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New technology brings new ways to use mobile devices, but it also is likely to bring even more complex wireless pricing plans.

By Teresa Mears Dec 1, 2010 2:27PM

Here's news you didn't want to hear: Cell phone plans are likely to get more complicated.

 

That's right. A product with which you can easily incur $34,000-plus in charges for just a few months of misunderstanding is going to make it even more difficult to understand your service –- at least if you want to do more than talk. You didn't think new technology was all fun and games, did you?

 

Trying to find the right holiday gift for someone who has everything? Consider a gift that helps a worthy cause.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 1, 2010 1:15PM

This post comes from Michael Koretsky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

First, the bad news: Even rich people are feeling the pinch in this recession -- and the poor are paying for it. Charitable donations are down more than a third among the wealthiest Americans.

 

In 2009, nearly all -- 98.2% -- of Americans with a net worth above $1 million gave to charity. But the amount of their giving dropped significantly from just two years earlier. After adjusting for inflation, average charitable giving by millionaires plummeted 34.9%, from $83,000 to $54,000.

"Charitable giving follows the overall economy," said Una Osili, director of research for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which conducted the 2010 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy (.pdf file). "When economic conditions improve, charitable giving improves as well."

 

But average Americans may be picking up the slack. A new survey by Christian relief agency World Vision found that 51% of Americans said they'd be more likely to give a charitable gift -- a gift that benefits a charity -- as a holiday present this year.

 

Think inside the box and put used cardboard back to work.

By Karen Datko Dec 1, 2010 10:45AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Cardboard boxes are part of our visual vernacular -- trash to shopkeepers, treasure to eBay sellers, an annoyance to blade-wielding stock boys (and girls) around the world. Whether we're breaking them down or taping them back together, we are awash in a sea of these multisized corrugated work horses.

The list below is a love letter to the cardboard box -- 30 tips to reinterpret, reinvent and reuse it either temporarily or permanently. Take some tongue-in-cheek, take some to heart, and the next time you can -- take a few home from the curb.

 

The hard drive holds images of copied documents, and they could end up in the wrong hands.

By Karen Datko Nov 30, 2010 8:11PM

When potential exposure to identity theft comes to mind, how often do you think about the office copy machine?

Don't feel bad. A survey by Sharp Document Solutions some time back found that 54% of consumers didn't know that many copy machines have a hard drive that stores photocopied documents. Think payroll information, Social Security numbers, medical records -- important stuff that in the wrong hands can lead to ID theft.

 

Whether you're fond of real or fake fir, here's what you need to know about finding the right Christmas tree.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 30, 2010 4:10PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Nothing says holidays like a Christmas tree. If you haven't picked one yet, here are some quick tips to buy it right. If you have purchased a tree, we also have tips to keep it fresh through New Year's.

Real trees

When I was a boy growing up outside Atlanta, for several years my father bought live Christmas trees, then planted them in the yard after the holiday. Both my youth and my father are now gone, but those trees remain.

 

Airlines and airports see a chance to make money by increasing liquor sales. Will we get stuck in the air with rowdy drunks?

By Teresa Mears Nov 30, 2010 2:30PM

We've written a lot about how airlines and airports are giving us less and less, while charging more fees.

 

Here's something they're giving us more of (besides scrutiny): alcohol, or at least opportunities to buy it.

That's right: Airlines and airports are making more alcoholic drinks available, USA Today reports.

 

The celebrity sisters end their relationship with a prepaid card criticized for high fees. There are still plenty of those cards out there.

By Teresa Mears Nov 30, 2010 12:34PM

The Kardashian card is over.

 

Let this be a lesson to consumers: Don't listen to financial advice from people whose main claim to fame is being famous. You can bet Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian, known for their  "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" reality show on the E! network, didn't get rich using prepaid cards larded with fees, as theirs was.

 

We're happy to report that most consumers ignored the Kardashian card. Only about 250 were sold. The card's launch less than a month ago was followed by a wave of publicity over what a bad deal the Kardashian card was for consumers. The publicity caused the Kardashian sisters to end their relationship with the card, issued by MasterCard and University Bank of St. Paul, Minn.

 

You have to make the decision based on how it helps you and your family.

By Karen Datko Nov 30, 2010 11:25AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

A lot of people are "underwater" on their mortgages -- that is, the value of their home is below the amount they still owe on their mortgage. Other people simply can no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments.

Regardless of the reasons, some homeowners are considering walking away from their home and their mortgage, and it's important to understand what the actual costs are going to be.

Why you should walk:

  • It's simple math. 
 

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