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Consumer groups are worried that banks are finding clever ways around new regulations designed to protect credit card customers.

By Karen Datko Aug 4, 2010 1:08PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


In the wake of banking and financial reforms, banks -- including credit card lenders -- have regained their swagger. Profits are rising and financial institutions are aggressively seeking new customers.


It may be a good reason for consumers to display a certain amount of wariness in their dealing with credit card companies.


What often gets overlooked is that when the government gives a dollar to one person, it must take it from another.

By Karen Datko Aug 4, 2010 11:26AM

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


Last week WalletPop broke the news that IRS data shows that some millionaires claimed unemployment benefits in 2008. Using the increasingly rare definition of millionaire as a person or household with more than $1 million in income, rather than net worth, it disclosed that according to IRS data (found here on Table 1.4) 2,840 returns showing more than a million in adjusted gross income reported some unemployment compensation.

So the secret is out. I certainly did not qualify as a millionaire under the income test in 2008, but, as I have previously confessed, using the commonplace net worth criteria I do clear the (lower) bar. And, if you must know, I drew unemployment benefits for pretty much the whole of 2008. Oh, the shame!


Textbook rentals have taken off. Here's how to decide when it's a good deal.

By Karen Datko Aug 4, 2010 10:10AM

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


Going by the book for college textbook savings no longer requires buying the book. Students facing a hefty annual bill for books can save an average 30% to 50% by renting that required reading.


"This is the year of the textbook rental," says Charles Schmidt, a spokesman for the National Association of College Stores. About 1,500 of the trade group's more than 3,000 member stores will offer a rental program, up from 300 last year. That includes the 637 stores Barnes & Noble's college division operates nationwide.


Online rental companies are also reporting a spike. Comparison search site reports a 300% increase in book-rental orders compared with last year.


Just because you feel like a house doesn't mean you have to shop in the house department.

By Karen Datko Aug 4, 2010 8:38AM

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


Recently, WC Porter shared three super ways to get by on a smaller budget when purchasing pregnancy duds. As someone who just gave birth to her fifth child, I've gotten pretty efficient with spending less for maternity wear.


Here are four clever tips you may not have known about.


New survey indicates some regions are more partial to new gadgets than others. Some are holding on to old technology.

By Karen Datko Aug 3, 2010 8:19PM

New Yorkers are known for their love of pastrami, the scent of vanilla, very tall buildings, and rent control. Now add Apple's iPad to the list of things they adore.

In Massachusetts, it's baked beans, the Red Sox, Boston Harbor -- and e-readers like the Kindle and Nook.


A new poll -- the Gadget Census -- by electronics review and shopping site Retrevo found that people in different parts of the country are distinctly partial to various electronic gadgetry.


The highlights:


Social media apps partner with businesses to offer discounts.

By Karen Datko Aug 3, 2010 2:53PM

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


A vanilla cupcake with blueberry butter-cream frosting sealed the deal on Foursquare for New Yorker Twanna Hines. A blogger who writes about dating and relationships, Hines had already been using Foursquare, a social media app that asks people to "check in" on their phone each time they switch locations. Noting businesses people were frequenting, she would use the information as a way to alert followers to her picks for places to mix and mingle.

When Hines walked into a local bakery, Butter Lane, a few months ago, she got a message upon checking into Foursquare. As one of the first 10 users to visit that day, she was entitled to a cupcake, gratis. Now, Hines is a Butter Lane regular -- both for the cupcakes and the offers the bakery gives her. "It's very rare that I don't go and get a free cupcake," she says.


Got a social media app? Look for a deal. Apps that track people's location are catching on, from Foursquare to Gowalla, to MyTown and Looptstar. In response, app companies are teaming up with retailers and other businesses to increase exposure for the apps and to win customer loyalties for both parties.


Some states will exempt school supplies, clothes and other items from tax. Make sure you're getting the best deal.

By Teresa Mears Aug 3, 2010 2:03PM

If you've been thinking of buying clothing, school supplies or even a new computer, the next few weeks could be the time to shop.


Sixteen states are offering sales tax holidays on specific back-to-school items, and many start this weekend. Mississippi's tax holiday was last weekend. Two states that previously had tax-free shopping periods, Georgia and Vermont, elected not to offer the discount this year.

In most of the states, clothing and footwear purchases under $50 or $100 per item qualify, and in many states school supplies are exempt from tax.


If you're trying to sell a house, the right help is crucial. Here are the questions you should ask to hire the right professional.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 3, 2010 1:02PM

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


Imagine spending $9,000 for a service, then finding out you could have had the same thing for $350? That's exactly the kind of money you could waste if you hire the wrong real estate agent to sell your house.


The way many people find a real estate agent is through a personal relationship. That's no way to hire a pro.



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