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A tax credit will cover part or all of the cost if it's a 'street-legal' vehicle.

By Karen Datko Dec 18, 2009 8:28PM

Time is running out to get your free golf cart. OK, a golf cart that’s “street-legal.” You have until Dec. 31 to take title of one to claim a tax credit for at least part of the purchase price.


We thank Kathy Kristof, personal-finance columnist at CBS MoneyWatch, for reminding us of this odd tax credit, created in 2008 as part of the Wall Street bailout and extended this year.

Here’s how this works:


An industry analyst says it's the highest rate he's ever seen.

By Karen Datko Dec 18, 2009 4:33PM

Here’s a credit card offer that should create some instant converts to Suze Orman’s new cash-only mantra: Subprime lender First Premier Bank is offering a credit card with a 79.9% interest rate.

A credit card analyst said it’s the highest rate he’s ever seen.


Dental clinics' Christmas Eve gift, plus a round-up of restaurant deals.

By Teresa Mears Dec 18, 2009 4:19PM

If all you want for Christmas is your two front teeth, or at least your two front teeth cleaned, Comfort Dental has the gift for you.


On Dec. 24, dental clinics in Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas will provide free dental care to anyone who needs it from 7:30 to 11 a.m. All you have to do is show up, and care will be dispensed on a first-come, first-served basis. Whether you can get a procedure as complex as your missing two front teeth replaced will be up to the individual office.

The flow of restaurant freebies and deals seems to have dried up for the holidays. Perhaps the retailers think we’ll be receiving enough gifts from Santa.


Here is a recap of deals we’ve written about before that are still good:


Better deals often come to those who wait -- except in the case of last-minute Christmas shopping.

By Karen Datko Dec 18, 2009 2:53PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


The average shopper still has more than half of his holiday shopping list left, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s not a major shift from previous years, but this year procrastinators might pay dearly for waiting.


Minnesota victim of foreclosure fraud says 'I just have to start over again.'

By Teresa Mears Dec 18, 2009 2:40PM

An 87-year-old woman who lost her home of 50 years to a foreclosure rescue scam has won a victory, of sorts: The state of Minnesota has agreed to give Telsche Paulson $116,972 from a state fund designed to compensate victims of unscrupulous real estate professionals.


But Paulson will never get back the duplex she and her late husband bought in 1958 and which she lost to scammers in 2008.


Frugality kept the dream alive. Now, frugality provides a little breathing room.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 18, 2009 1:02PM
Three days ago I handed a 97-page undergraduate thesis to my advisor, then took a copy to the Comparative History of Ideas department. There I was allowed to ring the "thesis bell," a brass handbell that the academic advisor keeps on her desk. I made that son-of-a-gun wail.

It's finished. I've spent the past four years on a dead run: full-time class load, dense and copious course readings, academic projects, long bus commutes, research papers, a two-month fellowship, an undergraduate research symposium and a thesis that morphed twice before finally taking shape.

What's next?  

Consider these important points and focus on the long term.

By Karen Datko Dec 18, 2009 11:50AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Recently a reader e-mailed me asking whether he should walk away from his mortgage. In 2007, he bought a condo with no money down with a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage, and the property is now worth $25,000 less than he owes. Although he can afford the mortgage, he is considering walking away. The question is whether he should.


I think there is no "answer" to this question, just things to consider in making the best choice for your situation. We'll talk about some things to consider, but first a brief story.


Is fixing the interest rate for 30 years really as valuable as we seem to think?

By Karen Datko Dec 17, 2009 7:27PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


In yet another sign that the Great Recession is receding, earnest discussion has begun in the punditocracy on long-term cures for our nation’s home mortgage system, particularly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Remember them?)


I’m not sure if anything at all will come of this. It’s not clear that Congress has enough gas left in the tank to finish with health care, never mind rewiring the mortgage business. If I had to bet money I would say that this window of opportunity, in which there is consensus that something needs fixing, will close without much of anything changing.

But it’s inspired some rare discussion of that great American institution, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. And it really is a uniquely American institution. Except for Denmark, which has a very peculiar system dating to the 18th century, only in America do consumers think that borrowing on 30-year fixed rates is normal.



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