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Want quality? Get a grinder and a good coffee maker.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:24PM

This post comes from partner blog ConsumerAffairs.com.


Eight O'Clock Coffee 100% Colombian at $6.28 per pound ranked No. 1 in Consumer Reports' tests of 19 ground coffees, besting Folgers, Maxwell House and Starbucks -- America's best-selling ground coffees.


A CR "Best Buy," Eight O'Clock costs less than half the price of Gloria Jean's, Peet's and other more expensive brands. CR's coffee experts deemed it a complex blend of earthy and fruity, with a bright, pleasing sourness -- a good thing in coffee parlance.


Starbucks Coffee Colombia Medium, $11.53 per pound, didn't place among the top regular coffees and trailed among decafs. While the regular was rated "good," testers said it had flaws such as burnt and bitter flavors, though milk and sugar may help.

 

Overtime and the variety of job functions inflate the number.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:17PM

Want proof that stay-at-home moms would be earning a pretty good income if they were getting paid for their work? A report by Salary.com says the time SAHMs spend on 10 "mom job functions" -- including housekeeper and psychologist -- would bring $116,805 in the work world.


Full-time moms work an incredible amount of overtime at their jobs -- 54.4 hours a week above and beyond the normal 40, the Web site says.


In contrast, working mothers spend 54.6 hours total a week on mom stuff, in addition to their paying jobs. Their mom pay would be $68,405, according to Salary.com's calculations.

 

Resist the urge to panic.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:05PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Make no mistake about it -- a recession is here. While we do not know how long or painful it will be, we do know that it has the potential to be the worst financial crisis any of us have ever lived through.


The stock market lost more than 20% in 10 trading days. Retirees and those nearing retirement have seen their nest egg eroded, some by 30% or more. And the banking system is under severe stress in the United States and globally. That's the bad news. Now for some good news.


There are steps we can take now to better prepare for potentially difficult financial times ahead. There is no silver bullet that can insulate us from any financial crisis, of course. But there are basic things we can do to make sure we are as ready as we can be to weather the coming financial storm.

 

They're not as high as you may think.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 2:49PM

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

 

Note: Although I try to keep GRS a politics-free zone, today's topic is inherently political. I've stayed as neutral as possible in the article, but I know that there'll be some political discussion in the comments. Please keep conversation civil, as always.

 

Because I was frustrated with my own ignorance about the U.S. federal budget and our tax system, I recently spent 12 hours researching a variety of tax topics. From my research came two articles: my recent short guide to the federal budget and today's post, which answers some of my personal questions about taxes.

 

In the earlier post, we tried to take a few small steps toward understanding the federal budget. We looked at where the U.S. government spends its money. But where does it actually find the cash to spend?

 

Consumers can only hope this is a trend.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 1:37PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

One of the more aggravating aspects of gift cards are the fees that companies tack on. Take John of Lansdale, Pa. When his 10-year-old son tried to use the $50 gift card he'd forgotten he had, he found there was only $12 left on the card.

 

But not to worry. From now on, American Express says its monthly fee is a thing of the past.

 

For instance, changing your oil too often wastes money.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 9:14AM

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

 

Whenever I write a post and mention oil changes, I always encourage people to check their car owner's manual to find out how often they should change their oil. Why? The frequency of oil changes varies greatly depending on the type of engine you have in your car, varying anywhere from every 3,000 miles to every 10,000 miles, with many different levels in between.

Often, when I mention this, a reader or two will say we should ignore the manual and change the oil every 3,000 miles in order to truly protect the engine.

 

Sure, some of these folks might be running a Jiffy Lube, but some of them simply are very cautious. They’d prefer to pay a little more now in extra maintenance costs to avoid a major crisis later.

 

Farewell, wobbly chairs; hello, $99 discount-store dining set.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 1, 2009 4:39AM

Some people seem to think that I never buy anything new. That's not the case. A few weeks ago I bought a dining table and chairs.


Although it's like placing a "Kick Me" sign on my own back, I'm going to admit that I bought these things from Kmart. 


Discount department stores have a down-at-the-heels reputation: their merchandise is low-end and their employees -- when you can find them -- are surly and unhelpful. 


That wasn't my experience. When I couldn't find the advertised dining set, a manager brought one out from the stockroom. Then he loaded it into my car, chatting pleasantly.

 

I even found a way to make a little money.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 1, 2009 4:33AM

Some of you who read "Always budget for a carousel ride" wrote to tell me to go ahead and splurge on a cheesesteak during a trip to visit family. I grew up near Philadelphia, home of that deliciously cheesy, greasy, oniony sandwich that's impossible to duplicate elsewhere.


Turns out that the one store in my hometown offers a daily special: a 9-inch cheesesteak, small bag of chips and a can of soda for $4.59.


At that price, how could I resist? And a 9-inch cheesesteak consumed at 2 p.m. eliminated the need for supper. 


This wasn't my only frugal hack, though.

 

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