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Maintaining a shared financial vision is key.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:39PM

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

My wife and I never fight about money. I used to claim this was because we keep separate finances, but now I know it's because we share similar financial goals and dreams. Even during those years I was deep in debt, I never did anything that might jeopardize our financial future.

Our shared vision has helped us to maintain a successful marriage. We're not alone, however. Writing recently in The New York Times, Tara Siegel Bernard says that the key to wedded bliss just might be marrying someone who shares your attitudes about money.


Trying to 'wing it' is not the best strategy for getting hired.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:33PM

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

I have conducted a substantial number of job interviews. Although the jobs I usually hire for are technical in nature, most of the truly telling -- and thus truly valuable -- questions I've asked are nontechnical questions. A great interview question reveals the nature of the person you're hiring -- honesty, reliability, ability to communicate intelligently and quickly.

Over time, I've collected a pretty good pile of questions I use in almost every interview. Here are 25 of the most reliable ones, along with a tip or two about what makes a good answer -- and what makes a bad one. If you can easily answer these questions, you shouldn't have much to worry about in an interview.


Lousy attitudes don't discourage some generous tippers.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:16PM

Hardly a personal-finance topic provokes strong opinions like the question of how much to tip, particularly after the waiter treats you like a case of scurvy.

A special dinner out for Bob of ChristianPF and his wife lost its luster when their waiter became rude and unresponsive. And yet, after all that, Bob left a 20% tip.

That's more than we would have done, and we aren't alone. However, some of his readers offered other opinions when he asked, "How much should you tip a bad waiter or waitress?"


So what! We're saving money and they aren't.

By Karen Datko Oct 16, 2009 5:15PM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


There's been many a time I've been picked on for being frugal. Mostly during my prepubescent years, but even now I've been known to give a few of my friends a good laugh. I'm sure they were all just jealous (at least that's what our mothers always say, right?) but either way I say, "Who cares."


Who cares if our frugality and craftiness distract people? Are they the ones saving a few dollars? Nope -- we are. And because of that I say keep on doing your thang! As long as you're happy and not breaking any rules (*ahem* Phil Villarreal) who cares about these boring people and their spend-crazy lives. We like saving money and we're not afraid to admit it.

In fact, I'll even admit to some thriftiness right now: I used to sneak cheeseburgers into the movie theaters. I'd swing by McDonald's 10 minutes before start time and pick up some double cheeseburgers right off the dollar menu and put them in my pockets. Not only was it cheap, but it was craaaazy filling. And when that didn't work out, I'd just raid the nearest 7-Eleven instead and grab myself three assorted candies back when they were three for $1. (Remember those days?)

And after thinking about this for a bit, I wondered how many others are made fun of for similar things? There's gotta be a lot of us, right? Oh yeah, DEFINITELY right. Check out all the responses I got back after dropping the following note around the Web:


Anyone ever make fun of you for being frugal/crafty?


Celebrate National Pajama Month with free breakfast for kids.

By Teresa Mears Oct 16, 2009 1:31PM

The recession must not be over yet, because we’ve got all kinds of new food deals. Some of last week’s deals are still good, too, including kids eat free at Boston Market and buy one, get one free brunch at Ruby Tuesday.


You may have missed National Pajama Month, but Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation is on the ball. This Sunday, Oct. 18, kids 12 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult meal from 9 a.m to noon at the restaurants that serve breakfast. If they don’t want to get dressed, bring them in their PJs.


Here are the latest food deals, courtesy of our friends at Cities on the Cheap:


She took steps to protect herself, but others she knows weren't so fortunate.

By Karen Datko Oct 16, 2009 1:11PM

This guest post comes from Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life.


Most of us don't know it, but it's pretty likely we've faced down identity theft more often than we've realized. Often, we think that this is the kind of stuff that happens to other people. Advice on how to prevent identity theft is something we don't usually heed, until it hits close to home.

In my case, I've encountered identity fraud a few times, fortunately at a reasonable arm's length (but close enough for me to feel concerned).

The most memorable case was also the most frightening one, as it involved some trespassers who had entered our property in the middle of the night. We heard loud noises by our utility shed and assumed we were hearing a late-night garbage bin raid by an army of hungry raccoons. Instead, we spied furtive shadows carrying off our trash bins to a pickup truck that sped away into the darkness. 

It's National Protect Your Identity Week, sponsored by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and a new partner in this event, the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Here's some related reading that you'll find very informative.

·         Find 'shredding parties' in your state

·         Are you safe? 10 questions to find out

·         Steps to take if you've been victimized

·         Questions on identity theft? Ask an expert

We eventually found our trash cans dumped by the side of the street a block away, without much of anything left inside. 


Plan for a future you can't quite see, then take small steps toward it.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 16, 2009 11:13AM
Last week I found vegetable and flower seeds in a clearance bin for 8 cents per package. I bought a dozen even though I have nowhere to plant them.

Call it radical optimism, since there are no guarantees that I'll be a homeowner any time soon.

Yet I see no reason not to believe that I will be. Thus I am keeping that dream in the forefront for 96 cents plus tax. I could also have bought a key ring for my someday housekeys. I just happened to find seed packets on sale.  

Blogger's real-life nightmare has had lasting consequences.

By Karen Datko Oct 15, 2009 8:17PM

This guest post comes from Ron Haynes at The Wisdom Journal.


Sept. 23, 2004. That was the day I discovered that someone had stolen my identity. (I'll reveal who it was later in this article, but you’ll be surprised, believe me.)


Several nights earlier, we had come home and discovered a message on our answering machine from American Express, asking me to call to discuss my outstanding balance. After a little chuckle, I told my wife they must have loaded the wrong phone number into their automatic dialer because we didn't have an American Express card. "Don't worry about it," I said.


A few nights later, we had yet another message from them and my wife started getting suspicious. I was out of town the next day when she called me and asked if I was sitting down.



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