My 4-year-old is saving for charity and has already made a contribution to his college fund.
My 4-year-old son thinks that the way you get a new video game is by trading for it at the used video game store. My 2-year-old daughter thinks the best way to get a new book is to go to the kids' room at the library.
At dinnertime, they both eat exactly what their parents eat, as opposed to making them a special kid-friendly meal that racks up extra food dollars.
They both think a spectacularly fun evening involves going to the local park and having a picnic.
The only times they're spoiled with the things they want is birthdays, Christmas, or when Grandma comes to town. After all, that's why they have an allowance. Meanwhile, my 4-year-old is saving part of his allowance for charity and has already made a contribution to his college fund.
What do these things have in common?
Some parents are making a major investment to get their unemployed grads jobs as CEOs of their own companies.
Are you tired of your new college grad moping around the house, watching cartoons and playing video games because no one will give him a job?
Maybe you should buy him a business. Or should you?
The Wall Street Journal's Sue Shellenbarger wrote a column about parents who bought their unemployed new grads businesses, including a fast-food franchise and a junk-hauling franchise.
Buyers are pleased, though. And agents find ways to get their licks in.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
Home sellers are not a happy bunch, judging from a new survey on customer satisfaction with the nation's largest real-estate companies.
The survey, by J.D. Power and Associates, asked buyers to rate companies based on the sales agent, the office and other services. Sellers were asked to score companies on the agents, marketing, office and other services.
Here's what the survey found:
What do marriage, the Army and car leasing have in common? All are much easier to get into than out of.
There are lots of things in life that are fairly simple to fall into, but much more complicated to extricate yourself from. Three examples? Marriage, the Army -- and a car lease.
When I started doing consumer news 20 years ago, there was basically no way to get out of a car lease: Either you paid it off (add up the total monthly payments remaining and send a check to the leasing company) or you ran an ad in the local paper on the off chance you'd find someone both willing and able to take over your payments.
Services offer regular delivery of socks and underwear to busy men. Sorry, women, no sock subscriptions for you.
We all know them, and perhaps we ARE them: men (and a few women) who search frantically through the drawer, trying to find two black socks that match and don't have holes in them. Yes, you meant to buy socks, but you forgot, and now THERE ARE NO PAIRS THAT MATCH.
Would you believe there's an app for that? Well, it's not exactly an app, but a sock subscription service that delivers a certain number of identical pairs of socks at specified intervals. If you really hate shopping, you can subscribe to underwear and T-shirt delivery, too.
Consumer groups are worried that banks are finding clever ways around new regulations designed to protect credit card customers.
In the wake of banking and financial reforms, banks -- including credit card lenders -- have regained their swagger. Profits are rising and financial institutions are aggressively seeking new customers.
It may be a good reason for consumers to display a certain amount of wariness in their dealing with credit card companies.
What often gets overlooked is that when the government gives a dollar to one person, it must take it from another.
Last week WalletPop broke the news that IRS data shows that some millionaires claimed unemployment benefits in 2008. Using the increasingly rare definition of millionaire as a person or household with more than $1 million in income, rather than net worth, it disclosed that according to IRS data (found here on Table 1.4) 2,840 returns showing more than a million in adjusted gross income reported some unemployment compensation.
So the secret is out. I certainly did not qualify as a millionaire under the income test in 2008, but, as I have previously confessed, using the commonplace net worth criteria I do clear the (lower) bar. And, if you must know, I drew unemployment benefits for pretty much the whole of 2008. Oh, the shame!
Textbook rentals have taken off. Here's how to decide when it's a good deal.
Going by the book for college textbook savings no longer requires buying the book. Students facing a hefty annual bill for books can save an average 30% to 50% by renting that required reading.
"This is the year of the textbook rental," says Charles Schmidt, a spokesman for the National Association of College Stores. About 1,500 of the trade group's more than 3,000 member stores will offer a rental program, up from 300 last year. That includes the 637 stores Barnes & Noble's college division operates nationwide.
Online rental companies are also reporting a spike. Comparison search site Cheap-Textbooks.com reports a 300% increase in book-rental orders compared with last year.
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