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She takes her case to YouTube, won't pay bill

By Teresa Mears Sep 15, 2009 5:56PM

Ann Minch is mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore.


Like many, she has seen the interest rate on her credit card jacked up (in her case, to 30%), even though she made all the payments on time, wasn't over her limit and didn't in any way violate Bank of America's rules. She had been making the minimum payment on her account for years, about $130 a month.


After trying, and failing, to get the interest rate reduced, she has, in her words "fired the first shot in the debtors' revolution" by refusing to pay another cent of her $5,943.34 debt unless Bank of America returns the interest rate to its previous level, 12.99%. She has staked out her position in this YouTube video, which has circulated widely on the Internet and has been viewed more than 150,000 times.


Frugality forces us to look at our priorities

By Teresa Mears Sep 15, 2009 4:16PM

The French president has suggested that economic indicators such as gross domestic product take into account some of a nation's more intangible assets: happiness, leisure time, availability of health care.


France looks pretty good by some of those indicators -- great food, beautiful buildings and countryside, a 35-hour work week and five weeks' paid vacation. Alas, using intangible features such as happiness to calculate economic statistics is probably not practical.


But we think Nicolas Sarkozy has a great point when it comes down to measuring our own personal gross domestic product. Are the things that make us happy really how much we own and how much we produce, or do other intangibles matter more? Does having a granite countertop really make people happier?


Overpaying your taxes is one of them

By Karen Datko Sep 15, 2009 12:38PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog


One of the biggest challenges in almost anything you do is knowing where your blind spots are. In simpler terms, you don't know what you don't know.


So, today I'll point out four money mistakes you might be making that you don't even realize you're making. Hopefully, you're making none of them. If you are making one of these, don't beat yourself up over it. Now you know you're making it and you can take steps to fix it.


Carriers love them, others not so much

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:59PM

That $29 or $39 one-way airfare sounds great, but before you buy, hold the phone until you've added in all the airline fees. Suddenly that ticket isn't such a great deal. (And don't buy it over the phone. That too will cost you extra.)


Airline fees are here to stay, no matter how confusing or annoying they are, USA Today reports. The story also says:

Sorting out the airlines' fees can be a time-consuming task. It took a week for a USA Today reporter -- who, unlike most consumers, was assisted by airline public relations staff -- to compile 28 different types of fees charged by 14 major airlines.

Holy buckets.


Here's what to do

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:33PM

Your cell phone, pager or iPod has fallen into the toilet bowl, swimming pool or kitchen sink full of water. You fish it out. After you've washed your hands -- depending on the circumstance -- what can you do?


FiscalGeek offers five techniques for restoring the gadget to life in a post called "Frugal fix: Revive your cell phone or electronic devices from water damage." He starts with his "go-to" method, which involves rubbing alcohol.


Motor home community is in Lot B

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:24PM

Here's the strangest proof we've seen to date that the airline industry ain't what it used to be. According to the Los Angeles Times, airline pilots and other employees are living in a collection of 100 campers and RVs in Parking Lot B of Los Angeles International Airport, less than 3,500 feet from the south runway.


It has the feel of a modern-day shantytown, replete with the sounds and smell of jets coming in for a landing at the nation's third busiest airport. Parking the motor home at a Wal-Mart sounds glamorous compared with this.


Michigan Republican proposes new tax break

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:05PM
Is this an idea whose time has come? A new bill in the U.S. House would allow pet owners to deduct up to $3,500 for "qualified pet-care expenses" for household pets, including vet bills.


Would the so-called HAPPY (Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years) Act give pet owners a break they deserve? Would it encourage more people to adopt abandoned or neglected pets? Would we finally be able to list some dependents on our income tax return? (Others have attempted -- unsuccessfully -- to use their pets as deductions.)

Bing: New tax deductions

Actually, the bill has some serious goals, according to, including:


New study confirms what many say

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:54PM

You know what people always say when they complain that the credit card company slashed their credit limit: I've never missed a payment or been late.


Quite likely, a new study shows, they aren't lying.


The study by FICO, originators of the FICO credit score, found that of the 33 million people whose credit limits were reduced between October and April, 24 million had no new marks against them in their credit reports that would prompt a card issuer to tighten the reins.



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