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Scholarships paid for most of the cost of attending a very expensive university. Here's how she found them and successfully applied.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 9:23AM

This guest post from Alison is part of the reader stories feature at Get Rich Slowly.


I'm a graduate of the George Washington University, a school now known as the most expensive in the country. But when I graduated, my $160,000 education cost me about $4,000.

I walked away with about $9,000 in student loans and a check for more than $5,000 from surplus tuition payments from my senior year. Plus, I'd earned enough scholarship money to pay for graduate school. Twice.


How'd I do it? Let me tell you about how to make the most of scholarships for fun and profit.


Will we all be burned out by the time stores open their doors Nov. 26?

By Karen Datko Oct 15, 2010 2:45PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.


More than two weeks before Halloween, the first Black Friday ad of the season has tiptoed in -- from Dallas discount book retailer Half Price Books.


"Leaked" unceremoniously on the retailer's Facebook page, the ad promises early-bird shoppers 20% off and a free calendar with $30 purchase, plus coupons with gift card purchases. It's not exactly exciting -- and it's similar to what this retailer has done in the past -- but then the books are already heavily discounted to begin with.

Even if the books are $3.98, says Kathy Doyle Thomas, HPB's executive vice president, people still expect a big discount on Black Friday, especially after a couple of years of nonstop clearance sales and "Friends and Family" offers. "As retailers we have trained our customers to only come in when we have a big discount," she says.


And increasingly those big discounts are coming both before and after Black Friday, making those early morning runs less of a must-do for some consumers.


Free breakfast if you wear pajamas, plus free facials, frugal Halloween craft workshops and dining coupons.

By Teresa Mears Oct 15, 2010 12:38PM

Every food has its day, and some even get a week or a month.

Buca di Beppo says Oct. 25 is World Pasta Day. Don't argue, because if you purchase a small or large pasta or entrée, you'll get a free order of spaghetti with either meat sauce or marinara. At least one of my local restaurants declared last week National Pasta Week and offered specials, so stay alert for additional pasta deals.


In other festive dining events, Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes locations that offer breakfast are having a pajama party from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 17, with a free meal for kids who show up in their pajamas.


Protect Your Identity Week offers classes, info and free shredding.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 15, 2010 12:28PM
Almost 10 million Americans were victims of identity theft fraud in 2008, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Apparently you can't be too careful: 16% of the victims knew the person who had committed the crime -- and 6% of the time it was a family member.

How can you avoid being ripped off?  

The price-to-rent ratio is a valuable tool when deciding whether the time is right to buy a house, and it works better than a Magic 8-Ball.

By Karen Datko Oct 15, 2010 9:46AM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


My friend and I recently got into a discussion at work regarding the housing market.


The big super unknown for my colleague, of course, was whether or not prices had dropped far enough to make it worth buying a house again.


"It's a good question," I told him, "We could ask my Magic 8-Ball, but it's in the car and I don't feel like making the long walk to the parking lot."


I know what you're thinking. 


The pressure is on to stop all repossessing of homes until the document mess gets sorted out. But whom will it really hurt?

By Karen Datko Oct 15, 2010 8:30AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


You've got to love David-and-Goliath stories. The little guy gets to poke a stick in the eye of the deaf, cold, rapacious bureaucracy and wins the day (if only that one day). Everyone cheers and we all feel better. Frank Capra made his career plucking this note on our heart strings.

But what if, in cheering for the little guy, this time we're shooting ourselves in the foot?


I'm thinking of the slow-motion train wreck of disclosures about problems that lenders and mortgage servicers have created by rubber-stamping legal documents in foreclosure cases. Homeowner advocates, foreclosure-defense lawyers and populist lawmakers are urging a national freeze on foreclosures until the problems can be sorted out.


A Haiti relief worker who took advantage of T-Mobile's aid offer faces a hefty bill. Proposed FCC rules would target such 'bill shock.'

By Teresa Mears Oct 14, 2010 11:22PM

Kerfye Pierre, a 27-year-old federal government employee, was visiting a pregnant sister in Haiti when the earthquake struck last January. When T-Mobile offered free phone calls to, from and within Haiti, she had a U.S.-based friend get her a phone so she could communicate with friends and relatives in the U.S. while she helped with the relief effort.


Imagine her surprise when she found out the service she thought was free actually cost $34,872.


Apple hacks: 39 incredible, somewhat inedible uses for extras.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 9:07PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


The U.S. will produce about 9.4 billion pounds of apples this year (.pdf file) or just about 28.4 billion individual pieces of fruit. That's a lot of apples. Maybe too many to eat.

Fortunately, there are dozens -- no, hundreds -- wait, THOUSANDS of other uses for those delightful orbs of deliciousness, and CHG has 43 of 'em right here.

  1. Predict your romantic fortune. According to, throwing an apple peel over your shoulder could reveal the identity of a boyfriend-or-girlfriend-to-be, since it, "would form the initial of your lover's name." I'm guessing X and Q don't show up much.
  2. Practice your pumpkin carving. Test-whittle a pumpkin pattern on its smaller, cheaper fruit cousin, and you'll make fewer mistakes when it's showtime.
  3. Teach someone how to bunt.


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