Smart SpendingSmart Spending says New Year's Eve is the best day in December to buy a car.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 30, 2010 12:46PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


In this economy, a lot of people are putting off big purchases like cars because their budgets are just too tight. But as we mentioned earlier this week, some people can't put it off any longer.

If you're one of those people, here's some good news: One of the best times to buy is right now.


A Florida family's story shows how tense life can be in a crowded home near the edge of homelessness.

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2010 8:58AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


Three generations of a struggling Florida family are jammed into a "recession-beaten," three-bedroom ranch house, prisoners of their inability to find stable jobs, in The New York Times' story of Holly Maggi, 26; her fiancé, James Wilson, 26; their 21-month-old daughter, Madison; and their "good-natured pit bull, Caley." The young family moved in with Holly's parents in February after they were evicted from their apartment.

It's an increasingly common tale these days. National Public Radio reports that the number of households with extended families -- including "boomerang" kids like Holly -- grew 11% in the last two years.


While you may have heard about the trend before, we don't often get to read in such vivid detail what it's like when economics force you to move in with family.


Words like 'bankster,' '99er,' 'microtarget' and 'gate rape' captured the state of affairs this year.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2010 8:56PM

"Austerity" -- meaning "enforced or extreme economy" -- is Merriam-Webster's word of the year (more on the selection process below). It's one of several notable words and phrases that describe our forced frugality and other aspects of the economy -- and are being honored this year.


You don't need to be a member of the blogerati (.pdf file) to enjoy the picks for the various word-of-the-year lists for 2010.


"Bankster," a New Oxford American Dictionary top 10 finalist for word of the year, is a "delicious blend of 'banker' and 'gangster' that has actually been around since the 1930s but for which we never had much use until now," Samantha Bennett wrote at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Thieves took nearly $90,000 from a Minnesota man's HELOC account, and his credit union says it's up to him to pay it back.

By Teresa Mears Dec 29, 2010 5:09PM

Mike Calcutt was shocked to learn that nearly $90,000 had been spent from his home equity line of credit


He was more shocked when Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union said he would have to pay back the $88,593, even though he had reported the fraud as soon as he received his bank statement.

Calcutt, who lives in Minnesota, is among a growing number of victims of HELOC fraud, in which scammers either open home equity lines of credit in other people's names or withdraw money from existing accounts by impersonating the account owners.


Many people have been jobless for more than two years, and the government wants to know how many.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2010 3:24PM

This post comes from Fred Yager at partner site


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says so many people have been jobless for so long that it's being forced to change how it records long-term unemployment.

Referring to "an unprecedented rise" in long-term unemployment, starting Jan. 1, the BLS will raise from two years to five years the upper limit on how long someone can be listed as having been jobless. 


The weak economy has dragged on for so long, many people just can't wait any longer to buy a new or used car.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 29, 2010 1:12PM

This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.


With the economy still down, used car prices are up. And as we reported last week, gas prices are also rising. So why are many Americans planning to buy a car in 2011?

Well, we just can't put it off any longer, claims car-buying website Autobytel in a new survey of its users.


You have until Dec. 31 to go through your stuff and make a noncash tax-deductible donation. Here's how.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2010 9:59AM

This post comes from Meg Favreau at partner blog Wise Bread.


If you've ever thought about moving during December, I have one contraction for you: Don't.

I was stupid enough to do so this year, taking the stress of hauling my belongings to a new apartment, finding a storage unit, and trying to remember how my bed frame fits together and adding it to an already busy schedule of shopping, baking and holiday parties.


There is, however, one great thing about moving during December:


Starting early next year, new first-class stamps will no longer have a denomination.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2010 9:13PM

Finally, some good news from the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service: New first-class stamps will no longer have a denomination on their face. That means the new stamps you buy next year can be used to mail a letter or pay a bill no matter how many times the first-class rate goes up. 


Every first-class stamp will be a "Forever" stamp -- those denomination-free stamps that first appeared in April 2007. The change is expected to debut with a new stamp issued on Jan. 22. 


We can see several pluses in this:



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