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I couldn't turn a blind eye to family's plight.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 2, 2009 12:49AM

Last July, a fellow driving an SUV called me a sucker for giving money to a homeless man. The incident upset me deeply, so I wrote an essay called "Why I gave a guy a dollar."

What I didn't mention in the piece was how I happened to be walking down that particular street. I was on my way home from the bank and the post office, having just mailed a cashier's check to a long-time friend whose home was about to be foreclosed upon. 

She and her husband have three kids still at home, and in the past year they've both had spells of unemployment. They'd been late with the house note before, and this time the mortgage company issued an ultimatum: two months' worth of payments by July 16, or foreclosure.


A backup can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 2, 2009 12:38AM

Recently I treated my daughter and son-in-law to sandwiches (using a coupon, of course). At the register I heard those words no one wants to hear: "I'm sorry, this card was declined."

I responded with the same words all the deadbeats use: "That can't be right. Run it again." 

He did, and it was declined again. Face aflame, I paid with a different card. (Yes, I could have paid cash but I use credit cards for the rewards. And ever since I got out of divorce debt I have paid my balances in full each month.) When I got home I called to ask why my plastic had been declined -- and the answer was also one of those things that no one wants to hear. 


Blogger offers tips for minimizing conflict.

By Karen Datko Oct 30, 2009 6:20PM

Many people have had a bad boss in their career -- a supervisor who is manipulative, deceitful, vicious, grossly egotistical or all of the above.


But you can find a way to survive or even remedy this bad situation, thanks to some valuable tips from Patrick at Cash Money Life.

There is a caveat here: These tips will work best if the boss’s bad behavior is directed specifically at you and not the entire workforce. "It's a lot more difficult to avoid conflict if your supervisor treats everyone the same way," Patrick writes.


Any one of these practical measures can help you build wealth.

By Karen Datko Oct 30, 2009 4:42PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Perhaps the most frequently asked question in all of personal finance is this: How do you become a millionaire? Although we often focus on the idea of becoming a millionaire, there's really a different question lurking just below the surface -- how do you become financially independent? It's financial independence that we are really seeking, although for most of us, achieving millionaire status would get us there or at least be a great start.

While $1 million is a big number, it can be attained. The journey to $1 million may be a long one, but each step along the way is not difficult. In fact, each step is downright easy. With the right planning, commitment and execution, anybody can become a millionaire. While there are certainly more than five ways to build wealth, what follows are five of the most practical concepts and methods that anybody can follow to become a millionaire in the making.


Some are a bit naughty, some are nice.

By Karen Datko Oct 30, 2009 2:14PM

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


For all you slackers out there (myself included): Last year for Halloween I went as a rock star, but I'm thinking of going as a blogger this time around. According to a friend, though, that means I have to put on a pair of nerd glasses and hike up my pants like Urkel! I think my friend is confused. We're more like this guy. I mean, come on.

Actually, I have no idea how to dress as a blogger. I'm just being lazy. More than likely I'll paint the black nail polish back on and sharpen me up some rocker tattoos again. I already wear ripped jeans and T-shirts anyway, so it'll cost me a big fat $0. And I don't have to worry about any props getting stolen by drunkards!


Haven't picked a costume yourself? Check out some of these clever ideas from me and friends around the net (thanks, everyone):


Leftover Halloween treats will go to U.S. troops.

By Teresa Mears Oct 30, 2009 1:42PM

Do your kids usually get way more Halloween candy than you want them to eat? Did you buy more than you needed for trick-or-treaters who didn’t show?


Sell it back to your dentist.


Dentists and orthodontists nationwide are participating in this year’s Halloween Candy Buyback, in which dentists will pay people $1 to $2 per pound for their leftover candy. Some dental offices are throwing parties, giving out prizes (including toothbrushes) and donating additional money to local charities as well.


Common sense is called for, but "best by" is only a suggestion.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 30, 2009 11:55AM

This week I ate canned pumpkin that was three years past its expiration date, and I didn't die. Not even once.


Why risk it? Why not throw it out? Because I was feeling both frugal and contrary.


Last week a Smart Spending message board reader started a thread about an "out of code" food market in her neighborhood. The outlet specializes in food that's super-cheap because it has passed its sell-by date. Some of the items -- canned goods, coffee, cake mixes and the like -- were four or five months beyond their suggested dates.


Some people who responded were grossed out by the very idea. One called such marketing "a step above a Dumpster dive."


That's when I decided to bake some pie.


Even adults can get a sweet treat if they wear a swirl top hat.

By Teresa Mears Oct 30, 2009 11:11AM

It’s time for Friday food freebies and deals. This week, a lot of our deals are for Halloween meals, especially for children in costume. But if you’re willing to wear a swirl top hat, even an adult can get a free frozen yogurt.


We wrote up a bunch of Halloween deals for restaurants and free events earlier this week. Some of last week’s food deals also are still good.


Remember that not all deals are good at all locations of chain restaurants.

Here are our latest food deals, gathered with some help from our friends at Cities on the Cheap:



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