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A California woman is turning flea market finds into cute dresses, jackets and tops -- one a day for an entire year. Her daily budget is a buck.

By Karen Datko Jun 23, 2010 7:21PM

You've no doubt seen the young woman who created 365 very different looks based on one simple black dress and recycled or donated accessories. Sheena Matheiken's Uniform Project is a testament to creativity, style and resourcefulness.

 

Now we've come upon her even more frugal equivalent, who is very handy with a sewing machine. Marisa Lynch of West Hollywood is determined to turn outdated flea market and garage sale finds into attractive outfits -- one each day for an entire year -- with a $365 budget. Total. Plus, she's given up new-clothes shopping.

 

She often starts with tired, shapeless old things -- garments that are the fashion equivalent of a blue leisure suit or a comb-over hairstyle. The results?

 

A consumer group says including toys with unhealthful meals is 'creepy and predatory.'

By Karen Datko Jun 23, 2010 3:29PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has given McDonald's an ultimatum: Do away with the Happy Meal toys or lawyer up.

 

The Washington, D.C., nonprofit served McDonald's with notice of intent Tuesday, giving the company 30 days to drop the toys before it finds itself defending against a class-action complaint. CSPI contends that including toys with unhealthful "junk food" is illegal under consumer-protection statutes in California, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

 

Perhaps we've gotten too critical about what others do with their money. But what if they're doing everything wrong?

By Teresa Mears Jun 23, 2010 2:30PM

We all do it: criticize the way our friends and family spend their money. If we're tactful, we don't do it to their faces.

 

Let it drop in frugal circles that you go to Starbucks, don't make your own laundry detergent or -- gasp -- hire someone else to clean your house or mow your lawn, and watch the digital fur fly.

 

But should we all be so judgmental?

 

The HAMP program, now a year old, struggles with the complicated business of salvaging troubled home loans.

By Karen Datko Jun 23, 2010 1:57PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

The struggle continues over how to effectively and humanely end the country's gigantic foreclosure problem.

 

The results are in from the first year of the $50 billion federal mortgage modification program, created by the Financial Stability Act of 2009.

 

The numbers aren't dazzling.

 

Wedding cancellations because of the Gulf oil spill highlight both the strengths and weaknesses of wedding insurance.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 23, 2010 11:33AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Melissa Peralta and Jose Aguilar had been planning their wedding for nearly a year when a family issue required moving the date up by three months. Result? They lost the wedding venue they'd selected and the deposit they had put down to reserve it.

That's money they'd still have if they had purchased a wedding insurance policy. But wedding insurance isn't something that covers all contingencies. Nothing will.

 

Once you've covered the basics, the next best way to make your household secure is to boost the security of those around you.

By Karen Datko Jun 23, 2010 8:20AM

This post comes from Philip Brewer at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

You already know the best way to make your household finances more secure: emergency fund, insurance, diversified investment portfolio, marketable skills. But once you're doing those things, you've got a choice to make: Do additional resources go toward more of the same, or do you opt instead to do something different?

  

I vote for something different.

 

Our lives can only benefit from Schrute's somewhat obtuse, yet priceless aphorisms.

By Karen Datko Jun 22, 2010 5:08PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Hardworking. Alpha male. Jackhammer.

A renowned beet farmer, volunteer sheriff's deputy, and assistant to the regional manager at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. Scranton branch, Dwight K. Schrute embodies all these enviable qualities, and then some. (He's also merciless and insatiable.) Yet, the goose-baiting, martial arts-trained Schrute makes cultural contributions that go far beyond his multiple jobs.

Of course, I refer to his insights.

Our lives can only benefit from Schrute's somewhat obtuse, yet priceless aphorisms. Especially the ones about food. And cooking. And saving money.

So, read on, dear … uh, readers. Learn from our fair farmer, and one day you, too, may join the Dwight Army of Champions. 

 

Progress is being made to find permanent homes for 'street people,' yet the number of homeless families is growing.

By Karen Datko Jun 22, 2010 2:41PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Today, the president announced a plan to "retool the homeless response system" with what housing Secretary Shaun Donovan calls "the most far-reaching and ambitious plan to end homelessness in our history." (You can find details here.) The idea is to emphasize crisis response "and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing."

 

The new approach comes just as the face of homelessness in the U.S. is changing.

 

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