Frugality forces us to look at our priorities
The French president has suggested that economic indicators such as gross domestic product take into account some of a nation's more intangible assets: happiness, leisure time, availability of health care.
France looks pretty good by some of those indicators -- great food, beautiful buildings and countryside, a 35-hour work week and five weeks' paid vacation. Alas, using intangible features such as happiness to calculate economic statistics is probably not practical.
But we think Nicolas Sarkozy has a great point when it comes down to measuring our own personal gross domestic product. Are the things that make us happy really how much we own and how much we produce, or do other intangibles matter more? Does having a granite countertop really make people happier?
Overpaying your taxes is one of them
One of the biggest challenges in almost anything you do is knowing where your blind spots are. In simpler terms, you don't know what you don't know.
So, today I'll point out four money mistakes you might be making that you don't even realize you're making. Hopefully, you're making none of them. If you are making one of these, don't beat yourself up over it. Now you know you're making it and you can take steps to fix it.
Carriers love them, others not so much
That $29 or $39 one-way airfare sounds great, but before you buy, hold the phone until you've added in all the airline fees. Suddenly that ticket isn't such a great deal. (And don't buy it over the phone. That too will cost you extra.)
Sorting out the airlines' fees can be a time-consuming task. It took a week for a USA Today reporter -- who, unlike most consumers, was assisted by airline public relations staff -- to compile 28 different types of fees charged by 14 major airlines.
Here's what to do
Your cell phone, pager or iPod has fallen into the toilet bowl, swimming pool or kitchen sink full of water. You fish it out. After you've washed your hands -- depending on the circumstance -- what can you do?
FiscalGeek offers five techniques for restoring the gadget to life in a post called "Frugal fix: Revive your cell phone or electronic devices from water damage." He starts with his "go-to" method, which involves rubbing alcohol.
Motor home community is in Lot B
Here's the strangest proof we've seen to date that the airline industry ain't what it used to be. According to the Los Angeles Times, airline pilots and other employees are living in a collection of 100 campers and RVs in Parking Lot B of Los Angeles International Airport, less than 3,500 feet from the south runway.
It has the feel of a modern-day shantytown, replete with the sounds and smell of jets coming in for a landing at the nation's third busiest airport. Parking the motor home at a Wal-Mart sounds glamorous compared with this.
Michigan Republican proposes new tax break
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 PetWellbeing.com, including:
New study confirms what many say
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
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 MoneyWatch.com. 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.
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