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Some people complain that used stuff smells funny, or that buying used stuff makes them feel cheap.

By Karen Datko Jun 10, 2010 9:19AM

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


I revel in used stuff.


I use PaperBackSwap almost religiously. I love shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops. I look forward to yard sales and make a day out of "community yard sale day."


Undeniably, though, there are drawbacks. Sure, you get a nice bargain, but no purchase is a perfect one. Whenever I talk about my love of buying things used, I hear from people about the problems of buying used -- and some of the same topics come up time and time again.


Used stuff smells funny or isn't clean.


It appears that some of those Top 10 or Top 100 lists of best cities for retirees are better than others.

By Karen Datko Jun 9, 2010 5:18PM

Retirement is beckoning, but where should you live out your golden years? Luckily, several respected media outlets produce recommended Top 10 or Top 25 or Top 100 lists. (And not one of them includes a spot beneath the railroad bridge. Hope springs eternal.)

But how are these lists compiled? What are their criteria? Is one better than another for matching locations with your actual plans and income? Richard Eisenberg rated the raters for CBS MoneyWatch, and here's what he found:


Some people report improved health from money-saving tactics, but financial stress can make it harder to embrace healthy habits.

By Teresa Mears Jun 9, 2010 2:36PM

Here's a new survey that tells us something we could have told them: Being frugal can be good for your health.


First Command's monthly financial survey of 1,000 families making more than $50,000 per year found that 49% of the respondents believe that their frugal habits are making them healthier, and 45% believe that some of their frugal habits are making them healthier. Only 6% said frugality was making them less healthy.


Formulas from Tide deliver the cleanest clothes. Martha Stewart detergent finishes last in tests.

By Karen Datko Jun 9, 2010 2:24PM

This post comes from partner site


The latest Consumer Reports tests of more than 50 laundry detergents continue to show that buying a high-priced product doesn't guarantee cleaner clothes.

Formulas from Tide topped ratings of conventional and high-efficiency formulas, but there are other, less-expensive formulas from manufacturers such as Gain that offer comparable cleaning.


New options let travelers catch a movie for less than $5.

By Karen Datko Jun 9, 2010 12:41PM

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


Travelers stuck at the airport this summer can catch up on their favorite movies and TV shows, thanks to low-cost rentals popping up in terminals and other budget-friendly on-the-go options.


Starting this month, NCR Corp. -- the company behind Blockbuster Express movie-rental kiosks -- will be installing digital download kiosks at 57 InMotion Entertainment airport stores at 35 airports. Travelers will be able to download their choice of thousands of new and older titles, for an average cost of $4 apiece. The download disappears after 30 days, or 48 hours after the file is opened. Earlier this week, Netflix announced a free streaming video app for subscribers, which will be available once the new Apple iPhone 4G launches this summer.

Odds are good that travelers will need a little extra entertainment at the gate or on the plane.


There are so many ways your old paid-for car is saving you serious money, and 'incestuous affirmation' is not your problem.

By Karen Datko Jun 9, 2010 8:23AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


I've always been slightly amazed how the new-car market is so readily embraced. I know it takes all those new-car buyers to allow us used-car shoppers the luxury of so much inventory. I just want to stay in the ranks of the latter, not the former.

Most people realize that buying new often makes little financial sense, yet they justify it through a whole host of rationalizations. Even the federal government jumped on the bandwagon last year by suggesting we all needed to grind up our clunkers and buy new instead -- for the sake of the national economy and the environment, no less. Was the result a whole fleet of new fuel-efficient cars on the road, or increased consumer debt and the loss of thousands of serviceable older vehicles?


At the risk of sounding like I suffer from an acute case of sour grapes, I'd like to explore just seven ways in which my old clunker may be a smarter choice than even the newest hybrid.


The $250 checks are the first step in closing the dreaded 'doughnut hole' in Medicare prescription drug coverage.

By Karen Datko Jun 8, 2010 5:13PM

This week the federal government will begin sending out $250 checks to Medicare recipients who have reached the dreaded "doughnut hole" in Medicare prescription drug coverage. Recipients can thank health care reform for the extra help. 


If you are eligible -- more on that below -- you don't have to apply for the $250 rebate. So, if anyone is offering you an application to qualify or to expedite the money, that person is out to steal your personal information. 

Are you going to get a check? We've heard from a dear octogenarian friend of ours that confusion exists about the who, what, when and how of this new benefit. Here's what you need to know:


Wrigley agrees to pay consumers of Eclipse gum and quit saying that it kills germs. A complaint against Trident is pending.

By Teresa Mears Jun 8, 2010 2:02PM

If you have chewed Wrigley's Eclipse gum in the last two years, you're eligible for up to $10 as part of a class-action settlement (.pdf file) over advertising claims.


What? You mean it didn't really kill the germs that cause bad breath?


Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't. Wrigley had claimed that an ingredient in the gum, magnolia bark extract, killed germs. But the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit said the studies were flawed and there was no scientific proof that magnolia bark extract, a substance used in Chinese medicine for a variety of conditions, killed germs that cause bad breath.

As part of the settlement Wrigley, which did its own research, agreed to quit making those claims and refund up to $6 million to consumers who bought the gum.



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