Most birthdays are not landmark occasions. And think of all the money we could save.
What if we suddenly stopped celebrating every single birthday in our lives, and instead concentrated on just the important ones? Would you care? Would you support it? I’ll tell you one thing -- we’d all save a bunch of money.
The idea comes from one of my favorite comedians, Patton Oswalt. If you don’t know the name, you’ll certainly know the voice. He played Remy in “Ratatouille.” He was also Spence Olchin in “The King Of Queens,” and he’s an exceptional comedian.
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On his CD “Werewolves and Lollipops,” he outlines a plan to stop the celebration of most birthdays, saying that there’s nothing special about most of them. And he’s right. What’s so special about hitting 36 (my next birthday)? Or 42? Or even 14? They’re not landmark dates in your existence. They’re just another year.
The full list is printed below.
More couples who want to split up are staying under one roof because of the economy. How do they cope?
The divorce rate actually dropped -- a remarkable 4% -- in 2008 and that trend appears to be continuing. Does that mean that during bad economic times, more couples are rediscovering true love and harmony?
Could be, but for many, probably not: Financial strain can be the final straw in a shaky relationship. What’s likely is that many people who would otherwise split can’t afford to break up. There’s too little money for legal fees or operating two households. Also, homeowners can find it nearly impossible to dispose of the family house.
So, many unhappy couples remain together (and many divorce lawyers report that business is the slowest it’s ever been).
Here's another strange Great Recession trend: Many couples are forced by finances to live together while going through a divorce. The Washington Post said 20% to 25% of the clients of one area law firm are in that boat, and other news stories reported similar statistics. Doesn’t that sound like hell here on earth? “It was torture, a scene waiting for a crime of passion,” Nordette, a poster at BlogHer, said about her experience.
Using food stamps at Whole Foods: Is something amiss somewhere?
Are you eligible for food stamps? Are you sure? Why not check here and find out? Unfortunately, the rules vary from state to state and are pretty complex within each one, so I can’t give much in the way of useful guidelines.
But I’m guessing the rules are a lot more permissive than you think. They probably grant food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance as it is now technically called, to folks you probably do not think should be eligible, possibly including you.
- Video: 7 ways to save on food
I know this from an article now reverberating around the blogosphere that was posted last week at Salon, “Hipsters on food stamps.” (I am nowhere near hip enough to read Salon. I found it from thoughtful commentary the next day called “Using food stamps at Whole Foods” on The Big Money, which I do read.)
Defense Department fires longtime employees with credit problems.
At least 62 workers at the federal government’s military payroll facility in Cleveland are reportedly paying a high price for blemishes on their credit reports: They have been fired.
Among those losing their jobs with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) are Troy Marshall, union president and holder of a $47,000-a-year job in which he helps with equipment and staffing. He has worked at the facility for 17 years and told WKYC-TV that all his evaluations have rated him as "excellent" and "highly recommended." But he received a letter saying he was losing his security clearance because of credit problems.
Online retailers are offering a choice of free subscription or rebate at checkout. We offer tips on when to sign up.
Have you noticed that online retailers have been offering free magazine subscriptions-with-purchase deals at checkout? Don’t just click by, assuming you don’t need another magazine. Sometimes the offers include a $10 to $15 rebate on your purchase.
From video games to automobiles, consider these factors before you make a purchase.
If experiences appreciate and things depreciate, is there a way for us to separate the experience of a thing from the thing itself? Of course there is -- rent it.
If we’re going on vacation, it makes perfect sense for us to rent a car rather than buy it (though in places in Europe, for long “rental periods,” you actually buy the car and sell it back) and we don’t think anything of it. So why don’t we do it for things we use only infrequently? We don’t realize it’s an option.
Whenever you consider the financial trade-offs between buying something and renting something, it really comes down to a few factors. Here’s what I think they are.
Restaurant chains with 20 or more locations will have to post calories on menus and drive-through displays.
Tucked inside the health reform legislation newly adopted by the U.S. House is language that will require calorie labeling on chain restaurant menus, menu boards, and drive-through displays, as well as on vending machines.
The provision applies to chains with 20 or more outlets, and requires them to provide additional nutrition information on request.
Bloggers organize informal education sessions for young people in a coffeehouse setting.
Young people should learn more about personal finance, and the best way to teach some personal-finance basics just might be to offer a “jolt of personal finance” in an informal setting.
That’s the premise of CoffeeCents, a free series of 15-minute sessions at local coffeehouses in Washington, D.C., organized by Stephen Popick, a government economist and a forum moderator at the personal-finance blog Get Rich Slowly who describes himself as “a longtime personal-finance activist.”
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