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Vacationers looking for summer-rental deals have many choices this year.

By Karen Datko May 5, 2010 2:10PM

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

 

With summer fast approaching, many travelers are looking to lock in a summer vacation rental -- and prices could be on their side.

 

According to a recent survey by review site TripAdvisor.com, 28% of travelers have already booked a vacation rental stay for 2010 as a money-saving strategy. Another 40% are considering it. That’s the same as last year at this time, but with the added wrinkle of 138,250 more homes on the rental market this summer over last, according to the National Association of Realtors' recently released 2010 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey.

 

It's been less than three months since the CARD Act changed credit card statements, and there's already evidence that it's helping.

By Stacy Johnson May 5, 2010 12:58PM

This post comes from partner site Money Talks News.

 

From health care reform to financial regulatory reform, there have been so many recent legislative initiatives that it’s easy to forget slightly older pro-consumer changes to our nation’s laws.

 

A prime example is the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.

 

Some states and cities offer incentives to trade your lawn mower for a more environmentally friendly model.

By Teresa Mears May 5, 2010 12:38PM

When you hear about incentives to replace gas guzzlers and clunkers with more environmentally friendly vehicles, you don't necessarily think lawn mowers.

 

But several states and cities offer incentives for trading in your gas-powered lawn mower for a new battery-powered or push mower. California has the most lawn mower trade-in programs, but there are also programs in other areas, including Denver; Boise, Idaho; and Louisville, Ky.

More than 300 counties are in violation of federal air quality standards, and that number is likely to double whennew standards go into effect Aug. 31, Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Dave Ryan told USA Today. New EPA standards for lawn mowers, which require a 35% reduction in emissions, will take effect next year.

 

Do you pay out more dollars or fewer dollars for the alarm than the system will save you?

By Karen Datko May 5, 2010 12:07PM

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

 

There was a (for me) thought-provoking article in The New York Times the other day on weighing the value of home security systems.

 

Our house had an alarm when we moved into it 11 years ago. It was not particularly useful. With children too young for school, there was somebody in the house almost 24/7 so the alarm almost never got turned on. After a while it broke, I never bothered to get it fixed, and eventually I just canceled the contract. All that is left now are some unobtrusive but ugly motion detectors in the corners of some rooms.

 

Home alarms are more about psychology than economics.

 

Even changing your default font can produce savings. Just ask the University of Wisconsin.

By Karen Datko May 5, 2010 9:02AM

This post comes from Julie Rains at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Printers are cheap, but printer ink is pricey. One-time and day-to-day adjustments can help prevent waste and save money. Try these techniques to lower your office and home cost of ink.

 

Change the font type. Change the default font (often Times New Roman or Arial) to a lighter font that uses less ink. According to The Associated Press, the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay is adopting Century Gothic as the font of choice as a major money-saving move. To change your default font on Microsoft Word, go to Format >> Font, select your font, and save as "Default."

 

Some rewards credit cards are no longer offered and others have stingier terms.

By Karen Datko May 4, 2010 7:00PM

Oh, the poor credit card companies. Reined in somewhat by the Credit CARD Act, they’re looking for new ways to make money. Your rewards card may be in their sights.

 

Among the changes personal-finance writers have noticed:

 

Some cards are simply going to the big shredder in the sky, including the Charles Schwab Signature Visa with 2% back on anything you buy.

 

That's particularly true of big-bank customers. Those of smaller banks are generally happier and more loyal.

By Karen Datko May 4, 2010 3:23PM

A survey result from J.D. Power & Associates doesn’t surprise: Customer loyalty to big banks has declined and more people are willing to switch. Maybe the Move Your Money campaign is catching on.

 

Only 34% of customers said they “definitely will not” switch banks, compared with 46% three years ago. However, among small-bank customers, 41% said they wouldn’t switch, compared with 32% of those who use big banks. J.D. Power says: “Higher customer satisfaction with in-person service and attention is an important contributor to increased loyalty at smaller banks.”

 

Other findings from the report:

 

While it's cheaper and better for the environment, does it convey the same sentiment?

By Teresa Mears May 4, 2010 2:37PM

Carlos Alcala of The Sacramento Bee has brought forward a burning question of our time: Is it OK to send your mother an e-card for Mother's Day?

 

Rather than simply respond "Are you KIDDING?" we thought we'd explore some pros and cons.

The obvious pros, of course, are that e-cards are free and good for the environment.

 

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