features

Elected Insiders: Why the STOCK Act Matters to You

Four times in five years, lawmakers have introduced the Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge Act to bar senators and representatives from investing based on knowledge they gained in the course of their duties. Three times, the STOCK Act has died in committee. Will the fourth time be the charm?

What Would You Do With a Billion Dollar Bank Error?

It's a cliche that dates back to Monopoly: A bank error in your favor. But for Parijat Saha, an Indian schoolteacher, the Community Chest card came to life in a big way when he discovered that his bank account suddenly held $9.8 billion.

What Unions Should Have Said in New Ad Campaign

Organized labor in the U.S. has been under sustained assault for some time; now, unions are fighting back with a major ad campaign designed to improve their image. Problem is, the centerpiece commercial mangles the message -- and misses the point.

Beyond Santorum's Sweater: 2012's Best Campaign Swag

This week, Rick Santorum grabbed headlines when he offered campaign donors the sweater vest off his back. But the former senator faces a tough fight in the campaign merchandise contest. As GOP primary season heats up, here's our rundown of the winners and losers in the battle of the campaign swag.

Pieces on Earth: Christmas 2011 Saw Record Gun Sales

In the movie "A Christmas Story," Ralphie had his sights set on just one gift: a Red Ryder BB gun. But many Americans this season clearly had heavier arms on their minds: Background checks on gun buyers hit a single-month record in December.

New Year's Eve: Celebrating by the Numbers

Champagne? Check. Noisemakers? Check. Party game to kill time as you wait for the clock to strike midnight? We can help with that. Gather your friends and family to try your hand at some New Year's Eve trivia.

Secret Santas Share the Wealth, $100 at a Time

You don't have to be a billionaire -- nor a jolly, white-bearded figure out of folklore -- to make the holiday season remarkably sweeter for a stranger. Or a lot of strangers. Over the past few years, ordinary people across the country have been taking up the calling of Larry Stewart, the original Secret Santa.

Would You Hire Him?

Our new Style Scavenger column is about finding good purchases in unexpected places. Our first challenge: Helping a recent college grad evolve his look from funky and stained to interview- and office-ready. But before we get to the clothes, we'll have to figure out what to do with the tie-dyed hair...

The Mall-ification of the American Church

A third of America's indoor malls are currently in financial distress as retailers vacate for trendier shopping areas. But a surprising new breed of tenant is stepping in to fill that vacant retail space: churches.

Why Are LEGOs So Expensive?

It's a question that echoes across the Internet, on blogs and message boards, and in the content of a specialty wiki called Brickipedia: "Why are Legos so expensive?" Our search for an answer starts in Denmark, and ends in the playrooms of countless children around the world.

Can an iPhone App Save Small Businesses?

You may already be familiar with many of the independent retailers in your home town, but how do you find mom-and-pop shops when you're traveling? The 3/50 Project's new iPhone app might help. It links users to its directory of small businesses, so visitors can support the local economy.

Financial Lessons for Parents from 'Downsized'

In the season premiere of reality-television show "Downsized," which airs Tuesday, things are looking up for the Bruce-Rumsey family of nine. In an interview with The Price of Fame, family members tell us they've made mistakes. Here's what you can learn from their story.

Biggest Buzz for the Buck: The Best Fast Food Coffee

If you still rely on Dunkin' Donuts for your budget buzz, you might be missing a better value. We conducted a taste test comparing the classic to coffee from McDonald's and Starbucks. Who delivers the best coffee for the price?

Apple, Ikea Stores: The Ultimate Knockoffs?

Knockoff bags and watches from China are one thing. But the news that whole Apple, Ikea and Disney stores have been faked -- even to the point of duping the employees, in one case -- has shocked many Americans.

Financial Tradeoffs Parents are Making for Their Families

Every parent knows that children aren't cheap. The average cost of raising a family has grown higher than ever, and parents are making some sacrifices to pay it. Here are some of the common tradeoffs new mothers and fathers are making.

Rick Harrison's Rules for Being a Pawn Star

"Pawn Stars," the History Channel reality series, is television gold. During his lifetime in the business, Rick Harrison -- owner-operator of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, where the show is set -- has seen it all. Here are four tips that he shared on how to become a world-class pawnbroker.

Do We Still Need Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores?

The death of bookstore chain Borders begs the question: Is there still a place in the Internet-dominated market for brick-and-mortar booksellers and the value they add? Independent bookstores thinks so, and the numbers in the American Booksellers Association, believe it or not, are growing.

FCC Takes Aim at Scammers Who 'Cram' Phone Bills

Earlier this week, the FCC proposed new rules designed to crack down on "phone cramming," a widespread, illegal practice that robs billions of dollars from phone users. And with 300 million third-party charges hidden in phone bills every year, odds are, you've been a victim.

Tattoos: An Oddly Recession-Proof Industry

The weak economy is affecting most businesses, but not tattoo parlors. Even in bad times, people will splurge on body art. And for those who later elect to have them removed, it's often a tattoo business that lasers away the ink. DailyFinance's Loren Berlin visited Tattoo Lou's to check out the state of this colorful industry.