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If you have a debit card, the cost for using it is likely to drop -- for your local merchant.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 22, 2010 9:50AM

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

 

Wall Street reform is coming -- and a compromise has been reached regarding one of its most hard-fought provisions.

 

Negotiators from the House and Senate have agreed to allow the Federal Reserve to regulate fees for debit card transactions. The fees, known as "swipe" or interchange fees, are paid by merchants in exchange for accepting debit cards. 

 

Credit card swipe fees will remain unregulated.

 

A survey by Airfarewatchdog.com identifies readers' thoughts on the rudest flight attendants and other flight-related topics.

By Karen Datko Jun 21, 2010 5:22PM

There's nothing scientific about reader polls, but sometimes the results can be quite satisfying. Take Airfarewatchdog's first -- and they hope annual -- subscriber poll. We appreciated the sentiments behind this finding:

83% of respondents have traveled with children in the past 12 months; however, 68% think there should be a separate section of the plane for passengers traveling with kids.

And what if little Johnny is incessantly kicking the back of your seat?

 

Proceeds from a class-action settlement could be sitting in your account.

By Karen Datko Jun 21, 2010 4:06PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Current and former users of travel booking site Expedia.com might have a little extra in their site accounts.

 

As part of a class-action lawsuit settlement, Expedia paid out $123.4 million in cash and site credits earlier this month. The lawsuit, filed in 2005 and settled in 2009, alleged that the company's bundled tax and service fees were excessive and that bundling the charges unfairly prevented consumers from assessing the amount and nature of individual fees. Expedia denies any wrongdoing. (Expedia responded by directing SmartMoney to its public filings on the lawsuit. Seattle firm Hagens Berman, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of consumers, did not return calls for comment.)

 

So, what's in it for travelers?

 

People who lose their jobs today don't get a 65% government subsidy for their COBRA health insurance payments.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 21, 2010 3:20PM

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

 

If you lost your job on May 31, Uncle Sam will pay 65% of your COBRA health insurance bill for up to 15 months. But if you lost it on June 1, you're on your own.

 

The 65% subsidy was part of the $787 billion stimulus legislation passed in 2009. The subsidy was originally slated to last nine months, but was later increased to 15 months. It applied to those who lost their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008, and May 31, 2010. There was talk of extending the benefit until the end of 2010, but Congress ultimately concluded the nation couldn't afford the additional $7.8 billion it would have cost.

 

If you build it yourself, a cat enclosure can be an inexpensive way to keep your felines happy. And you want to keep them happy.

By Teresa Mears Jun 21, 2010 1:39PM

We could dismiss the latest "catio" craze story in The New York Times as just another waste of money on pets.

 

Except that we have cats. And we have a catio of sorts, a small screened porch built by the previous owner for humans. Living in a small space with cats, we can't tell you how valuable that tiny porch is. But the felines really want a bigger one.

 

While you can spend hundreds of dollars on ready-made cat enclosures or kits to create them, you can build your own catio using common, inexpensive materials.

 

Chains are offering free games to children, and some offer cheap games to adults who come along.

By Teresa Mears Jun 21, 2010 12:04PM

Are your kids already driving you crazy with wails of "I'm SO bored"? And summer has just started.

 

We suggest you meet those laments with a list of household chores that need doing, and your kids are likely to find something wildly interesting to do within minutes.

Maybe you can send them bowling. Several chains are offering "kids bowl free" summer promotions.

 

He's ashamed to admit that over the past few months, his personal finances have come to resemble his unkempt, neglected yard.

By Karen Datko Jun 21, 2010 10:25AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

I had a great weekend. In fact, it was probably one of the best weekends I've had in years. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday doing chores. (Well, I watched the World Cup a little, too.) I spent nearly 16 hours doing yardwork, and I loved every minute of it.

 

This passion for pruning may seem strange to you, but it seems even stranger to me. I generally don't like yardwork. But here's the thing: When we bought this house in 2004, I was fairly diligent about performing routine maintenance. I pruned the hedges, mowed the lawn, cleaned the gutters, and did dozens of other little things to make sure the house and yard remained at peak form.

 

For several years, I stayed on top of things around Rosings Park (which is what we call our two-thirds of an acre). But about two years ago -- just as Get Rich Slowly began to take over my life -- I let things slide.

 

Your friends can not only make you fat, they can make the social barriers to breaking a mortgage contract come crumbling down.

By Karen Datko Jun 21, 2010 7:36AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.

 

Your friends can make you fat. And I don't mean by baking you stuff.

 

A few years ago, scientists released the results of a 32-year obesity study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Pardon the description if you're already familiar with it.

 

Scientists followed about 12,000 people over a 32-year time period, many of whom ran in the same social circles, and tried to assess what common factors led to many of them becoming obese. It turned out that who those studied became friends with was incredibly important. In fact, if someone's friend became obese, he or she became 57% more likely to become obese. If someone's brother or sister became obese, his or her chances increased by 40%. And if it was a spouse, the chances rose 37%.

 

The study caused a pretty big stir.

 

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