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There are so many ways your old paid-for car is saving you serious money, and 'incestuous affirmation' is not your problem.

By Karen Datko Jun 9, 2010 8:23AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


I've always been slightly amazed how the new-car market is so readily embraced. I know it takes all those new-car buyers to allow us used-car shoppers the luxury of so much inventory. I just want to stay in the ranks of the latter, not the former.

Most people realize that buying new often makes little financial sense, yet they justify it through a whole host of rationalizations. Even the federal government jumped on the bandwagon last year by suggesting we all needed to grind up our clunkers and buy new instead -- for the sake of the national economy and the environment, no less. Was the result a whole fleet of new fuel-efficient cars on the road, or increased consumer debt and the loss of thousands of serviceable older vehicles?


At the risk of sounding like I suffer from an acute case of sour grapes, I'd like to explore just seven ways in which my old clunker may be a smarter choice than even the newest hybrid.


The $250 checks are the first step in closing the dreaded 'doughnut hole' in Medicare prescription drug coverage.

By Karen Datko Jun 8, 2010 5:13PM

This week the federal government will begin sending out $250 checks to Medicare recipients who have reached the dreaded "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug coverage. Recipients can thank health care reform for the extra help. 


If you are eligible -- more on that below -- you don't have to apply for the $250 rebate. So, if anyone is offering you an application to qualify or to expedite the money, that person is out to steal your personal information. 

Are you going to get a check? We've heard from a dear octogenarian friend of ours that confusion exists about the who, what, when and how of this new benefit. Here's what you need to know:


Wrigley agrees to pay consumers of Eclipse gum and quit saying that it kills germs. A complaint against Trident is pending.

By Teresa Mears Jun 8, 2010 2:02PM

If you have chewed Wrigley's Eclipse gum in the last two years, you're eligible for up to $10 as part of a class-action settlement (.pdf file) over advertising claims.


What? You mean it didn't really kill the germs that cause bad breath?


Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. Wrigley had claimed that an ingredient in the gum, magnolia bark extract, killed germs. But the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit said the studies were flawed and there was no scientific proof that magnolia bark extract, a substance used in Chinese medicine for a variety of conditions, killed germs that cause bad breath.

As part of the settlement Wrigley, which did its own research, agreed to quit making those claims and refund up to $6 million to consumers who bought the gum.


You can't price colleges like cars. Few pay the 'sticker' price and there are lots of ways to get discounts.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 8, 2010 1:56PM

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


Judging by the headlines, it's easy to believe the cost of college puts it out of reach for all but the most affluent. According to the College Board, average annual tuition at a four-year private college now tops $26,000. If you just look at the sticker price, four years at a private university approaches the cost of a Rolls Royce.

But that doesn't mean only the rich need apply. While the sticker price may be $26,000, the College Board adds that the average price actually paid at those private colleges is less than $9,000. How can that be?


Get your stuff from Point A to Point B without spending a fortune.

By Karen Datko Jun 8, 2010 12:36PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromKelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Packing this time of year isn't limited to summer vacations. More Americans than ever are gearing up for a move.

Roughly 16.7 million households move annually, according to the Census Bureau, and a little less than half do so in the summer months. Last year, that added up to more than 37 million people, up from slightly more than 35 million in 2008.


Does that mean summer is the most expensive time of year to move?


Georgia has had the most bank failures since 2000, edging out Illinois. Who knew?

By Karen Datko Jun 8, 2010 9:29AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


I really enjoy trivia posts and had a lot of fun researching facts to include in my "50 fun facts about bank failures" post, so I thought I'd bring it back. This time I wanted to cut out all the other stuff, like FDIC insurance facts and "first bank failure" type facts, and just look at the list of failures themselves.

The statistics below are based on the FDIC's list of failed banks, and we used data going back to 2000.

Bank failure facts:

  • The greatest number of failed banks in one day was nine on Oct. 30, 2009:

I thought the decision to eliminate pay TV from my life would be a simple one. How wrong I was.

By Karen Datko Jun 7, 2010 6:45PM

After months of wavering, I have finally pulled the plug. I called DirecTV and put my service on hold for six months. (OK. I didn't officially cancel; more on that wussy move below.)


Why did I get rid of pay TV, a fixture in my life for decades? Actually, I'm not the only one.


The settlement of a similar suit required Costco to install new pumps that deliver more fuel when gas is over a certain temperature.

By Karen Datko Jun 7, 2010 3:58PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


A Kansas federal judge has granted class-action status to two lawsuits alleging that multiple retailers are ripping off consumers by selling them "hot fuel."


The ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil allows the suits -- which involve 12 separate retailers -- to proceed.

What is hot fuel? Simply put, it's a matter of chemistry. Since fuel is a liquid, as its temperature increases, so does its volume. That means that hotter gas has less energy than it would at lower temperatures, and that consumers thus drive off with less usable fuel in their tanks.



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