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Free checking accounts could be next casualty as banks seek to replace revenue lost to credit card and overdraft reforms.

By Teresa Mears Jan 4, 2010 3:18PM

For consumers, 2010 may be the year of sneaky bank fees, not just on credit cards but also on checking accounts.


The Wall Street Journal reports that banks will be bombarding customers with new fees this year as they try to replace the revenue they are losing from the new credit card law that goes into effect in February and restrictions on overdraft fees that take effect in July.


For some customers, that could mean the end of free checking accounts.


And you can be -- if you figure out what 'enough' means to you.

By Karen Datko Jan 4, 2010 12:44PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


Here’s the opening paragraph from my forthcoming book, “Your Money: The Missing Manual.” It’s the sum of everything I’ve learned during my five-year journey to get rich slowly:

You don’t want to be rich -- you want to be happy. Many people mistakenly believe that the former leads to the latter. While it’s certainly true that money can help you achieve your goals, provide for your future, and make life more enjoyable, merely having money doesn’t guarantee happiness.

Many of us (including me) get wrapped up in the belief that having more money is the key to a better life. But it’s not.


Beating the high cost of textbooks is a lesson worth learning.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 4, 2010 11:22AM

Getting a better deal on textbooks is definitely a subject worthy of study: They can add from 25% to 75% to tuition.


Consider these facts from a 2005 study by the General Accounting Office:  


New rules seek to make it easier to shop for loans and understand what you're getting into ahead of time.

By Teresa Mears Dec 31, 2009 6:22PM

New federal rules that take effect Friday, Jan. 1, are supposed to make it easier for consumers to shop for mortgages by providing uniform estimates of loan costs and requiring the estimates to be closer to the actual costs when it comes time to close the loan.


How much the new rules, an update of the 1974 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), will really help consumers is still being debated.


Time to look back at some personal-finance highs (and lows) of the past 10 years -- and a bit of silliness.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 6:00PM

Now that the Aughts or Ohs or whatever this decade is called are nearly over, let’s reflect a bit on the best they produced when it comes to our money.


Could this exercise be as fun as “best TV shows” (“The Wire” wins!), best movies, best songs, best theme park rides -- the usual compendia that come at the close of every decade?

Let’s hope so. Here are some of the “best (or most notable) of the decade” lists with a personal-finance twist:


You have some options, but watch out for high interest rates and ridiculous fees.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 3:26PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


A reader recently asked me about credit cards for people with poor credit. With a credit score in the 560 range, this person was having problems getting a more traditional credit card. And to make matters worse, without access to reasonable credit, he found it difficult to improve his credit score at a reasonable cost.

In his particular case, he was looking to use a credit card to start a small business. While there may be better sources of capital for a new business, the question this person raised was a good one -- "How do I get a credit card with bad credit?"


Smart-phone apps and online communities provide free information and support.

By Teresa Mears Dec 31, 2009 3:17PM

If you’ve resolved to lose weight in the New Year, there’s an app for that.


Best of all, some of those apps are free and don’t require an expensive iPhone to use.


When does healthy financial caution become pecuniary paranoia?

By Donna_Freedman Dec 31, 2009 1:17PM
Great Northern beans. The baby and I pretty much lived on them for a year and a half after we moved to Philadelphia. Twice a week I would put a pound of the white beans in the slow cooker with diced onion, grated carrot, and a neck bone or ham hock. When I struggled back through the door of my fourth-floor walk-up in the evening, carrying the baby and a sack of dirty diapers, I was grateful for the smell of the soup we'd be eating for the next few days.

Oh, we had a few other foods -- primarily vegetarian minestrone, homemade spaghetti sauce, baked white or sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs and occasionally a chicken leg quarter that I'd buy and roast for my daughter. The meat counter guy used to kid me: "Come on, live it up -- buy two!" I'd laugh along with him, but he would never know how I hoarded change just to be able to buy one.  


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