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Homeowners associations ban them and environmentalists love them. All that aside, though, a clothesline saves you money.

By MSN Money Partner 12 minutes ago

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


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyClotheslines. Ugly nuisance or thrifty household friend? You'll find strong opinions on both sides of the question.


Clothes on a clothesline © Tetra Images / Alamy

Many homeowners associations across the country ban clotheslines as unsightly. They raise a number of objections, as the American Bar Association's ABA Journal explains:

(C)oncern that publicly airing clean laundry attached with clothespins to a rope or wire was unsightly, or obstructed views, or even created a safety risk (strangulation is sometimes cited) led a number of condominium associations and rental property managers to ban clotheslines.

Right-to-dry movement

This being America, a movement has sprung up for -- yes -- the right to dry your clothes outdoors. The "right-to-dry" movement points out that clotheslines save households money and have the added virtue of reducing the 32 million metric tons of carbon put into the atmosphere by clothes dryers each year.


Six states — Maryland, Maine, Florida, Colorado, Vermont and Hawaii -- have passed laws to overturn HOA clothesline bans, according to Sightline, a nonprofit organization that researches environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest. Another 13 states protect the use of "solar devices" or "solar energy systems," which includes laundry dried by the sun.


What's at stake, budget-wise?

Aesthetic arguments hinge on taste, but what's less open to disagreement is the fact that an electric dryer is one of your home's biggest energy users.

 

Credit cards are convenient and offer protection against theft and loss -- and, of course, some offer miles and other rewards. Not everyone is enamored with plastic, though.

By Credit.com 25 minutes ago
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyIt's easy for people to see the benefits of using a credit card. They offer the convenience of carrying around cash, while having protections against loss and theft. And rewards credit card holders can earn valuable points, miles or cash back when they use their cards to make ordinary purchases.


Worried man © CorbisFor merchants, credit cards offer a quick and easy way for customers to pay for their goods, and credit card payments are less vulnerable to fraud and theft than cash or checks. Furthermore, credit cards make it easier for customers to finance their purchases, which can increase sales.


Nevertheless, there are some people who simply hate credit cards.

 

Hackers have an arsenal of ways to steal your passwords, so researchers want to protect your data with something else.

By Credit.com 42 minutes ago

This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Credit.com.


Credit.com on MSN MoneyIs it possible that your next password might be as simple and subtle as the way you type or hold your smartphone? If you hate trying to fill out those CAPTCHA forms with impossible-to-decipher characters, a new strategy for telling the difference between people and computers might give you some hope.


User name field on computer screen © William Andrew, PhotographerSecrets are used to keep our stuff safe on computers; for nearly three decades now, that secret has chiefly been a password, or in security lingo, "something you know." Advanced security systems can deploy an added layer, such as a token (or at banks, a debit card), which is "something you have." And really high-tech systems involve biometrics, such as a retina or fingerprint scan, known as "something you are."


So far, none of these techniques has proven robust enough to stop hackers’ endless efforts to steal critical information, whether it’s millions of Target credit card numbers to access to computers that control national infrastructure.

 

A reader visited a website that says he's owed millions in unclaimed lottery winnings, and that they'll hook him up for a fee. Here's where he should go instead.

By MSN Money Partner 56 minutes ago

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


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHere's this week's reader question:

Dear Stacy, My name is John. I checked to see if I had unclaimed money and found I have $19,887,000 out there. It is supposed to be from a lottery I won. I cannot find out where it is from or who has it and I cannot afford to pay someone to get it for me. How can I get my money for free? And who has it?

One of the most common scams these days is foreign lotteries and contests.

Lottery Tickets © Scott Speakes, Corbis

Unfortunately, they often target older folks, with devastating results. The way the scam works is that the crook will notify the intended victim by phone, email or snail mail that they've won a contest or lottery. The only catch? They have to send in money to claim their prize.


One of the saddest stories I've done in recent years was about the elderly victim of such a scam who lost nearly her entire life savings. You can check it out here.


But that's not what happened to John. I wrote him back to ask where he discovered this unclaimed prize, as well as where he had been playing the lottery. He responded:

 

The e-commerce giant is not always the best place to go for these items.

By Money Staff 23 hours ago

This post comes from Catey Hill at partner site MarketWatch.


MarketWatch on MSN MoneyWhen we need books, soap, diapers, electronics — pretty much anything — many of us head right to Amazon.com Inc., assuming it has the lowest prices. But for some things, you may be better off shopping elsewhere.


A parcel moves on the conveyor belt at Amazon's a logistics center © Michaela Rehle/Reuters 
Last week, Amazon released its quarterly earnings, making one thing crystal clear: Customers are dropping a load of cash on the site. For the 52nd straight quarter, Amazon’s sales grew double-digits with revenue increasing to more than $19 billion, up 23 percent from a year earlier.


