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The average cost of a movie ticket is more than $8. But why pay at all?

By MSN Money Partner Mon 12:56 PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneySummertime, and the viewing is busy: From the superhero to the supernatural, Hollywood has been delivering new product since early May. Keeping up with a steady stream of blockbusters (and blockbuster wannabes) can put a serious strain on your wallet.

Hollywood © Comstock, SuperStockAccording to The Wall Street Journal, the average cost of a movie ticket was $8.13 by the end of 2013. That gets pretty pricey if you’re taking a date, let alone an entire family. It's tempting to wait until the summer flicks end up at the $3 house, or become available via Redbox or Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Yet some movies -- especially those that involve superheroes or disasters -- are just made for the big screen.

Fortunately it's possible to see movies without paying out-of-pocket. This can be as simple as the first of these tips for seeing free movies.

1: Join the rewards program at your theater of choice. Show the loyalty card every time you see a movie, and you'll eventually build up enough points to get a free ticket.


Free credit scores are available like never before. But are they making things clearer or causing confusion?

By MSN Money Partner Mon 12:23 PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyRemember how hard it used to be to see your credit score? Now it's easy.

Gone are the days when the credit industry guarded this all-important number -- despite the fact it's your number -- as if it was the recipe for Coke. Free credit scores are offered in lots of places now, and so you'd think the problem of knowing your credit score would be solved.

But it's not. Here's the trouble with free credit scores.


High-quality drinking water is free at the tap, in many restaurants, and in many public places. Why pay for a bottle?

By Mon 11:53 AM
This post comes from Olivia Lin at partner site on MSN MoneyWhether you're at the mall, the gym, or in a new city, you won't go far without spotting a bottle of Poland Spring, Deer Park, or Dasani in someone's hand or bag. Marketed as safer and better than tap water, bottled water is a multi-billion dollar industry in America.

But do you really need to spend $1 or so on a 16.9-ounce bottle (and more for larger sizes) when there's plenty of free drinking water?

Fresh tap water flowing into a glass © Rudy Pira/AlamyProbably not.

Drink tap water
Every year, new brands of bottled water launch with new additives that promise thirst-quenching satisfaction and healthfulness. Tap water in America, however, is perfectly fine to drink and costs nothing (except for your monthly or quarterly water bill). The federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), passed in 1974, created guidelines for drinking-water quality that govern water suppliers and the water-related responsibilities of state and local governments. The SDWA requires an intricate set of processes to maintain and protect drinking water and its natural sources. Experts assert that some are stricter than systems used to process bottled water.

Even with insurance, you may be spending a lot on health care. Read our 10 tips to learn how to drop the balance on your medical bills.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 5:26PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWe may all have health insurance now, but that doesn't make our medical bills magically disappear. No, we still have plenty to pay out-of-pocket.

In recent years, employers have shifted a greater portion of health care costs to workers. The 19th annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health employer survey found that employees now pay for 37 percent of their health care, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs, up from 34.4 percent in 2011. What's more, nearly half of employers surveyed expect to be making significant changes to their health care benefits by 2018.


Here are six money moves that will help keep your finances and romance intact after you tie the knot.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 4:40PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyOnce you've tied the knot and made it past the honeymoon phase, reality sets in. Love won't always save the day, but healthy communication offers a fighting chance.

Newlywed couple © Purestock/SuperStockSo while the two of you are sorting everything out and settling into your new life as one, a money talk should be at the top of the list of priorities -- if you haven't already gotten to it. And let's face it: Not all of you have done it.

Maybe you have an idea about your partner's perspective on how the finances should be handled, either from planning the wedding together or pre-marriage counseling. But now it's time to firm up your understanding of the general concepts and the details to alleviate the risk of arguments over money later on. They can destroy a marriage.

Yes, money is a difficult topic to address, but it's better to talk about it now, rather than grow disgruntled and angry because you haven't come to terms over it.

Here are six points you need to address:


Here's what you should know to protect yourself against new ATM skimming devices.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 18, 2014 4:23PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyUse of devices to fraudulently "skim" data from ATM cards so crooks can drain your bank account is nothing new. But skimmers have evolved, and the new devices are so small and thin, they're pretty easy to miss.

According to Krebs on Security, the European ATM Security Team -- a nonprofit group that collects information on ATM fraud -- said the new skimmers sit within the throat of the ATM card reading slot, making them difficult to detect. The skimmers are used in conjunction with hidden cameras, which record consumers' personal identification numbers as they type them in.

bank ATM (© Image Source/Corbis/Corbis)The U.S. is more at risk for subsequent fraud involving skimmed ATM data than most European countries because we haven't transitioned to more secure chip-and-PIN technology. According to Krebs:

"In countries where the ATM EMV rollout has been completed most losses have migrated away from Europe and are mainly seen in the USA, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America," the EAST report notes. "From the perspective of European card issuers the Asia-Pacific region seems to be eclipsing Latin America for such losses."

Fraudsters in Europe collect ATM card data, then send it to the U.S., where the data is encoded onto new (chipless) cards. Then crooks can pull out funds at ATM machines in the U.S. and Latin America, according to American Banker.


After a wreck, a fire or a storm, watch out for unsolicited offers of help. Let your insurance company earn its money instead.

By QuinStreet Jul 18, 2014 12:06PM
This post comes from Susan Ladika at partner site on MSN MoneySay you've been in a wreck. Or your home has been damaged by a storm. Or your kitchen has gone up in flames.

You're shaken and dazed.

Ambulance with lights flashing © PBNJ Productions/Corbis
That's when the siren chasers strike -- trying to sign you up for services you don't need or can ill afford. If you fall prey to their scams, you could be on the hook for hundreds or thousands of dollars and might even lose your home.

I witnessed siren-chasing firsthand when my neighbor accidentally started a kitchen fire. Within minutes of the fire trucks pulling away after extinguishing the blaze, two fire restoration companies showed up at her home, trying to get her to hire them to make the repairs.

She sent them both packing and called her homeowners insurance company instead.

That decision drew praise from National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) spokesman Frank Scafidi, quoting the NICB mantra: "If you didn't request it, reject it."

"They're trying to take advantage of your emotions," Scafidi says.

They also are trying to take advantage of your wallet.


Take a trip and save on purchases of diamonds, electronics, leather, and even health care.

By Jul 18, 2014 11:20AM
This post comes from Tahirah Blanding at partner site on MSN MoneyTraveling abroad for vacation is a surefire way to de-stress and unwind. It's also the perfect time to score deals on products and services that are normally more expensive in the United States.

Woman wearing a diamond necklace © Image Source, CorbisWhether you're heading south to Central America or going as far as Southeast Asia, you'll be in or near hotspots for cheap medical services, leather, electronics, and even precious gems. We can't vouch for the safety or quality of the products or services mentioned below, but our research suggests that they're generally cheaper than what you'd find at home.


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