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When her family's income shrank drastically, she was forced to get serious about managing money. A 3-ring binder is one of her tools.

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2011 1:38PM

This guest post comes from I am the working poor.


I used to earn triple the income I have now. Everything was financed and I worked to pay the bills.

Clothes were on credit, gifts were on credit, a vehicle and a house were financed. I thought the job was there to stay and as long as I could make at least the minimum payments I would be OK. The only thing I never put on credit was groceries. At least I knew that was a bad thing to do.


The prices of popular electronics will continue to drop. Here are predictions for 12 hot items.

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2011 10:24AM

This guest post comes from Beth Pinsker at


One of the great things about technology is that we can count on prices dropping at a steady clip over time on the things we want most. The more demand, the faster the electronics industry seems to satisfy us with new, cheaper products. Think how different it is for nonelectronic items such as milk and cereal, which always seem to go up (see our list of 20 things that will be more expensive in 2011).

We've now proven this mathematically, by sifting through thousands upon thousands of tech deals that we've listed over the past couple of years.


Our price trend data show how prices dropped on 12 popular items from 2009 to 2010, based on the individual deals we list on


The family garden plot taught two brothers how to plan projects, grow and preserve organic food, and make and manage money. Those were the good old days.

By Karen Datko Jan 19, 2011 9:39AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


Doesn't it seem like there used to be more gardens? When I was a kid in the 1970s and '80s, my parents kept a huge garden by today's standards -- a full city lot planted with corn, dill, radishes, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers, all framed by a few stately and towering sunflowers. It was straight out of Sunset Magazine, before we knew there was a Sunset Magazine.

I kid you not. Random drivers would pull over in their mid-1970s Impalas or ozone-defying Fleetwoods (about as big as the garden itself) to have a look. My mom and dad took pride in that garden, leveraging every ounce of their considerable energy to measure the rows carefully, and keep it fertilized, weeded and watered, producing bumper crops every year. It wasn't just fruitful, it was beautiful.


But where have all the gardens gone?


It might be a decent investment, but how would it go over with other family members?

By Karen Datko Jan 18, 2011 5:52PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner site Bargaineering.


A reader, John, e-mailed me a question about secondary sales of life insurance policies. He had learned that his father was going to cancel his term life insurance policy at the end of the month and he was considering "buying" it from his father by paying the premiums and collecting the death benefit.

We didn't get into the specifics but he ran the numbers and believes there's a 5% annual return if his father dies within 28 years (by age 91). He wanted to know if I thought this was a good idea.


Mom teaches her daughter about money by giving her 'jobs' with a weekly paycheck.

By Teresa Mears Jan 18, 2011 3:52PM

Parents often debate whether it's better to give children an allowance or pay them for doing household chores.


Alisa T. Weinstein believes you should give your child a job as a paleontologist or an entomologist or a market researcher and pay her for that.


Weinstein has just published "Earn It, Learn It: Teach Your Child the Value of Money, Work, and Time Well Spent," after using the program from two years on her daughter Mia, now 6. She didn't want to give Mia an allowance because she wanted her daughter to work for the money, just as adults do. But she didn't want to pay her for household chores because she believes that chores should be shared by everyone in the household.


She hit upon the idea of letting her daughter try a career every week and then paying her for her work, an attempt to duplicate the real world in microcosm. Each week, she and her daughter choose a career, choose a task from that career, and her daughter does the task. When her mother is satisfied, Mia gets her paycheck.


We're seeing more men in supermarkets, but they complain that ads still portray them as helpless.

By Teresa Mears Jan 18, 2011 2:10PM

More men are literally bringing home the bacon, but they say that advertising still doesn't speak to them as grocery shoppers.

We're not sure why in 2011 men have still not attained equality in grocery shopping, but perhaps we'll see that in our lifetime.


A survey by Yahoo last year found that 51% of men considered themselves the primary grocery shopper in their homes, though another survey found that 85% of women said THEY were the primary shopper, so someone is exaggerating. Other research indicates that about 35% of grocery shoppers are men, which is still a big number.


According to Advertising Age, those men who are buying groceries, toiletries and paper products feel left out by today's advertising, which is still aimed at women.


Financial infidelity may be rampant, but not in this household.

By Karen Datko Jan 18, 2011 12:53PM

This guest post comes from Free From Broke.


You can have your spreadsheets, online budgeting sites, statements, etc. Want to know what the single greatest positive impact on my finances has been? I'll tell you -- it's my wife. Let me explain.


Back in the day, I was in debt, had no savings, no investments, and my net worth was measured in things I owned (not like a house but more like guitars and music CDs). I wasn't the picture of good financial health.

But I slowly worked my way out of my financial funk. I educated myself. I paid off my credit cards. I contributed to my 401k. I started saving.


I did these things on my own. Had I not met my wife, I would have continued to improve my finances but not to the extent they're at now. My wife turbocharged my finances, well, OUR finances.


It's a good sign when both employers and employees are more confident about job growth.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 18, 2011 11:11AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


We recently told you about three cautiously optimistic employment predictions. Well, here are three more for 2011. And this time, the good news is spread around a bit.

Temp wages on the rise. "Wages for skilled temporary employees have finally bottomed out and are inching up," says the Yoh Index of Wages, which for a decade has been following wages of temp workers in IT, engineering, science, health care and telecommunications, among other industries.


Last September, those temp workers earned an average of $29.81 an hour -- a four-year low. But in December, it climbed back up to $31.55. And that's good news even if you're not an engineer.



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