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Debate rages on whether clotheslines hurt property value

By Teresa Mears Oct 13, 2009 4:17PM

Anybody remember wooden clothespins? We had the peg ones with little round heads, and the clip type, like the plastic clips people use today to close potato chip bags.


Buoyed by people’s desires both to be frugal and help the environment, clotheslines are making a comeback. That hasn’t been without controversy, The New York Times reported this week.


If you live in an older neighborhood in most cities, you can hang your wet clothes out to dry with impunity. But if, like 60 million Americans, you live in a homeowner association or other private development, your community’s rules probably ban clotheslines.


State legislatures are moving to change that. Florida and Utah for some time have upheld residents’ rights to dry their clothes outside. In the last year, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont have given their citizens the right to dry their clothes outside, The Times reports, and bills upholding the “right to dry” are pending in Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Virginia.


Do 'pink' purchases really help the fight against this disease?

By Karen Datko Oct 13, 2009 3:33PM

Pink shoes on NFL players in support of breast cancer awareness was kind of cute. The players seemed to be making a statement rather than asking us to buy anything.

But what about all those pink ribbons on products ranging from Swiffer to chocolates? If we buy those products, are we really supporting cancer research and patient support? And, if so, by how much?


The fact is that anyone can stick a generic pink ribbon on a product and call it good or beneficial. And every October, many manufacturers do. It’s come to be an annual October event, like Halloween, or changing leaves, or reviewing your health care options at work.


“It's a life-affirming month, assuming that you can avoid what has come to be the tyranny of Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” Suzanne Reisman wrote at BlogHer two years ago, indicating that nothing has changed.


Wanted posts ask for Xboxes, laptops, GPS

By Teresa Mears Oct 13, 2009 1:38PM

Blogger Abigail Perry at I Pick up Pennies is wondering if Freecycle is getting greedy.


In recent months, she has noticed a shift in the tone of the emails on the local Freecycle mailing lists, part of an international network in which people offer for free items they no longer want and ask for items they need. These days, she says, she is seeing an increasing number of “wanted” posts, where people are asking for items.

“It just seems wrong,’’ she writes. “To me, Freecycle is about what you have -- about what you can give -- not about what you want to get. If you want things, you sign up for the updates. Perhaps what you need will be posted. Perhaps not. It's the nature of the site.”


They're breaking the rules for reimbursing passengers when luggage is late or disappears.

By Karen Datko Oct 13, 2009 12:52PM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


Airlines can't arbitrarily limit compensation for passengers who purchase necessities because their bags were lost or delayed, the U.S. Department of Transportation has warned carriers.

In its notice, DOT's Aviation Enforcement Office said a number of carriers have policies stating that they will reimburse passengers only for buying necessities purchased more than 24 hours after arrival, and limiting such reimbursements to the outbound legs of trips.


Those policies violate DOT regulations, which require that airlines cover all expenses caused by lost or delayed baggage up to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights, DOT said.


The income-based repayment plan makes loan payments affordable.

By Karen Datko Oct 13, 2009 11:27AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


A few weeks ago I asked newsletter subscribers to e-mail me about the things that concerned them. Many readers told me that the cost of higher education and their student loans were some of the things on their minds.

A few years ago, I wrote about how my sister took advantage of a student loan forgiveness program for teachers. It’s a great program if you can participate because it helps the (former) student and it helps society as a whole by putting incentives and compensation more in line with the work performed. Today, I wanted to discuss the income-based repayment plan created by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. It became available on July 1.


Could it be because it makes people feel better?

By Teresa Mears Oct 12, 2009 3:33PM

This guest post is by Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


Sometimes topics crop up in the PF blogosphere, seemingly out of nowhere, and rattle around from blog to blog for a while. Dollar cost averaging is a recent example. The Digerati Life brought it up on September 23, Lazy Man and Money responded the next day, and The Sun’s Financial Diary shared its thoughts on the 28th. There are probably several other mentions out there I missed.


Before I add my voice to the echo chamber, I’ll define the term. Dollar cost averaging refers to buying an investment, usually a stock or stock fund, over time in installments of equal dollar value.


It is often confused with the laudable and similar idea of regularly saving. Setting aside a certain amount of your pay every week or month may look like dollar cost averaging, but it’s not exactly the same thing.  Implicit in the question "is dollar cost averaging a good idea" is the premise that there is an alternative, that you could have invested it all at once rather than slowly as you earned it.


Three services offer a glimpse of your credit record.

By Teresa Mears Oct 12, 2009 3:02PM

Since 2005, we’ve all been able to get a free credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax) once a year. But those reports don’t include the numerical score, often called a FICO score. For those, you have to pay extra, usually about $8 from each bureau.


Three services are now offering free credit scores, or something close to them, The Wall Street Journal’s Cranky Consumer column reports. WSJ writer Jane J. Kim ordered her scores from all three services, paid for her real credit scores and put together a detailed report on her results.


She found that the information she received from the free sites matched the information in her real credit reports. The scores were not the same. But, she said, the scores were in the same tier as her real credit scores, providing a good indication of how lenders would view her credit.


Without debt, you can live well with less money.

By Teresa Mears Oct 12, 2009 10:29AM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


I’m such a bag lady. Not literally…but I suffer acutely from Bag Lady Syndrome. You can tell me till you’re blue in the face that I have plenty to get by, but I won’t believe it until the bills are paid and no one has carted me off to the poor farm.


Matter of fact, this morning after I’d run another Excel spreadsheet that showed, contrary to the present optimistic theory, an average shortfall in 2010’s enforced “retirement” of $740 a month, my financial adviser was on the phone, cooing in soothing tones, “You’ll be f-i-i-n-e.” Even though I don’t have anything like a million bucks in the bank, he says, there’s more than enough to supplement Social Security and cover all my expenses for about 50 years, at a 4 percent drawdown.


The other day Frugal Scholar, the professor with the penchant for thrift-store shopping, reported a delightful revelation: truth to tell, she and Mr. FS could rent their paid-for house and retire to Costa Rica. Today. Gone fishin’. Once and for all… If they so chose.


Ah hah! Financial independence: freedom to do as you please, absent the chains of debt.



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