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Some employers offer them as a benefit, but are you better off with a la carte?

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2010 12:21PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

A few years ago, my former company began offering prepaid legal plans as an employee benefit. I forget the exact terms of the deal but it worked a lot like medical insurance. You paid a set amount each month and you had access to the plan’s pool of lawyers. The pool could prepare certain documents for you, such as a will, and you could have consultations several times a year.

 

As young professionals, none of my friends took advantage of the plan because there didn’t seem to be a need for it, but I wondered whether prepaid legal plans were worth it.

 

Loyalty has its rewards -- but it can also cost you.

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2010 11:09AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Trying to spur sales, retailers have begun offering extra perks to their biggest spenders. Starbucks last week unveiled a new rewards program that separates members into one of three tiers, based on how often they visit. Higher-tier members get free drinks, free refills and lots of extra coupons. Microsoft is also testing a three-tier approach to its Xbox LIVE Rewards Program.

 

Such tiers have become essential in the down economy, says Kelly Hlavinka, a partner at Colloquy, a loyalty marketing research firm. The chance for better rewards in these free programs entices shoppers to consolidate their spending. “It really puts out a carrot for consumers to strive for,” she says.

 

But should you bite?

 

Settle your debts for pennies on the dollar. Hype or hope? Let's find out.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 19, 2010 9:19AM

Debt-settlement companies are advertising a lot these days on TV, radio and online. Their ads will say something like “Reduce your debt balances 40-60%! Be debt-free in 12 to 36 months!”

 

Sounds tempting, but is it worth it? I’d be super careful

 

The lawsuit accused the food giant of making false 'no antibiotics' claims.

By Karen Datko Jan 18, 2010 3:08PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Tyson Foods has agreed to a settlement in a class-action lawsuit accusing the food giant of falsely claiming that its chickens were “raised without antibiotics.”

 

Under the proposed settlement, Tyson will pay consumers up to $5 million, with each class member eligible to receive up to $50. If there is money left over, Tyson will donate the difference to food banks. The agreement also provides for $3 million in attorneys' fees.

 

Spending on meals out has grown noticeably but I've also made progress in another important area.

By Karen Datko Jan 18, 2010 10:39AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

Every January since I started Get Rich Slowly, I’ve done an annual roundup of my discretionary spending. That’s not going to happen this year. The numbers are hopelessly muddled by events that created under-reporting in some categories and over-reporting in others. (Kris and I paid for our 2010 vacations in 2009, for example.)

 

Rather than sort things out, I want to talk about a couple of my spending habits instead. One is a worrisome trend, and one is a thing I’m doing right.

 

Here's how to find the right one.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 18, 2010 10:29AM

For the next several months, I’m doing TV news stories and writing blog entries that are designed to help you find motivation, methods and extra money to pay off debt.

 

But this story is for those who can't yet embark on a debt-destroying mission because their debt is currently destroying them. 

 

The retailer charges for reusable shopping bags as part of its effort to help the environment.

By Teresa Mears Jan 15, 2010 4:36PM

In another effort to go green, Wal-Mart has quit providing free bags to customers at three of its stores in Northern California.

 

According to The Sacramento Bee, the move is part of an experiment to see whether customers are willing to bring their own bags to help the environment. If they forget bags, they can buy reusable bags from Wal-Mart in two sizes, for 15 cents and 50 cents. The company is also training checkers to put more in each bag.

 

I don't expect a dollar to fund my dream. But I won't sweat an occasional greenback spent on the weekly drawing.

By Donna_Freedman Jan 15, 2010 1:40PM
Every now and then I buy a lottery ticket.

I'll pause for a moment to give some of you the chance to draw in a big ol' breath of righteous indignation.

All puffed up now? Let's hear it:  

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