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Learn to cook, keep in touch with your friends, exercise and marry the right person -- these are all keys to financial success.

By Teresa Mears May 17, 2010 2:14PM

This time of year, college graduates are bombard with financial advice, career advice, life advice -- all the wisdom of their elders.

 

And we think they should listen. It's important to start your adult life on a strong financial footing. Our partner blogger Jim Wang at Bargaineering is providing an entire week of posts about financial nuts and bolts for graduates.

 

We agree with everyone who has advised you to get a job, make sure you have health insurance, avoid credit card debt, participate in your company’s 401k plan, draw up a budget, pay yourself first, pay off your student loans and live within your means. Quit sponging off your parents. And don't buy a new car.

 

But what key financial advice has been left out? Drawing on life experience (we are probably older than your parents), plus the collective wisdom of the personal-finance blogosphere, we came up with our own list of less repeated but equally important financial advice.

 

The FCC calls for public comment on bill overages; how to keep yours in check.

By Karen Datko May 17, 2010 11:52AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

While the federal government debates regulations to better warn consumers of cell phone overage charges, there are plenty of steps those subscribers can take now to better keep bills under control.

The Federal Communications Commission has invited consumers to share comments on "bill shock" -- the often exorbitant charges for exceeding the voice, text and data limits on cell phone plans -- through late June. The agency is considering a regulation that would require carriers to warn consumers with a free text message when they are about to incur overage or roaming charges. A similar law in Europe requires such notification, and also allows consumers to cut off service instead of going over.

 

Although there have been several high-profile U.S. cases with bills in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars for texting and data use, it's more common for users to go slightly over.

 

I have a tendency to ignore warning signs and just hope that things will get better on their own.

By Karen Datko May 17, 2010 8:14AM

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

 

As much as I've learned about money in the past five years, and as much as I like to share what I've learned, there are still times when I fail to follow my own advice.

As I've mentioned, we live in a 100-year-old house. This is a great and terrible thing. The house is beautiful and full of character, but it's also a pain.

 

A California woman will spend her $2 million scratch-off lottery prize on her animal rescue operation.

By Karen Datko May 14, 2010 3:55PM

Many lottery winners let their finances go to the dogs. Beverly Evens of Shasta County, Calif., is spending her lottery prize on the goats -- specifically 35 goats, three horses and an undetermined number of chickens.

Evens, who began rescuing animals nine years ago after adopting a baby Alpine goat, won a $2 million scratch-off lottery prize early this week after buying a $5 ticket at a convenience store. She'll collect $60,000 a year after taxes for the next 25 years.

(Isn't this story sweet? Actually, 19% of Tonic readers polled said it made them happy, 38% said they were inspired, and 43% said it made them laugh. Tough crowd.)

 

George Winship, editor of the Anderson Valley Post, offers more details about the winner:

 

Nearly 1,000 complaints have been submitted to the Texas Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau.

By Karen Datko May 14, 2010 1:36PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

A company that purports to help consumers who are having tax problems has problems of its own in Texas.

 

Houston-based TaxMasters Inc. and its chief executive officer, Patrick Cox, are accused of multiple violations of the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Debt Collection Act.

 

According to the enforcement action filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott, the defendants unlawfully misled customers about their service contract terms, failed to disclose its no-refunds policy, and falsely claimed that the firm's employees would immediately begin work on a case -- despite the fact that TaxMasters did not actually start to work on a case until its customers paid in full for services, even if the delayed response meant taxpayers missed significant IRS deadlines.

 

Hey, 'boomerang' kids: Your parents may want a life of their own. Why not let them have it?

By Donna_Freedman May 14, 2010 12:45PM

I have a friend whose oldest daughter, "Lindsay," got pregnant in college, dropped out and moved back home. And there she stayed for much of the past eight years, continuing to make dismal choices in men and causing a lot of drama for her mama.

Lindsay moved in with the most recent loser, who told a string of lies and then lit out for the territories. Now Lindsay wants her mom and dad to look for a rental house where they can all live together once more.


My friend, "Marie," hasn't given an answer yet. But she told me what it will be:

 

Taco Bell unveils $2 meals, plus we have tips for places to find free ice cream and free kids' meals.

By Teresa Mears May 14, 2010 11:30AM

It's a beautiful Friday morning in May (at least it’s beautiful where I am), and what more could anyone want but Friday food deals and freebies?

 

Taco Bell has unveiled four new $2 meal deals: your choice of a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, a Gordita Supreme, a Grilled Chicken Burrito or a Double Decker Taco -- each with Doritos and a medium drink.  

 

This sets a new low in pricing for fast-food meals, USA Today notes. At most low-price chains, three items off the $1 menu add up to $3, though Taco Bell already has some items that cost less than $1 each.

This could be the day to walk to Starbucks for Frappuccino Happy Hour, which continues from 3 to 5 p.m. through Sunday, May 16. Some other deals from last week also are still good.

 

This is a great idea that's ahead of its time.

By Karen Datko May 14, 2010 9:14AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

At first glance, pay-by-the-mile auto insurance seems like a great idea: Drive a lot, pay more. Drive less and save. But what seems like a great idea has had difficulty gaining traction.

 

For a variety of reasons, including technology, regulations and marketing, pay-as-you-go auto insurance has stalled in all but one state.

And if you are thinking that California is the forward-thinking jurisdiction, think again. The winner here is Texas, but more about that in a minute.

 

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