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Michigan Republican proposes new tax break

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:05PM
Is this an idea whose time has come? A new bill in the U.S. House would allow pet owners to deduct up to $3,500 for "qualified pet-care expenses" for household pets, including vet bills.


Would the so-called HAPPY (Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years) Act give pet owners a break they deserve? Would it encourage more people to adopt abandoned or neglected pets? Would we finally be able to list some dependents on our income tax return? (Others have attempted -- unsuccessfully -- to use their pets as deductions.)

Bing: New tax deductions

Actually, the bill has some serious goals, according to, including:


New study confirms what many say

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:54PM

You know what people always say when they complain that the credit card company slashed their credit limit: I've never missed a payment or been late.


Quite likely, a new study shows, they aren't lying.


The study by FICO, originators of the FICO credit score, found that of the 33 million people whose credit limits were reduced between October and April, 24 million had no new marks against them in their credit reports that would prompt a card issuer to tighten the reins.


'Outside the box' should be banned

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:47PM

Are there office clichés that you find overused, tiresome and extremely annoying? Take "outside the box." "Outside the bun" is clever; "outside the box" is not. Thankfully, that phrase is no longer around -- after a long and painful death.


You can compare your most hated phrases with those selected by a variety of executives, reports Marlys Harris, The Consumer Reporter at CBS Marlys shares results from Accountemps, which did the survey, in a post called "Words you should never use at the office unless you have to." She also offers her own often hilarious translations.


Wouldn't we love to have that problem

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:40PM

Wouldn't we all love to have this dilemma? Inspired by a letter to the editor at Money magazine, "Flexo" at Consumerism Commentary wonders when it's appropriate to tell your boyfriend/girlfriend that you're wealthy.


The letter writer apparently had been burned by some guy looking for a sugar momma.


Flexo says, "It's probably not appropriate if you're on the first few dates, but if you're starting to pick out rings or talk about living together, I don't see how these decisions can be made without full financial disclosure."


His friends save the cost of a meal every week

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:34PM

"FMF" at Free Money Finance asked a question for the ages in a recent post. OK, it really wasn't. But it is food for thought. The post is called "Can you pay for a Costco membership by eating free samples?"


And just like the answers to more serious questions -- such as will the economic stimulus package work? -- the answer here is: It depends.


Unnecessary insurance is on the list

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:26PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Particularly in difficult financial times, the last thing we should do is spend money on stuff we don't need or even want. Yet that's exactly what many of us do. I'm guilty of it, even though avoiding those expenses is really easy to do.


So I thought it would be a good time to put together a list of things many of us buy but really don't need. If you can think of other things we waste our money on, please add to this list by leaving a comment.


Extended warranties. Service contracts and warranty extensions are my biggest pet peeve. I love it when a store clerk asks me if I want to spend $39.95 to add one year to a warranty for something that costs $150. Are they serious?


Family and friends may not be receptive

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:13PM

How tacky is this -- or is it? You're invited to a wedding and reception, and you're expected to pay for your meal.


We've never encountered this, and neither has Mike at Clever Dude, although he considered it briefly before he got hitched. However, a friend of his was invited to a wedding for which she was asked to pay for the meal and also bring a gift.


Not cool, Mike said: "The wedding is for YOU (bride and groom). The reception is for US (friends and family)."


He added, "If I'm going to plop down $50 to $150 on a present, the least I should expect in return is a decent meal."

It's tradition, sure enough. But in these economic times, can't we all tweak our expectations a bit?


Get control of your finances sooner than later

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 9:07PM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


Ever think about what you'd do if you could turn back the clock and be 20 again? Though I wouldn't especially want to live my life over, there are a number of money moves -- and decisions that had more influence on lifelong personal finance than I could have guessed at the time -- that I'd either not do at all or that, given a peek forward 40 years, I'd do differently.


For example:


I would have taken advanced degrees in disciplines whose graduates make decent pay. Can't say I regret having prepared for an academic career. It has allowed me to earn an adequate (not generous) living after spending way too much time as a lady of leisure.


However, I'd never recommend to a young person who wants a life in academe that she or he pursue a doctorate in the humanities. University faculty in business, engineering and law earn more than those in other disciplines. A Ph.D. in accounting can start at the assistant-professor level with a six-figure salary, and believe you me, that is one hell of a lot more than you earn teaching history or English.


Mind-numbing major? Puh-leeze! What could be more mind-numbing than postmodern theory? Oh yeah: postmodern feminist theory! Give me a bag of beans to count, any day.



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