In many cases, it isn’t a bad idea to shop on Amazon. Savings.com, which just launched the PriceJump browser plug-in and app that compares Amazon prices with prices around the Web, examined the prices of roughly 1,500 new products priced $10 or more on a day in May.


It found that about half of the time, Amazon did, in fact, have the best price (which is pretty good, considering that it compared Amazon’s prices to those of 5,000 other retailers). In particular, Amazon tends to have the best prices on digital downloads like books, inexpensive items (things under $10, which were excluded from the survey) and on items you buy in bulk, says Meghan Heffernan, a spokesperson for Savings.com — which is a lot of what we buy on the site.


"The cheap stuff on Amazon is cheap," says Matthew Ong, a senior retail analyst at NerdWallet.com.


There’s also the issue of shipping. For $99 a year, Amazon gives its Prime members free two-day shipping. If you order multiple items a month and would otherwise pay for two-day shipping, a Prime membership may save you a pile of loot, says James Crompton, an analyst with IBISWorld — and that’s particularly true if you buy multiple, inexpensive items or bulk items, which Amazon tends to have cheaper, the Savings.com data revealed. This analysis will help you determine if Prime makes sense for you. Furthermore, some consumers use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save feature to save up to 15 percent off items when they get automatic delivery on some of their frequent purchases (just be careful that this doesn’t make you stock up on items that you don’t need at that time).


But sometimes, Amazon’s prices aren’t the best, according to the analysis by Savings.com. Here are a few of those items. 

 

Online wedding registry site Zankyou sizes up average gift spending, and people marrying this year can expect a pretty decent haul of wedding gifts.

By Credit.com 23 hours ago
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyWith Americans spending an average of $167 per couple, people marrying this year can expect a pretty decent haul of wedding gifts. (And if they're lucky, their guests will spend that money on something they actually want.)


Bride and bridesmaid © Stockbyte/PhotolibraryOnline wedding registry site Zankyou looked at 300,000 donations given through its registries and determined average gift spending in 12 countries. The site is a little different than something you'd set up at a department store: Couples identify things they'd like — whether those are physical items, a honeymoon fund or savings for a home together — and guests give the couple money to spend on those items.


As a result, this formula excludes wedding guests who gift things like handmade artwork, an assortment of kitchen trinkets or any bargain present. (There's nothing wrong with such gestures, considering the point of a wedding isn't to bill others for your expensive tastes.)


Based on Zankyou's analysis, Americans are neither big spenders nor cheapskates, though their spending shrunk 2% from last year. Here are the average donations from guests in the 12 countries included in Zankyou's report, from smallest to largest: 

 

The change leaves players at a bigger disadvantage.

By MSN Money Partner 23 hours ago

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you're looking to play blackjack in Las Vegas, you need to know that some Vegas casino operators are changing their blackjack payouts.


Earlier this year, Las Vegas Sands, which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo casinos, altered its payouts from three-to-two to six-to-five, according to Pacific Standard. Here's a different way to look at it: A $10 blackjack hand no longer wins $15. The payout is $12 instead.


Blackjack hand with Ace & King of spades© Adam Balatoni/Getty ImagesIn blackjack, players try to get cards whose face value adds up to 21, or as close as possible to 21, without going over.


Henry Tamburin, a gambler, gaming instructor and author, equates the payout change to a hidden tax on players. According to Pacific Standard:

Tamburin says a player can expect to hit a blackjack about once every 21 hands. At an average of 80 hands an hour, that translates to the house snatching an extra $12 out of players' hands every 60 minutes. Spread that over every player at every table at a casino and you can see why pit bosses might go all in on six-to-five.

It appears that other casinos may be following Las Vegas Sands' lead.

 

A recent survey identified the global cities with the highest percentage of millionaires.

By MSN Money Partner 23 hours ago

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe Big Apple is teeming with millionaires. In fact, if you're walking down the street in New York City, chances are a millionaire is not far away.


That's according to a recent Spear's magazine study, which said that 1 in 25 New Yorkers is a millionaire. With 389,100 millionaires, New York ranks fourth on a list of global cities with the highest percentage of millionaires.


Central Park at twilight with reflections of Midtown Manhattan buildings, New York : © Brian Jannsen/Alamy
A millionaire is someone whose net worth, excluding their primary residence, is $1 million or more.


Spear's worked with consulting firm WealthInsight to determine the list. According to the Los Angeles Times:

"New York has long been the bastion of wealth not only in America, but the world," said Oliver Williams, an analyst at WealthInsight. "It has the second largest millionaire and largest billionaire population of any global city."

Monaco, Zurich and Geneva earned the top three spots for the highest percentage of millionaires. One in every 3 people living in Monaco is a millionaire.


Two other U.S. cities also made the list.

 

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