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Pepsi and Wal-Mart launched social media campaigns to give millions of dollars to the most popular charities. But did some buy votes?

By Teresa Mears Jan 11, 2011 3:50PM

It sounds like a great idea: A major corporation will donate a significant chunk of money to the nonprofit organizations that get the most online votes, providing publicity for the corporation and cash for the nonprofit.


Because everyone who runs a nonprofit has friends and those friends have friends, and if they all get involved ….


But what if your competition is using robo-voters?


You can find lots of good job interview advice online, but some of it is just stupid or too obvious.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 11, 2011 2:34PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


When it comes to job seeking, there's lots of advice out there. Most of it is common sense to anybody who's been through an interview or two, but nobody will blame you for using Google or Bing to prep yourself. Sometimes we need reminders, especially when we're nervous.


And sure, there are some decent job interview tips online: researching the interviewers and their company, not complaining about previous jobs, making your examples relevant, etc. Here's some more good advice, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has straightforward tips to getting a job. Here's part of what they suggest:


One idea to encourage savings is to lower the tax rate on interest earned on savings accounts.

By Karen Datko Jan 11, 2011 1:18PM
This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

Over the holiday break, I read about the winning idea in TIAA-CREF's Raise the Rate competition -- to "factor a person's savings habits into their credit score as a positive indicator of creditworthiness" -- and was surprised that it was selected as the winner.


I'm surprised because I wouldn't think savings would be a reliable factor in the probability that you would default, which is what the credit score is designed to measure, and because it would be a bit of a bear to implement.


My submission was to lower the tax rate you pay on the interest you earn from a savings account.


Despite all the hoopla about the Verizon iPhone deal, some are still perfectly happy with their old-fashioned phone.

By Karen Datko Jan 11, 2011 11:49AM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


Semi-Demi-Exboyfriend called the other day to say he's going to get rid of his land line. He figures it's going to save him a ton of money.


Not only is he going to ditch the land line, he's also going to kill his Cox high-speed Internet connection, effectively taking his computer offline. His plan is to haul his laptop to the library whenever he wants to read his e-mail. Won't that be fun?


He's not alone on the land-line issue. The other day Echo, over at Boomer and Echo, reflected on the joy of land-line freedom, listing three good reasons to get rid of the thing.


Me, I'm not so sure. If you don't already have a cell phone -- which I don't because I can't afford it and I don't deeply want one -- several reasons argue strongly in favor of keeping the land line. Even if you do have cell service, there's no reason to rush to judgment. Consider:


With new limits on the fees banks used to collect, they're raising others and inventing new ones.

By Karen Datko Jan 11, 2011 10:06AM

You could see this coming, right? With last year's limits on certain fees they can wrangle from customers, banks are dreaming up new ones and increasing some of the old standbys.


You've likely heard that your bank is adopting monthly fees on basic and more elaborate checking accounts. But those are by no means the only fees banks have in mind.


The Wall Street Journal reports:

Banks are thinking about imposing annual fees of $25 or $30 on debit cards, according to people familiar with bank strategies. Some also are considering limiting the number of debit card transactions that a customer can make each month, these people say. Another idea circulating in the industry: limiting the size of a purchase that a customer could make with a debit card.

Southwest revamps its frequent flier program to reward travelers who buy more expensive tickets. Business travelers may benefit.

By Teresa Mears Jan 10, 2011 6:18PM

For years, Southwest Airlines has operated the simplest of frequent flier programs: Fly 16 segments in two years and you get a free flight.

No more. Southwest is revamping its Rapid Rewards program, switching to a points system similar to that used by other airlines. More expensive flights will yield more points.


Who wins? Business travelers.


Who loses? Travelers who buy cheaper flights.


The Consumer Price Index is the way the government measures rising prices. But what's your personal inflation rate?

By Stacy Johnson Jan 10, 2011 2:40PM

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


Inflation is a funny thing: The government keeps saying that prices aren't rising much at all, when you know good and well that they are.

And inflation can be scary. After all, if prices rise and your salary doesn't, inflation translates into a lower standard of living. That's tough enough when you're working and at least have the potential to make more money. When it gets truly frightening is when you're retired.


But does inflation have to be as scary as it seems?


Sometimes when it rains, it pours, and the emergency fund is depleted. What happens then?

By Karen Datko Jan 10, 2011 9:12AM

This post comes from Sierra Black at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


I recently mentioned that my cat had died. Not only was his passing heartbreaking, it was expensive. But, as I said in that post, I was very happy to be able to write a check from my emergency fund and not worry about where the money would come from.

Since I'm still paying off debt, that $800 check represented most of my meager emergency fund. I'll rebuild it over the next few months, but in the meantime I don't have much of a cash cushion. I was just hoping that there wouldn't be any subsequent emergencies.


As luck would have it, there was.



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