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I have a tendency to ignore warning signs and just hope that things will get better on their own.

By Karen Datko May 17, 2010 8:14AM

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


As much as I've learned about money in the past five years, and as much as I like to share what I've learned, there are still times when I fail to follow my own advice.

As I've mentioned, we live in a 100-year-old house. This is a great and terrible thing. The house is beautiful and full of character, but it's also a pain.


A California woman will spend her $2 million scratch-off lottery prize on her animal rescue operation.

By Karen Datko May 14, 2010 3:55PM

Many lottery winners let their finances go to the dogs. Beverly Evens of Shasta County, Calif., is spending her lottery prize on the goats -- specifically 35 goats, three horses and an undetermined number of chickens.

Evens, who began rescuing animals nine years ago after adopting a baby Alpine goat, won a $2 million scratch-off lottery prize early this week after buying a $5 ticket at a convenience store. She'll collect $60,000 a year after taxes for the next 25 years.

(Isn't this story sweet? Actually, 19% of Tonic readers polled said it made them happy, 38% said they were inspired, and 43% said it made them laugh. Tough crowd.)


George Winship, editor of the Anderson Valley Post, offers more details about the winner:


Nearly 1,000 complaints have been submitted to the Texas Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau.

By Karen Datko May 14, 2010 1:36PM

This post comes from partner site


A company that purports to help consumers who are having tax problems has problems of its own in Texas.


Houston-based TaxMasters Inc. and its chief executive officer, Patrick Cox, are accused of multiple violations of the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Debt Collection Act.


According to the enforcement action filed by Attorney General Greg Abbott, the defendants unlawfully misled customers about their service contract terms, failed to disclose its no-refunds policy, and falsely claimed that the firm's employees would immediately begin work on a case -- despite the fact that TaxMasters did not actually start to work on a case until its customers paid in full for services, even if the delayed response meant taxpayers missed significant IRS deadlines.


Hey, 'boomerang' kids: Your parents may want a life of their own. Why not let them have it?

By Donna_Freedman May 14, 2010 12:45PM

I have a friend whose oldest daughter, "Lindsay," got pregnant in college, dropped out and moved back home. And there she stayed for much of the past eight years, continuing to make dismal choices in men and causing a lot of drama for her mama.

Lindsay moved in with the most recent loser, who told a string of lies and then lit out for the territories. Now Lindsay wants her mom and dad to look for a rental house where they can all live together once more.

My friend, "Marie," hasn't given an answer yet. But she told me what it will be:


Taco Bell unveils $2 meals, plus we have tips for places to find free ice cream and free kids' meals.

By Teresa Mears May 14, 2010 11:30AM

It's a beautiful Friday morning in May (at least it’s beautiful where I am), and what more could anyone want but Friday food deals and freebies?


Taco Bell has unveiled four new $2 meal deals: your choice of a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, a Gordita Supreme, a Grilled Chicken Burrito or a Double Decker Taco -- each with Doritos and a medium drink.  


This sets a new low in pricing for fast-food meals, USA Today notes. At most low-price chains, three items off the $1 menu add up to $3, though Taco Bell already has some items that cost less than $1 each.

This could be the day to walk to Starbucks for Frappuccino Happy Hour, which continues from 3 to 5 p.m. through Sunday, May 16. Some other deals from last week also are still good.


This is a great idea that's ahead of its time.

By Karen Datko May 14, 2010 9:14AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


At first glance, pay-by-the-mile auto insurance seems like a great idea: Drive a lot, pay more. Drive less and save. But what seems like a great idea has had difficulty gaining traction.


For a variety of reasons, including technology, regulations and marketing, pay-as-you-go auto insurance has stalled in all but one state.

And if you are thinking that California is the forward-thinking jurisdiction, think again. The winner here is Texas, but more about that in a minute.


If you have the palate to pick up the combination of flavors, why not?

By Karen Datko May 13, 2010 5:04PM

Ah, the aroma, and then there's the taste: Hints of "apricot, pineapple, bergamot, kiwi and lime. The deeper tones are levels of chocolate, and the finish is super clean." But it's not wine.

That's the description from a connoisseur (he's also the guy who sells the beans) of the coffee made from the cherished Ethiopian Nekisse beans -- sold for $12 a cup at Café Grumpy, a New York City chain. One of those hilarious writers at The Gothamist said that “we detect notes of pretentious (potty word deleted -- you fill in the blank)."

What's bergamot? (As they say, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.) Regardless, would you pay $12 for a version of what many people consider a reliable delivery system for caffeine?


An inventor wins $25 million in a federal trial over a safety device that spares employees' fingers. Home Depot may appeal.

By Teresa Mears May 13, 2010 2:51PM

In a major victory for David over Goliath, a North Carolina man has been awarded nearly $25 million after a judge and jury found that Home Depot stole his invention.


The story began in 2004, when the home-improvement giant asked Michael Powell, who had worked with the company for 20 years as an independent contractor, to help solve a problem. Too many employees were cutting themselves when they cut wood for customers. If the company couldn’t reduce injuries, and quickly, it might have to quit cutting customers’ wood.

It didn’t take Powell long to come up with a solution, a “Safe Hands” device for radial saws. Home Depot loved it.


But the company didn’t want to pay the inventor $2,000 for each machine, a total of $4 million to outfit all 2,000 stores, according to a story in The Palm Beach Post. Home Depot offered $1,200 each. Powell said no.



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