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We surveyed major retailers and found the best prices on back-to-school clothes are at Wal-Mart but others stand out for best quality on certain items.

By Aug 8, 2014 11:10AM
This post comes from Raechel Conover at partner site on MSN MoneyBack-to-school clothes shopping is currently high on many families' agendas, so we set out to identify sources for high quality, yet cheap kids' clothes. This year the National Retail Federation expects back-to-school spending on new wearables, school supplies, and electronics to hit $26.5 billion -- that's an average of about $669 per family with children in grades K-12. Of that amount, about $355 will go towards shoes and clothing.

Gradeschool children at the school bus © Hero Images/CorbisOur research found that there's no need to spend a small fortune on the clothes and shoes portion of your must-have back-to-school list. By shopping at Wal-Mart, for example, you can buy all the necessary attire for two kids, ages 7 to 10, for slightly less than $235.

We also found that certain stores offer the best values on particular types of clothing, such as J.C. Penney for uniforms.

The outbreak in Africa has American insurers watching the news, but they're not excessively worried.

By QuinStreet Aug 7, 2014 5:50PM

This post comes from Beth Orenstein at partner site on MSN MoneyTwo Americans who contracted the deadly Ebola virus while on a mission in West Africa have returned to the United States, where they are being treated in a special isolation unit of an Atlanta hospital. A half a dozen other patients around the country have had their blood tested because of a concern they might have been exposed to the Ebola virus when abroad.

Liberian health workers at the isolation unit in Foya, Lofa County, Liberia © Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA
Ebola is a virus that spreads through contact with blood or bodily fluids. The World Health Organization says Ebola has a death rate of up to 90 percent. The current Ebola outbreak is out of control in West Africa. To date, more than 900 people have died from it.

The missionaries' return to the United States has put some people on edge: Are Americans at risk at home? But health insurance companies, which would have to bear the brunt of the cost of treatment were there to be an outbreak, don’t seem worried.

Dr. Ajani P. Nimmagadda, an infectious disease expert and senior medical director for Cigna, says she thinks the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is extremely low.


Arkansas and Kentucky lead the nation with the sharpest reductions in the percentage of residents without health insurance. Gallup credits Obamacare.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 7, 2014 3:37PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWhether you like it or hate it, Obamacare has been effective in reducing the number of uninsured in the U.S.

Its impact may be most significant in Arkansas, at least where sheer numbers are concerned, according to the latest Gallup-Well Being national survey. In 2013, Arkansas ranked next to last in the U.S. for its uninsured rate. Now, it's leading the country in the biggest reduction in uninsured. Arkansas' uninsured rate dropped from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in the second half of 2014.

Insurance Policy © Don Carstens/Brand X Pictures/Jupiterimages"While a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate is declining, as the law intended," Gallup said.

Kentucky is a close second to Arkansas. Its uninsured rate plunged from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 11.9 percent now.

According to Gallup, the 10 states that reported the biggest drops in their uninsured rates all expanded Medicaid as part of the program and all created state-based online marketplaces where their residents could buy individual insurance. Some states refused to expand Medicaid for low-income people and also refused to set up an online marketplace, meaning their residents had to buy individual insurance through a federal marketplace.


Touring your home with a purpose -- and with a handful of tools -- helps you cut household costs and maintain your home's value.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 7, 2014 1:52PM

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

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHomeowners fantasize about making fabulous changes to their homes: adding rooms, beautifying the grounds, and remodeling kitchens and baths. In reality, however, these dream jobs may not be financially possible.

Don't let that stop you, however, from taking good care of the home you have.

Here are 15 small jobs that let you invest in your home and hold down household costs:


If your child's bag contains electronics, keys or other personal items, your back-to-school season could be wrecked by identity theft.

By Aug 7, 2014 12:14PM
This post comes from Adam Levin at partner site on MSN MoneyWhether you’re scanning the surf to protect your little ones from a rogue jellyfish, lazing at home on a stay-cation or carting kids to camp, you’re probably already thinking about your back-to-school to-do lists.

Child with backpack © Mareen Fischinger/Westend61/CorbisWhile you’re out there searching for the perfect backpack for your child, the more important consideration than style, size and color should be – what can happen if a dishonest person gets a hold of it? The things your child carries in his or her rucksack can become weapons of your financial destruction if they fall into the wrong hands.

With identity-related crimes at historic levels, the odds are better than ever that a dishonest person will know the basics of taking advantage of the kinds of personally identifiable information, sensitive data (like passwords and credit card numbers) and the many other keys to your household economy that often lurk in your child’s backpack.


Almost 90% of uninsured Americans won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016.

By Money Staff Aug 7, 2014 11:59AM

This post comes from Stephanie Armour at partner site The Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyAlmost 90 percent of the nation's 30 million uninsured won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health coverage requirement.

The architects of the health law wanted most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. But an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation said most of the uninsured will qualify for one or more exemptions.

Daphne Gaines expects to be one of them. She said recently she got an electricity shut-off notice, which is one way Americans can get out of paying a fine. "I don't think I should have to pay any penalty," said Ms. Gaines, 52, of Jasper, Ala., who works part time at a church preschool and a drug recovery clinic.


Planning for your golden years is a big task with lots of moving parts, so don't let something important fall through the cracks.

By Aug 7, 2014 11:27AM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyPlanning for retirement can be tricky and you may feel unprepared for planning your financial future. Researching and understanding the retirement process and even using a retirement calculator can be great places to start.

A bird nest full of money © David R. Frazier Photolibrary, Inc., AlamyThough retirement may seem far away, the financial decisions you make now can affect how long it takes you to reach your goal. Retiring the way you want requires planning, budgeting and follow-through. But even those who plan carefully can forget to take into account some important factors that could lead to costly mistakes.

1. Family needs

While you may hope that your children and grandchildren will be hard workers and great savers like you try to be, periods of economic recession can leave young adults looking to their parents for help.

If you want to help out in this type of situation, it’s important to have some padding in your retirement plan. Consider establishing a specialized trust account for family members, a 529, UTMA or UGMA plan for each of your grandchildren, or even a gift account where you can make payments to family members as you see fit.


DealNews looked at the items and categories most discounted in back-to-school sales, so you know what you can expect to pay.

By Aug 6, 2014 4:45PM
This post comes from Elizabeth Zimmerman at partner site DealNews.

DealNews on MSN MoneyFor many of us, August marks a sort of return to reality after a summer of late nights, lazy days, and beach vacations. The school year is starting anew, which means routines and discipline and all that other un-fun stuff will once again be in play.

Student in library © Sigrid Olsson, PhotoAlto Agency, JupiterimagesBut there's one bright spot — back-to-school shopping. At no other time would picking out folders, notebooks, and pencils seem so exciting, but we all have fond childhood memories of selecting just the right supplies to match our school lists. Plus there's the bonus of new clothes, and for college, maybe even new furniture and gadgets.

It can get a little overwhelming, actually, and the costs add up if you're not careful. So DealNews is here to help; we took a look at our archive of sales from last summer to see what you can expect from sales on items commonly needed at the beginning of the school year. 


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