Money Minute: Tech Giants Settle Suit; Amazon Tests Delivery

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Four of the nation's biggest tech companies settle a lawsuit alleging they colluded to hold down salaries.

More than 64,000 workers are part of the class action suit claiming that Apple (AAPL), Intel (INTC), Google (GOOG) and Adobe Systems (ADBE) secretly agreed to hold down wages by not poaching each other's employees. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed, but reports say it's for far less than the $3 billion sought by the workers. Apparently, the companies didn't want to take this one to trial next month, and risk a huge judgment and a lot of lousy publicity. (AMZN) may be coming to your door -- not just its packages, but Amazon delivery trucks bringing your goods from the warehouse right to your home. The company will test out the idea in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. It could allow Amazon to offer same day deliveries.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Netflix (NFLX) is about to test an idea that could make it easier for subscribers to toggle back and forth between the movies they order and the regular TV programs they watch. The company is working with three small cable companies to stream its shows through TiVo (TIVO) set top boxes, in effect making Netflix another channel on your cable lineup.

Here on Wall Street on Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) did nothing. Really, nothing. The Dow ended the day right where it started. It's the first time that's happened since December of 2001. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 3 points, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 21.

Apple raised its quarterly dividend the other day, and it now pays out more cash to its shareholders than any other company -- more than $11 billion a year. It's followed by Exxon Mobil (XOM), AT&T (T), Microsoft (MSFT) and General Electric (GE).

Finally, one of Europe's biggest discount clothing retailers is coming to the U.S. Primark, known for its fashionable looks and low prices, will open in Boston next year, with plans to expand to other cities after that.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

10 Easy Ways to Pay Off Debt
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Money Minute: Tech Giants Settle Suit; Amazon Tests Delivery
"Your daily habits and routines are the reason you got into this mess," writes Trent Hamm, founder of "Spend some time thinking about how you spend money each day, each week and each month." Do you really need your daily latte? Can you bring your lunch to work instead of buying it four times a week? Ask yourself: What can I change without sacrificing my lifestyle too much? 
Remove all credit cards from your wallet and leave them at home when you go shopping, advises WiseBread contributor Sabah Karimi. “Even if you earn cash back or other rewards with credit card purchases, stop spending with your credit cards until you have your finances under control,” she writes.
If you do a lot of online shopping at one retailer, you may have stored your credit card information on the site to make the checkout process easier. But that also makes it easier to charge items you don't need. So clear that information. "If you’re paying for a recurring service, use a debit card issued from a major credit card service linked to your checking account," Hamm writes.  
Reward yourself when you reach debt payoff goals. "The only way to completely pay off your credit card debt is to keep at it, and to do that, you must keep yourself motivated," Bakke writes. Just make sure to reward yourself within reason. For example, instead of a weeklong vacation, plan a weekend camping trip. "If you aim to reduce your credit card debt from $10,000 to $5,000 in two months," Bakke writes, "give yourself more than a pat on the back." 
“Establish a budget,” writes Money Crashers contributor David Bakke. “If you don't scale back your spending, you'll dig yourself into a deeper hole." You can use personal finance tools like, or make your own Excel spreadsheet that includes your monthly income and expenses. Then scrutinize those budget categories to see where you can cut costs.    
Sort your credit card interest rates from highest to lowest, then tackle the card with the highest rate first. "By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards," writes spokeswoman Hitha Prabhakar.
To make a dent in your debt, you need to pay more than the minimum balance on your credit card statements each month. "Paying the minimum -– usually 2 to 3 percent of the outstanding balance -– only prolongs a debt payoff strategy," Prabhakar writes. "Strengthen your commitment to pay everything off by making weekly, instead of monthly, payments." Or if your minimum payment is $100, try doubling it and paying off $200 or more. 
If you have a high-interest card with a balance that you’re confident you can pay off in a few months, Hamm recommends moving the debt to a card that offers a zero-interest balance transfer. "You’ll need to pay off the debt before the balance transfer expires, or else you’re often hit with a much higher interest rate," he warns. "If you do it carefully, you can save hundreds on interest this way."
Have any birthday gifts or old wedding presents collecting dust in your closet? Look for items you can sell on eBay or Craigslist. "Do some research to make sure you list these items at a fair and reasonable price," Karimi writes. “Take quality photos, and write an attention-grabbing headline and description to sell the item as quickly as possible." Any profits from sales should go toward your debt. 
If you receive a job bonus around the holidays or during the year, allocate that money toward your debt payoff plan. "Avoid the temptation to spend that bonus on a vacation or other luxury purchase," Karimi writes. It’s more important to fix your financial situation than own the latest designer bag.
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