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Check company launches campaign to advocate the right to write checks. But can even YouTube sell 'checks appeal'?

By Teresa Mears Sep 30, 2010 2:43PM

What a retro idea: A new publicity campaign wants to defend our right to use paper checks.

Does anyone still use checks? Haven't they gone the way of green stamps?


Deluxe Corp., which sells paper checks, is organizing the campaign, complete with videos, a Facebook page and other modern social networking tools. The company is arguing that customers should have the right to pay by check if they want to.


Never heard of Squinkies and Zoobles? You'd better start looking for them now. Plus: Grab a Sing-a-ma-jig.

By Teresa Mears Sep 30, 2010 10:53AM

Wondering what the hot toys will be this holiday season?

Think cute and electronic, with maybe a hint of vampire, and you'll be on the right track. No, there is not a plush electronic vampire doll, but we don't rule it out for the future.


The editors of released their list of the Holiday 2010 Most Wanted Toys at the magazine's Holiday Showcase this week in New York.


Fixing the toilet is easy. You can install a thermostat by yourself. And some of the best things in life don't cost anything at all.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2010 10:04AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


Today, let's do something a little different. I'm going to list 48 things I've learned about myself and the world around me that I discovered thanks to frugality.

  1. I really like sun tea.
  2. The patience and effort involved in teaching yourself something new is incredibly rewarding when you begin to succeed at it (like my piano playing).
  3. When you're sitting around a table with friends, it really doesn't matter where you are.
  4. Young children are usually more interested in the free packaging or other freebies than any item you might buy them.

The core problem is not that those charged with performing modifications are reluctant to do it.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2010 8:45AM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


Last year I wrung several good posts from the Obama administration's doomed-from-go scheme to get banks to modify mortgages. It was good material for me. I got to mock both those few who were clueless enough to think it might work and the great many people who were too polite or too loyal to the White House to admit they understood that the program's outlook was grim.

After a while, I got bored of beating that particular dead horse. So many other things to mock.


But I realized recently I never really addressed the basic conceptual flaw in the Home Affordable Modification Program.


The days of finding a 2-year-old car for thousands less than new are gone -- at least for now.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2010 1:32PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromKelli B. Grantat partner site SmartMoney.


After the engine blew on his 2004 Saturn, Tom Wright figured his next car would, obviously, be used. Given that new cars lose value faster than a 35-year-old utility infielder, why not buy a year-old Toyota RAV4 and save $5,000 right off the bat?

Then he started pricing cars around his hometown of Asheville, N.C. After cash back and a promotional financing offer, the 2010 model was only $1,000 more than the used cars he saw on the market. Sold! "Why buy someone else's problem," he says.


Many car buyers are encountering surprises, both good and bad, as market conditions have turned tried-and-true used-car-buying advice on its head. The tight economy has driven more consumers to used-car lots in search of savings; that increased demand has pushed prices up. The days of finding a 2-year-old car for thousands less than new are gone -- at least for now.


Florida 12-year-old created this year's flavor for the World's Largest Ice Cream Social, which benefits ill children.

By Teresa Mears Sep 29, 2010 12:25PM

Thursday, Sept. 30, is the World's Largest Ice Cream Social, when Cold Stone Creamery dishes up free ice cream to all comers.

The annual event will raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfills wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. (We're sure Karen would support the wish of 15-year-old Zach, who got to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers' first-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft.)


What Kate Rawley of Tampa, Fla., wished was to be the one who created the ice cream flavor for this year's social. She got her wish, and this year's flavor is called Kate's Creation. Kate, 12, has a congenital spinal cord condition that has meant five surgeries and numerous hospitalizations.


Everyone likes free stuff -- except maybe free malware, viruses, and other problems that can come from searching for free things online.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 29, 2010 11:05AM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


The Internet is full of freebies, but many come with a high price: stolen personal information, viruses, junk software, plus your time and frustration when you don't get what was advertised.

In fact, just looking for something free online -- even if you don't download or sign up for anything -- puts you and your computer at risk.


Raised during the Great Depression, he adhered to principles that are popular again.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2010 10:25AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


My dad was 12 years old when the first waves of the Great Depression spread across the country. A modest but thriving farm insulated his family from the worst of the effects, but this period still defined his approach to money management and influenced nearly every aspect of his lifestyle.

When I was a kid, I skipped most of the usual rebellious attitudes against thrift and simple living. I wasn't elated that we had a smaller house, that my dad and like-minded mom controlled all the finances with surgical precision, but I vaguely realized they had a goal and a focus that I might benefit from someday. At the risk of dating myself, I remember wanting a pair of parachute pants so badly and for so long that by the time I could finally buy a pair, wearing them would have seemed ironic.


Now, decades later, I look back at my childhood and see the simple, direct, conscious attitude that drove my parents' financial decisions large and small.



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