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The period between graduation and your first job can be a challenge.

By Karen Datko Aug 23, 2010 12:22PM

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

 

Isaac wrote recently with a question about how to make the transition from college to the real world. He has a good degree, but it'll take him time to find a job, especially since the economy is still sluggish. He's worried about how he should handle his finances in the meantime. Here's his question:

I recently graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering. I'm currently living at home with my family while I search for a job. I'm concerned about my first month or two once I find one, though.
I have no savings, and I'm not sure how I will be able to buy a car (and insurance) to get to and from work, rent an apartment, or even buy necessities for my first few weeks while I wait for a paycheck. I know that some jobs will give a signing bonus or relocation package but I don't want to count on that. My parents are in deep credit card debt and live paycheck to paycheck, so I can't borrow money from them.
 

New sites let customers pick what's available and what gets discounted.

By Karen Datko Aug 23, 2010 10:45AM

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

 

Faced with sluggish consumer spending, some online retailers have taken a new approach to "the customer is always right."

They're letting shoppers dictate which items make it into the inventory, and even which go on sale.

Earlier this summer, social shopping site Kaboodle.com began offering limited-time sales, called "PopPicks," which offer discounts of up to 35% on the users' 10 highest-rated items from a partner retailer. New site The Traveler's Collection lets shoppers submit recommendations for artisan crafts they've seen while traveling, and offers a commission of up to 5% on its sales. And last fall, ModCloth.com started a "Be the Buyer" program to let shoppers vote on designs its employee buyers are considering.

 

Going to a nude resort is one way to avoid paying the airline a checked-bag fee.

By Karen Datko Aug 20, 2010 7:49PM

Travel alert: Nearly 50% of U.S. readers recently surveyed by TripAdvisor said they'd welcome a visit to a nude beach -- with open arms, we'd expect. That's a big jump from the 31% who endorsed nude beaches last year. 

Did you know there's a name for this type of trip? It's the "nakation" -- a play on vacation, staycation, nocation, et al. And, naturally, the number of sans-clothing destinations is growing to meet the increased demand. TripAdvisor members recently rated their favorite ones.

 

While we wrote the subhead above about checked-bag fees as a joke, further research revealed it's really not.

 

Some people never want to buy a home. The government is rethinking its attitude toward homeownership perks.

By Teresa Mears Aug 20, 2010 5:47PM

A new survey finds that 27% of renters never want to own a home.

 

While Trulia, the real estate data company that did the survey, sees this as a reason the housing market will continue to be depressed, we don't see it as cause for alarm. Even the federal government is rethinking whether homeownership is right for everyone.

 

AmEx, Discover top J.D. Power's customer-satisfation ranking.

By Karen Datko Aug 20, 2010 3:54PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

J.D. Power just released the results of its 2010 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The results were based on responses from more than 8,500 credit card customers in May and June. For a fourth consecutive year, the No. 1 credit card issuer in customer satisfaction was American Express, with a total score of 769 out of 1,000. Discover Card  was a close second with a score of 757.

The ratings were based on one to five stars in each category, with five stars representing the highest rating. There were a few surprises, which we'll cover.

 

Volunteers get a sweet treat for doing good, plus food coupons, free pens and free decor workshops.

By Teresa Mears Aug 20, 2010 12:22PM

The best deal we found this week isn't for food, but for products you put on your hair.

 

Fekkai and Saks Fifth Avenue are giving away full-size bottles of Fekkai hair-styling products on Thursday, Aug. 26, at Saks. The products normally sell for $23. To get one free, you must print out this form and bring it with you.

 

If you're sweet enough to do good, Target and Ben & Jerry's will give you a sweet reward: a coupon for a free pint of Berry Voluntary or Brownie Chew Gooder ice cream, good at Target. You can find volunteer opportunities for the "Scoop it Forward" program here. You can also pass on coupons to your friends. This deal will continue through Dec. 31.

 

Worldwide gas prices range from a high of nearly $10 a gallon all the way down to 6 cents. Here's a look at those prices, as well as how to find the best prices where you live.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 20, 2010 12:10PM

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

 

Gassing up isn't cheap. According to AAA, we're now paying a nationwide average of $2.73 for a gallon of regular. That's about 25 cents a gallon more than last year. But it's certainly better than the year before, when prices shot up to more than $4 a gallon.

But if the cost of gas bothers you, be happy you don't live in Asmara, Eritrea. (Never heard of it? Click here to see it on Bing Maps.) This African nation boasts the highest gas prices in the world -- nearly $10 a gallon. On the other hand, you could be living in Venezuela, where prices are as low as 6 cents.

 

Just because a restaurant serves a staggering amount of grub doesn't mean you have to eat it.

By Donna_Freedman Aug 20, 2010 10:50AM
Personal-finance blogger "vh" from Funny about Money has started a new site, The Half-Off Diet. She isn't looking to lose 50% of her body weight; the title refers to her suggestion that we should eat half as much as we usually do.

That's why vh ordered the $7 calamari-and-salad dish when lunching with her son. At that price, she figured it would be "an hors d'oeuvre."

Then her meal arrived.  

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