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Beating the high cost of textbooks is a lesson worth learning.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 4, 2010 11:22AM

Getting a better deal on textbooks is definitely a subject worthy of study: They can add from 25% to 75% to tuition.


Consider these facts from a 2005 study by the General Accounting Office:  


New rules seek to make it easier to shop for loans and understand what you're getting into ahead of time.

By Teresa Mears Dec 31, 2009 6:22PM

New federal rules that take effect Friday, Jan. 1, are supposed to make it easier for consumers to shop for mortgages by providing uniform estimates of loan costs and requiring the estimates to be closer to the actual costs when it comes time to close the loan.


How much the new rules, an update of the 1974 Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), will really help consumers is still being debated.


Time to look back at some personal-finance highs (and lows) of the past 10 years -- and a bit of silliness.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 6:00PM

Now that the Aughts or Ohs or whatever this decade is called are nearly over, let’s reflect a bit on the best they produced when it comes to our money.


Could this exercise be as fun as “best TV shows” (“The Wire” wins!), best movies, best songs, best theme park rides -- the usual compendia that come at the close of every decade?

Let’s hope so. Here are some of the “best (or most notable) of the decade” lists with a personal-finance twist:


You have some options, but watch out for high interest rates and ridiculous fees.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 3:26PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


A reader recently asked me about credit cards for people with poor credit. With a credit score in the 560 range, this person was having problems getting a more traditional credit card. And to make matters worse, without access to reasonable credit, he found it difficult to improve his credit score at a reasonable cost.

In his particular case, he was looking to use a credit card to start a small business. While there may be better sources of capital for a new business, the question this person raised was a good one -- "How do I get a credit card with bad credit?"


Smart-phone apps and online communities provide free information and support.

By Teresa Mears Dec 31, 2009 3:17PM

If you’ve resolved to lose weight in the New Year, there’s an app for that.


Best of all, some of those apps are free and don’t require an expensive iPhone to use.


When does healthy financial caution become pecuniary paranoia?

By Donna_Freedman Dec 31, 2009 1:17PM
Great Northern beans. The baby and I pretty much lived on them for a year and a half after we moved to Philadelphia. Twice a week I would put a pound of the white beans in the slow cooker with diced onion, grated carrot, and a neck bone or ham hock. When I struggled back through the door of my fourth-floor walk-up in the evening, carrying the baby and a sack of dirty diapers, I was grateful for the smell of the soup we'd be eating for the next few days.

Oh, we had a few other foods -- primarily vegetarian minestrone, homemade spaghetti sauce, baked white or sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs and occasionally a chicken leg quarter that I'd buy and roast for my daughter. The meat counter guy used to kid me: "Come on, live it up -- buy two!" I'd laugh along with him, but he would never know how I hoarded change just to be able to buy one.  

It's not too late to get a better deal on your party plans.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 11:38AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.


New Year’s parties thrown at bars and restaurants typically offer food, champagne and a festive group countdown, but those events typically charge guests much more than the sum of their parts. Landing a good deal on a night of revelry doesn’t have to break a New Year’s resolution to save -- even if you’re buying tickets today.

That’s not to say it will be easy. “Ticket prices always go up closer to the event,” says Mario Stewart, the president of EMRG Media, a New York-based event planning and marketing firm. And the truly big parties -- the ones that boast celebrity guests like Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera -- typically sell out in advance.


However, there’s still hope for nabbing a good deal on lower-profile parties, Stewart says. “If people are savvy, there are deals to be made,” he says.


Here are seven ways to score a deal on your New Year’s Eve festivities:


GM offers several incentives to rid itself of the last of these cars, but which is better for consumers?

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2009 4:37PM

Anxious to retire two unwanted brands, a leaner and meaner post-bankruptcy General Motors is offering another major incentive to dealers to sell off all remaining Saturns and Pontiacs.


The Wall Street Journal called it a fire sale: You could get a car for up to 46% off. There were only 5,700 brand-new Saturns and 8,500 Pontiacs left on Dec. 1, and GM wants them to go fast -- off the showroom floor.


But is this a sweeter deal than the $6,500 rebate dealers have been advertising for these cars? Before you decide, consider these factors first:



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