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Here are the best tools for zeroing in on money-saving deals among all the tweets.

By Karen Datko Apr 7, 2010 9:55AM

This post comes from Ann Smarty at partner blog Wise Bread.


Twitter is huge. Someone is very likely to be tweeting a great deal right now, and unless you know how to "hear" that tweet, you will miss it.


Luckily, there are quite a few tools to help make sense of that clutter. The key is to choose the tool that will fit your needs. Here are the best tools for finding and tracking deals on Twitter.


Every year the FTC compiles a list of problems that drew the most complaints. Here's the new list, which still includes the Nigerian letter scam.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 7, 2010 7:06AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


If you know where potential problems lie, they should be avoidable. That’s the apparent logic behind the Federal Trade Commission’s report of top consumer complaints. Every spring, the FTC puts out a list of the top reported sources of consumer problems. Unfortunately, however, it normally doesn’t get a lot of national media attention.


That's too bad, because if we all took just a little time to understand the issues on this list, we’d probably be richer, and a lot of scam artists would have to find a real job. 


To really cash in as a value investor you need to be contrarian, buying what others scorn. Good luck with that.

By Karen Datko Apr 6, 2010 5:56PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


A search of Bad Money Advice shows that in what is fast approaching 300 posts I have never discussed collectibles. Although it is true that there is relatively little bad money advice out there on this topic, just about everybody who mentions it, even in passing, says it is a poor place to invest -- it is an area in which people often make money mistakes. So not writing at least one post on it is an oversight that needs correcting.


In particular, I want to talk about a scheme to make money that has, at the very least, occurred to all of us at one time or another. It is buying, or merely not disposing of, the near-valueless noncollectible in the hope that it will one day become a valuable collectible.


The reason this has occurred to us all at some point is that the collecting world is full of examples of easy-money-in-hindsight. Just spend time on eBay. A quick scan recently told me that the first issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine (Autumn 1992) goes for $250. It was $3.95 on the newsstand. That’s an annualized gain of nearly 26% for 18 years. If only I’d thought to buy a thousand copies.


After losing much of her income, blogger sold her house and now lives in other people's vacant homes.

By Karen Datko Apr 6, 2010 1:53PM

We’re fascinated by unusual lifestyle choices people make, like campground hosting or hiking the Appalachian Trail full time. Lose your job and you may be even more inclined to consider new possibilities.


That happened to Mary, the 48-year-old single woman whose insightful blog, SimplyForties, shares her adventures and great recipes. When her income suddenly dropped, she sold her lovely old home, hit the road and embarked on house-sitting full time.


That’s right: house-sitting, usually a low-cost way to visit exotic/expensive locations, as an occupation. She explained how she began in a Consumerism Commentary guest post.


Spirit Airlines becomes the first carrier to charge for carry-on luggage as well as checked bags. Will others follow?

By Teresa Mears Apr 6, 2010 12:55PM

Spirit Airlines has become the first U.S. airline -- and maybe the first airline in the world, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat Terminal blog -- to charge passengers for carry-on bags.


Charges will range up to $45 each way, with a low of $20 for members of the $9 Fare Club who reserve a bag in advance (and don’t forget your $39.95 annual club membership). Non-members can carry on a bag for $30 if they pay in advance.

Lest you think you can disguise your carry-on bag as a purse or computer case, be warned that Spirit will have “bag sizers” at the gate to make sure your “personal items” don’t measure more than 16 by 14 by 12 inches.


Census jobs are available, but you don't need to pay someone to get federal employment.

By Karen Datko Apr 6, 2010 11:49AM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


We've all heard or seen the warnings about the possibility of being scammed by purported census takers who are out to steal our identities. But what about those who cheat people looking for honest work taking the government headcount?


Hawaii has the highest percentage of millionaire households; Mississippi has the lowest.

By Karen Datko Apr 6, 2010 10:07AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


Did you know that in 2009 there were more than 5 million millionaire households (5,129,385) in the United States?


That’s 4.46% of all households and a number that is probably a lot higher than you expected. It's also a drop from the previous two years. In 2008 there were 5.6 million, and nearly 6 million in 2007. Who knows what 2010 will bring, but it’s still fun to look at statistics, even if you’re not a millionaire.


Fortunately for us, our friends at MainStreet had a fun little slideshow recently showing the states with the most and the fewest millionaires as a percentage of total households.


So, where are all the millionaires?


A plan to write off some debt for 'underwater' borrowers elicits anger but also stories from people who find themselves stuck.

By Teresa Mears Apr 5, 2010 4:00PM

Is it right to forgive mortgage principal for people who owe more than their homes are worth?


What if they refinanced and took out cash to buy new cars and kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances? What if they stretched to buy a home they could barely afford? What if they didn’t put any money down?


In the meantime, you bought a home that was well below what you could afford, put 20% down and are still staring at the old Formica countertops that came with it 20 years ago. Why doesn’t the lender forgive your balance?



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