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An offer of 10% off and 0% financing nearly sucked him in, but his adult voice prevailed.

By Karen Datko Apr 16, 2010 7:39AM

This guest post comes from Jason at Frugal Dad.

 

On a recent night I was mowing when the lawn tractor died. This wasn’t the first time it had failed me mid-mow, but the new-to-me symptoms of this latest casualty had me thoroughly angry. The mower is only seven years old, but has had one problem after another.

 

I pushed the mower back into the garage and went inside to vent. My wife agreed that maybe it was time to look for a new mower. The next day I spent my lunch hour “test driving” a Toro zero-turn model that boasted reduced cutting time, better maneuverability, and other such marketing speak.

 

The summer between freshman and sophomore years of college I worked for a landscaper running a crew to mow residential and commercial lawns. He had one of these mowers and I always thought it would be “cool” to own one. Red flag No. 1. 

 

If you can't afford high tuition, you're the very person who should be applying to expensive, top-tier colleges.

By Karen Datko Apr 15, 2010 5:47PM

This guest post comes from Ramit Sethi at I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

 

When it comes to student loans, financial aid, and higher education, everyone’s got an opinion. They just usually happen to be wrong.

 

When I was in high school, it drove me crazy to hear people saying things like, “Oh, I’m not going to apply to Harvard. Even if I could get in, there’s no way I could afford the tuition.”

 

This is wrong.

 

Focus on deals could lead to overspending, especially if you buy products you don't use just because they're on sale.

By Teresa Mears Apr 15, 2010 2:21PM

We read a provocative post over at Frugal Dad: Not only does clipping coupons not save you money, it makes you poorer.

 

Guest blogger Neil Frankle of Wealth Pilgrim writes:

In fact, for many people, browsing for coupons is part of an overspending ritual. This may not describe you, but I’ll guarantee that people who spend lots of time looking for coupons spend much more time thinking about spending than they spend time thinking about saving and investing.

What do you think? Does looking for savings actually lead you to spend more in the long run than you would otherwise? Would your grocery and sundries spending actually be less if you ignored coupons and merely bought what you needed when you needed it?

 

Here's a zero-stress guide to clipping big bargains.

By Karen Datko Apr 15, 2010 2:08PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Warning: If you know what a Catalina deal is and/or have actually employed one, this may not be the post for you. If you occasionally slice your pinky open while using adult scissors, this is definitely the post for you.

When you think of couponing, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Is it GoGurt? Is it a planet-sized binder and never-ending stack of circulars? Is it a crazy cat lady, forever in search of the single slip of paper that will net her 14 free packets of McCormick fajita seasoning?

It’s understandable. Long stereotyped as the favorite pastime of bargain-happy grandmas and moms of 47, clipping coupons gets a pretty bad rap. Many believe it gets you minimal deals on junky food. I didn’t touch coupons for years, figuring the time it took to collect them was disproportionate to the amount of money they saved.

Now I know better.

 

You'd never think of washing your clothes without detergent, or making your own. Maybe it's time you did.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 15, 2010 12:45PM
This post comes from partner site Money Talks News.
 
If you live in modern society, you probably use soap. It keeps you clean, healthy and smelling good, and who doesn’t want to smell good? But that doesn't make it OK for companies that make this stuff to take you to the cleaners. 
 

When it comes to laundry detergent, Americans pay plenty for a never-ending cascade of hyperbole: "New!" (No, it's not.) "Improved!" (How do you improve soap?)  "Ultra!" (Ultra?)

 

The latest twist is to sell us less product at a higher price with "ultra-new" concentrated detergents. Gee, that certainly sounds thrifty.

 

Well, here's a dirty secret that the suds salespeople don't want you to know:

 

Her mother-in-law insists on showering the grandkids with unsuitable gifts no matter what the parents say.

By Karen Datko Apr 15, 2010 9:30AM

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

 

Wendy writes in:

When well-meaning relatives give gifts to your children, do you always allow your children to keep those gifts? My mother-in-law (who lives 20 hours away and only sees us a few times a year) not only gives gifts that are not age-appropriate or do not meet our standards for marketed characters or quality of play, but she gives so many at birthdays, holidays, and throughout the year that I feel like the boys would drown in toys, even before the other family members add to it. My mom has happily adjusted by providing "experience" gifts for the grandkids -- swimming lessons, zoo pass, etc. -- but my MIL really likes new things and does her absolute best to instill the love of something "new" in our kids.
 

New report finds mortgage rescue plan is helping few people, and even those who get help may eventually end up in foreclosure.

By Teresa Mears Apr 14, 2010 5:30PM

For every homeowner who benefited last year from the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, 10 more went into foreclosure, a new report says.

 

In a 230-page report (.pdf file) on the Obama administration’s foreclosure rescue efforts, the Congressional Oversight Panel found that the number of homeowners who have received permanent mortgage modifications has grown substantially since December but is still just a drop in the bucket.

 

“Treasury’s response continues to lag well behind the pace of the crisis,” the panel noted. “As of February 2010, only 168,708 homeowners have received final, five-year loan modifications -- a small fraction of the 6 million borrowers who are presently 60-plus days delinquent on their loans. …  It now seems clear that Treasury’s programs, even when they are fully operational, will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble.”

 

Road conditions, population density and peculiarities of state law make a difference.

By Karen Datko Apr 14, 2010 2:44PM

Want to lower your car insurance rates? Don’t move to the great-food state of Louisiana, which is also the state with the highest average premiums -- a mind- and budget-blowing $2,511 a year.

 

That compares with only $903 in lovely Maine.

So says a new study by Insure.com, an insurance shopping and comparison site. It also explains some of the reasons for the great disparity in car insurance rates state to state. Bad roads, population numbers and density, and the peculiarities of state law can be factors.

 

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