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Auto-pay can make you lazy, and that can lead to costly errors.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2009 12:16PM

This Devil’s Advocate post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


The allure of automation is obvious. Look at the famous Ronco Rotisserie catchphrase -- “Set it and forget it!” Automation is appealing because it lets computers do the work and lets you do something else more interesting.


Set your 401k contribution each month, set the allocation, and then go spend time with your family. Set credit cards on auto-pay, go all electronic for the statement credit and for the environment, and spend more time playing video games and watching television.


I get it and I love automation too, but there’s something you should know: Automating your finances can lead to bad habits, and bad habits can lead to tragic losses. In this Devil’s Advocate post, I explain why automating all of your finances can be an expensive mistake.


Full-time campers converge on Kansas town to work in an Amazon 'fulfillment center.'

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 6:01PM

Here's a modern-day twist on the old migrant workers camp: Freed by technology to live on the road, two young professionals join hundreds of other full-time RVers lured by Amazon to work a holiday stint at a huge warehouse complex in Kansas. 

In posts at their blog and in an article at Gizmodo, Chris Dunphy and Cherie Ve Ard described the month they spent camping by day and working by night in the "fulfillment center" in Coffeyville, assembling orders for the online retail giant.


Shop carefully, but everything is negotiable.

By Teresa Mears Dec 28, 2009 5:11PM

The saying “everything’s negotiable” has never been more true than when it comes to shopping for a gym membership.


The deals are even better this year, as clubs try to make up for revenue lost as customers cut back on costly extras such as personal training, The New York Times reports.


A third of consumers have made saving money their top New Year's resolution.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 12:58PM

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


Making a commitment to save money in 2010 is the rare New Year’s resolution that is easy to keep.


After a turbulent economic year, it’s a popular one, too. A December survey from financial service firm Edward Jones found that saving more money next year is the top resolution for a third of consumers.

Try these 10 strategies for significant savings:


You can rent the latest 'it' bag, but is that really a good deal?

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 11:20AM

This post comes from staff writer April Dykman at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


Most of us, at one time or another, have seen a photo of a celebrity with an “it” bag, even if just in tabloids at the supermarket checkout. Most of the time they are oversized totes, logo prominently displayed, on the arm of an actress or pop star. (Sometimes I wonder if the tinier celebrities could, in fact, fit inside their own handbag.)

And as ridiculous as it might seem, you can bet that if a pop star is carrying a bag, the masses are sure to want it, too.


The problem is the price sticker.


Claim forms must be postmarked by August.

By Karen Datko Dec 26, 2009 5:03PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


Comcast has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the wireless provider of blocking access to peer-to-peer Web sites.


The agreement brings an end to two years of litigation that sparked heated debate over whether Internet providers should be allowed to filter content, and how much filtering they can get away with.


On a tight budget? You can probably still give. I am, and I did.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 24, 2009 5:12PM
A whole bunch of this year's holiday presents were frugal hacks. Almost all of the gifts I gave cost more to mail than they did to buy. The mailing supplies were free, though, and I think I should get extra credit for re-gifting some gift cards. Is there a word for that?

Lest you think I'm handing out dessicated bath sets from last year's post-holiday sales, I'll list some of the presents that I gave. Would you have been upset if you got: 

New Web site allows people to share their credit card transactions with friends.

By Karen Datko Dec 24, 2009 5:00PM

Just in time for last-minute Christmas shoppers, Blippy has gone public -- allowing new users to share information about their credit card purchases with their Blippy friends.


Blippy began issuing public invitations earlier this week and after one day had tracked more than $1 million in sales. Rafe’s Radar calls it the “Twitter of personal finance.”


For instance, if you’ve signed up, your friends can learn that you just bought “The Joy of Cooking” at Amazon, as well as "The Joy of Sex." 


As you can tell, we’re really struggling to see the upside of this, so we turned to others for more perspective.



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