Money Minute: Google Fiber Test Hits Speedy Start

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Google's test of a super-fast Internet connection in Kansas City is off to a speedy start.

A survey by analysts at Bernstein Research finds 42 percent of residents in Kansas City have signed up for Google Fiber at $70 a month. That's about $5 a month more than the much slower service offered by Time Warner Cable (TWC). Google (GOOG) previously identified 33 other cities for expansion of the fiber service, if the Kansas City test goes well.

Student loans are about to get more expensive. The rate on undergraduate loans is set to rise by nearly a percentage point, to 4.66 percent. For a freshman starting at a four-year college later this year, that could mean $2,100 in extra interest payments over a decade.

The Internal Revenue Service will conduct 100,000 fewer audits this year, mostly because of cuts to the agency's budget. As a result, the IRS Commissioner says the government will lose about $3 billion in uncollected tax revenue.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 117 points Wednesday and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 10, but the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell 13 points. The Nasdaq has lost 6.5 percent since its recent peak in early March.

The hope of harnessing offshore winds for energy use is catching sail. The Energy Department will pay up to $47 million for each of three projects to corral the winds off the coasts of New Jersey, Virginia and Oregon. The long-delayed projects are expected to begin delivering energy by 2017.

The Navy has selected Sikorsky Aircraft and Lockheed Martin (LMT) to build new helicopters to replace the aging fleet of presidential choppers. No surprise there. They were the only bidders. The award of $1.2 billion is for six new helicopters.

Finally, here's hoping Bob Costas doesn't have another untimely bout of pink eye. NBC has locked up the rights to broadcast the Summer and Winter games through the year 2032. It agreed to pay $7.7 billion to extend the current deal, which had been set to expire in 2020.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

7 Simple Habits to Save a Pretty Penny (or $100)
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Money Minute: Google Fiber Test Hits Speedy Start
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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