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The truth is, it does for many people.

By Karen Datko Feb 1, 2010 8:46AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

Writing “Your Money: The Missing Manual” has been intense. I’ve spent a ton of time researching personal-finance topics ranging from buying a car to funding a 401k to the relationship between money and happiness. My research has reinforced some of my convictions (index funds are the best investment for 99% of personal investors, for instance) but has toppled others.

One of my beliefs that’s been set on its head is that Americans are better off buying their own homes. I don’t believe that’s necessarily the case anymore.

 

Helpful tips that produce functional, affordable and attractive results.

By Karen Datko Jan 29, 2010 6:56PM

This guest post comes from “vh” at Funny about Money.

 

Frugal Scholar is doing an interesting series about her experiences remodeling a kitchen on a budget. I love it! I seem to have spent my entire life remodeling houses, and so I’ve developed some strong opinions on the subject. Frugal Scholar proves how brilliant she is by happening to agree, more or less, with those ideas.

 

Kitchens and bathrooms are just about the most expensive remodeling jobs you can do, short of ripping off and replacing a shake roof. Much of it is stuff you can’t easily do yourself: plumbing (especially having to move plumbing), wiring, gas connections in ancient houses.

Over the course of years, I’ve learned a number of things that help a little to keep costs under control:

 

Writer asks for deals and saves $730 in a week of bargaining.

By Teresa Mears Jan 29, 2010 6:15PM

Seeking a way to save some money, Washington Post writer Michael S. Rosenwald resorted to a time-honored tactic: He haggled.

 

Much to his surprise, many of the times he bargained for a lower price, he got one.

 

 “For consumers such as me who have spent decades shopping at full retail, getting a deal on previously no-deal items is liberating and invigorating, as I found out during a recent week I spent haggling,” he wrote.

 

A change in Air France's policy reignites the debate.

By Karen Datko Jan 29, 2010 4:14PM

About 76% of respondents to a poll by a travel Web site said airlines should charge obese people a “fat tax” when they fly.

 

“Only 22% of the 550 people questioned disapproved of introducing extra payments for overweight passengers,” Reuters reported about the Skyscanner survey.

Thus this can of worms gets opened again, and this time the debate has gone global.

 

Don't forget to check newspaper fliers for restaurant coupons.

By Teresa Mears Jan 29, 2010 3:07PM

We don’t have too many new food freebies this week, so we’ll repeat some of last week’s deals that are still good and remind you of a few perennial freebies, including craft workshops for kids.

 

Perhaps the dearth of deals and coupons is a sign that we should all cook more. We are noticing restaurant coupons in the Sunday newspaper fliers, so be sure to check there.

 

Express your love without hurting your savings. Here's how.

By Karen Datko Jan 29, 2010 11:44AM

This guest post comes from Flexo at Consumerism Commentary. It’s the final day of Flexo's 10-day, 10-venue tour.

 

The massive marketing push as the calendar heads toward Valentine's Day has begun. From greeting cards to diamonds, from Lexus to 1-800-Flowers, companies and brands want to be indelibly linked to the popular holiday for lovers.

 

With economic recovery still slow, there are still many loving couples struggling to make ends meet. Why make a bad situation worse by spending more than necessary?

Here are some of my tamer suggestions for experiencing a frugal Valentine's Day this year.

 

Retailers aim for your wallet, pushing romantics to buy now.

By Karen Datko Jan 29, 2010 10:36AM

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

 

Few holidays are as terrifying for your psyche -- and your budget -- as Valentine’s Day.

 

“You’re trying to set the right tone for the relationship,” says Art Markman, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas. “But usually you’re not 100% sure what you want to communicate.” Go too romantic, and you risk scaring the recipient away (or worse, inadvertently sealing the affections of a more casual acquaintance). A less-thought-out gesture gambles showing too little affection for a serious relationship.

 

Retailers would like cupid’s arrow to bull's-eye your wallet along with your heart. Last year, Americans spent on average $102 on Valentine’s Day expenses, down from $122 in 2008, according to the National Retail Federation. To get you spending again, they are pushing promotions now (see below), with many sites throwing in free ground shipping to deliver gifts in time, says Sok Verdery, the chief executive of CouponShack.com, a deal and coupon site. But as the holiday approaches, expect fewer sales on traditional gifts.

 

A new crop of commercials, including some Super Bowl ads, features regular people in their undies.

By Karen Datko Jan 28, 2010 10:12PM

Would you be more willing to buy Dockers or Bud Light if their ads showed average Joes and Janes wearing nothing more than their underwear? Pants literally on the ground and disgarded?

According to USA Today, here’s what we can expect on Super Sunday and elsewhere with an undergarment theme:

 

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