reasons that credit card users may want to have multiple accounts open at the same time.

Often, cardholders are trying to take advantage of the unique benefits of different cards, such as bonus rewards for certain categories of spending. Some earn tremendous amounts of points and miles through generous sign-up bonuses. Others choose to have multiple credit cards in order to expand their credit history and improve their credit scores.

Credit card and computer © Stockbyte/SuperStockRegardless of the reasons for having multiple credit cards, cardholders will need to some way to keep track of their spending.


Airline co-branded credit cards can save you lots of money. But be careful: They can come with big annual fees.

By MSN Money Partner 4 hours ago

This post comes from Summer Hull at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyMost of us are initially attracted to one of the multitude of airline co-branded credit cards out there because of the 30,000-, 50,000-, or sometimes even 100,000-mile sign-up bonuses that are offered. Don't get me wrong, those miles are very valuable, but many airline credit cards can do more than just earn you frequent-flier miles.

Airline © Blend Images/SuperStockThey can also save you money by helping you avoid some pesky airline fees.

This savings can be huge. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation said U.S.-based airlines charged $3.35 billion in baggage fees alone. That doesn't count the additional fees the airlines charge for changing your flight, early boarding, premium seat assignments, on-board food, and more.

There are some situations where there is nothing you can do to avoid airline fees, but in other cases a simple co-branded airline credit card will protect you from certain fees, such as checked bag fees, or even save you some money on on-board purchases. Here are examples:


One online calculator tells a reader he's on track, and another tells him he'll need to save half his salary from now until he retires. Which one are you supposed to believe?

By MSN Money Partner 5 hours ago

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWe all hate something. Almost everybody hates taxes. My wife's family hates the Red Sox. Me? I hate online calculators.

Financial adviser talking with clients © NULL/CorbisFor a textbook example of why, here's this week's reader question:

I checked the calculators you provided in your recent article "8 reasons your parents had an easier retirement than you will." AARP said that I was over target, Bloomberg had me right on, and the FINRA calculator said that I needed to save 50 percent of my income every year from now on to make my target.
How do we validate that the information we are getting is accurate? There is no lack of information … but when they do not agree, how do we find what is good information? -- Kenneth

I'm not surprised Kenneth can't find an online calculator he can count on. Here are the reasons I've grown to hate many types of online calculators.


CareerCast has released its list of jobs that really aren't as glamorous as they seem.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 3:25 PM

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

Have you ever dreamed about the glamorous life of a lawyer or advertising executive? It turns out both jobs are anything but, despite what you may have seen on television with "Mad Men" or "Suits."

 Laws © Medio Images/SuperStock

High stress, weak hiring prospects for entry-level applicants and a so-so annual salary push advertising execs to the top of's new list of the most overrated jobs in America.

Here are the top five most overrated jobs for 2014:

  • Advertising account executive. The projected hiring outlook is negative 1 percent over the next eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Lawyer. If you want dramatic courtroom showdowns like those depicted on TV, think again. "Being a lawyer is a lot of long hours spent poring over reading material and memorizing precedents," CareerCast said.
  • Author. It's incredibly challenging (and competitive) to become a published author, especially if you want to write full time, CareerCast said.
  • Bookkeeper. Low pay and the threat of automation are hallmarks of bookkeeping.
  • Event coordinator. Despite a positive outlook for growth, event coordinators have to be able to adapt to a variety of clients and their demands. It's a "high-stress, high-pressure job," CareerCast said.

We've got some sensible suggestions (and a few "out there" ideas) to help you save money on baby-sitting.

By MSN Money Partner Mon 1:14 PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWhen was the last time you spent any quality time away from your little darlings? Can't remember? Then this is the article for you.

It doesn't matter how much you love them or how sweet they are; every parent's sanity can benefit from a little me time. I have five kids. I know.



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