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Give up smoking and sex? Many say they would.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 7:04PM

This shocking bit of news on a radio talk show this morning got the attention of one of our partner bloggers: Nearly half of British men surveyed said they would give up sex for six months to get a 50-inch plasma TV.

The survey -- done, incidentally, by an electronics retailer -- found that only a third of women responded in kind. Also, 25% of the 2,000 respondents said they would give up smoking, and about 25% would stop eating chocolate.


It's easy to eat healthier and waste less food.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 6:47PM

This post comes from Carrie Kirby at partner blog Wise Bread.

I used to consider myself a frugal shopper, without following the cardinal rule of setting and sticking to a grocery budget. Inspired by Wise Bread and other personal-finance blogs, a few months ago I finally took the plunge and set an $80-a-week budget.

I know that some people manage to spend as little as half that to feed a family of four (the two kids are little enough that they don't eat much), but for us $80 has been a challenge.

Despite the challenges, I was pleased to find that the budget goal (some weeks it's been merely a goal) has taught me a few things about shopping and about myself.


Be sure to give your concoction a trial run before your big date.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 6:42PM

Some may consider homemade deodorant another example of frugality taken to ridiculous extremes -- on par with rewashing Ziploc bags, making laundry detergent, or not flushing after every pit stop.

But isn't the real issue: Does it work?

Two personal-finance bloggers directed their readers to a recipe from Little House in the Suburbs, which starts with this statement: "In the DIY world of home health and beauty products, deodorant seems to be the most feared replacement."


Doing it properly takes work and a little common sense.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 6:19PM

Baker at Man vs. Debt sold his Nissan with 240,000 miles, a leaky brake line, leaking oil, transmission problems and cosmetic defects for $1,200 to a tech school student -- and he's thanking his lucky stars.

Baker did almost everything wrong a private person selling a car could do. His mistakes, as well as others that occurred to him later, are compiled in a post called "67 ways NOT to sell a car."


It's easy to dine cheaply (but don't skimp on the tip).

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 6:08PM

This post comes from Paul Michael at partner blog Wise Bread.

When I was a young lad, eating out was something of a luxury for my family. Most of our meals, at least 95%, were prepared and eaten at home. This was the model for most people my age or older. But these days, society has migrated to eating outside the home way more often. The result is that we're spending a lot more on food than we used to. So, are there ways to chop the bill and eat out for less? You bet.


New bills are easy to check.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 6:01PM

This post comes from Philip Brewer at partner blog Wise Bread.

It used to be that spotting a "good" counterfeit bill was impossible for ordinary people. If it was good enough to pass the "look and feel" test, an ultraviolet light or a magnetic ink detector would be needed to detect fraud. But for the past 10 years, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing has been making bills that are easy to check for authenticity.

 The amount of counterfeit money in the United States is low enough that most people feel safe taking money with barely a minimal check for counterfeits. Does it look and feel like money? Then it probably is. But have you ever gotten a bill and thought something -- either the bank note or the person giving it to you -- seemed a little off? Ever wished you could quickly check to see if it's good?

Well, here's how:


Develop a plan before you start.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 5:45PM

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

Let's face it: Most items at garage sales and yard sales are junk. It's stuff the family conducting the sale wants to get rid of, hoping to make $100 on a good weekend. 

With that in mind, I often visit yard sales to look for specific items. Here are six things I usually look for:


It takes commitment to overcome these errors.

By Karen Datko Sep 29, 2009 5:31PM

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

I get tons of e-mail from people describing the personal-finance problems in their lives. Not only that, but as The Simple Dollar has become more popular, I've had more opportunities to talk about personal finance with people face to face.

What amazes me is that the same problems pop up time and time again. Sure, the specifics of the stories change, as does the severity of the situations, but the same items come up.

I'm not immune to them, either. At the time of my own financial meltdown, I was guilty of a majority of these things. It was only due to a commitment to fixing my financial situation that I was able to overcome these mistakes and set them right.

Here they are, the 12 biggest mistakes I hear about time and time again.



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