Money Minute: College Degree Really Is Worth the Cost

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New evidence that a college degree is worth the high cost.

The path to higher earnings goes directly through a college campus. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco says the average American with a 4-year college degree will end up with $800,000 more in lifetime earnings than someone with just a high school degree -- and that includes the cost of tuition and the lost earnings of spending four years in college. But the added cost of some private colleges doesn't always add to earnings potential.

The Obama Administration says no company is "too big to jail." Attorney General Eric Holder says "no company, no matter how large or profitable, is above the law." But he says the Justice Department wants to make sure that any criminal charges won't lead to catastrophic economic consequences.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Meanwhile, there are reports that federal prosecutors are near a deal under which European banking giant Credit Suisse (CS) will plead guilty to charges that it helped wealthy Americans avoid taxes. As part of the deal, Credit Suisse could pay as much as $1.6 billion.

A teenager has scored a big victory over Coca-Cola (KO). The beverage giant has agreed to remove brominated vegetable oil from its drinks. Bromine is a chemical used as a fire-retardant in furniture and children's clothing. It has now been stripped out of the company's Fanta and Fresca soft drinks, as well as Powerade. More than 60,000 consumers signed a petition started by a Mississippi teenager to remove the chemical. PepsiCo's (PEP) Gatorade previously stopped using bromine.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 17 points on Monday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 3, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 14 points.

Adidas is reportedly looking to sell its Rockport brand of casual shoes. The Wall Street Journal says Adidas has been falling behind its main rival, Nike, and could use the money to boost its sneaker line. Adidas acquired Rockport in 2005 as part of its deal to buy Reebok.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

7 Simple Habits to Save a Pretty Penny (or $100)
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Money Minute: College Degree Really Is Worth the Cost
Have you ever heard of the 30-day rule? As a frugal guy, this is one of my favorite rules in spending. If you’re about to spend any more than $20 on something that is unnecessary, don’t. Instead, put the item down and wait 30 days to buy it. You’ll be amazed at how much money you save by not making unnecessary frivolous purchases.
I literally mean freeze your credit cards. It seems a bit extreme, but think of it this way. The average credit card comes with a 13 percent or higher interest rate. By simply not using credit cards as often, you’ll save a ton. So, get a plastic sandwich bag and put your credit cards in it. Fill it with water, zip it up and throw it in the freezer. Without easy access to those tempting pieces of plastic, you probably won’t use them as much. However, they’ll still be around -- in an emergency, you can retrieve them from the ice.
Have you ever looked around your house, seen a few items and thought, “I could have made that!” You probably could have. The only thing is, you didn’t. Instead you paid for it. From now on, before you buy something you think you can make on your own, give it a shot. I saved a little over a hundred bucks about two weeks ago. I needed a new bird cage for my fiancé’s doves. Instead of buying a cage for $200, I made one that was far bigger for less than $80.
Did you know that a clean air filter in your car can lead to 7 percent more fuel efficiency? That means at current gas prices, with a clean air filter, you’ll save about $100 a year, if you drive the average 10,000 miles.
How often on the way home from the office do you want to stop for a convenient quick meal? You’ve had a long day, and it feels justified. But it costs much more than a home-cooked meal. The answer is your slow cooker. Use it to prepare your meal in the morning on days you know will be rough. This way, you can skip the fast food and rush home to an already ready home-cooked meal.

Do you pay a maintenance fee for your bank account? Why? Tons of banks offer checking and savings accounts without them. Look to your local credit union or even switch to an online bank. When comparing your options, also look at the interest you can earn. Currently, I get about 3 percent on checking and about 3.4 percent on savings, but who knows what kind of great deals you can find?

I’ve had tons of options to sign up for customer rewards programs and I was just too busy. So, I didn’t sign up. Then one day, I realized that I was paying for rewards I wasn’t getting. The cost of the rewards obviously trickles down to the end consumer. So, if the end consumer doesn’t take part, he or she loses money in the process. Since I’ve signed up for every reward program around me, I’ve saved at least 20 or 30 bucks a month in rewards.

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