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'Pay what you can' shows are a boost to the entertainment budget.

By Donna_Freedman Jan 22, 2010 1:47PM
Want to see a play, have some laughs or absorb a little culture even when your wallet says "stay home"? The "pay what you can" concept is a frugalist's best friend.

Pay what you can is the happy hour of entertainment, a way to get out of the house without going off the rails. In my case, it was a Thursday night performance of "Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes" at Theater Schmeater.  

Retailers may track your purchases, but they'll also target you for sales.

By Karen Datko Jan 22, 2010 1:16PM

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


Next time you’re out shopping and a cashier asks if you’d like to join the store’s free loyalty program, do your wallet a favor and say yes.


Turning up your nose to the offer probably means one of three things: You’re worried about retailers tracking your purchase history, you aren’t sure if you’ll have a long-term relationship with a store, or you are (for lack of a better word) lazy, says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, whose book “Gen Buy” assesses consumers’ purchase motivations. “They view (loyalty programs) as not worth their time and effort,” she says.


You may have reasons to be suspicious, but there are counterarguments to each objection.


Relocating, even within your own city, could cut your spending.

By Janet Paskin Jan 22, 2010 12:05PM

Maybe it's a job opening in Memphis. Maybe an old friend calls from his new home in San Diego. Or maybe it's your mother, reminding you how much better the weather is in Seattle this time of year. Whatever the trigger, it's got you thinking about all the things a new house, a new job or a new life could offer, somewhere else. Now you've got something else to consider: how it could change your budget.


Started a budget before, only to give up a few months later? Maybe you weren't doing it right.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 22, 2010 9:25AM

For the next few months, I’ll be doing news stories and blogging about destroying debt. This blog post and the video below are about one of the most important tools for doing it: a budget. Not just any budget, but one that you can not only live with, but look forward to using.


Impossible? Read on.


Be sure to check the fine print so you'll get your $100 (or higher) bonus.

By Teresa Mears Jan 21, 2010 8:03PM

Just when we think our banks don’t love us anymore, they start sending flowers -- at least to some of us.


While banks are adding fees with one hand, they are offering us money with another, in hopes of luring desirable checking account customers.


And the bonuses offered to sign up for new checking counts are substantial: $50 here, $100 there, even $300. Like any relationship, these come with strings attached, but if you qualify, you can pick up some free money.


It says consumers spend more each year on overdraft fees than they do on fresh vegetables.

By Karen Datko Jan 21, 2010 5:30PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


The Center for Responsible Lending has taken a calculator to tally up the costs to the U.S. economy of what it calls "bad lending" -- everything from subprime mortgages to abusive bank policies to payday loans.


The group has added a section to its Web site where consumers can see these costs broken down sector by sector and state by state.


For example, in California, CRL counts 731,779 total foreclosure starts from the first quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of 2009. Foreclosure starts increased 692% from 2006 to 2009.


Buying the house they really loved would have meant a much different life.

By Karen Datko Jan 21, 2010 2:08PM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


A few months before we bought our current home, my wife and I toured literally dozens of different houses, trying to find one that was right for us. We had come up with a budget for our purchase and knew what our firm spending cap was.


On one bright spring day, my wife and I were visiting three homes for sale on the same block that were all having open houses. None of them really struck our fancy, but we did notice a fourth house on the corner that was for sale at a price about $60,000 over our price range.


We toured that house. We fell in love with that house.


What you need to know about the latest technology.

By Karen Datko Jan 21, 2010 12:30PM

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


Music fans looking for free tunes are tuning in to an oldie but goodie -- radio. The medium is gaining a new audience thanks to technology upgrades that offer listeners more control over their music with minimal financial investment.

Although music downloads have grown into a $3 billion-per-year industry, consumers are actually keeping fewer MP3s on their computers these days. The average person has 641 songs; an 18% drop compared with last year, according to a December 2009 study by Mintel, a market research group. The same study found that Internet radio use doubled in the same period, with the average listener turning in for 4.3 hours per week via computer or cell phone.


There are a number of new iterations of this old media:



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