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Hopes are dashed now that the homebuyer tax credit training wheels are removed from the market.

By Karen Datko Jun 28, 2010 9:52AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

What's that hissing noise heard around the country? It's the sound of air rushing out of the housing market.

 

If you listen closely you'll also pick up a cracking sound: That would be hearts breaking and hopes crashing. Sellers, agents, builders, homeowners, bankers, mortgage brokers -- just about everyone except perhaps prospective buyers -- needs sales and prices to rise and the housing market to turn around. And soon.

 

I know a $2.3 million dream home won't make me happier than the house we were thrilled to get in 2004. And yet . . .

By Karen Datko Jun 28, 2010 7:41AM

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

 

Walking home from work the other day, I decided to take the long way. Most of the time, I choose the easy quarter-mile stroll downhill from the office to our happy half acre (or happy .62 acre, if you'd like to be precise). But to celebrate the first day of summer, I took the river-forest loop.

The river-forest loop is exactly what it sounds like: a series of quiet streets that wind along the east bank of the Willamette River, easing their way beneath stands of tall oak, fir and pine. It's 3 miles from our house down the river-forest road and back again. I choose this route when I need exercise or want to think. And, on days like that day, I choose it to soak up the scenery.

 

As I walked, I looked at the trees and the river and the lake. I listened to the birds. I watched the squirrels go about their squirrely business. I nodded to the neighbors, and (strangely enough) I encountered three different loose dogs traipsing around unleashed, each of which was pleased to spend some time walking with me a ways.

 

After a while, I stopped looking at nature and started looking at the homes.

 

Shoppers can avoid the risk by sanitizing the bags after each trip.

By Karen Datko Jun 25, 2010 1:09PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Environmentally conscious consumers bring their own reusable grocery bags to the checkout line, but they may be endangering their health.

A research report by the University of Arizona at Tucson and Loma Linda University says reusable grocery bags can be a breeding ground for dangerous food-borne bacteria and pose a serious risk to public health.

 

Half-price frozen yogurt, BOGO shakes, discount smoothies and Facebook coupons are among the latest food deals and freebies.

By Teresa Mears Jun 25, 2010 12:36PM

Here's a type of happy hour we'd like to see more of in our Friday food deals and freebies roundup: discount ice cream.

 

Pinkberry frozen yogurt shops are offering half-price frozen treats from 5 to 7 p.m. daily.

 

Steak 'n Shake has a similar happy hour promotion, with all drinks and shakes half price from 2 to 4 p.m. weekdays. The deal has been extended to include half-price drinks and shakes from 2 to 4 a.m.

Jamba Juice has weekday Summer Feel Good Specials, with a different deal every day.

Don't forget that some of last week's deals are still good.

 

A new survey indicates parents are already thinking about September supplies. Here's how to keep costs low.

By Donna_Freedman Jun 25, 2010 11:39AM

According to a new survey by PriceGrabber.com, 26% of parents will start their back-to-school shopping before June 30.

(Cue the groans of kids from all over the country. Back to school?!? We just got OUT of school!)

But there's a reason for parents to think about it now:

 

Replacing some things is expensive. Replacing others is complicated. Replacing an iPhone is both.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 25, 2010 10:44AM

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

 

If you're participating in the hoopla surrounding the much-heralded release of the iPhone 4, here's something to contemplate while waiting in line: If your new iPhone gets lost or stolen, it's going to cost you up to $700 to replace it --  more than the price of many new home or laptop computers.

 

FICO calls them 'damage points,' and, boy, can they pull down your credit score.

By Karen Datko Jun 25, 2010 9:31AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

Have you ever wondered how paying a bill late would affect your credit score? Or how many points your score would lose in the event of a foreclosure or bankruptcy?

 

Because the exact details of how a FICO score is calculated are kept secret, there is a certain mystery that surrounds this three-digit number and how it can affect your ability to get credit and even the auto insurance premiums you pay.

Fortunately, FICO has shed a little light on just how such financial events affect your credit rating. FICO calls them "damage points," and, boy, can they pull down your credit score. The following chart from Fair Isaac reveals some of the most common damage points and their effect on credit scores:

 

Alerted to the problem, Gov. Schwarzenegger said he'll put a stop to it.

By Karen Datko Jun 24, 2010 5:54PM

Intrepid newspaper reporting in California -- the state with the $19 billion budget gap -- has found that state-issued welfare debit cards can withdraw cash from ATMs in half the casinos in the state.

State officials, who were clueless, are scrambling to block the cards' use on gaming floors. They're also trying to calculate how much cash was withdrawn from casino ATMs by welfare recipients. Likely not very much, but you know that, if it can be done, some people will do it.

 

The Los Angeles Times, which brought this to light, reported:

 

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