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Efforts are afoot to prohibit companies from pulling credit reports of most prospective hires.

By Karen Datko Mar 8, 2010 6:48PM

Should an employer have access to your credit report when you’ve applied for a job? Is that really fair? What if you can’t pay your bills because you were laid off or had major medical bills? 

 

More lawmakers think it’s not. At least 16 states are considering a ban on employer access to credit reports unless they're filling law enforcement jobs or those that involve handling lots of money. Hawaii and Washington state already have similar laws on the books. (A federal version was introduced but apparently is going nowhere in Congress.)

 

Credit reports can affect your access to credit and how much interest you’ll pay, and increasingly, whether you’ll be hired. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Management found that:

 

She fed her fiance on $25 for a week, and he was well-fed. Sometime he had too much to eat.

By Karen Datko Mar 8, 2010 1:31PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Our project has come to an end. The Husband-Elect, a 6-foot, 205-pound man in his mid-30s, has been successfully fed for a week on $25. Needless to say, we are celebrating with beer.

Thanks to everyone who wrote throughout with suggestions (especially "wosnes" and "CJ"). Your ideas were super helpful, especially during a midweek culinary rut, when my sinuses threatened to take over the world.

Included below is a breakdown of the week: the final numbers, an analysis of what worked and what didn’t, the Husband-Elect’s exit interview, and recipes made over the seven days. I’d love to hear what you think and what you would have done differently.

 

Are 47 shirts, 14 sweaters, a pile of shoes and all those comic books really necessary?

By Karen Datko Mar 8, 2010 9:27AM

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

 

It seems like every time I travel, I come home committed to win my war on stuff. This time was no different. I lived out of a single carry-on bag while vacationing in Belize recently, and even that felt luxurious. Now I’ve returned to a house packed with doodads and gewgaws, knickknacks and baubles.

 

The more I purge stuff from my life, the more I travel, and the more I see (and read) about how little others need to get by, the stronger my conviction to reduce what I own. I’m in awe of my friend Leo from Zen Habits, for instance. At his secondary blog, mnmlist, Leo has been chronicling his attempt to reduce the number of thing he owns. At first, this was his 100 Things Challenge (he wanted to own just 100 personal items). Recently, he’s upped the ante. It’s now a 50 Things Challenge. Wow.

 

I’m not ready to go to this extreme -- not even close. But I am beginning to wonder:

 

Will anyone have sympathy for the investors who gave their money to 'America's Prophet'?

By Karen Datko Mar 5, 2010 10:37PM

Sean David Morton claimed that he used psychic powers developed in a Nepalese monastery to accurately predict market performance. "I have called ALL the highs and lows of the market, giving EXACT DATES for rises and crashes over the last 14 years," he wrote in his newsletter in 2006.

 

Bizarre claims alone aren’t enough to get you in trouble with the SEC, but messing with other people’s money is.

 

N.J. police write an average of 9,770 cell phone tickets a month. Meanwhile, a poll found an increase in texting while driving.

By Karen Datko Mar 5, 2010 7:42PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

New Jersey has a law prohibiting drivers from texting or talking on their cell phones while behind the wheel, but it's clear many have not gotten the message.

 

The evidence is in the number of tickets state police officers have written over the last two years. In the past 23 months, 224,725 citations -- an average of 9,770 a month -- have been issued to motorists for violating the state's cell phone law.

 

Food coupons, audiobooks, kids' workshops and free museum admission are among this week's specials.

By Teresa Mears Mar 5, 2010 1:58PM

Here it is Friday already and time for another edition of Friday food freebies and deals. We’ve got some deals you can’t eat this weekend, too, thanks to our friends at Cities on the Cheap.

 

Some of last week’s deals are still valid. Don’t forget that regular restaurant happy hours are a good value at many establishments.

If you’re worried you can’t possibly see all the Oscar-nominated films by Sunday, you might want to check out the Oscar movie marathons at the AMC and Cinemark chains.

 

Mark your calendar for Free Cone Day, coming up March 23 at Ben & Jerry’s.

 

It's easy, it's healthy and it's cheap. (But it's not always pretty.)

By Donna_Freedman Mar 5, 2010 1:07PM

When I first made baby food for my daughter, the results were aesthetically delightful: smooth little circles of pale gold, beige, green and bright red (peach, applesauce, peas, beets) frozen so prettily on a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper.

As she got older I blended the fruits and veggies more coarsely and sometimes added meat. Peas, carrots and bacon. Chicken, rice and green beans. Beef, potato and peas. Frankly, these gloppy little puddles looked more like something you'd buy at a joke shop and leave on the rug near the cat's bed.

One day I got the idea to stir-fry chicken livers and blend them with rice and carrots. My first reaction was anything but earth-motherish:

 

The smart sandwich artist at Subway cleverly gets you to pick extra cheese. You can learn from his methods.

By Karen Datko Mar 5, 2010 11:53AM

This guest post comes from Adam Piplica at Magical Penny.

 

The psychology behind saving, spending and selling is useful to know if you’re to grow your pennies. Equally, it’s important to understand what tactics and strategies help you to save -- and to identify situations in which you’re more likely to fall prey to impulse spending.

 

Upselling

As I started looking out for these kinds of things myself, I became much more aware of sales techniques and “upselling”: for example, when a waiter suggests you have a side dish as well as a main course, or a sales assistant tries to convince you to take out an additional warranty on an electronic device. Such techniques can be dangerous if you’re trying to follow a budget, but I still find them fascinating.

 

Call me strange but over the last few weeks I’ve been paying particular attention to the “sandwich artists” in Subway stores, specifically how they handle the “extra cheese” question. Here are three examples of what I’ve heard:

 

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