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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?


Our honest financial look at 11 years in one home proves what one blogger labels 'an ugly truth.' Still, it was worth it.

By doubleace Mar 29, 2011 12:13PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

Looking back, it seemed so simple when it came to our home purchases: Buy low, sell high.

We first bought in 1970, paying $15,500 for a three-bedroom, two-bath on a 50-by-100-foot lot on a tree-lined street in southeast Portland, Ore.

Eleven years later, we sold for $65,000 and bought a 2,700-square-foot brick English Tudor, also three bedrooms and two baths, in north Seattle. Cost: $72,000.


The New York Times is now charging for digital content for nonsubscribers. But with a little ingenuity, there are ways to scale the pay wall.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 29, 2011 11:31AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


The New York Times has begun charging for its digital content -- a big deal because the venerable newspaper churns out so many exclusive stories and fascinating graphics (for example, this one, which lets you figure out how to balance the federal deficit).


If you are a home delivery subscriber of the Times, you still have unlimited free access to their news online. But if you're not, what used to be free now costs $15 a month for access to the website and mobile app -- or $20 a month for both the website and the iPad app. Want the website, phone, and iPad in one package?


Are these sites a good deal or just a way to trick you into spending money on something you don't need?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 29, 2011 10:03AM

This post comes from Miranda Marquit at partner site Bargaineering.


"Social shopping" has become very popular. Through websites like LivingSocial and Groupon, it's possible to get discounts on products and services in your local area. Social deal websites send you tips about which deals are available, and then you can go spend money -- getting sometimes half off or more -- on different items.


One of the questions you have to ask yourself as you sign up for Living Social, Groupon or any other social deal site is this: Am I really saving money? Or are you just looking for a reason to spend it?


Not all service members know their rights, and some banks foreclose anyway. Don't let this happen to you.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 28, 2011 6:39PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at MSN Money.


At least 18 active-duty service members have lost their homes to foreclosure recently.


Didn't these sailors, soldiers, Marines and reservists know that they're protected from foreclosure by a law called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act? And that they can get free legal assistance if they run into trouble with their banks?


Apparently, they did not.


Call us naïve but it's hard to believe that the branches of the armed services aren't drilling their personnel on their financial protections. It's not as if the mortgage crisis happened yesterday.


After years of rationalizing that I was better off without one, I have to collapse under the weight of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

By doubleace Mar 28, 2011 1:50PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


If you are a bit like me -- not adverse to technology but perhaps a little reluctant to embrace it -- then you should read "Spoiled by the All-in-One Gadget."


The New York Times' Sam Grobart postulates that the smartphone is not just a useful tool and source of endless entertainment, but also the biggest money-saver since the clip-out coupon. And he makes a darn fine case.


If you're doing anything on this list, you may have taken your frugal lifestyle to the dark side.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 28, 2011 12:20PM

This guest post comes from Angela Colley at Money Crashers.


My dad is a hoarder -- no, not the kind that needs an intervention on the "Hoarders" television show. Just the kind who has managed to cram every cabinet, shelf and drawer in his house to the gills with tools, already-used nails, paper clips, pens, and other useful things. His theory is that the more he has on hand, the less he'll have to buy down the road.


And honestly, the theory works to a point. I cannot tell you how many times growing up he saved me from having to run to the store and buy staples or magic markers or glue for a school project the night before it was due.


That said, on a quest for frugality there is a point when you've simply gone too far.


Sick of researching to find the best hospital in your area, or scared to death of how much it might cost? We have advice to help you make a healthy choice for your care.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 28, 2011 11:31AM

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


The best health care is just what the doctor ordered -- but it's not always what the patient gets. Hospitals are not all the same, and knowing the differences can save not only money but maybe your life.


According to a February report (.pdf file) from, "Patients have, on average, a 28.59% lower chance of dying at America's 50 Best Hospitals compared to all other hospitals across 17 procedures and conditions," including heart attack, stroke and respiratory failure.



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