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A free online tool sheds light on the fees you're paying for your retirement accounts.

By Karen Datko Jan 22, 2010 6:24PM

Here’s the find of the week: Carla Fried, a retirement blogger at CBS MoneyWatch, alerted readers to a new Web site that can tell you how much your 401k's are costing you in fees.


A San Diego company called BrightScope, which rates more than 30,000 401k plans, now has a Personal 401k Fee Report -- and it’s free.


It’s been said that 401k fees are one of the great mysteries of retirement planning. If you don’t believe me, take a look at your statements. You may find some fees, but all might not be listed there. Can you easily determine what you’re paying? Are you paying too much?

In fact, the AARP says 83% of plan participants don’t know what they’re paying in 401k fees.


We just got a 401k statement from a former employer, so let’s check this new service out.


50% of surveyed couples would take parental cash in lieu of financial help with a wedding, but how about taking a more frugal approach?

By Teresa Mears Jan 22, 2010 5:39PM

Nothing brings out our inner curmudgeon more than tales of Bridezillas and extravagant, expensive weddings. If we ruled the world, all weddings would be simple and inexpensive affairs. Are we showing our age if we suggest getting married barefoot in a field of flowers?


Free Money Finance brought our attention to a Brides magazine survey that says more than half the respondents would take money from their parents in lieu of a contribution to the wedding. Really? Who are these young slackers who expect their parents to pay for a wedding?


It's easy to find out how your premiums match up with those at other companies.

By Karen Datko Jan 22, 2010 3:11PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


I've had my car insurance through Nationwide for almost 30 years. My parents used Nationwide when I started driving, so that's who I used. Of course, back then there was no Internet or easy way to compare auto insurance quotes. You had to call agent after agent to get rates. Today, comparing auto insurance is a snap.

In fact, searching for the lowest rates is so easy, it's worth doing every year. A few years back I called Geico to see if they could beat the rates I was getting from Nationwide. Despite their commercials, they couldn't. Still, it was worth the 15-minute call. Just last month, Nationwide decided to bump up my insurance rates by $100 a year. So I'll be comparing rates this year, too.


Here's how to do it.


You can try Domino's new pizza, free Wi-Fi at McDonald's and a free yoga class.

By Teresa Mears Jan 22, 2010 2:15PM

It’s once again time for Friday food deals and freebies, with a little help from our friends at Cities on the Cheap.

Some of last week’s deals are still good. McDonald’s has rolled out its free Wi-Fi service for customers. At Starbucks, register your card and get two hours of free Wi-Fi every day, plus other perks.


'Pay what you can' shows are a boost to the entertainment budget.

By Donna_Freedman Jan 22, 2010 1:47PM
Want to see a play, have some laughs or absorb a little culture even when your wallet says "stay home"? The "pay what you can" concept is a frugalist's best friend.

Pay what you can is the happy hour of entertainment, a way to get out of the house without going off the rails. In my case, it was a Thursday night performance of "Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes" at Theater Schmeater.  

Retailers may track your purchases, but they'll also target you for sales.

By Karen Datko Jan 22, 2010 1:16PM

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


Next time you’re out shopping and a cashier asks if you’d like to join the store’s free loyalty program, do your wallet a favor and say yes.


Turning up your nose to the offer probably means one of three things: You’re worried about retailers tracking your purchase history, you aren’t sure if you’ll have a long-term relationship with a store, or you are (for lack of a better word) lazy, says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, whose book “Gen Buy” assesses consumers’ purchase motivations. “They view (loyalty programs) as not worth their time and effort,” she says.


You may have reasons to be suspicious, but there are counterarguments to each objection.


Relocating, even within your own city, could cut your spending.

By Janet Paskin Jan 22, 2010 12:05PM

Maybe it's a job opening in Memphis. Maybe an old friend calls from his new home in San Diego. Or maybe it's your mother, reminding you how much better the weather is in Seattle this time of year. Whatever the trigger, it's got you thinking about all the things a new house, a new job or a new life could offer, somewhere else. Now you've got something else to consider: how it could change your budget.


Started a budget before, only to give up a few months later? Maybe you weren't doing it right.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 22, 2010 9:25AM

For the next few months, I’ll be doing news stories and blogging about destroying debt. This blog post and the video below are about one of the most important tools for doing it: a budget. Not just any budget, but one that you can not only live with, but look forward to using.


Impossible? Read on.



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