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Online merchants are offering lots of shipping deals this year. More than 1,100 will be part of Free Shipping Day.

By Teresa Mears Dec 9, 2010 2:21PM

I ordered some custom-printed items the other day. When it came time to check out, the company wanted $16.95 for shipping. I had a coupon that would give me 25% off the purchase price or free shipping, but not both. I wanted both.

I dropped by the website and found a separate free shipping coupon. I got 25% off plus free shipping.


This may be the year of the free shipping wars. But if, like me, you find that every merchant is offering free shipping except the one you want to order from, you may want to wait for Free Shipping Day, which is Dec. 17.


RadioShack makes it possible this week, but there are conditions.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2010 12:45PM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


The iPhone 4 came out earlier this year, and it's still a hot enough product that you'll have a hard time getting it for less than $200 with a new or renewed contract. But RadioShack earlier this week announced it will be offering it for just $25.


Are there conditions? You bet there are conditions.


Set the stage for a year of better money management by figuring out where you are right now.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2010 12:16PM

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


I've always viewed the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's as a time for reflection and setting the stage for a successful year to come.


This year, I thought I would fill the month of December with posts about the activities and preparations I undergo, both to put some closure on the current year and prepare for a better year to come.

First task: Calculate your net worth

There is no better snapshot of your financial health than your net worth. With one single number, you can get a glimpse of your financial state, good or bad.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering whether new safeguards are needed to protect borrowers from abusive industry practices.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2010 10:48AM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


The growing market for reverse mortgages is raising concerns that an increasing number of seniors are being misled into signing up for a complicated financial product that may squander their equity prematurely or put them at risk for losing their homes.

In a new report, advocates for consumers and seniors are calling for stricter oversight of the reverse mortgage market and new consumer protections for borrowers.


After weeks of Washington back-and-forth, President Obama and GOP leaders have reached an uneasy agreement. But will what helps families now hurt them later?

By Money Staff Dec 8, 2010 7:40PM

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


Liz Pulliam WestonI'm feeling some tax-cut whiplash.


A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were contemplating a tax bill that would rise at least $6,500 next year if the Bush-era tax cuts expired or weren't extended for households, including ours, that make over $250,000.

Today, we stand to benefit from a deal that not only preserves our current tax breaks, but also gives us an additional $4,200 tax cut -- a giveback much bigger than that enjoyed by the vast majority of workers.


What the hell?


53% of Americans plan holiday gifts for pets, but more dogs than cats will get presents.

By Teresa Mears Dec 8, 2010 6:32PM

More pet owners plan to buy gifts for dogs this year than for cats, another sign of the blatant discrimination felines face daily.


Oops. Get that cat off my computer keyboard! Perhaps the cats are getting fewer gifts because they are ingrates and often ignore the gifts they do receive.  


An poll found that 56% of dog owners plan to buy their pooches gifts this holiday. In contrast, only 48% of cat owners plan to buy something for their feline friends.


Among them: Charitable giving can be jolly or folly, depending on whom you give to.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 8, 2010 4:44PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


The holidays are a time for gift giving and gestures of good will -- which makes them the perfect time of year for scammers. When better to be selfish than in the season of selflessness?

There are lots of rip-offs out there, especially online, from fake charities to knockoff merchandise sold at "bargain" prices. If you're not careful, you can go from good Samaritan to victim in a blink of an eye, or the click of a mouse.


Microsoft responds to FTC concerns about online privacy with new user controls for the upcoming Internet Explorer 9.

By Teresa Mears Dec 8, 2010 3:15PM

Less than a week after the Federal Trade Commission endorsed a "do not track" option for consumers who don't want advertisers and marketers following them around the Web, Microsoft announced a browser solution.

A new feature in Internet Explorer 9, due early next year, will allow users to designate sites that they don't want to track their movements. That gives them the option of allowing tracking for some merchants but not others. (Microsoft publishes MSN Money.)



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