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Wells Fargo is the latest big bank no longer giving perks to new customers.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 30, 2011 3:34PM

This post comes from Truman Lewis at partner site


Wells Fargo has joined the no-debit-card-perks posse. The San Francisco bank says it will stop offering debit card reward programs to new customers, and says no decision has been made about current customers.


Chase did the same a few weeks ago, as did US Bank and PNC.


Faced with having to raise prices or admit they are delivering less, food manufacturers are trying to persuade consumers that they are doing them a favor.

By doubleace Mar 30, 2011 1:38PM

 This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


You're getting less for your dollar, or even less for more dollars, when you go to the grocery store these days. If you haven't noticed, it's probably because the downsizing of the actual food content is exceeded only by the cleverness of the repackaging.


That's no surprise. The cost of ingredients is rising rapidly, as are the costs of bringing the food from the farmer or rancher to you. And it is not a new tactic; the high-inflation pressures of the late 1970s made deception a growth industry.


Smaller profits are the mother of invention. And what's new this time around is the sales pitch. 


Health care credit cards put a pretty face on the price of plastic surgery and other elective medical procedures, but they come with risks, and they aren't your only option.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 30, 2011 11:57AM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


Americans spent more than $10 billion for about 13 million plastic surgeries last year, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says (.pdf file).


But unless a procedure is medically necessary, typical health insurance won't pay. A nose job that fixes a breathing problem? Sure. But one that just makes you look better? Nope. And to put a little salt in that wound, most cosmetic surgery isn't tax-deductible either.


So, how do people come up with the money for breast implants, tummy tucks, cosmetic dental work, and face lifts? One popular solution is a line of credit specifically for procedures like these.


It's a passive, business-as-usual approach to consumption that requires the very least of us.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 30, 2011 9:20AM

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


We live in a world that loves sound bites and oversimplifications. We embrace concepts that sound wonderful without much critical thought. All the noise around recycling is a classic example of what happens when an idea gets a lot of press, but in isolation doesn't really solve much.


The larger and more inclusive mantra of "reduce, reuse, and recycle" is the real game-changing idea, yet we often forget about the first two "R's" and what they truly mean. To me, the three R's are in descending order of importance. Here's why.


News from Japan and the Middle East have driven mortgage rates lower.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 3:05PM

This post comes from Amy Hoak at partner site MarketWatch.


MarketWatch on MSN MoneyAs world events dominated the news in recent weeks, mortgage rates enjoyed a reprieve from a climb that began late last year, keeping the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage down below 5% at the start of what is traditionally the home buying and selling season.

While multiple factors move mortgage rates and it's impossible to pinpoint the exact reason why they're up or down, we do know this: The tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster in Japan likely caused a flight to quality by worried investors, moving more money from riskier investments into safer U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities, said Robert Rauf, a mortgage banker with Real Estate Mortgage Network in Manasquan, N.J. Ditto for conflicts in the Middle East, including the current situation in Libya.


From supervising construction workers to bartending, women earn more than men -- sometimes a lot more. With video updates.

By MSNMoney partner Mar 29, 2011 2:43PM
Women still don't earn as much as men overall, but they're getting closer. Women now get about 81 cents for every dollar that men earn -- up from 76 cents in 2000, Forbes reports.

Men earn more in almost every type of job across the board. Except for 15 of them. A study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 15 professions in which women outearn men -- sometimes by a lot.

Would you believe that a construction supervisor is one of them? Men are 97% of the workers in the construction business, yet men earn below the median, at $963 a week, Forbes reports. Women earn slightly more, perhaps because they are more specialized or better trained.

Here are some other jobs in which women make more:

Post continues after video discussing the gender-pay gap: 

Things were going well for a married couple with kids until they got greedy and built a home they couldn't afford to keep.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 1:59PM

This guest post comes from Nickel at


The foreclosure crisis has been going on for a couple of years now, but it wasn't until this week that it really hit home. My wife called to tell me that our former neighbors -- I'll call them Bob and Sue -- had lost their house and would be moving to another state.


For background, I should note that Bob and Sue were part-time homebuilders for the better part of the past decade. While Bob worked full time and Sue stayed home with the kids, they also built houses on the side. Every couple of years, they'd start building a new house. When it neared completion, they would put it, along with their current house, on the market, and then live in whichever one didn't sell.


Our efforts to start investing or even pick a diet plan can be stymied when there are many options to consider. Here's how to pull the trigger.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 1:26PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


I've intended to buy a new mattress for, oh, about a year now. I've actually gone to Macy's and lain down on probably 20 or so mattresses to figure out what I like and don't like. I've looked at reviews of mattresses online, and at one point was pretty close to pulling the trigger.


But I haven't. This is probably a 10-year investment, and I feel a lot of pressure to make the right choice. So instead I've continued to sleep on my too small, cheap Sealy that gets way too hot in summer and is surely less comfortable than even the least comfortable mattress I've tried out.


Even if there is a better mattress at a better price out there for me, getting a less-than-ideal mattress is better than the status quo. So why can't I make a decision?



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