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The 'sin tax' defines candy as a sweet without flour. Except some candy contains flour. It's still candy, isn't it?

By Teresa Mears May 25, 2010 1:59PM

Starting June 1, you'll have to pay sales tax if you buy candy or gum in Washington state. Local taxes vary, but in Seattle, for example, that's 9.5 cents more on a $1 candy bar.


Unless you buy a Kit Kat, Milky Way or Twizzlers.


Those aren't candy, according to the state's definition. Because the state and city don't tax food, those sweets are tax-free.

That doesn't mean they're better for you. It's just that those non-candy candies contain flour. And, by the state's definition, an item that contains flour isn't candy, even if it's candy.


The Center for Science in the Public Interest identifies selections at 7 popular chains that provide 'Xtreme' levels of calories and fat.

By Karen Datko May 25, 2010 1:03PM

What do you get if you order the pasta carbonara with chicken at The Cheesecake Factory, followed by the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake?


Answer: 4,170 calories and 133 grams of saturated fat -- more than the recommended limit of saturated fat for six entire days. The recommended daily caloric intake for most folks is 2,000.


These two menu items are among the Center for Science in the Public Interest's nine winners of the 2010 Xtreme Eating Awards. Is there any wonder we're an obese nation? Can the federal requirement that restaurants post calorie counts take effect soon enough to save us from ourselves?

"I wouldn't accuse California Pizza Kitchen or P.F. Chang's of being a threat to national security, but with a quarter of young Americans too heavy to join the military, these and other chains ought to get the extremes off their menus," CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman said in a news release. "At a minimum, they should disclose calories on menus now, even before federal regulations make it mandatory."


Among the other "dishonorees" on the list:


A tongue-in-cheek look at the things people do that almost invite burglars into their home.

By Karen Datko May 25, 2010 7:38AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


Being burglarized is almost never a good thing. The idea of someone breaking into your home, rummaging through your stuff, and taking all the choice bits is unpleasant. Most people whose homes have been burglarized will tell you that the worst part isn't the loss of stuff, which can be replaced, but the loss of their feeling of security.


But what if you wanted to be burglarized?

Why would you want your home broken into? Let's say you wanted to sell all of your possessions. How long would that take? A week? A month? Imagine if you could sell them all in one day for $500? Would you do it? If the answer is yes and you have insurance, skip the pleasantries and just get robbed!

Anything of value would be gone, you wouldn't even need to pack it, and you're on the hook only for the deductible. Think of it as a nontraditional garage sale. So, how do you entice a burglar to come rob your house? It's remarkably easy!


When asked, readers listed going to college, buying gold, and cooking at home, among other things. Not everyone agreed.

By Karen Datko May 24, 2010 4:25PM

A recent Ramit Sethi post began with a simple question: "What are areas where people THINK they're making a lot of money, but actually don't?"


Ramit, who blogs at I Will Teach You To Be Rich, suggested some possible answers: buying a house (hopefully everyone has figured that one out) and picking individual stocks (best not left to amateurs, we think).

What came next were comments from some very astute readers. Among them:


Buying something for the tax deduction.


How to avoid rip-offs when you buy tickets to concerts this summer.

By Karen Datko May 24, 2010 1:35PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromElizabeth Trotta at partner site SmartMoney.


Concert ticket economics can be a little hard to untangle, especially when you are buying through the secondary market. Sometimes, even when demand dips, prices rise.


Take this year. Concert attendance for the first three months slipped 3% over the same period in 2009, according to Live Nation Entertainment, a leading concert promoter. Yet spending per concertgoer over the same period ticked up 2%, to $59.71, and prices on the secondary market -- brokers like or -- rose by an average of 8%, according to SeatGeek, an aggregator of secondary ticket site prices.


Other big airlines match Frontier deal, with fares starting at $39 one way.

By Teresa Mears May 24, 2010 12:11PM

If you're kicking yourself for not booking a Memorial Day weekend getaway, you may have another chance.


Frontier Airlines is offering weekend airfares starting at $39 each way on more than 700 routes, and other airlines have matched the fares on competitive itineraries. The fares are good for travel May 27 through June 1, and tickets must be purchased by May 31.



Like all airfare sales, this one may or may not include the trips you want to take.


He realized that most of the clothes he owned hadn't been worn in a very long time.

By Karen Datko May 24, 2010 9:14AM

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


About a year ago, on the advice of GRS readers, I started an experiment. I took all of the shirts and sweaters from my clothes closet and moved them into our spare room.


Whenever I needed something to wear, I checked the clothes closet first. If what I needed wasn't there (as was often the case at first), I went to the spare room to find it. After I'd worn a shirt or sweater once, it was allowed to return to its home in the main clothes closet.


The results of this experiment probably won't be very surprising. After a couple of weeks during which I was reclaiming my favorite shirts, most of the rest remained unused. For an entire year.


We pity the poor concierges who had to respond to these questions.

By Karen Datko May 21, 2010 2:16PM

Will your credit card's concierge service really change your hotel reservation, extend your stay and (gasp!) have a real person on the other end of the line when you call with your request?

Oh, yes, and so much more, it appears. (That's good to know because this kind of service is becoming increasingly common.) In fact, John Hargrave wrote about how he put his credit card concierge service to the ultimate test in a guest post at The Blog of Tim Ferriss, the four-hour workweek man. To do so, Hargrave submitted five "incredibly ridiculous requests."



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