Culture Cents 
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The Czervik Principle: Why cash beats miles, points or other credit card rewards in 2014

When choosing between credit card rewards, here's why miles and points should take a backseat to cashSorry to be a buzz kill on New Year’s, but 2014 is shaping up to be a bad year for frequent flier mile fanatics and other collectors of “points” doled out by credit card companies, airlines and others. There’s a massive devaluation of points and miles going on, requiring consumers to spend more to get rewards like plane tickets and hotel stays. And that’s just one example of why the world needs the Czervik Principle.
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 Health Care 
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Employers hope healthier habits are among your New Year’s resolutions, may fine you if they aren’t

Employee wellness programs set to pack a bigger punch in 2014You may not think your health is any of your employer’s business. But when it comes to employee wellness programs, you’d be wrong.

Lots of companies — nearly 90 percent, according to a 2013 survey by Fidelity Investments — are looking to cut their health insurance costs through “wellness programs,” many of which incorporate both financial rewards and penalties.

For employees, that can mean failing to do things like lose weight or stop smoking could mean you end up paying much more for health insurance than coworkers deemed healthier. How much more depends on the company, but employers’ ability to reward healthy workers may be getting a big boost in 2014.
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 Frugal Living 
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How to make the clothes you got for Christmas last at least until next year

Hopefully these storm troopers studied up on these ways to make your clothing last longer.It’s a good bet you ended up with some new threads under the tree this year. Clothing was the fifth most popular Christmas gift this holiday season, ahead of video games, jewelry and even alcohol, according to  a report by Nielsen.

And while you’ll probably end up in the return lines like everyone else, at least some of the clothes you got were probably serviceable enough to hold on to. Here are some tips to help it last at least until you can re-up next year.


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 Shopping 
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How to return a terrible gift without letting the giver know how much you hated it

It's not so easy to return a gift without a gift receiptAmericans will spend an average of $737.95 each on the holidays this year, according to research from the National Retail Federation, and a substantial portion of that will no doubt be spent by very nice people — with the best of intentions — on truly terrible gifts.

Yes, many of us will participate in the annual post-holiday ritual of hunting through the boxes that brought us that Big Mouth Billy Bass or unfunny novelty t-shirt, desperately trying to find some kind of clue about where it was purchased so it can be returned as quickly as possible before anyone sees it.
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 Science Says 
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Want to help a food bank? Give cash, not food

You wouldn’t go into the Red Cross and bring them a jumbo pack of bandages, right? You wouldn’t drive over to the Cancer Research Institute and offer to give them some of your leftover science, right?

But plenty of people will drive up to a food bank this holiday season and just drop off a bunch of food they chose at random from the grocery store or dug out of the back of their pantry.

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 MoneyDerp 
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Walmart price-matching enthusiast banned for life, but you should try price-matching anyway

Walmart may have a great price matching policy, but one enthusiastic customer won't be able to enjoy it anymore.There is a right way and a wrong way to price match.

The right way involves showing up prepared with valid prices from competitors and walking out with a great deal. The wrong way involves showing up with an expired circular and going on a profanity-laced tirade that gets you arrested.

That’s my takeaway from a story about a former professional wrestler and Walmart price-matching enthusiast who is now banned for life from every Walmart store on the planet after an incident where the retailer refused to match a competitor’s price.
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 Money Lab 
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Is it cheaper to commute by motorcycle?

Could a commute by motorcycle save you money?I ride a motorcycle everywhere. I commute on it (daily, year-round, rain or shine, in South Florida), run errands on it. Heck, I’ve even brought home 7-foot Christmas trees on my bike.

Yet I still own a car — a 2000 Jetta that I haven’t driven in about six weeks. If you ignore the costs of tires and armored clothing for the motorcycle, the car is cheaper. If you consider the protective gear a sunk cost, keeping the car is a mistake. Let’s talk money.
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 Health Care 
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5 steps to punch a denied health insurance claim in the face

Health insurers are in business to make money, and one way they can increase profits is denying claims. And they do. A lot.

About 200 million health insurance claims are denied annually, according to the AARP. While that might be great for insurers’ shareholders, it sucks for patients.

The good news is, when a consumer appeals their insurance company’s decision, the denial is reversed about half the time. It’s worth it to appeal a denial, but it’s not typically easy. Here’s what you can do to fight back against a denied health insurance claim.
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