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Payday loan stores are doing very well, and their customer base is expanding.

By Karen Datko Mar 11, 2010 2:45PM

Several Texas mayors are battling a foe that the Lone Star State's legislature doesn’t have the will (or guts) to face: payday lenders. One city has put a moratorium on new payday loan stores. Others are trying to control their spread with zoning laws.

 

The effort is described in one of a series of articles at DailyFinance about the expanding payday loan industry. What’s most amazing about the story is that payday lenders are able to flourish -- and charge astronomical annual rates of 400% or more -- in a state that has tough limits on interest rates.

 

Bundle: Find out where your neighbors spend their dining dollars.

By Janet Paskin Mar 11, 2010 1:55PM

For many, an empty restaurant is a suspicious restaurant. If it were good, the logic goes, people would be there. Eating. If it's desolate, there must be a reason. A critic's review has nothing on the reassurance delivered by a happily crowded dining room. So, where are the crowds?

 

Now there's a better way to find out: New data from Bundle, an MSN Money partner Web site, lets you see which restaurants truly command local dining dollars.

 

Apple's device is available for orders Friday. How to weigh early adoption.

By Karen Datko Mar 11, 2010 11:47AM

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

 

Owning a cutting-edge gadget has a certain cool factor, but early adopters rarely get a great deal. Some observers say Apple’s new iPad, available to pre-order Friday for an April 3 release, isn’t likely to be an exception -- though there will probably be no shortage of shoppers wanting to go first.

 

Make a pre-emptive strike against being invited to another Tupperware/Princess House/etc. party.

By Karen Datko Mar 11, 2010 11:06AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.

 

Awhile back, I wrote about the dangers of selling to friends and family. Recently, a reader wrote to me about wanting to  make a “pre-emptive strike” against these kinds of sales pitches, but didn’t know how to go about it.

 

Please feel free to copy and paste the following e-mail, edit it as you please, and send it to your friends. Trust me, almost all of them will thank you.

 

How is a time-share like a marriage? They're both easier to get into than out of.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 11, 2010 8:44AM

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

 

I’ve never owned a new car because I can’t stand the thought of buying something that’s going to drop in value by thousands of dollars the instant I own it. 

 

But from what I learned while researching this story, buying a new car could be a smart purchase compared with a time-share. Why? Because time-shares can depreciate even faster. 

 

One article argues that their attitudes are what's needed in a new economy, but another thinks they can't adapt.

By Teresa Mears Mar 10, 2010 4:38PM

The popular perception of Generation Y, or the millennials, those young people between 18 and 29, is that they’re slackers, doomed by their own sense of entitlement and a bad economy to life in their parents’ basements because they can’t adapt to the reality of the marketplace.

 

But an article by Nancy Cook of Newsweek.com suggests that millennials’ attitudes will serve them well in this depressed economy and that they may actually be better at navigating the new economy.

 

Phony group claims that $1.3 billion of Madoff money was found in a hideout in Malaysia.

By Karen Datko Mar 10, 2010 3:50PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Scammers apparently targeted victims of Bernie Madoff with a phony Web site that mimicked the Web site of the Securities Investor Protection Corp., the SIPC said.

 

The so-called “International Securities Investor Protection Corporation” solicited Madoff victims to submit claims, which could result in phishing or other identify theft problems, according to the SIPC. 

One section of the Web site included a supposed testimonial from a Madoff victim who claimed to have received funds from the organization.

 

Citibank now wants a big fat annual fee, but dropping that credit card will damage her credit score.

By Karen Datko Mar 10, 2010 2:46PM

This guest post comes from Andrea at Fools and Sages.

 

Have your credit cards started adding annual fees yet? Not the ones you use -- that would be silly. The banks will gouge you in other ways for those. I’m talking about the ones that you don’t use.

 

It turns out that maintaining those cards is a pricey venture for the poor, downtrodden banks.

 

I received notice from Citibank last week that a card I haven’t used in, oh, seven years will begin having a $60 annual fee starting April 1. The only way for me to avoid this fee is to use the card, to the tune of about $200 per month in charges.

 

That’s not that much and I could actually easily wrangle a way to do it, except that I don’t want to. Our family is trying to whittle down credit cards, not add usage. But closing this particular card down would be particularly damaging to my credit score.

 

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