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Businesses spent more on security and saw the rate of loss decline. But razors are still vanishing.

By Teresa Mears Oct 19, 2010 3:05PM

Here's a bill nobody wants to pay: $422.68 a year for items other people steal from stores.

That's right. The average American family pays $422.68 a year in increased prices to compensate for items lost to retail theft, the highest amount in the world, according to the 2010 Global Retail Theft Barometer Study. The study measured the period from July 2009 to June 2010.


But before you declare war on shoplifters, know that the greatest amount of retail theft in the U.S., 43.7%, is committed by store employees, followed by 35% by shoplifters and organized theft groups.


On the bright side, what the industry calls "shrink" -- which includes shoplifting, employee theft and administrative errors -- dropped 6.8% in the U.S. last year (5.6% worldwide) after rising 9% the year before.


The 400 largest charities suffered an 11% drop in donations and aren't optimistic this year. But you'll be able to text the Salvation Army.

By Teresa Mears Oct 19, 2010 1:07PM

In this economy, it should come as no surprise that charitable giving declined last year.

According to a new report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, private donations to the 400 largest U.S. charities fell 11%, the largest annual decline since the organization began its Philanthropy 400 survey 20 years ago.


The decline in giving also was the largest since 2001, when donations dropped 2.8%. The charities don't expect 2010 to look much better, predicting just a 1.4% median increase over 2009. 


More than 80% admit they don't know what it takes to save.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2010 12:13PM

This post comes from Fred Yager at partner site


Most of us know how important it is to save for retirement and would probably like to save more. But two new surveys show that not only are most of us not saving nearly enough, but eight in 10 say they don't even know where to begin.


Ironically, or perhaps on purpose, the separate studies by TIAA-CREF and Bloomberg arrive just as we begin National Save for Retirement Week.

From the two surveys, here are some of the most interesting findings.


Even monkeys are upset when they find out someone else is 'earning' more than they are.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2010 10:21AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


There's a certain group of Ivy League primates that must feel like life is a series of tests designed to provoke them. When we last visited Yale's community of esteemed capuchin monkeys, they taught us how deeply our fear of financial losses runs.

Well, a few years ago, Yale professor Laurie Santos wanted to see how the monkeys would respond to a seemingly unfair situation. The monkeys had already been taught to trade pebbles for cucumber slices at a certain rate of exchange. But one day, the researchers rewarded one of the monkeys with grapes in exchange for the pebbles, rather than cucumber slices (monkeys greatly prefer grapes).


The rest of the monkeys freaked out, hurling pebbles and cucumber slices out of the chamber. They didn't want to play anymore.


So what happened? The researchers think the capuchins were responding to perceived unfairness between them and the monkey who was compensated with grapes.


Have a deal you no longer want? Why not make a little profit from it?

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2010 9:19AM

This guest post comes from Coupon Sherpa.


The exponential growth of Groupon clones has created a unique dilemma: How do you resell group-buying vouchers you don't really need?

The number of online group-buying companies has moved into double digits, dominated by these nine group-buying sites. The model is simple: The sites find local businesses willing to provide large discounts in return for spreading their names to new customers.

Consumers log on each day or receive an e-mail with an offer geared to their interests, be it a cut-rate dinner, magazine subscription, spa treatment or other product or service. Members either accept or ignore the offer. Most offers are good for a limited number of recipients during a set period of time -- usually one day.

Let's say, however, you've grabbed a deal before thinking it through. How do you dispose of those Groupon vouchers when they don't really suit your lifestyle?


A server's actions suggest she was trying to get a $5 or $10 tip for a $9.83 meal.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 6:16PM

This guest post comes from Squirrelers.


Most stories in the Squirreling Gone Wild series have centered on interesting measures people take to save money. Usually, the stories have been about people I know or strangers I've seen trying to save a few dollars or even pennies on food, gas and other purchases.

This story is a little bit different because it discusses how someone apparently tried to keep a few dollars at my expense.


For this story, let's rewind a few years, when I was doing more business travel. I recall eating a meal at a hotel restaurant by myself. Actually, the restaurant was a bar and grill, and I had been there on a previous trip. Decent atmosphere, several TVs with sports on and quick service -- about all you can hope for at a midrange airport hotel.


I don't remember exactly what I ordered that day, but it was probably a small order, since it came out to just under $10.


Figuring out how much insurance you can afford is a good place to start.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 4:18PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


When my wife and I first had children, one of the big questions I asked was a familiar one: How much life insurance do I need?

While nobody likes to think of his or her own demise, it's prudent to consider what financial ramifications your death could have on those you leave behind. It gives me tremendous peace of mind to know that if I die, my wife will have enough to pay off all our debts and take care of our family. But while it's hard to dispute the sensibility of life insurance in general, many people disagree on how much life insurance you should have.


If you're wondering how much life insurance you should buy, here are some things to consider:


You don't need a financial fright to have fun with Halloween. Watch our reporter try out some costumes while you pick up some savings tips.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 18, 2010 3:24PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger and Jim Robinson at partner site Money Talks News.


The most frightening part of Halloween is how much money we spend on the holiday: almost $6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That works out to about $66 per American for costumes, candy and decorations.



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