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Younger children often prefer simple, cheap toys.

By Karen Datko Oct 7, 2009 1:19AM

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

Over my son’s life, he's received numerous gifts from me and my wife, his grandparents, and his aunts and uncles. We have many toys he doesn't regularly play with, so we've given a few away and have some in storage so we can rotate them monthly, giving him the enjoyment of having “new” toys to play with.

His second birthday is approaching, and we've been thinking about what sorts of gifts are appropriate for him. What would he enjoy at this age? The surprising answer is that almost everything he indicates an interest in is very inexpensive.

This would likely be his gift list if he were writing his own:


Holiday shopping season is a great time to find one.

By Karen Datko Oct 7, 2009 1:06AM

This post comes from Andrea Dickson at partner blog Wise Bread.

Right now may be the perfect time to take a second job. The holiday season is gearing up in most retail stores, and chains everywhere are hiring seasonal workers. Whether it's stocking shelves, mopping floors, filling displays or selling goods, the shopping season is ramping up and now is the time to locate and nab those holiday gigs.  

If you, like many Americans, are deep in credit card debt, you might be wondering how you are going to pay it off. Or maybe you're not in debt, but need to make some extra cash to put a down payment on a car or condo, or start your own business. Maybe you just want to buy your sweetheart (or cat) something really special this holiday season.


Some folks take extreme measures to save some pennies.

By Karen Datko Oct 7, 2009 1:02AM

Some frugal-living tips -- turning two-ply toilet paper into one-ply -- seem over the top, but others, like reusing Ziploc bags, are accepted practice in lots of households. The Happy Rock provides six "cheaper than cheap" tips "that border on fanatical to the point of being humorous" and asks readers to vote on their usefulness.

"Rock" provides a thorough explanation of each über-frugal tip as part of an ongoing series of posts, complete with how-to links in case you need some help implementing them.


Real value often costs more.

By Karen Datko Oct 7, 2009 12:20AM

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

The things that stick in your head after reading a book are often interesting. For example, recently I posted a detailed review of "Miserly Moms" that outlined a ton of useful tips for cutting domestic spending.

Yet, the thing that stuck in my head for days after reading the book was an offhand comment author Jonni McCoy made about buying garbage bags. She pointed out that one could easily switch to generic for this item because low-cost garbage bags are a great way to save money.

My response to that? Not in my world, they aren't.


Make sure you make allowances for some luxuries.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 11:45PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

Some people never take control of their finances because they're afraid that doing so would require them to give up everything they enjoy. I don't believe that's true. Getting out of debt requires hard work and sacrifice, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun along the way.


Online gambling's legal status is murky.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 11:38PM

What's life like for professional poker players, particularly those who earn their living online? An anonymous pro sheds some light on the occupation in a guest post at Budgets are Sexy.

It's a fascinating read, and enough to convince us we'd rather work at Wal-Mart than embark on multi-table tournament play. Too much stress. Too many possibilities to go broke going for broke.

Oh, and did we mention that while the legal status of online poker appears to be somewhat murky, the people who really count -- those at the U.S. Justice Department -- insist it's a crime?


Blogger has some strategies to avoid splurges.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 11:31PM

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

I'm often tempted to spend money that I shouldn't.

I'm good at restraining my impulsive nature. I don't simply go into stores and then emerge later with a hefty bag, a credit card bill, and a dazed look on my face. Still, in certain places, I am strongly tempted to spend. I look around and see tons of items that I'd like to have.

Here are seven places that really fuel my spending desires.


Blogger retired in his early 30s.

By Karen Datko Oct 6, 2009 11:21PM

Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme is about to cut his already spartan monthly living expenses in half. How? He and his wife are moving into an RV.

This blog is called Early Retirement Extreme for a reason. Jacob, a guy in his early 30s, spent five years saving and investing 70% of his income on his way to a goal of quitting the rat race, and now he's going to save even more.



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