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Help them shape their financial futures.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 6:57PM

This post comes from Linsey Knerl at partner blog Wise Bread.

Kids may think they know what they want to get for the holidays this year, but that doesn't mean they have a clue about what they need. Use this gift-giving opportunity as a chance to invest in them and help change their financial futures

Here is a rundown of some of the best money-management gifts I have used for kids under 12.


You must learn to seperate wants from needs.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 6:53PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

Coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, bottled water, manicures, car washes (full detailing), weekday lunches, vending machine snacks, interest charges on credit cards, and unused memberships. Do you know what these items have in common? They are the top 10 money sinkholes, according to

You could try to commit that list to memory and see if you can cut out any of those items to find a little extra cash. For instance, cut out a pack-a-day smoking habit and gain, on average, $1,660 a year.


Even recycling them is not a good solution.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 6:29PM

"Fox" at Squawkfox has taken up a cause we can strongly embrace: "It's time to sack plastic bags."

Shouldn't we all, with the price of oil -- yes, they're made with oil -- and environmental worries, be moving to reusable shopping bags and bins? Plastic shopping bags are a blight, and they never -- for all practical purposes -- go away.

"With few exceptions, plastic bags will take thousands of years to break down," Fox says. "The bag my first pair of shoes came in a couple decades ago is out there, somewhere."

Here are other good points to keep in mind (to read her entire list of 50 reasons, click here):


Health care can be a big expense.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 6:17PM

Guest poster Emily Starbuck Gerson at Sense to Save had a revelation not uncommon  among new pet owners: "I love my pets, but I had no idea they would be so costly."

The cost of pet ownership has been discussed by many personal-finance bloggers lately, and we'll share a lot of their ideas here, starting with one of the most expensive and emotionally difficult issues. My Money Blog asks how much you would pay to treat a pet with a serious illness or injury.

He writes: "For us, we would give up just about all of our luxuries before withholding health care for our dog." But, he adds, if treatment will merely extend your pet's misery, "there is a time that palliative care is the most humane choice."

Free Money Finance writes about a recent article in Parade magazine on pet care. One point he stresses is that you need to keep your pet at an ideal weight, and observes -- correctly, we think -- that "it seems like most pets I know are fat."


Blogger says a $1 fee would make the free service better.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 5:31PM

Seth Godin raised a good question at his blog: What would happen if Craigslist ads were no longer free. How about charging a buck an ad?


He predicts that Craigslist, the nation's top source for online classified ads -- most of which are now free -- would become better.


How to improve Craigslist has been an online topic of conversation in recent days.


Some of the fake listings were posted on Craigslist.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 5:28PM

This post comes from partner site

Scammers have learned that using the name of a legitimate business or organization often helps deceive victims. The National Association of Realtors is warning that its name is being used as part of a property-rental scam.

Victims targeted by scammers are led to believe that NAR is functioning as an intermediary to receive rental deposits from prospective tenants. NAR says nothing could be further from the truth.

"NAR is not involved in this business and has contacted law enforcement officials to request that the matter be investigated. We encourage any consumers who may be affected to file a complaint," said NAR president Charles McMillan.


Agency takes issue with health claims.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:30PM

The Food and Drug Administration has smacked down General Mills for its claims on cereal boxes and a company Web site that eating Cheerios can reduce cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. But the way the FDA went about it seems bizarre.

The FDA says the wording in the health claims can be used only about an approved drug. Thus, Cheerios must be a drug and must submit an application to be considered as such.

The nation's most popular cereal is a drug? What's going on here?

Something got lost in all the bureaucratese and lawyer-speak. Here's what really happened, according to The Associated Press and other news sources:


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

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:24PM

This post comes from partner blog

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.



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