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Some states will exempt school supplies, clothes and other items from tax. Make sure you're getting the best deal.

By Teresa Mears Aug 3, 2010 2:03PM

If you've been thinking of buying clothing, school supplies or even a new computer, the next few weeks could be the time to shop.

 

Sixteen states are offering sales tax holidays on specific back-to-school items, and many start this weekend. Mississippi's tax holiday was last weekend. Two states that previously had tax-free shopping periods, Georgia and Vermont, elected not to offer the discount this year.

In most of the states, clothing and footwear purchases under $50 or $100 per item qualify, and in many states school supplies are exempt from tax.

 

If you're trying to sell a house, the right help is crucial. Here are the questions you should ask to hire the right professional.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 3, 2010 1:02PM

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

 

Imagine spending $9,000 for a service, then finding out you could have had the same thing for $350? That's exactly the kind of money you could waste if you hire the wrong real estate agent to sell your house.

 

The way many people find a real estate agent is through a personal relationship. That's no way to hire a pro.

 

Comparing yourself with the proverbial family next door affects your health, happiness and generosity.

By Karen Datko Aug 3, 2010 10:59AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.

 

The Joneses are those folks with the nice house, big cars, kids in private schools, and other detritus of suburban bling that are, in fact, financed and not true indicators of wealth. "Keeping up" with them would no doubt put you in debt, as was chronicled most famously in "The Millionaire Next Door."

 

This post isn't really about that. What I'd like to write about today are a few of the other ways the Joneses influence your behavior because, let's face it, you look to Mr. Jones and Mrs. Jones not only as exemplars of what cars to buy, but of what kinds of people to be. And following such a route can have interesting effects on your life beyond your finances.

 

Finding ways to use them can be a challenge when you buy them in $250 increments.

By Karen Datko Aug 3, 2010 9:42AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

The U.S. Mint's Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program is back with several options -- Native American, Golden Dollars with Sacagawea, plus Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington and Andrew Jackson -- meaning you can bust through some of those cash-back tiers on your credit card by purchasing money. These are regular-circulation coins available in increments of $250 or $500.

In addition to killing cash-back tiers, I recommended buying dollar coins to help kill the penny and reduce our use of paper currency, which has a much shorter lifespan.

 

This year's list, once again topped by the Cadillac Escalade, turns up the usual suspects: 'Chrome, horsepower and HEMIs.'

By MSN Money_Edit Aug 3, 2010 9:39AM

Carnappers like the Cadillac Escalade for the same reasons its owners do: Chrome, 400-plus horsepower and a sumptuous leather interior.


"Thieves are after chrome, horsepower, and HEMIs," says Kim Hazelbaker, the senior vice president of the Highway Loss Data Institute. "Sedate family cars and fuel sippers aren't on the hot list."


The hot list is the nonprofit's annual tally of theft-loss claims, which the Cadillac tops for the sixth time in the past seven years.

 

A survey shows that most bank customers will not opt in for so-called overdraft protection.

By Karen Datko Aug 2, 2010 5:40PM

Maybe Americans are getting smarter about their financial choices and how banks have taken advantage of them.

 

There's proof in a new survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. It found (.pdf file) that 74% of respondents won't be opting in for so-called overdraft protection, which allows banks to charge customers a hefty fee for the privilege of spending money they don't have.

 

Rather, consumers are saying, "Decline my card. Please."

 

When used as directed, Miracle Mineral Solution can cause serious health problems, agency says.

By Karen Datko Aug 2, 2010 2:28PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid also known as "Miracle Mineral Supplement" or "MMS."

 

The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health, the agency said.

 

Yard sales and flea markets are in big demand. Example: The World's Longest Yard Sale added 21 miles to this year's route.

By Karen Datko Aug 2, 2010 1:01PM

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

 

Buying secondhand is a tried-and-true way to get better prices on most purchases. But consumers browsing at yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores and consignment shops can eke out extra savings by changing the way they shop.

 

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