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Some are more difficult to overcome than others, but first things first: Take the initiative to look into it.

By Karen Datko Oct 22, 2010 2:04PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

With mortgage rates at historic lows, refinancing your home loan can be a really easy way to save a bundle of money. Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that can prevent many homeowners from refinancing.

We put together a list of seven of the most common problems, along with some suggestions on how to overcome them:

 

Dress like a 'horrifying processed food product' to get $2 burritos, or dine in Halloween garb and score free appetizers.

By Teresa Mears Oct 22, 2010 11:50AM

If you want to get food deals next week, you're going to have to dress up -- in Halloween costumes.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has teamed up with TV chef Jamie Oliver to promote Chipotle's natural ingredients. If you dress up like "a horrifying processed food product," you can get a burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos for $2. Proceeds go to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. You can watch a video on the Chipotle site. Don't let Target see your homemade Halloween costume.

 

T.G.I. Friday's is offering a free appetizer (fried mozzarella, pot stickers or crispy green beans) to customers who come in costume Oct. 29-30. On Oct. 31, kids in costume eat free, with a limit of one free meal from the kids' menu for each adult entrée purchased.

 

Kids 12 and under can get a free Scary Face pancake on Oct. 29 at IHOP, no costume required.

 

Is the official estimate for real? Some parents say it's not.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 22, 2010 10:47AM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that it costs about $222,360 to raise a child in this country.


Miranda Marquit, a staff writer at Moolanomy, doesn't believe that. She ran some numbers of her own for a post called "Does my son really cost me $26,000 a year?" Marquit figures it's costing less than $15,000 per year to raise her little guy.

Maybe a lot less.

 

Blogger's kids say mints are out. So are pretzels, other healthy fare, and chewy things that don't mix with braces.

By Karen Datko Oct 22, 2010 10:06AM

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

 

When I was a kid, I would come home from my annual after-dark Halloween trip around the neighborhood and empty the booty from my pillowcase to see what I had scored from my ghoulish trick-or-treating adventure.

 

Of course, most of my take was usually the typical Halloween fare, like miniature candy bars. Every year, though, I also got a few unexpected items; some were really awesome Halloween treats -- but others were not.

One year I even got a rock in my bag -- just like Charlie Brown. I'm not kidding.

 

It's a good thing I didn't see that rock go in my sack when it was handed out, or I promise you that bozo's front yard would have looked like a winter wonderland because I would have gone back and toilet-papered it later in the evening.

 

I recently surveyed my kids -- Matthew, 13, and Nina, 11 -- to find out some of the worst stuff well-meaning folks in my neighborhood have tossed in their Halloween bags.

 

High shipping fees, complex return policies and on-time delivery can make the process daunting.

By Karen Datko Oct 21, 2010 7:08PM

This post by Moolanomy's Pinyo comes from partner site USNews.

 

The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means that many of us are getting ready to order gifts online.

I love online shopping for gifts. You get a wider selection, and you can use online wish lists to help you find just what someone wants. However, there are plenty of pitfalls associated with online holiday shopping. Make sure you understand the possible problems and prepare for them.

 

Here are five common pitfalls associated with online holiday shopping:

 

Is it the beginning of the end for Black Friday Midnight Madness?

By Karen Datko Oct 21, 2010 5:47PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.

 

One Massachusetts city has decided it wants none of the retail frenzy associated with Black Friday.

 

Voters at a town meeting in Dartmouth this week approved rigorous new restrictions for retailers who want to open their doors between midnight and 4 a.m. on the traditional holiday shopping kickoff on Nov. 26.

 

"We're not looking to interfere with business," Dartmouth police chief Timothy M. Lee told meeting members, according to SouthCoastToday.com.

Rather, he said they want to protect shoppers and employers from the frenzied stampedes of hundreds of bargain-crazy shoppers that have resulted in countless injuries and at least one fatality -- at a Long Island Wal-Mart in 2008.

 

Target gets flak for a commercial that makes fun of the Halloween outfit a mother made for her little boy.

By Teresa Mears Oct 21, 2010 3:41PM

Perhaps you have been living under a rock the last few weeks, as I have, and therefore are not aware of this serious Halloween scandal:

Target has a commercial making fun of homemade Halloween costumes.

 

They should be ashamed! Actually, I think the 15-second spot is funny. It shows a mother taking pride in the Iron Man costume she has made for her young son, a costume that falls apart as soon as she goes to get her camera. Then Target shows a store-bought Iron Man costume, and the words "Life's a moving target" appear on the screen.

 

The video of the ad has had more than 102,000 views on YouTube.

 

While we find it hard to be outraged by the ad (sometimes a commercial is just a commercial), we don't necessarily agree with it. The homemade Iron Man costume is quite cute and would work fine if the mother found a better way to attach the light to the boy's chest. We LIKE homemade costumes.

 

More couples are cohabitating without the legal benefits of marriage. Here are some basics they need to know.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 21, 2010 1:31PM

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

 

Here are some sobering statistics:

  • 7.5 million opposite-sex couples are living together -- 13% more than this time last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 30s and 40s have lived with someone in a sexual relationship, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
  • That same survey says 41% of couples living together don't really care about getting married.

I call these statistics sobering not because I'm passing moral judgment but because I suspect that many unmarried couples haven't properly considered the financial ramifications of living together. That's a mistake, because they're not afforded the same protections and advantages that married couples have.

Books, magazines and the Internet are full of financial advice for the newly engaged. (Money Talks News has provided advice for everything from wedding insurance and divorce insurance to money and marriage.) So here's some financial advice for the unmarried.

 

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