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Crooks use the term "grant," and most require the recipient to pay a percentage up front to acquire the 'free' money.

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 12:48PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


The government-grant scam is one of the oldest tricks in the schemer's book. But it's still very effective.


The scam, in which victims are promised free money from the government, has shown up recently in Ohio.


Former customers may be entitled to one last withdrawal of assets.

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 12:28PM

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


Customers of now-defunct Washington Mutual may have one last withdrawal coming their way. Millions of dollars in accounts dormant at the time of the bank's 2008 demise are making their way to states' unclaimed property offices.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which oversaw the seizure of WaMu -- the nation's largest bank failure -- and subsequent sale to JPMorgan Chase, handed over nearly $251.4 million to the states this summer. Oregon, for example, received some 27,000 accounts containing $3.85 million.


Washington Mutual's millions represent a substantial jump in the states' unclaimed assets, estimated earlier this year at a collective $32.8 billion.


Losing your wallet can disrupt your life. Here's how to prepare for that eventuality.

By Karen Datko Jul 27, 2010 11:33AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


In this inaugural post in the Financial Contingency Plan series, I want to discuss one of the most common financial disasters -- losing your wallet.


Whether you carry a money clip, an actual wallet, or an entire purse, losing it is one of the most demoralizing financial events that can happen to a person. Your wallet is a compartmentalization of your financial identity and contains your driver's license, your cash, any credit and debit cards, your photos, insurance information, and other financial tidbits.


This is what you need to do to prepare for and recover from a lost wallet.


Now that it's legal to use your phone on any compatible network and with your choice of software, one question remains: How the heck do you do it?

By Stacy Johnson Jul 27, 2010 8:49AM

This post comes from Dan Schointuch at partner site Money Talks News.


Thanks to a set of rules issued by the Librarian of Congress (.pdf file) you can now jailbreak and unlock your cellular phone without violating copyright law -- good news for anyone with an iPhone and a distaste for AT&T.


Put simply, jailbreaking and unlocking allow you to use your phone on any compatible network while installing whatever software you'd like.


If you're like me, your immediate reaction was total elation -- I can ditch AT&T!!! -- followed quickly by the mounting dread of knowing that every person you have ever come into contact with is about to ask you how to jailbreak a phone. Not good. So, in an effort to get ahead of the oncoming swarm of help-me's, here is everything you need to know to jailbreak and unlock your iPhone.


First the risks

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.



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