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Credit card companies are pushing 'professional' cards, which don't have the new consumer protections of personal cards.

By Karen Datko Sep 1, 2010 4:43PM

Aren't you special. Credit card companies have decided that you're a "professional" and are sending you applications for their "professional" cards. It doesn't matter if you're retired or, say, drive a tow truck for a living.

But therein lies a trap. While your personal status hasn't changed, the rules for personal credit cards have. The so-called professional cards, unlike personal cards, aren't subject to the consumer protections in the now fully implementedCredit CARD Act.

 

Automakers employ 'nose teams' to create distinctive scents for their brands while working to eliminate the toxic fumes of the past.

By Teresa Mears Sep 1, 2010 4:16PM

We all say we love the traditional new-car smell, but the truth is that the new-car smell of the past is the smell of toxic chemicals. That just won't do.

 

Knowing that smell is an important part of the new-car experience, Ford has a "smell jury" working on coming up with just the right fragrance for a new Ford, reports Forbes.

 

The smell jury's goal "is to pinpoint a scent that 'produces a sense of well-being inside a Ford,' says Derrick Kuzak, group vice president for global product."

 

Consumers looking for a seasonal flu vaccination can get them early and cheap.

By Karen Datko Sep 1, 2010 12:58PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromKelli B. Grantat partner site SmartMoney.

 

Catching the flu can be a pricey proposition, what with lost sick days at work, doctor visit co-pays, and trips to the store for Tamiflu, tissues and chicken soup. In comparison, a seasonal flu shot for $30 seems like a bargain -- and yet even at that price, you may be overpaying.

After last year's vaccine shortages and widespread H1N1 (aka swine flu) cases, retailers are using public interest in seasonal flu shots as a way to get consumers in stores. Both CVS and Rite Aid cut prices from last year: CVS to $30 from $35 and Rite Aid to $25 from $30. Supermarkets including Safeway, Winn Dixie and SuperValu are sweetening their clinic offerings with store discounts and coupons.

 

One technology that hasn't kept up with the times is the power meter outside your house. Now new devices can help you track minute to minute how much you use.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 1, 2010 11:28AM

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

 

They say knowledge is power, but Microsoft and a partner are betting more knowledge means less power. The computer software giant has teamed with Blue Line Innovations and created a device that charts your home's electricity consumption -- and cost -- every 30 seconds, and displays it on a handheld device or your computer.

"You're getting real-time data so you can take real-time action," says Troy Batterberry, product unit manager for Microsoft Hohm -- Microsoft's energy-saving website.

 

Knowing what to reject is just as important as knowing what to grab.

By Karen Datko Sep 1, 2010 8:26AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

The idea of dumpster diving seems to push the limits of even the most frugal among us. Visions come to mind of foraging in muck, half-disguised out of fear of being spotted by a neighbor, only to rush home for a shower worthy of Silkwood when it's all over. But the reality is far more reasonable, clean, and civilized than you might imagine.

Dumpster diving (an unfortunate misnomer in most cases, as I've never seen anyone actually get in a Dumpster) is a spectrum activity; you can go as far as your comfort level allows and there are great finds to be had at each point.

 

Let's face it: The recession has uprooted a lot people -- folks are on the move as they return to college, downsize, look for work, and consolidate households.

 

Extra spending for hybrid cars, store memberships and rewards cards may not be the best choices. Here's why.

By Karen Datko Aug 31, 2010 5:04PM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer, author of "Generation Earn" and USNews.com's Alpha Consumer blog.

 

Upgrading your wardrobe, car, or wine collection might sound like a rewarding thing to do. After all, you work hard all day, and you deserve to come home to some luxury during your off-hours. But crunching the numbers shows that these five splurges aren't worth their additional cost. Here's why:

 

Products you viewed on one site are following you around the Web as more companies embrace targeted marketing techniques.

By Teresa Mears Aug 31, 2010 5:03PM

We wrote recently about a new phone app that knows when you're in a store and rewards you for stopping by, perhaps with relevant coupons. It's the latest twist on location-based services such as Foursquare, where users get rewards and sometimes deals for "checking in" at establishments.

 

Some people reject those technologies. They don't want to tell marketers where they are.

 

We have news for you. They already know, at least if you're in front of your computer.

 

The New York Times reported recently on a marketing technique known as personalized ad retargeting, in which ads from websites you have visited follow you around to other websites, in some cases even showing you the exact products you viewed but didn't buy.

 

Even with gold-plated health insurance, the cost of a major illness can wipe out your savings.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 31, 2010 2:08PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

A new study by insurer MetLife shows that half of all Americans have only $5,000 in savings to tap for a major illness -- while critical illness like cancer or stroke can reduce a family’s income by more than $12,000 in the first year alone. And that's for those with medical insurance.

Many people realize that their insurance won't cover 100% of the treatment and recovery for, say, a heart attack. But not only have they not saved enough to offset their share of the cost, they also typically underestimate how long they'll be out of work and not making any money.

 

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