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France will soon begin requiring all drivers to carry a kit that can measure blood-alcohol content. You can get the single-use tests here for as little as $2 a pop.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 27, 2012 9:36AM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site on MSN MoneyStarting July 1, you'll have to carry a portable blood-alcohol test kit with you if you want to drive in France. You'll be fined 11 euros -- about $15 -- if you can't produce one when the gendarmes ask.


Who knew such a thing even existed?


As the political debate on energy prices heats up, experts say there may be some hidden benefits to more exensive gas.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2012 4:51PM

This post comes from Quentin Fottrell at partner site SmartMoney.


When President Barack Obama tackled American anxiety over rising gas prices with a speech in Feb. 23 speech in Florida, there's one thing he didn't say: Pain at the pump can be good.


But as grousing about gas prices grows into a U.S. pastime, some experts say people lose sight of the benefits of rising costs. Consumers can even use the hikes to their advantage at car dealerships, when they shop and in their investment portfolios.


If there's a mistake on your report, whom do you tell -- and how long will it be before it's corrected?

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2012 3:53PM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


By far the most questions we receive from readers for our weekly credit Q&A series concern credit report disputes. And while we've previously covered the option of contesting information appearing on a credit report, we've never actually delved into what happens after a consumer has done so. That is, until now.


The infographic at the end of this post illustrates how a dispute is handled by the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. As previously reported, the big three furnish varying reports to a vast majority of the nation’s lenders.


Big jumps in gas prices recently have people looking for measures to keep the cost of commuting under control. Here are some that work.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2012 9:48AM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyGas prices are steadily on the rise, as skyrocketing crude oil prices have pushed the price of a gallon of regular gas to $3.64, up more than 20 cents from a month ago.


If you're feeling the sting of these rising prices, here are a few tips for spending less on gas.


Here are a few offbeat suggestions to spice things up next time you're looking for a meal at a reasonable price. Ikea is one of them.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 24, 2012 9:14AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Len Penzo dot Com on MSN MoneyThere's nothing worse than being stuck in a rut. When it happens, the quickest remedy is to try and think unconventionally.


The trouble is, for most of us, outside-the-box thinking can be extremely difficult.

  • Check out Donna Freedman's new Frugal Cool blog on MSN Money

True, thinking outside the box can get you into trouble. (Consider James Franco hosting the 2011 Academy Awards as an example.) But when it works, folks, it's magic. After all, I think we can all agree that the guy who decided to deep-fry ice cream was a genius.


Speaking of food, one of the common ways people get bogged down in the mire of boring conventionalism is when it comes time to pick a restaurant. More often than not, folks refuse to spread their wings and branch out, continually going to the same old tried-and-true establishments.


What kind of email do you use when you don't want anyone to know you're looking at porn or arguing politics on the Internet?

By MSN Money Partner Feb 23, 2012 2:59PM

This post comes from Kashmir Hill at partner site on MSN MoneyThose who enjoy Internet nudie scenes are dealing with their own exposure online this week. After the chat service for one of the porn websites run by Luxembourg-based adult entertainment company Manwin was compromised, the email addresses and passwords for thousands of users of YouPorn, which is essentially a YouTube for porn enthusiasts, have been posted online.


"See anyone you know?” asked technologist Ashkan Soltani, linking to the list on Twitter. Soltani also created a visualization of the passwords used most frequently by YouPorn users.


Central to this question is how long you plan to stay in your home.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 23, 2012 1:33PM

This post comes from Rob Berger at partner blog The Dough Roller.


Editor's note: This post is part of a five-part series on The Dough Roller about refinancing your mortgage.


The Dough Roller on MSN Money

Adjustable-rate mortgages are a two-edged sword. You get an initial mortgage rate lower than what you'd find on a fixed-rate loan. But the interest rate adjusts periodically, raising the possibility that the rate on your mortgage could go up substantially, raising your monthly payment.


So we're going to cover when and how you should refinance an ARM into a fixed-rate loan.


Critics are having a field day. Do you think the $26 billion deal will help homeowners injured by bank misbehavior? Do you think there was misbehavior?

By MSN Money Partner Feb 23, 2012 12:05PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


For once, nearly everyone watching the foreclosure mess agrees on something: They hate the $26 billion agreement signed this month by five big banks, federal officials and state attorneys general.


You can see the details here. Briefly, the banks agreed to cut mortgage debt ($10 billion), refinance loans ($3 billion), pay foreclosed homeowners ($1.5 billion), fund other assistance programs ($7 billion) for struggling homeowners, and contribute to state legal services and housing counselors ($3.5 billion.) Most individual homeowners who get money from the settlement will receive about $2,000.


The settlement largely benefits people with mortgages owned by the banks -- B of A, Wells Fargo, Ally Financial, Citibank and JPMorgan Chase. Bank of America also will fork over an additional $1 billion to settle federal charges of inflated appraisals by Countrywide, which B of A now owns.


In exchange, the banks get immunity from state lawsuits over allegations they cut corners, made errors and disregarded legal procedures in foreclosing on homeowners.



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