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Imagine how you'd feel if your mortgage lender bought a new homeowners insurance policy for your home -- then billed you $33,000.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 17, 2010 3:53PM

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


If you don't buy insurance on your house, your mortgage company can legally do it for you. This makes sense because your home is the collateral for your home loan; without insurance, an accident or natural disaster could wipe out their security. So your lender ensures that you have insurance, and if you don't, they buy it and bill you for the premiums.

It's called forced-place insurance, and it's been around for a long time. But some are now accusing lenders of using these policies to generate excessive profits at the expense of hapless homeowners.


Class-action settlement addresses taxes charged by AT&T for Internet access.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 1:52PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


A swath of AT&T smart-phone customers have received text messages letting them know that a recent class-action settlement may put some extra money in their pockets.

The settlement applies to AT&T customers who bought smart phones or mobile data services between Nov. 1, 2005, and Sept. 7, 2010.


More shoppers are using loyalty program rewards to stretch their budgets. Here's how to get the most value for them.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 12:26PM

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


Last year, Staci Gerardi spent about $600 on holiday presents. This year, she's planning an equally generous holiday, but she's spending just $30 -- using store gift cards she got by navigating the maze of rewards points, loyalty programs and other discounts.

"Why am I going to spend money when I don't have to?" Gerardi says. That $30 she spent? It wasn't for gifts, but for shipping charges at sites that didn't have a coupon code for free delivery.


Her homemade ketchup and mayonnaise worked out fine. Mustard was next on the list.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 10:27AM

This post comes from Marla Walters at partner blog Wise Bread.


I use a lot of mustard. Before embarking on my latest make-your-own condiment project, I took a jar count in the refrigerator. I already owned five different kinds.


However, I can easily rationalize this. You need different types of mustard. I use Dijon in many sauces. Whole grain on a ham-and-Swiss panini is great. French's is a necessity on a hot dog. Well, you get the idea.


To review, here are my criteria for make-it-yourself stuff:


More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

By Karen Datko Nov 16, 2010 9:43PM

This post comes fromBarbara Marquand at partner site


Keith Evrley, a retired fire chief in Taylorville, Ill., knows a lot about fire prevention and safety. But when he talks about the importance of being careful with turkey deep fryers, he draws more from personal than professional experience.

Five years ago, after hearing people rave about fried turkey, Evrley bought a deep fryer to prepare a meal for his family on Easter Sunday. He set up the fryer on his mother-in-law's back porch, began heating the oil and walked two houses away to gather his family.


"I was probably gone four or five minutes," he recalls.


With relationships and with money, avoiding temptation is key.

By Karen Datko Nov 16, 2010 6:58PM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


Personal finances are like relationships. Things can go really well at times, and then two seconds later crash and burn out of nowhere.


And it almost always involves you putting yourself in a situation you know darn well you shouldn't have been in to begin with.


In committed relationships, this can happen a number of ways:

  • Hanging out (alone) with someone of the opposite sex. Who's pretty.

Ads from Kmart are sweet, while at least one price from OfficeMax stinks.

By Karen Datko Nov 16, 2010 5:40PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.


Kmart's leaked Black Friday ad promises shoppers a "Blue Friday," with plenty of their trademark "blue light" specials between 5 and 11 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving.


Many of the deals in the circular are decent. However, only a few bargains made the cut with Black Friday shoppers on the Web, including:


A few simple rules: Make designer purchases with a fraud-protection credit card, never wire money and don't use a debit card.

By Karen Datko Nov 16, 2010 4:22PM

This guest post comes from Phil Lindeman at's Go Frugal Blog.


The next time you ogle discount handbags at a downtown street vendor, keep in mind: Counterfeit products cost the global economy an estimated $600 billion in legitimate revenue every year, or roughly the price of 240 million Prada handbags. No joke.

Fakes are hardly a shocking sight, but with the holidays hot on our collective heels, counterfeits of everything will be more prominent than usual.



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