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By packing school lunches in your very own kitchen, you'll no longer have to trade nutritious for quick and easy.

By Cheapism.com Thu 10:54 AM
This post comes from Raechel Conover at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyNow that the school year has finally started, you're no doubt facing the school lunch dilemma. You know, the one that goes something like this: the easy but costly and possibly unhealthy option of letting the kids buy lunch at school or the more complicated but cheaper and healthier option of packing school lunches every day yourself.

School lunch (© Stockbyte/SuperStock/SuperStockWith our five tips on how to save money by packing school lunches in your very own kitchen, you'll no longer have to trade nutritious for quick and easy. You'll have healthy school lunches and change in your pocket.
 

Experts say the value of a used iPhone drops up to 20 percent within weeks of a new release. Find out how to sell your old iPhone before the new iPhone 6 hits stores.

By Cheapism.com Thu 10:41 AM
This post comes from Louis DeNicola at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyFor iPhone owners who plan to upgrade to the latest edition after Apple's Sept. 9 media event, time is running out to start looking at where and how to sell their current phones. Experts familiar with the resale market warn that the value of a current iPhones drops dramatically in the weeks following the latest model's release (sometimes in the weeks prior to the release as well).

Anyone who wishes to upgrade to the iPhone 5s or 5c, on the other hand, need only bide their time to get a bargain.

Portrait of various smartphones © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty ImagesLast year, we spoke with Nik Ramen, chief operating officer and co-founder of uSell, a service that connects sellers to a network of professional buyers, to gather inside tips on selling an iPhone. His first point: Lock in a price right away. USell's data from the 2012 iPhone 5 releases showed that the existing version lost 5 percent of its value in the first week following the new edition's launch; 12 percent by the second week; and 20 percent by the third or fourth week.
 

Despite its reputation for high prices, the organic supermarket stocks many items that cost the same (or less) as at other stores.

By Money Staff Wed 4:26 PM

This post comes from Cameron Huddleston at partner site Kiplinger.


Kiplinger on MSN MoneyWhole Foods Market is often jokingly referred to as “Whole Paycheck” because this natural-foods chain sells higher-priced organic fare and specialty items. Check out with a cart of grass-fed, hormone-free ground beef, organic heirloom tomatoes and artisan-crafted cheese, and you could easily pay twice as much as you would spend for similar conventional items at a grocery store. But is the ritzy reputation always warranted?


Surprisingly, there are deals to be had at Whole Foods. You heard right: Even bargain-conscious shoppers can find well-priced goods at this high-end grocer.

 

Americans are not only paying more but the service may not be as good as it is in other countries.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 1:59 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWhen it comes to the quality and affordability of cellphone service, Americans seem to be getting the shaft.


Portrait of various smartphones © Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images

According to The New York Times, American cellphone service is expensive. In fact, it's among the most costly in the world.


If you compare a cellphone plan in the U.S. with a similar plan in Britain, there is a significant difference in cost. For instance, an iPhone 5S with 16 gigabytes of memory, 2 GB of data, unlimited voice and texting, and a two-year commitment costs about $109 per month in the U.S., according to the Times. A similar plan in the U.K. offers unlimited data and still comes in at just $68 per month.


So why the hefty price difference? The Times said:

Several factors are involved, but an important one is regulatory policy. Britain has forced companies to lease their networks to competitors at cost. The United States has not, allowing a formidable barrier against competitors.
"The United States lacks meaningful competition in its cellular market sector, which leads to higher cell plan prices than a growing list of other countries," said Sascha Meinrath, founder of the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation.
 

Slower-than-expected growth in Medicare spending -- and health care spending in general -- is good news for the federal budget.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 1:53 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou often hear about the potential for Medicare spending to skyrocket now that a growing number of baby boomers are retiring. But the doom-and-gloom scenario for Medicare isn't nearly as bad as anticipated.


Pills © SuperStockAccording to The New York Times, the most recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (.pdf file) revealed a reduced estimate for Medicare spending in upcoming years.


So just how big is the anticipated savings in Medicare spending? If you compare the new estimate for Medicare expenditures in 2019 ($11,300 per person) with the spending anticipated for 2019 four years ago ($12,700 per person), the U.S. can expect to pocket about $95 billion in Medicare spending savings. Wow.


"That sum is greater than the government is expected to spend that year on unemployment insurance, welfare and Amtrak -- combined," the Times said.


Any savings in Medicare spending is good news for the federal budget. According to the Times:

 

If you're looking to lower your student loan payments, a debt relief program may not be a good option. Here's why.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 1:49 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyUnemployed and drowning in student loan debt? Receiving a call from a debt relief company claiming it can help sounds like a godsend.


Graduation cap © Brand X Pictures, PhotolibraryBut is it the best option for you?


Not necessarily. The industry is riddled with fraudsters who employ shrewd tactics and charge exorbitant fees to access government programs you can participate in free of charge.


So why aren't borrowers taking advantage of those no-cost government programs designed to offer relief? Too much ambiguity, and not enough resources to sort it all out.


According to the National Consumer Law Center (.pdf file), which issued a report about the student debt relief industry:

 

Buying your first car will require some time and effort on your part. Here's a step-by-step guide to get the best deal on a new ride.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 12:09 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you're in the market for your first car, there's nothing more exciting than the thought of cruising down the highway in the driver's seat. No more carpools and public transportation; just you and your new ride.


But it takes a little time and effort to make those dreams a reality. You don't want to be bamboozled by a slick car salesman.

 

Some scams are new, while others are oldies (but baddies). Keep your guard up when it comes to deals that sound too good to be true, or unsolicited calls about your computer.

By Credit.com Sep 10, 2014 11:07AM
This post comes from Christine Di Gangi at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyAs much of a joke as those Nigerian-prince-email scams have become, people sadly fall for them. That "pay me now, you'll get millions later" operation has been around for decades (the Boston Globe says it's 200 years old) and has found ways to work from paper letters, emails and texts, and given that longevity, it's probably never going to disappear.


Damaged laptop © Jason Stang, Photo LibrarySome scams are more cleverly designed than this one (at least, they're less well-known and, therefore, more effective), but even the seemingly most obvious tricks find victims. When scammers succeed, they're likely to keep searching for prey, or at least someone will try to copy their techniques.


For example:

 

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