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Words of wisdom: Eat before you visit a grocery store . . . or the state fair.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:39AM

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

How are you doing with your money? Do you have everything under control, or are you spending a little more than you should?

Well, if you'd like to blow even more of your money, this list will help you empty your bank account in half the time you usually do. Enjoy. 


Blogger has saved thousands with his basic buzz cut.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:20AM

This post comes from partner blog Five Cent Nickel.

On the heels of my confession that we take our own treats to the movie theater instead of buying them at the snack bar, I thought I’d throw out another one: I cut my own hair.

I’ve been doing it for at least 10 years. I don't have special skills in this area. I simply give myself periodic "buzz cuts" with inexpensive clippers. My current weapon of choice is a  Remington Precision haircut kit I picked up at Wal-Mart for less than $20 a couple years ago.


Many denied because of 'outdated' state laws.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:14AM

Did you know that many people who've lost their job aren't eligible to collect?

In fact, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes at his blog that "most people who lose their job these days don't qualify for any unemployment benefits at all."

And, we'll add, it's often low-wage and female workers who get left out.


It's safer than investing in the markets, blogger says.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:03AM

What's the best route as you near retirement: Use extra money to pay off the mortgage or pad your investments? That question deserves a new look in light of the recession, argues Mr. GoTo, a baby boomer and blogger who comes down on the side of paying off the house.

The No. 1 reason: A guaranteed rate of return of 6% (or whatever your mortgage rate is) tax-free. "Compare that to what we have experienced in the markets recently," Mr. GoTo says.


The NYT says cell-phone refuseniks are a tiny, shrinking group.

By Karen Datko Oct 23, 2009 5:39PM

My blogging partner Teresa sent me this link to The New York Times. At last, I thought, I've found my people. Just in the nick of time, because we -- the small number who don't want a cell phone -- are disappearing, it seems, from the face of the Earth.


About 15% of U.S. adults don't have cell phones, but the vast majority of them are challenged by the technology or the cost. "These are people who have a bunch of other struggles in their lives and the expense of maintaining technology and mastering it is also pretty significant for them," Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, told the NYT.


I’m among the estimated 5% of cell-phone-less folks who simply don't want one.


But I have to wonder: Does our cell-phone-free status inconvenience or, perhaps, irritate those who never go without? Do they see us as odd ducks who resist getting into the water?


From season tickets to tithing, helping others takes many forms.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 23, 2009 2:48PM

Last week I wrote about "radical optimism," or planning for a future I can't quite see. Now I'd like to talk about another optimistic step at an inauspicious time: giving away a little more money next year.

In 2007 I was pledging $20 a month to my church's social assistance programs. That pledge rose each year as my finances improved, to its current $80 a month. After some thought, I decided to inch it up to $100 a month for 2010.

Let me be clear: This is not an essay about religion. It is, however, an essay about faith.


Key steps to take and traps to avoid if you pursue this homebuying method.

By Karen Datko Oct 23, 2009 11:04AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


In 2005 I became a landlord. A good friend and I began investing in single-family homes in the Midwest. We purchased two HUD foreclosures in 2005, and since then we've added three more HUD foreclosures to our portfolio.


When we advertise one of our homes for rent, we always advertise the property as a rent-to-own home, also called a lease option. We structure the agreement to allow the tenants to purchase the home within a specified period of time for a set price.


We've entered into several lease-to-own agreements with tenants, although we've yet to sell one of the homes to a tenant (more about that in a minute). This experience has taught me two things: Tenants make major mistakes when entering into a lease-purchase agreement, and some landlords take advantage of tenants who don't understand how to approach a contract for a rent-to-own house.


Because rent-to-own real estate is becoming more and more common, this article will identify tips on how to negotiate a fair lease option with a potential landlord and potential traps you should watch out for.


Free spaghetti and coupons for T.G.I. Friday's, plus more.

By Teresa Mears Oct 23, 2009 10:18AM

If you’re hungry, we’ve got the Friday food freebies and deals.

You already know about the free piece of grilled chicken for everyone at KFC on Monday, Oct. 26.


Some of last week’s deals are still good, too.

Burger King rolled out an addition to its Value Menu this week, the quarter-pound Double Cheeseburger for $1. The sandwich has two flame-broiled hamburger patties, crunchy pickles, ketchup, mustard and two slices of American cheese on a sesame seed bun. If you’re a fast-food aficionado, let us know how you like it.


Here are some other deals, courtesy of our friends at Cities on the Cheap:



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