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Time for a look at your 2010 financial goals. You've still got six months to play catch-up.

By Donna_Freedman Jul 2, 2010 1:01PM

When was the last time you checked your 2010 financial resolutions list? Yeah, that's what I thought. Time to revisit those plans -- or, as Gail Cunningham puts it, to get a "mid-year financial checkup."

Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, suggests we should re-examine our year's money goals. After all, we take vehicles to the shop for routine maintenance and take ourselves to the doc for health exams.

But what if this financial "Say 'Ahhh'" turns into a "Say what?" when you take a closer look at the bottom line?


Affordable, healthy meals need not be boring and bland. Honest.

By Karen Datko Jul 2, 2010 10:51AM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


For the first 25 years of my existence, my food stood alone. Meat went unseasoned, starches sought no accompaniment, and vegetables -- hermits, all of them.


Now I've discovered the wonders of spices, sauces and assorted flavorings. I had heard they made edibles better, but discounted it as a blasphemous rumor. Y’know, like gravity.

In honor of these fine, zestful components, today’s article will expound on the joy and wonder of my favorite 10. The following foods generally aren’t the main focus of a dish. Instead, they’re simple, easily attainable additives that will boost the quality of your spread immensely. Some cost a few cents more than generic or mass-produced items, but in most cases, a tiny little pinch goes a super-long way.


Here are 6 issues to consider to get the best price and avoid surprises in the final bill.

By Karen Datko Jul 2, 2010 8:08AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


The professional moving industry is an extremely competitive business. Moving companies have to entice consumers to select them if they want to make money, and this can sometimes be done through the moving quote. What often appears like a reasonable quote from a professional moving company can turn into a final price that does not come close to what you originally budgeted. 

Asking the right questions up front and doing a lot of the legwork on your own will save you time, aggravation and money.


To help you out, we've compiled a list of the six most common money pits you may not initially think of when you decide to move.


New kind of sunburn: Some are unhappy with tanning tax that helps finance health care reform.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2010 6:10PM

This post comes from Truman Lewis at partner site


We've been told over and over that too much time on the tanning bed is bad for our skin. Now it's bad for our wallet as well, as the federal government's new 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services became effective July 1.

It's the first of 21 excise taxes created by Congress to help pay for the health care overhaul that was passed a few months ago. Congress calculated that it would be able to sweat about $2.7 billion out of tanning taxpayers over the next decade.


Since it's Congress we're talking about, nothing is quite as simple as it sounds.


More good news for homebuyers: Congress extends closing deadline for tax credit.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2010 5:02PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


Mortgage interest rates have dropped again -- beneath even the 54-year record-busting lows reached a week ago, when 30-year loans fell to rates seen last in the 1950s.

According to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey, Americans can sign up for an average 4.58% on a 30-year loan and spend an average of 0.7 points to get that rate. (A point is a fee -- usually 1% of the loan amount, as "Mortgage Professor" Jack Guttentag explains.)


Last week, the average 30-year rate was 4.69%. This time last year it was 5.32%, which seemed pretty darned low at the time.


What difference do these little fractions of a percent make?


Several less-than-popular offerings will be phased out. Meanwhile, the breakfast war heats up.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2010 3:46PM

When we read that McDonald's is dropping the Big N' Tasty from the regular menu, we had to wonder: Which sandwich is that? Not exactly an iconic item -- no one's had a Big N' Tasty attack.

With only about 20 a day sold at some stores, the Big N' Tasty is among several items that will be phased out at McDonald's in coming months. Meanwhile, oatmeal is set to debut with great fanfare on the breakfast menu early next year. 

Among the changes in store at McDonald's:


As our nation's birthday approaches, something to consider: The Constitution protects free speech but exercising that right can be costly.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 1, 2010 11:30AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


Freedom of speech is one of our Constitution's greatest protections. But in this country, guns and the government aren't what suppress speech.


Here it's money and corporations that keep people quiet.

It's called a SLAPP suit: strategic lawsuit against public participation. A company doesn't file a SLAPP suit because it feels it's been legally wronged. The suit is filed because executives know that defamation lawsuits cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend, and the vast majority of people will stop using the "offending speech" rather than face such an expense.


Sometimes I think the business of tracking every penny that's spent on this or that category is just obsessive.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2010 9:51AM

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


Here's the question: Is it better to mound up your spending money in one big pile, or does it make more sense to divide it into "piggybanks" dedicated to one purpose or another? Is it an over-complication to dedicate x or y amount to, say, groceries or eating out?


Wouldn't it be simpler to give yourself a set amount of money to spend for a given period, and not obsess over how it's spent?



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