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Cable TV rates are high and likely to keep climbing. Do you have a plan?

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 11:25AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.


Fans of “House” and “American Idol” got a reprieve on Friday when Time Warner Cable and News Corp. reached an agreement that kept Fox shows on the air for Time Warner subscribers. Details of the Time Warner deal haven’t been made public, but they likely included a new fee for Fox broadcasts paid by Time Warner per subscriber, per month, analysts say.

So consumers shouldn’t get too excited -- Time Warner also raised its rates that same day, and further increases are likely, according to an analysis conducted by The New York Times.


Weed out the contenders from the pretenders.

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 10:26AM

This post comes from Chris Illuminati at partner blog Wise Bread.


Despite the high unemployment rate, online job listings seem to be at an all-time high. According to The Conference Board, online job demand was up 106,500 in November, and job demand has averaged an increase of 32,000 per month since an April 2009 low.


That doesn't mean every online job posting is a winner. Anyone can post jobs on Monster or Craigslist. The real jobs often get smothered by disingenuous offers of awesome work, work-for-free opportunities, and even online scams.


How does a person weed out the contenders from the pretenders? Here are five red flags in job postings that should make you think long and hard before applying.


After the show, take 10 minutes and allow the dopamine level to drop. Then decide whether you need to buy that thing.

By Karen Datko Jan 5, 2010 4:27PM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


We've all seen those products advertised on late-night TV infomercials that promise to solve problems like scrubbing baked-on crud from cookware, mopping up gallons of spilled milk and falling off ladders when cleaning gutters.


But -- surprise, surprise -- Consumer Reports' tests of 15 such products reveal that many of them are not worth buying.


Arianna Huffington says yes and is hoping you'll join her Move Your Money movement.

By Teresa Mears Jan 5, 2010 3:23PM

Fed up with your bank? From the reaction to yesterday’s post about sneaky bank fees and a threat to free checking, we’d say many of you are.


Arianna Huffington has a solution: Change to a community bank. In a post written with economist Rob Johnson at The Huffington Post, she advocated that people close their accounts at the big four banks and open accounts at small community banks.


If you'd like to end up with less debt this year, Step One is making it a goal.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 5, 2010 2:11PM

Hey, let’s go for a ride! Where do you want to go? Nowhere? OK, we’ll just drive around aimlessly and hope we accidentally end up somewhere interesting. Hop in!


That’s the way most people plan their lives, financial or otherwise. They may have a vague idea of a destination, like paying off debt, for example. But they’re not really sure how to get there or how long the trip will take. So they waste time driving in circles and wondering, “Are we there yet?”


Your employer, health insurance company or landlord may help with the cost.

By Karen Datko Jan 5, 2010 12:35PM

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


Keeping a New Year’s resolution to get in shape is no easy feat. The first hurdle: finding a gym membership that’s fiscally fit.


Half of consumers who don’t belong to a gym say the costs are the primary deterrent, according to a 2009 survey from market researcher Mintel. Factoring in initiation fees, the median annual cost for a new gym member is $775, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, a trade group. (Ongoing members pay slightly less than $43 per month for an average $511 annually.)

But many new members can cut their costs by as much as 50%. Here’s how:


Getting a new card dropped his wife's credit score by 14 points.

By Karen Datko Jan 5, 2010 11:12AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


We recently purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 and have been scanning a lot of our documents to reduce the number of paper documents we retain. Among the documents we came upon were two printouts of my wife’s FICO credit score and credit reports from Equifax, through myFICO. Earlier this year she signed up for the trial to see what her score was and in between the two inquiries she applied for a credit card.

The first report was pulled in mid-March and she had a glowing score of 804. The second report was pulled a month later and her score was 790, still very strong.


The only difference? She applied for and was approved for a new credit card. It cost her 14 FICO points.


One recession lesson seems to be that experiences provide more joy than things. But will it stick?

By Teresa Mears Jan 4, 2010 6:27PM

Here is another unintended consequence of the recession: Americans are changing their lives to favor experiences over things.


Or at least that’s what The New York Times says, based on a November New York Times/CBS News poll.


The poll found:



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