Culture Cents 
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5 money lessons from ‘Full House’

Money lessons from Full HouseThe catchy theme song, the red front door, the music that hinted you were about to learn an important life lesson … “Full House” fans remember it all. Here are five money lessons you may not realize the TGIF classic taught you that could have your wallet saying “You got it dude!”
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 Money Lab 
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Can you really heat a room for 15 cents a day worth of tea lights?

Flowerpot heater materialsThere’s a video making the rounds on social media about a “hack” for home heating that seems like it should be huge news to cheapskates the world over, especially given the hellacious polar vortex that’s covered much of the United States in snow and ice this winter.

In the video, which was actually published in fall of 2012, a British man named Dylan Winter, who runs a YouTube channel devoted largely to boating, demonstrates how he uses simple household materials — a bread tin, two flowerpots of varying sizes and some tea lights — to build a heater that cheaply keeps a small room warm. The video is really popular, with 5,349,262 views as of this writing.

I hail from the arctic tundra known as Minnesota, and, because we have had some record-breaking low temperatures this winter (when don’t we?), I thought it would be as good a time as any to give building my own flowerpot heater a whirl.
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 Personal Finance 
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5 Chinese New Year traditions for attracting wealth

Many Chinese New Year traditions have a financial bent

Sun nin fai lok! 

On Friday, China rang in the New Year. It’s officially the Year of the Horse.

Across many cultures, a new year represents the possibility of building wealth, health and prosperity. While the Western world makes New Year’s resolutions, Eastern tradition is focused on what most Westerners would call, well, crazy superstition.
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 MoneyDerp 
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Twitter account dedicated to people who post debit card pics is depressingly busy

Posting debit card details on Twitter invites debit card fraudIf you’re ever feeling the need to take a picture of your debit card and post it on social media just … don’t. It doesn’t take that much information to make fraudulent purchases online with a debit card account, or clone a physical copy of a debit card, and giving all those potentially listening in on your social media account a free look isn’t wise.

To hammer that point home, there’s a Twitter account dispensing vigilante Internet justice to those who would post pictures of their debit cards online.
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 Observations 
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Michaels offers handy DIY solutions for customers exposed in possible data breach

Michaels data breachAnother week, another retailer announcing a possible data breach that could compromise customer data and expose them to the risk of financial fraud.

A few weeks ago, it was Target, then Neiman Marcus (who, like Target, is offering free identity theft protection for a year). This time, the retailer in question is Michaels, which is hands down the best place on Earth to buy assorted sizes of Styrofoam balls and everything you need for scrapbooking your cat’s birthday party.

The company put out a press release on Saturday to let us know it may have suffered a data breach attack and urging customers to take action.
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 Health Care 
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Concierge medicine provides options ahead of Obamacare deadline

Concierge medicine may help young people get more bang for their buckThere are just over 2 months to go until the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, and not everyone is sold on purchasing the kind of comprehensive and often pricey plans offered in the insurance exchanges set up under the law.

One alternative that may hold some appeal, especially for those under 30, is concierge medicine. With concierge medicine, you pay a regular retainer monthly or annually for the right to have a doctor manage your health care and perform basic procedures such as checkups and tests.

Paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan, it can meet a broad variety of health care needs without having to do the messy insurance dance for most of your medical care. Certain concierge practices, including AtlasMD, even offer house calls as a membership benefit.
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 Billshit 
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Your electric bill: so much Billshit, so little time

Your utility bill: so much Billshit, so little timeSince October, I’ve spent only about $25 a month on electricity. Impressive, eh?

Well, maybe I shouldn’t toot my own horn quite so loudly. Because last summer, I spent an average of $130 a month on electricity. Since then I’ve made an effort to reduce my energy usage, and it looks like it paid off. As you can see from the screenshot below, my total energy bill for October-December was $49.32. That’s for two months, and that’s the lowest my electric bill has been. Ever.

In this edition of Billshit, I decided to inspect my energy bill to learn more about each charge and see if I could cut it down even more. Let’s check it out.
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 MoneyDerp 
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Before you renovate that place you’re renting, don’t forget to pick up some Bad Idea jeans

Renovating a rental can be hazardous to your financial healthThere’s a classic “Saturday Night Live” ad parody called “Bad Idea Jeans” where a bunch of 30-something white guys wearing stonewashed dad jeans (with a “bad idea” label, of course) stand around talking nonchalantly about a bunch of really dumb things they have planned.

One guy says he’s going to donate a kidney to a stranger; another says he’s taking in an ex-freebase addict for a couple of months so he can turn his life around.

“Hey, we’re gutting our apartment,” a young Kevin Nealon says to start the sketch off. “Ripped up the floors, pipes, wiring — having everything completely redone.”

“You’re renting, right?” asks David Spade.

“Yep.”
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