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Single men spend more than single women on just about everything. OK, no, not clothes.

By Janet Paskin Jan 20, 2010 10:00AM

In the war between the sexes, it's never easy to say who's winning. Now, though, you can see who's spending. And it might not be who you think.


According to Bundle -- a brand-new partner site of MSN Money that lets users investigate spending trends by age, household, income and geography -- single men outspend single women in almost every category. Yes, men make more than women do -- about 25% more, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research.


But even among men and women with similar household incomes, men spent about 19% more than women on food and


Bankruptcy is the most extreme way of dealing with a debt dilemma. But last year it was the choice of more than 1 million people.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 20, 2010 9:04AM

In doing research for my latest book, "Life or Debt 2010," I explored virtually every way to deal with debt, from the do-it-yourself method most would prefer to more extreme methods like credit counseling and debt settlement. This story is about the nuclear bomb of debt destruction: bankruptcy.


When I produced the news story you’re about to see, I was just looking for the down-and-dirty facts from a lawyer about who should file for bankruptcy and why. What I got was a heartbreaking, personal story from just one of the 1.4 million Americans who filed for bankruptcy last year.   


Downsizing to smaller house and focusing on charity transformed Atlanta family.

By Teresa Mears Jan 19, 2010 7:47PM

Last Sunday’s Parade magazine told the story of a family who decided to sell their house, buy one half the size and give all their profits, about $800,000, to charity.


Ten years ago, Kevin and Joan Salwen bought their dream house, a 6,500-square-foot historic home in Atlanta. Except it didn’t bring the joy they had expected to the family, which included daughter Hannah and son Joseph, Kevin wrote in Parade:


Some of these restaurant food challenges also come with T-shirts and cash prizes.

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2010 4:07PM

We love that TV show “Man v. Food,” where Adam Richman stuffs his face with hot wings by the truckload or enough oysters to clog the Panama Canal. (OK, we exaggerate somewhat.) In many of these settings, you don’t have to pay if you can meet the restaurant’s challenge.


Better yet, sometimes you can win cash.


Now you can easily find many of these "deals," thanks to a post (with photos!) at Coupon Sherpa. The first stop is Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pa., where two people can chow down for free on the 15-pound Belly Buster burger -- if the entire thing is gone in three hours. 


Injuries to pedestrians on cell phones are rising, demonstrating another down side of multitasking.

By Teresa Mears Jan 19, 2010 2:35PM

You may think you can walk and chew gum at the same time, but you’d better think twice before you add talking on the phone or texting.


We all know about the dangers of distracted driving. But even on foot, our ability to multitask may not be what we think it is, The New York Times reports.


The number of people injured while walking and texting or talking on a cell phone is on the rise, The Times reports, citing a study by Ohio State University professor Jack L. Nasar.


Some employers offer them as a benefit, but are you better off with a la carte?

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2010 12:21PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


A few years ago, my former company began offering prepaid legal plans as an employee benefit. I forget the exact terms of the deal but it worked a lot like medical insurance. You paid a set amount each month and you had access to the plan’s pool of lawyers. The pool could prepare certain documents for you, such as a will, and you could have consultations several times a year.


As young professionals, none of my friends took advantage of the plan because there didn’t seem to be a need for it, but I wondered whether prepaid legal plans were worth it.


Loyalty has its rewards -- but it can also cost you.

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2010 11:09AM

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


Trying to spur sales, retailers have begun offering extra perks to their biggest spenders. Starbucks last week unveiled a new rewards program that separates members into one of three tiers, based on how often they visit. Higher-tier members get free drinks, free refills and lots of extra coupons. Microsoft is also testing a three-tier approach to its Xbox LIVE Rewards Program.


Such tiers have become essential in the down economy, says Kelly Hlavinka, a partner at Colloquy, a loyalty marketing research firm. The chance for better rewards in these free programs entices shoppers to consolidate their spending. “It really puts out a carrot for consumers to strive for,” she says.


But should you bite?


Settle your debts for pennies on the dollar. Hype or hope? Let's find out.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 19, 2010 9:19AM

Debt-settlement companies are advertising a lot these days on TV, radio and online. Their ads will say something like “Reduce your debt balances 40-60%! Be debt-free in 12 to 36 months!”


Sounds tempting, but is it worth it? I’d be super careful



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