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Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:21PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


There was a pretty good post over at Wise Bread the other day on how if a credit card company forgives some of what you owe, what was forgiven is income you have to pay taxes on.


On the one hand, this is a point worth repeating because it seems to surprise most people. On the other hand, the post neglects to mention an important exception, and, moreover, feeds into the belief that this is an irrational fluke of the tax code. It isn't. It makes sense.


You owe Credit Card Corporation (CCC) $5,000. Realizing you are unlikely to pay them back in full, and now regretting lending you the money to begin with, CCC agrees to settle the debt for $2,000 cash. You sell your PEZ dispenser collection on eBay and send them a check.


Blogger cut off a charity that pushed too hard.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:14PM

Has a charity ever pushed and annoyed you to the point that you've cut them off?


When do you draw the line at giving? When they've hired a telemarketing company that pesters you, or if they send you too much mail?


"FMF" of Free Money Finance raised the question in a recent post called "Off my giving list." He stopped giving to a group he had generously supported because a telemarketer who called his house wouldn't take no for an answer.


A too-brief, jargon-filled resume isn't helpful.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:06PM

This post comes from Julie Rains at partner blog Wise Bread.


Many people are job hunting these days. I have worked with job seekers for many years and have found that these five common assumptions frequently derail a job search.


Being open to anything will increase my chances of landing a job. The search ought to have a focus: You should be targeting opportunities in a certain discipline or function; or you should identify the strengths you'd like to leverage and then uncover positions that match those strengths. The résumé should convey that focus; otherwise, you can't differentiate yourself from other candidates because you're not really great at anything but rather average at many things.


Welcome to the 'food-storage' movement.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 6:59PM

A whole year's worth of food for one person for only $799.99? And that's after a $200 discount. Is this too good to be true, or should we order?


Well, there is one small catch. The offer is for 78 one-gallon cans of dehydrated and freeze-dried food, plus a wheat grinder. Now, that's an emergency fund you can eat.


Actually, the ad exposed us to a movement we weren't very familiar with.


Pens, vitamins and toothpaste are on his list.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 6:56PM

We're all for dollar stores. They can provide savings, many people agree. At last count, 55% of about 423,000 people who have participated in an MSN Money online poll said they sometimes shop at dollar stores, and 36% said they frequently do. (Another 3% chose "I'd never set foot in one.")


But there are some products "rutgerskevin" of The Red Stapler Chronicles recommends you avoid, via his post called "The 10 dumbest things to buy at a dollar store." First on his list are home pregnancy tests.


Rocky could have used a good financial adviser.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 6:39PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


Movies today can rely on special effects, monster marketing efforts, and a few pretty faces (*cough* "Transformers 2" *cough*). In the 1980s and early '90s, movies had to rely on the story and the acting to achieve success.


Out of that era, which coincided with my childhood, came a lot of classic movies that teach powerful lessons about how to deal with your money, how to approach your career, and how to find success in both.

I thought it would be fun to pick out five lessons from just five movies from that era (one of them is from 2000, but no fancy special effects there).


Student loans, debt, car payments -- the effects linger.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 4:45PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

The best thing about being 40 is having survived your 20s and 30s. And at 40, I'm considered an old-timer in the personal-finance blogging community. Reflecting back on the past 20 years, I realize that I've learned a thing or two that I wish (oh, how I wish) I had known when I was 20.

Here they are, in no particular order:


Spendthrift wife kept two secret credit cards.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 4:40PM

The headline on JW's post at We Need To Be Debt Free says it all: "What's the use?" He's been working hard to aggressively pay off about $41,000 in non-mortgage debt, and then his wife revealed at a marriage-counseling session that she's been hiding -- and using -- two credit cards.

"When she mentioned it, I felt completely broadsided. It was like being run over by a truck," he wrote. The damage to his debt-reduction plans? Just over $4,300.

Goodness knows they aren't the first couple to deal with this problem. What makes JW's posts on this subject and so many others so compelling is the detail he shares about his debt-reduction plan and how the sacrifices it requires has affected family life. For instance, his teenage kids have been unhappy and threatened to move out.



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