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It's a practice no retailer is going to willingly admit to.

By Karen Datko Jan 20, 2010 9:18PM

Plenty of people were outraged by the New York Times report that unsold clothes from Wal-Mart and H&M were found deliberately mutilated, bagged and tossed in the trash.

 

Both retailers insisted that the incidents were not commonplace and that they normally donate unworn and undamaged clothing to charities. Wal-Mart said it would investigate.

The dust has had time to settle, but has the truth emerged? What have we really learned about what retailers do with unsold clothing?

 

It depends on whom you ask.

 

Perhaps consumer lending is best left to the professionals.

By Karen Datko Jan 20, 2010 7:00PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

Almost three years ago I discovered peer-to-peer lending, in the form of the then widely hyped Prosper.com. For a week or two I was enthusiastic on it as an investment, until I crunched enough numbers to decide it was not so exciting after all. In the meantime, I had put $1,000 in ten $100 loan slices.

 

Loans on Prosper are three years in duration, so next week this little experiment will finally wind down. Assuming that I get the last $15.46 that is owed me, I will have received a grand total of $1,029.50 over three years. A nearly 0% return is pretty lousy, but at least I have the solace that quite a few other things that I could have invested in in January 2007 would have done a lot worse.

 

But, as it turns out, breaking even makes me an above average lender on Prosper.

 

Star players of the Drugstore Game never pay for toothpaste or tissue.

By Teresa Mears Jan 20, 2010 6:06PM

Until I joined the world of frugal bloggers, I had no idea there was a “CVS Game,” in whch people used coupons and the CVS Extra Care Bucks rewards program to score free toothpaste for life and otherwise save on toiletries, cosmetics and other items.

 

This week through March 15, CVS is awarding double Extra Bucks rewards for CVS-brand items and prescriptions. To get the deals, customers need to present a Double Bucks certificate along with their ExtraCare card in the store or sign up online. You can get the certificates at the stores, online or in the weekly sales circulars. The Extra Bucks awarded during this promotion will be available the first week in April.

 

How to avoid higher checked-bag fees and longer security lines.

By Karen Datko Jan 20, 2010 2:40PM

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

 

Continental raised fees earlier this month from $18 to $25 for a first checked bag and $27 to $35 for a second. Delta, United, American and US Airways all swiftly followed suit.

 

“There are now three things certain in life: death, taxes and airlines fees,” says Terry Trippler, the chief executive of RulestoKnow.com, which tracks airline policies. During the third quarter of 2009, airline fees generated $2 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That’s a 36% increase over the previous year.

Airlines need the revenue amid rising fuel prices and slumping travel, but they’re also positioned to take advantage of increased numbers of checked bags amid new security restrictions following the attempted bombing of a Northwest flight on Christmas Day. The Transportation Security Administration added new screening methods for U.S.-bound international flights, and cautioned consumers that lines may be longer than usual. On U.S.-bound flights from Canada, there’s a temporary ban on carry-on bags. Passengers are allowed only a small personal item such as a purse or laptop computer.

 

Here’s how to limit the hassles of bag fees and long security lines at every stage of your trip:

 

If it discloses where you'll be and your personal cell phone number, that's too much information.

By Karen Datko Jan 20, 2010 1:25PM

This post comes from Linsey Knerl at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

It’s a common practice: You leave the office for any amount of time (a week, an hour, etc.) and you set up a nice little out-of-office e-mail reply so people don’t wonder why you haven’t responded in a timely fashion. You think you’re being proactive, even professional.

 

But could you be risking your personal information and possibly even your safety?

 

The Mayo Clinic says some over-the-counter drugs may preclude a trip to the doctor.

By Karen Datko Jan 20, 2010 12:33PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

In recent decades, with many Americans covered by some sort of health benefit, consumers are quick to head for their doctor's office for all sorts of complaints. Some see that tendency as one of the drivers of rising health care costs.

 

Could it be that consumers could save time, money and strain on the health care system if they paid a little closer attention to what's in their medicine chest at home? Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest they can.

 

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.   

 

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