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7 tips for cutting the cost of drinks when you go out.

By Karen Datko Feb 25, 2010 11:41AM

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


Want to grab a drink tonight? How about meeting at . . . my place.


In the tough economy, a night out drinking is looking like an indulgence. Liquor sales were flat at $18.7 billion in 2009, and volume shifted. While sales for home consumption rose 2.2%, sales for restaurants, bars, hotels and nightclubs fell 3%, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Another reason people are drinking less: Bars are pushing pricey premium liquors and complicated cocktails. “The best bars are charging a premium because the cocktails take awhile to make,” says Noah Rothbaum, the founder of cocktail and spirits guide and author of “The Business of Spirits.” Freshly squeezed juices, exotic ingredients, even special ice, all add up. The more expensive a drink gets, the more likely drinkers are to savor rather than slurp.


How can you spend less without going for the cheap stuff -- or staying home? On your next night out, use these seven tricks to cut your bill:


They have $10,000 in credit card debt and a mortgage payment, and he just lost his job.

By Karen Datko Feb 25, 2010 10:29AM

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


Susan wrote in:

Yesterday my husband found out he has lost his job. We don’t know what to do. He was making $38,000 a year as an IT specialist. I make about $36,000 a year as a school teacher. We have about $10,000 in credit card debt spread across three cards and a $1,300-a- month mortgage payment. We don’t have anything saved either other than some retirement account money. I am so scared we are going to lose our house and lose everything! What do we do? Help!

First and foremost: Don’t panic. No problem is solved well in panic mode. Bad choices -- choices that you’ll regret down the road -- are made when you panic.


Take a deep breath. Here are seven things that you should attempt to do in the coming days.


The feds haven't banned irritating 'free' credit report commercials, but they are making it tougher for consumers to be misled.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 8:38PM

How many people, we wonder, have been burned by ordering a “free” credit report, only to find out they’ve unwittingly signed up for paid credit monitoring?


There is only one official site for free credit reports -- -- and thanks to new action by the Federal Trade Commission, you’ll have a better chance of landing there if you want a free report.


Recession brings out the deals in hopes of bringing out the diners.

By Teresa Mears Feb 24, 2010 3:54PM

Have you noticed more advertising for happy hours?


That could be because there are more happy hours, as restaurants seek new ways to compete for your dollars in the recession.


The latest casual-dining chain to roll out a happy hour is the Cheesecake Factory, which expects to have happy hour in all its restaurants by March 18. From 4 to 6 p.m. at the bar in most locations, drinks will be $5 and appetizers that normally cost $7.50 to $10.95 will be $5. The Orange County Register’s Fast Food Maven Nancy Luna has all the details.


Ways to jazz up a boring meal if you're brown-bagging your lunch.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 3:42PM

This post comes from Myscha Theriault at partner blog Wise Bread.


Brown-bag boredom got you down? Work-at-home lunch breaks bringing you the blues? If you need sandwich ideas to bust out of the boring box and keep you on track for healthy affordable eating this year, read on.


Sandwich ingredients

I’ve chosen to list my favorites here and place them into simple categories. Feel free to add your suggestions below.


The Lincoln Cent has been redesigned again. But not everyone is celebrating.

By Money Staff Feb 24, 2010 1:18PM

This post comes from Anna Vander Broek of MSN Money.


Those of you who still use the penny as currency (rather than as a screwdriver or for scratching off lottery tickets) may soon notice America’s 1-cent coin has gotten a facelift. 


The U.S. Mint has changed the design for the reverse -- or “tails” -- side of the 2010 Lincoln Cent, which entered circulation on Feb. 11 (everywhere but Puerto Rico, which received the new penny in late January). Michael White from the U.S. Mint says penny inventory is very high, however, so you may not see a new penny right away. 


More designers are producing lower-priced lines. Where the best deals are.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 12:21PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.


What’s new in high-end fashion? Even more designers are going after the low end.


On Saturday, French knitwear queen Sonia Rykiel released a new collection for H&M that offers women’s and girls’ pieces for anywhere from $5.95 to $69. The week before, Narciso Rodriguez -- he designed the dress Michelle Obama wore in Chicago for Barack Obama’s first appearance as president-elect -- introduced a collection specifically for sale on eBay.


For many, clothes are more than an expense. They're an expression, which can make overspending easy.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 24, 2010 9:55AM

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


The three basic necessities of human life are food, clothing and shelter. In a previous post, I offered 28 ways to save on food. Today I've got 18 actionable tips you can use to slash your clothing costs. 


I should start by admitting that when it comes to shopping for clothes, I'm no authority. I tend to go years without clothes shopping at all. Pretty much everything I wear was given to me as a birthday or Christmas gift, and I tend to wear things until they either literally dissolve or become stained and/or torn to the extent that whomever I'm with won't let me out of the house while wearing them. 


In other words, I'm your typical guy.


Happily, however, I've gotten help with this story from a person who holds clothing in much higher regard:



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