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Perhaps we've gotten too critical about what others do with their money. But what if they're doing everything wrong?

By Teresa Mears Jun 23, 2010 2:30PM

We all do it: criticize the way our friends and family spend their money. If we're tactful, we don't do it to their faces.

 

Let it drop in frugal circles that you go to Starbucks, don't make your own laundry detergent or -- gasp -- hire someone else to clean your house or mow your lawn, and watch the digital fur fly.

 

But should we all be so judgmental?

 

The HAMP program, now a year old, struggles with the complicated business of salvaging troubled home loans.

By Karen Datko Jun 23, 2010 1:57PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

The struggle continues over how to effectively and humanely end the country's gigantic foreclosure problem.

 

The results are in from the first year of the $50 billion federal mortgage modification program, created by the Financial Stability Act of 2009.

 

The numbers aren't dazzling.

 

Wedding cancellations because of the Gulf oil spill highlight both the strengths and weaknesses of wedding insurance.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 23, 2010 11:33AM

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

 

Melissa Peralta and Jose Aguilar had been planning their wedding for nearly a year when a family issue required moving the date up by three months. Result? They lost the wedding venue they'd selected and the deposit they had put down to reserve it.

That's money they'd still have if they had purchased a wedding insurance policy. But wedding insurance isn't something that covers all contingencies. Nothing will.

 

Once you've covered the basics, the next best way to make your household secure is to boost the security of those around you.

By Karen Datko Jun 23, 2010 8:20AM

This post comes from Philip Brewer at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

You already know the best way to make your household finances more secure: emergency fund, insurance, diversified investment portfolio, marketable skills. But once you're doing those things, you've got a choice to make: Do additional resources go toward more of the same, or do you opt instead to do something different?

  

I vote for something different.

 

Our lives can only benefit from Schrute's somewhat obtuse, yet priceless aphorisms.

By Karen Datko Jun 22, 2010 5:08PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Hardworking. Alpha male. Jackhammer.

A renowned beet farmer, volunteer sheriff's deputy, and assistant to the regional manager at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. Scranton branch, Dwight K. Schrute embodies all these enviable qualities, and then some. (He's also merciless and insatiable.) Yet, the goose-baiting, martial arts-trained Schrute makes cultural contributions that go far beyond his multiple jobs.

Of course, I refer to his insights.

Our lives can only benefit from Schrute's somewhat obtuse, yet priceless aphorisms. Especially the ones about food. And cooking. And saving money.

So, read on, dear … uh, readers. Learn from our fair farmer, and one day you, too, may join the Dwight Army of Champions. 

 

Progress is being made to find permanent homes for 'street people,' yet the number of homeless families is growing.

By Karen Datko Jun 22, 2010 2:41PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Today, the president announced a plan to "retool the homeless response system" with what housing Secretary Shaun Donovan calls "the most far-reaching and ambitious plan to end homelessness in our history." (You can find details here.) The idea is to emphasize crisis response "and rapidly return people who experience homelessness to stable housing."

 

The new approach comes just as the face of homelessness in the U.S. is changing.

 

New York stores threaten to display photos and call the police if suspected thieves don't pay $400 on the spot.

By Teresa Mears Jun 22, 2010 1:58PM

Owners of several stores in New York City have found a novel way to combat shoplifting: They photograph the accused shoplifter with the stolen items, then threaten to call the police and display the photo unless the accused antes up $400 or so.

 

In a report on this practice, The New York Times wrote:

In an example of the wall-of-shame style that certain stores use, a grocery called NY Tak Shing Hong, on East Broadway in Manhattan's Chinatown, posts photographs near the cash registers, some bearing names, addresses and Social Security numbers of the persons depicted. Several also include simple descriptions in Chinese, like "Stole Medicine" and "Thief."

Many of the stores that use this practice cater to Chinese immigrants, who are willing to pay to avoid encounters with the police. Those who don't have legal immigration status fear being deported if they are arrested. A shoplifting conviction can even result in the deportation of a longtime legal immigrant with a green card.

 

It's unclear whether what the stores are doing is illegal or a violation of the shoppers' rights.

 

In real life, jail is not a safe harbor, and bankruptcy is not the end of the road.

By Karen Datko Jun 22, 2010 11:17AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

When it comes to games, Monopoly is probably one of the most iconic. While I haven't played Monopoly in years, the game and its rules are still fresh in my mind. Nowadays the board games we play are slightly more complicated than Monopoly -- games like Settlers of Catan or Dominion -- but Monopoly still holds a special place in my heart.

If, however, you were to look at the game itself and compare it to real life, you'd find a lot of differences. Some of the differences are inconsequential: The prices for properties ($400? $120?) reflect both an earlier time and a need to improve playability (no sense having people count out $50,000 in increments of $500, a bill that doesn't even exist). Others are more subtle and, if a child were to use Monopoly as a proxy for the real world, really misrepresent the world.

 

They are, in short, lies.

 

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