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For these struggling towns, the object is to put vacant lots back on the tax rolls.

By Karen Datko Jul 26, 2010 5:13PM

The Nebraska town where the first homestead was filed nearly 150 years ago once again has free land on a first-come, first-served basis.


Beatrice, a collection of 12,000 souls in the southeastern part of the state, is not the only U.S. city or town offering free or nearly free land in the hopes of turning vacant city-owned lots into tax-producing properties, The New York Times reports.

It's also not the first time local governments have offered such deals. But, while earlier deals were intended to entice new residents and revitalize dying towns, these offers, the Times says, are in response to budget shortfalls caused by the brutal economy.


Here's where you can find these deals:


Bloggers detail the deals at national chains. One suggestion: Give your kids a budget and let them decide what to buy.

By Teresa Mears Jul 26, 2010 12:28PM

This may be good news to moms (and dads) and not-so-good news for the youngsters: It's time to think about going back to school.


The school supply sales are in full swing this week, and shopping now may save you some bucks over waiting until the week before school starts, when many items will be back to regular prices. Waiting for the sales tax holiday may pay in some states, but stores that want to lure you in sooner may offer better discounts before the tax-free week.


Labor Day is just around the corner. Where to travel for bargains.

By Karen Datko Jul 26, 2010 11:32AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


A cheap summer getaway is still within reach, even with just weeks to go before Labor Day. Cruise lines, hotels and tourism groups are cutting prices and adding promotions to handle consumers' spending and travel cutbacks.

Hotel rates fell over the summer from an average $140 a night near Memorial Day to a current $130, says Genevieve Shaw Brown, a spokeswoman for booking site Travelocity. It's a small change, but one that indicates more properties are offering bigger deals as summer comes to a close.


The catch:


The potential for trouble is so great that you should think twice -- or thrice -- before lending (or borrowing) money.

By Karen Datko Jul 26, 2010 10:29AM

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


Ah, relationships. Without other people, money management would be easy. Easier, anyhow. But love, family, and business relationships tend to make people do things they know they really oughtn't.


Take Patrick, for example. He fell in love, and it led him to commit a financial faux pas. Here's Patrick’s l-o-n-g story and his questions:

A couple years back, I met a girl, fell in love, and we moved in together. A few months into our cohabitation, her car died. Since we needed separate cars for work, we went to a dealer to see what she could find in the way of a used vehicle.


Could you do it? Bloggers chronicle experiment in creativity, minimalism, less shopping -- and more laundry.

By Teresa Mears Jul 26, 2010 8:47AM

Last month, about 100 people embarked upon a "clothing diet": They would choose six items from their wardrobes and wear only those six items for a month.


The rules weren't rigid. Items like socks, underwear, swimsuits, workout clothes, jackets and accessories weren't included and, if you wanted, you could make your own rules.


"Our whole thing was not to put a philosophy behind it, and not be too preachy," Heidi Hackemer, 31, one of the organizers, told The New York Times. They called the project Six Items or Less, referred to themselves as "sixers" and chronicled their experiences on a blog. The Times has photos and video.


They include French vanilla, one of the Original 31, and its demise at the end of the month has prompted complaints.

By Karen Datko Jul 23, 2010 3:23PM

Say it ain't so: Baskin-Robbins, in celebration of its 65th year, is eliminating five ice cream flavors from the menu, including French vanilla, causing great angst among that flavor's many fans. What kind of celebration is that?

Change is inevitable, but so is resistance to change. And those who love French vanilla are very vocal. "B/R should be ashamed of even considering this. Vanilla (French or otherwise) is the best to put things on, in my opinion," wrote one protester on the Save Baskin-Robbins' French Vanilla from the Deep Freeze page at Facebook. Another fan called the move "evil."


Fruits and veggies go to waste every year. Tap into this source of healthy sustenance.

By Donna_Freedman Jul 23, 2010 1:48PM
If I were in Seattle right now, I'd be picking free blackberries, which run wild anywhere there's a patch of dirt. Each year I pick a lot of berries to freeze and also to use in making jam (a very frugal gift). Since I'm spending much of the summer in Anchorage, all I can do is hope that berry season isn't over when I get home.

There's more than one way to get gratis berries, fruits and vegetables, though. It's called "gleaning," the harvesting of unwanted crops, and there are several ways to go about it.  

Celebrate lasagna, cheesecake, sweet tea and guys named Dave with deals from restaurants.

By Teresa Mears Jul 23, 2010 12:19PM

This is a good weekend to go to the movies, especially if you're expecting Tropical Storm Bonnie to dump rain on you all weekend -- or if it's just too hot to go outside.


At AMC Theatres, you can get any size popcorn or any size drink for $1 on Sunday, July 25, with this coupon. Or get both. You have to provide your e-mail address to get the coupon.

If you have a Visa Signature card, you can get two tickets for the price of one to see the new movie "Salt," starring Angelina Jolie, which opens today, July 23. The deal is good through Aug. 18.


Don't forget that you can take your kids to free and cheap movies all summer.



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