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CBS MoneyWatch examined 8 weight-loss programs. Here's what it found.

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 8:06PM

Many of us are obsessed with weight loss right now. But simply eating less and exercising more can be too boring or too difficult, or require more self-control than we possess.

 

So maybe we'll consider a weight-loss plan. Maybe we’ve seen the celebrity endorsements or drooled over the pictures of food. But, smart spenders have to ask themselves: Do these programs work and are they worth it?

CBS MoneyWatch analyzed eight weight-loss plans in an article called “Diet plan review: Best ways to lose 20 pounds,” considering factors like price, nutrition, results and clinical studies. In each case, they provide the cost for losing 20 pounds and the cost for each pound of weight lost.

 

Briefly, here’s what they found about the basic plans offered:

 

Some saw scores drop 100 points even though they never missed a payment.

By Teresa Mears Jan 6, 2010 3:15PM

People who lost income and are struggling to make mortgage payments thought they had come up with a way to save both their homes and their good credit scores: a mortgage modification.

 

But it turns out that a mortgage modification, even a temporary one, can hurt your credit score, sometimes as much as a foreclosure or short sale.

 

They're trying to get weight-conscious customers through their doors, but are the menu choices really good for us?

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 3:06PM

In January we all feel fat, so fast-food purveyors are rolling out new diet menus to keep us coming back despite our New Year’s resolutions, USA Today reports.

 

Some are also likely inspired by menu-labeling mandates contained in the proposed health care reform legislation -- requirements the restaurant industry supports, according to The Washington Post. Better to cut the calorie counts of menu items before we can all see them in a “clear and conspicuous” place.

But aren’t fast food and healthy food mutually exclusive?

Here’s what’s on the menu:

 

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 ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

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?”

 

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