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A record-low rate of 4.19% is still not luring buyers, but more homeowners are refinancing.

By Teresa Mears Oct 14, 2010 12:53PM

Forty-four years ago, my parents took the big plunge and bought their first house. With a Veterans Administration loan, they got an interest rate of about 4%.

Who would have thought their grandchildren would be able to buy a house at the same interest rate all these years later? Well, they could if they had better jobs.


Yes, mortgage rates fell again this week, to an average of 4.19% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the lowest rate since Freddie Mac began keeping statistics in 1971. National Bureau of Economic Research statistics, from a time when loan rules were different, show that the last time we saw rates that low was 1951.


How to save on TVs and fridges this holiday season.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 11:41AM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromAnnaMaria Andriotisat partner site SmartMoney.


The holiday season may still be one Halloween away, but retailers are already gearing up for one of the hot gifts of the year: refrigerators.


According to many analysts, retailers are expected to offer more deals on home appliances and electronics in the run-up to the holidays than they did last year.


A mother's attempt to teach her daughter about budgeting backfires.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 9:45AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


Melinda writes in:

My 12-year-old daughter and I are having a money war of sorts. At the start of the school year last month we went shopping for clothes together. I said she could spend $250 any way she chose as long as she got a certain number of items -- some underwear, some socks, some jeans, some shirts, and so on. I told her that she could spend more, but it would come out of her allowance.
She proceeded to buy only the minimum amount of socks and underwear so she could buy another shirt that she liked. Now she's having to do laundry twice a week and is complaining all the time about it. I told her to use her allowance to buy the underwear and she says that's completely unfair. What do you think?

In short, know when to spend and when to save, and how to donate wisely.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 8:02AM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site USNews.


When you start earning a steady income for the first time, it's easy to spend too much on luxuries or to take on debt. But it's also the best time to set yourself on the path toward wealth.

These tips, based on my book "Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back," will help you spend smarter, save more, and even give back to the causes you believe in.


Save one-third of your income. Putting $1 out of every $3 you earn into the bank might sound like a lot, and it is.


Turning financial paperwork into confetti won't solve the whole problem. For that, laws need to change.

By Money Staff Oct 13, 2010 10:08PM

This post comes from MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston.


Liz Pulliam WestonShredding is good. I'm all for shredding. But shredding isn't enough.


But safely destroying old financial records alone isn't enough to protect your identity. Neither is buying a locking mailbox, safeguarding your Social Security card, monitoring your accounts online, using anti-virus and anti-spyware software or being careful what you post on Facebook.

All of these steps can help, of course, but some of the biggest threats to your identity lie beyond your control -- in the big databases of your personal financial information that companies gather, sell and often fail to protect.


TV host ranks at the top of 'best boss' poll, followed by both Obamas and Donald Trump. Who would be your favorite celeb boss?

By Teresa Mears Oct 13, 2010 5:24PM

Friday is National Boss Day. But do American workers want to celebrate?


They would if Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama were their boss.

In a survey done by Braun Research for Adecco Staffing, 37% of respondents said they would like to have Oprah as their boss, and 35% said they would like to be supervised by the president. Next in line were Donald Trump (28%), Michelle Obama (26%), former President George W. Bush (19%), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (16%), Sarah Palin (15%) and Martha Stewart (14%).


BP's Tony Hayward and Simon Cowell of "American Idol" were ranked the least desirable bosses in the survey, at 4% and 8%, respectively.


The cashier is offering you 20% off for signing up. Is it worth it?

By Stacy Johnson Oct 13, 2010 4:46PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


With holiday shopping season soon in full swing, you're likely to encounter an offer like this: Sign up for our store credit card and receive a 15% to 30% discount on today's purchases.


Should you jump on it?


Reporter's experiment found high charges to cash checks, prepaid cards with hefty fees and lots of standing in line.

By Teresa Mears Oct 13, 2010 1:23PM

About one in four U.S. households doesn't have a bank account. Associated Press reporter Candice Choi did a one-month experiment to find out what it would be like to be one of them.

Her conclusion: Living without a bank account is expensive and time-consuming.


In one month, she paid $93.50 in fees for such services as check cashing, money orders or prepaid cash cards. That would amount to an annual cost of $1,122 a year just to use her own money.



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