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Buying an extended warranty rarely makes sense -- except when it does.

By Karen Datko Jan 7, 2010 12:05PM

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


Whether you’re buying a $50 MP3 player or a $500 TV, paying more to extend the warranty or service plan is usually -- but not always -- a pretty bad deal.

Buying into such options means you’re betting on a rare event:


That's just the first step in merging lives in ways you might not have considered before.

By Karen Datko Jan 7, 2010 11:14AM

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


Charlene writes in:

I’m getting married in March. My future husband and I are talking about when and how to merge our finances and we’ve had some difficulty coming up with a plan. What did you and your wife do? What would you suggest for other couples on the cusp of marriage?

CBS MoneyWatch examined 8 weight-loss programs. Here's what it found.

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 8:06PM

Many of us are obsessed with weight loss right now. But simply eating less and exercising more can be too boring or too difficult, or require more self-control than we possess.


So maybe we'll consider a weight-loss plan. Maybe we’ve seen the celebrity endorsements or drooled over the pictures of food. But, smart spenders have to ask themselves: Do these programs work and are they worth it?

CBS MoneyWatch analyzed eight weight-loss plans in an article called “Diet plan review: Best ways to lose 20 pounds,” considering factors like price, nutrition, results and clinical studies. In each case, they provide the cost for losing 20 pounds and the cost for each pound of weight lost.


Briefly, here’s what they found about the basic plans offered:


Some saw scores drop 100 points even though they never missed a payment.

By Teresa Mears Jan 6, 2010 3:15PM

People who lost income and are struggling to make mortgage payments thought they had come up with a way to save both their homes and their good credit scores: a mortgage modification.


But it turns out that a mortgage modification, even a temporary one, can hurt your credit score, sometimes as much as a foreclosure or short sale.


They're trying to get weight-conscious customers through their doors, but are the menu choices really good for us?

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 3:06PM

In January we all feel fat, so fast-food purveyors are rolling out new diet menus to keep us coming back despite our New Year’s resolutions, USA Today reports.


Some are also likely inspired by menu-labeling mandates contained in the proposed health care reform legislation -- requirements the restaurant industry supports, according to The Washington Post. Better to cut the calorie counts of menu items before we can all see them in a “clear and conspicuous” place.

But aren’t fast food and healthy food mutually exclusive?

Here’s what’s on the menu:


Cable TV rates are high and likely to keep climbing. Do you have a plan?

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 11:25AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.


Fans of “House” and “American Idol” got a reprieve on Friday when Time Warner Cable and News Corp. reached an agreement that kept Fox shows on the air for Time Warner subscribers. Details of the Time Warner deal haven’t been made public, but they likely included a new fee for Fox broadcasts paid by Time Warner per subscriber, per month, analysts say.

So consumers shouldn’t get too excited -- Time Warner also raised its rates that same day, and further increases are likely, according to an analysis conducted by The New York Times.


Weed out the contenders from the pretenders.

By Karen Datko Jan 6, 2010 10:26AM

This post comes from Chris Illuminati at partner blog Wise Bread.


Despite the high unemployment rate, online job listings seem to be at an all-time high. According to The Conference Board, online job demand was up 106,500 in November, and job demand has averaged an increase of 32,000 per month since an April 2009 low.


That doesn't mean every online job posting is a winner. Anyone can post jobs on Monster or Craigslist. The real jobs often get smothered by disingenuous offers of awesome work, work-for-free opportunities, and even online scams.


How does a person weed out the contenders from the pretenders? Here are five red flags in job postings that should make you think long and hard before applying.


After the show, take 10 minutes and allow the dopamine level to drop. Then decide whether you need to buy that thing.

By Karen Datko Jan 5, 2010 4:27PM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


We've all seen those products advertised on late-night TV infomercials that promise to solve problems like scrubbing baked-on crud from cookware, mopping up gallons of spilled milk and falling off ladders when cleaning gutters.


But -- surprise, surprise -- Consumer Reports' tests of 15 such products reveal that many of them are not worth buying.



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