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A merger could increase the number and cost of travel fees.

By Karen Datko May 3, 2010 9:58AM

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


Investors have already digested many of the implications of a merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines. Now, consumers should brace themselves for one in particular: new fees.


After years of sputtering merger talks, the two carriers announced a deal to combine operations this morning. The new airline would be the world’s largest, in terms of the number of passengers carried. During 2009, Continental and United carried more than 77.4 million passengers on domestic flights alone, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Delta, the current record-holder, carried 55.6 million domestic passengers over the same period.


Fusing Continental and United may affect a variety of customer services, including fare sale policies and frequent-flier miles. But the carriers’ differing approaches to fees could also mean added costs for many fliers -- particularly Continental fans.


Some widely held beliefs aren't true. It really pays to do your own research.

By Karen Datko May 3, 2010 8:52AM

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


When I sat down to write “Your Money: The Missing Manual,” I knew I wanted to start with a chapter on happiness. (Well, to be fair, I was going to conclude the book with this chapter; my editor suggested moving it to the beginning, which was a stroke of genius.) In particular, I wanted to make the point that money doesn’t buy happiness. Because we all know that’s true, right?


Well, not so much, as it turns out.


And, in all honesty, should I really care?

By Karen Datko Apr 30, 2010 2:44PM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


I keep seeing these middle-class factoids from U.S. News & World Report at other personal-finance blogs (including Free Money Finance) so I thought I’d join in. I hadn’t looked through them all yet, but I was willing to guess that, yes, I am middle class. Let’s see if I’m wrong, though, shall we?


The middle-class matchup:

  • Income: “For the 50% of families in the middle of the scale, household income ranges from $51,000 to $123,000 for a typical four-person, two-parent family. The median is about $81,000.”
    • J$: Between my full-time gig, side hustles, and the wife’s TA position, we fall a little under $100k.

Those blank checks in the mail from your card company can be very costly.

By Karen Datko Apr 30, 2010 12:45PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Have you ever received blank checks from a credit card company? We get them all the time. A letter comes in the mail from one of our credit card issuers, and inside are a bunch of perforated “convenience” checks -- and a lot of legal jargon, too.


The idea of writing a check without drawing down your checking account can be really enticing. It can also cost you an arm and a leg.


So we thought it was time to take a closer look at exactly what convenience checks are, and the pros and cons of using them.


Hear your favorite author talk. Maybe there will be snacks. And no, you don't HAVE to buy a book.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 30, 2010 11:52AM
Earlier this week I attended a book signing by New York Times food writer Kim Severson. Her new book, "Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life," is getting plenty of positive press.

Severson confessed to a case of the hometown jitters: She used to work at the Tacoma News Tribune and some of her old softball buddies were in the audience. But even the people who'd never been on her team were charmed by the author's wit and candor, and by her reading of two parts of the book.

The free wine and chocolate handed out ahead of time didn't hurt a bit, either.  

Free museum admission and coupons for burgers and bagels are among this week's Friday deals and freebies.

By Teresa Mears Apr 30, 2010 10:58AM

It’s another fine Friday, and that means it’s time for Friday food deals and freebies.


But we’re going to start with the inedible deals today.


Saturday, May 1, is Free Comic Book Day. That means that participating comic book stores nationwide are giving comic books free to anyone who shows up. Some stores are turning the event into a party, with costumed superheroes. As part of the event, e-book publisher Wowio is giving away free downloadable comics.

This is the first weekend of the month, and Bank of America customers can visit museums free with the Museums On Us program. A Bank of America credit or debit card will get you free admission Saturday or Sunday to more than 120 museums and attractions across the United States.


The Cash for Appliances program is the latest way to save on new, energy-efficient appliances. But it's certainly not the only way.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 30, 2010 7:57AM

This post comes from partner site Money Talks News.


Much like last year’s “Cash for Clunkers” car program that helped hundreds of thousands into new, more-fuel-efficient rides, the Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, also known as "Cash for Appliance Clunkers," is on target to help Americans save money on energy-efficient appliances.


New guide explains when to get the best price on a wide variety of consumer products.

By Karen Datko Apr 29, 2010 3:23PM

Nearly everyone knows that the end of the model year is the best time to buy a new car. But did you know that dealerships are more likely to give you a break toward the end of each month? Many, the Go Frugal Blog at, have monthly quotas.

OK, maybe all you car nuts knew that too. But we’d almost guarantee you’ll learn something from FreeShipping’s new “Best Time to Buy Guide.” It covers 75 products, including 30 new additions to the list.


Among those that caught our eye:



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