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Is it OK to use taxpayer money to reduce the mortgage balances of struggling homeowners? Some states are considering this.

By Karen Datko Jun 1, 2010 11:13AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Where do you think we should draw a line in the sand with these mortgage bailouts? Myself, I'm not a hardball libertarian make-your-bed-and-you-lie-in-it type of taxpayer; I do believe in government. I'm not a bleeding heart type, I tell myself, but I like to think I do have a heart.

It seems right to me that government should pave roads and hire teachers and cops. When life whumps people upside the head through no fault of their own, it seems like a decent thing to have a safety net that helps get them on their feet. Not a down cushion, mind you. Just a net, with big wide mesh.

 

But this business of failed mortgages just confounds me. Who should we help?

 

Theater chains offer special programs of family-friendly flicks on weekday mornings.

By Teresa Mears Jun 1, 2010 8:56AM

It's summer, and a young mother's fancy turns to -- free and cheap movies to entertain her children in air-conditioned comfort. Dads and grandparents may like these films, too.

 

Most of the major theater chains have a summer program of free or discounted movies for children.

Some public libraries, cities and parks also show free movies during the summer. If school is already out in your district, the summer movie programs may start as early as this week, but most start next week or the week after.

 

It exists everywhere, but some places have more of it than others.

By Karen Datko Jun 1, 2010 7:35AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

I'm back! After 10 days boating through Southeast Alaska (and two days of recovery), I'm ready to think about personal finance once again. Actually, it'll probably come as no surprise that I never stopped thinking about personal finance. Even while we were skirting among ice floes, pulling up prawns, and admiring whales, my mind never strayed far from the topic of money. (I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it's the truth.)

 

It would be all too easy for me to share another sermon about the perils of stuff -- when you spend 10 days on a 38-foot boat, living out of a single carry-on bag, you come to realize how little you actually need in life -- but I think I've beaten that topic into the ground over the past few months. I'm working to cut down my dependence on things, and I know that many of you are, too; let's save further discussion for another day.

 

Today, I want to talk about the value of social capital.

Though I don't mention it often around GRS, the idea of social capital is constantly lurking behind the scenes.

 

The poll found that most people don't know how to react to a yellow traffic light.

By Karen Datko May 28, 2010 2:52PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

One reason highways are hazardous is because too many drivers don't know what they are doing, an insurance company study suggests.

 

GMAC Insurance conducted an online survey, posing 20 questions taken from state driver's-license exams. The results showed that many respondents might have flunked if it had been a real test.

For example, 85% of respondents did not know how to react to a traffic signal when the light is yellow. Others showed confusion on other questions or admitted to unsafe habits like texting while driving.

 

Frugal folks will have to find other ways to reduce their spending on toiletries.

By Karen Datko May 28, 2010 12:55PM

A friend of ours didn't spend a dime on bath soap for at least a decade. Her job required lots of travel, and she hauled all those little hotel soap bars home. Tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion, too.

 

(Is that theft? More on that below.)

 

The days of free bar soap for frugal folks appear to be numbered. A consultant to the hotel industry predicts that permanent soap and shampoo dispensers will be the norm in U.S. hotels, including the fancy ones, within five years.

 

Meanwhile, hotel soap bars have been getting smaller, reports blogger Harriet Baskas in an article at MSNBC.com.

 

Celebrate the weekend with deals on chicken, free breakfast and a free grilling cookbook.

By Teresa Mears May 28, 2010 12:51PM

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, time for travel, picnics and, don't forget, remembering those who have died in service to our country.

 

In honor of the armed forces, a number of businesses and cultural institutions have special deals for military personnel and veterans.

 

But the universe has a few deals for the rest of us, too. And don't forget that some of last week's deals are still available.

This is another good week for ice cream deals, we're happy to report.

 

Save your next four grocery bills. Add up the totals. Subtract half the money you spend on meat. Imagine saving that every month.

By Karen Datko May 28, 2010 10:57AM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Today, we continue our May Top 10 series by addressing a popular topic in both the food and personal-finance blogospheres: eating less meat.

"Why in the good name of Bea Arthur would I want to eat LESS meat?" some might ask. "I don't get enough bacon as it is. Plus, humans were meant to be carnivores, right? Otherwise, how do I explain the dead alpaca in the fridge to my kids?"

Well, sweet reader. We come not to demonize meat, but to praise consuming it in moderation. Because when raised right and chomped sensibly, beef, chicken, pork, lamb -- maybe even that alpaca -- can be pretty good for you. What's more, it's good for your wallet, your children, the Earth, the moon, the universe, other universes, the multiverse, the Rebel Alliance, Hoth, Dagoba … sorry. Got carried away there.

Following that line of reasoning, here are 10-plus strategies for reducing your meat intake.

 

You do have some control over how much you'll have to pay.

By Karen Datko May 27, 2010 8:17PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

There are a lot of factors that affect how much you pay for auto insurance. Some of these factors are in your control; some are not.

Auto insurance companies use a process called underwriting to take your information, assess the risk they believe you present, and then quote a premium. While all insurance companies do not use the same criteria in exactly the same way to determine insurance cost, there are common factors that all car insurance companies use.

 

Here are 25 of them:

 

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