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Tired of spending a fortune on restaurant meals? Check out 15 ways to make the experience more affordable.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:37 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyYou don't have to keep wishing on a star that you'll one day be able to afford fine dining establishments.


It's usually one of the first expenses to take a hit when the spending plan comes into play, but the last thing that we actually want to part ways with. However, it is possible to enjoy the finer things in life, at least in the food category, without breaking the bank. Here's how.

 

Car-sharing is a convenient way for occasional drivers to save money. Some programs are national and some local. Here's the scoop.

By Cheapism.com Fri 12:10 PM
This post comes from Louis DeNicola at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyCar-share programs offer the convenience of hopping into a car or truck, for a few hours or a few days, without owning whatever you're driving. Plus, you avoid the insurance and maintenance costs associated with ownership and you don't even pay for fuel.

A woman demonstrates a Zipcar in New York City
© Spencer Platt/Getty Images
But these are not carefree deals -- there is plenty of fine print. Here's what you need to know.

The benefits
For all their differences, car-share programs have much in common. Fleets of vehicles are parked in designated spots around a city or near a college campus. You reserve a vehicle online or with a mobile app and use a card or fob (handed over when you join the program) to unlock it; keys are stashed inside. You drive off for a designated amount of time and return the vehicle to the same spot. (One-way options are limited to a few programs.)
 

DealNews has uncovered tricks that retailers use to make those alluring wholesale prices much less consumer-friendly.

By DealNews.com Apr 10, 2014 4:22PM

This post comes from Aaron Crowe at partner site DealNews.

DealNews on MSN MoneyUnless I leave my wallet at home, I can never make a trip to Costco without spending $100. It's simply not possible. I may go there with a shopping list and be determined to stick to it, but every time I leave with more goods than I expected to buy.

Shoppers stand in line to pay for their merchandise inside a Sam's Club store © Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What pull does Costco have over my wallet, and how do wholesale warehouse clubs get shoppers to spend more than they've planned to?


The folks at DealNews have uncovered a few factors that make up the allure of wholesale pricing. Make yourself aware of them, and maybe you'll avoid buying more than you need.

 

'Theft by deception' is one way some collectors are trying to get consumers to pay debts -- even, in some cases, if the debt is a mistake.

By Credit.com Apr 10, 2014 1:57PM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyAfter allegedly cashing the same checks more than once (by phone and in person), four Georgia football players were recently charged with theft by deception. It’s a crime that can result in fines or even jail time, depending on state law and the severity of the offense.


Some debt collectors are using the threat of being charged with this crime to scare consumers into paying debts they may not owe. As our reader CWhit123 shared on our blog recently:


I have received a call from (a collector). He has been very polite but I have never taken out a payday loan online. He has all of my personal information though...They are charging me supposedly with theft by deception and something else.


Jail © CorbisThe fact that this consumer didn't take out a payday loan  either means the collector either has the wrong person or the consumer is being targeted by a scammer. But what if he had taken the loan out and failed to pay it back? Could he be charged with this crime like the football players were?

 

As you work to get your financial life on track, it's not uncommon to find old, counterproductive habits undermining your progress. Here's how to change them.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 10, 2014 11:40AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe good habits we've made carry us along almost effortlessly. That's positive. It lets us focus on the things that need our attention most.


But as you work to pay off debt, save and get your financial life on track, you'll probably find some old, counterproductive habits undermining your progress. They may have worked once, but now they’re holding you back.


Dropping bad money habits makes it easier to power up your financial life. Here are ways to drop habits you no longer want and adopt new habits to take their place.

 

The costs of workers' compensation coverage and general business liability insurance also could drop, according to a RAND Corporation analysis of the Affordable Care Act.

By Money Staff Apr 9, 2014 2:35PM

This post comes from Bruce Japsen at partner site Forbes.com.


Forbes.com on MSN MoneyThe cost of automobile insurance, workers' compensation coverage and general business liability insurance could drop by as much as 5 percent thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study.


Though the health law doesn’t cover cars or workers compensation, new analysis by RAND Corporation indicates it may help car owners and businesses with workers' compensation coverage because those premiums sometimes go toward treating people’s injuries, particularly those without medical coverage.


Couple driving in convertable © Blend Images, SuperStockLiability insurance companies reimburse "tens of billions of dollars" each year for medical care related to auto accidents, workplace injuries and related claims, RAND researchers say. Auto insurers paid $35 billion for "medical costs associated with accidents in 2007," RAND says, saying that totaled about 2 percent of all health care costs that year.


"Under reasonable assumptions, some effects can generate potential cost changes as high as 5 percent or more in certain states and for certain insurance lines," Rand researchers Paul Heaton and Ian Brantley write in their study summary.

 

Are you planning to tie the knot in the near future? Here are some financial issues you should examine first.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 9, 2014 12:30PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIt's always fun to discuss the excitement of your wedding plans, but what about the not-so-fun topics? Among these are your personal finances and how you plan to handle money matters as a couple.


Unfortunately, a survey of engaged couples by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling "revealed that 68 percent of respondents held negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiancé, with 5 percent indicating the discussion would cause them to call off the wedding."


That's not good. Before you take a vow to share the rest of your life with your significant other, you should have the money talk to determine whether you're on the same page. Here's a list of topics that should be at the forefront of your discussion.

 

Restaurants in cities with wage mandates are adjusting work hours, prices and suppliers to cope.

By Money Staff Apr 9, 2014 12:26PM

This post comes from Julie Jargon and Eric Morath at partner site The Wall Street Journal.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyAs lawmakers in the nation's capital are mired in debate over likely outcomes from raising the federal minimum wage, businesses hit with local wage increases across the U.S. already are grappling with the reality.


Fastfood working © Creatas/PictureQuestA Carl's Jr. franchisee in San Francisco offset the county's higher minimum wage—now $10.74—by using less shortening to make french fries. A White Castle in Illinois cut two jobs to match competitors' costs in nearby Indiana, where the mandated wage is lower. A California pretzel maker pays different wages at mall stores that straddle two cities.


The consequences of a minimum-wage increase cut across everything from the number of hours employees are assigned, to menu prices to how often a drive-through lane is cleaned, according to interviews with more than a dozen businesses. The real-world impacts can vary: Some companies had no difficulties passing along labor-cost increases while other businesses said they might close marginal stores to pare losses.


Such adjustments are rarely captured in the now-sizzling debates over whether a national wage increase would harm the economy or reduce poverty.

 

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