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Once the mortgage is paid off, you're directly responsible for property taxes. Here's what to do.

By Karen Datko Nov 5, 2009 12:47PM

This guest post is from Mr. GoTo at Go To Retirement.

 

If you have paid off your mortgage -- as we did earlier this year -- you have some new tasks to take over from the bank or mortgage company. One of those is paying the property taxes on your home.

 

We just received our first tax bill. There are a few rules and procedures to be aware of.

As most homeowners know, when there is a mortgage on the property, the lender or lender’s mortgage service company usually pays the homeowners insurance and property taxes directly.

 

If you're a guest, aren't you entitled to a meal made just for you?

By Karen Datko Nov 5, 2009 11:31AM

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

 

Note from Trent: Recently, I posted a series of articles on the ethics of frugality. How far can you take things without crossing an ethical line or diving into seriously socially unacceptable waters? Here is one of those posts.

 

“Jim” writes in:

A married couple I’m friends with invited me over to dinner recently. When I arrived, they were rushing around trying to throw a meal together. The main course turned out to be leftover chicken breasts. Yes, leftover. They had been grilled a day or two before and they had merely tossed on some additional spices and warmed them in the oven. I was kind of disgusted by this. I understand that this was an inexpensive route for them to go for dinner, but I was a dinner guest at their home!

When you have guests over, how far does frugality go before it crosses a line? As always, there are two sides to the story.

 

'To Whom It May Concern' screams that you didn't do your homework.

By Karen Datko Nov 4, 2009 8:07PM

Our experience as a manager tells us that Squawkfox is right: If you're not getting called for a job interview, it's likely your cover letter laid an egg on some honcho's desk.

 

What's wrong with your letter? You might find some clues in a post by Kerry Taylor, the "Fox" at Squawkfox, called "6 things that make your cover letter suck." It's part of a series of posts on the topic, including "Anatomy of a killer cover letter." A companion series addresses resume writing, including the memorable "6 words that make your resume suck."

Kerry blessedly demonstrates that a topic that seems oppressive -- don't we all HATE these chores? -- can be fun. OK, maybe that's a stretch, but her posts are informative and entertaining.

 

Among Kerry's cover letter tips:

 

Food, clothing and travel merchants offer deals.

By Teresa Mears Nov 4, 2009 5:42PM

Partner site DealNews has come up with a slew of deals involving gift cards. Here's the scoop:

 

Clothing, accessories, and travel

  • Amazon.com: Receive a free $5 gift card when you subscribe to select magazines at Amazon.com.
  • Boscov's: Spend $50 or more online and receive a free $10 gift card.
  • Eastbay: Receive 20% off gift card purchases of $10 to $500 via coupon code "IPEB9HC2". Deal ends Dec. 19.
 

He says they're out of touch on issues like health care.

By Karen Datko Nov 4, 2009 5:29PM

"Brainy Smurf" has called out fellow members of Gen Y for expecting everything to be handed to them. And now he's criticizing seniors for being focused on "me, me, me."

 

Many seniors' stands on recent issues also indicate they're out of touch with current economic realities, he claims in a post called "3 misguided senior perspectives from a 30-something" at Pants in a Can.

Basically, he says, seniors have had it pretty good compared with the lives of young working people.

 

His three observations:

 

Blogger details frustrations she's encountered as she tries to save her home.

By Karen Datko Nov 4, 2009 10:38AM

This guest post comes from Andrea at Fools and Sages.

 

For the record, I’ve all but given up trying to get my mortgage modified after a job loss at the end of March.

 

My family is a perfect example of the type of family I would have thought would be a shoe-in for a modification -- we were fine when I was working, making our payments without any trouble, darn near perfect credit, just about as regular as a family can be.

The modification program was pretty straightforward, but I’ve read too much online, talked to friends, and have my own experiences, and I’m here to tell you that the bottom line is that the banks that are receiving this government money do not want to talk to you. They would rather wait until you go into foreclosure, figuring you will do whatever it takes -- take on more debt, raid your retirement account, borrow from family -- to make your payments if you can, and that means they’re still getting paid.

 

It's no big deal. We'll still eat junk food but maybe we'll cut back a bit.

By Karen Datko Nov 3, 2009 9:02PM

This post comes from Paul Michael at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Should there be a "fat tax" on junk food?

 

Yes.

 

Well, that's just my humble opinion, but I really don't see why this has so many people throwing their arms up in the air with shock. We tax liquor and cigarettes, neither of which are essentials in life. Why not tax something that is bad for our health, preventing more people from buying it and generating much-needed tax revenue in the process?

Taxes on beer, spirits and cigarettes vary from state to state (there's a detailed list here) but one thing's for sure: When you grab a shot of your favorite tipple, you're giving money to Uncle Sam. Like most things in life, liquor should be taken in moderation. It's a treat. And, as such, we can stomach a little extra money being handed over for our shot of bourbon or pint of ale. (Cigarettes, well, they're a whole different animal, and if it weren't for the enormous amount of money they generate they would have been banned years ago. Such is the power of the mighty dollar.)

 

Similarly, fast food is (or should be) a rare treat, too.

 

40-page circular has a ton of doorbusters; toys are 50% off.

By TracyC Nov 3, 2009 7:48PM

Bargain hunters may find a few items for their holiday shopping list in Kmart’s leaked Black Friday ad.

 

The 40-page circular hit online deal sites Monday with a huge number of Friday doorbusters and some Saturday-only deals. A few merit a mention:

 

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