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Veterans and military personnel honored with free meals, discounts.

By Teresa Mears Nov 6, 2009 1:21PM

Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day, when all Americans remember those who have served their country.


In our family, we remember my mother’s brother, who died in World War II, one nephew in Iraq and his brother who has just returned from Iraq. My father served in the Army, but he was lucky enough to serve in peacetime and have the job of booking entertainment for troops at Fort Knox, Ky. There he met my mother, who was a music teacher, and here I am.

In honor of Veterans Day, the National Park Service is offering free admission to all national parks for everyone on Wednesday. Other federal agencies also are offering free entry to public lands. The Park Service also has information on sites tied to the nation’s military history, and some parks plan special events.


Several stores and restaurants are offering special deals to veterans:


If you're not hungry, get free family portraits and visit a museum.

By Teresa Mears Nov 6, 2009 12:09PM

It’s time to celebrate Friday with a few freebies and food deals.


If you don’t like these choices, has its $25 gift certificates, good at local restaurants, for $3 each until Nov. 9 with promo code DINE. Be sure to read the fine print before you choose a restaurant because some of the coupons require minimum purchases, are good for dinner only or have other limits.

Remember that not all local restaurants participate in all national promotions. If you have doubts, call ahead.


Here are the latest food deals, courtesy of our friends at Cities on the Cheap:


Haste really can make waste.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 6, 2009 7:42AM
Recently I almost paid what Dave Ramsey calls the "stupid tax." There I was in the university computer lab, trying to jam as many things as possible into the few available minutes: answer work-related e-mails, read a departmental notice, update my Twitter page, take down a voice mail message from a potential renter. Oh, and use my asthma inhaler -- I was breathless from having rushed across campus in order to get in as much computer time as possible before class.

I did a Swagbucks search and won, bringing my total to the 45 points that I needed for a $5 gift card. So I ordered it -- except that I was so distracted I wound up ordering an card, good only in Canada.

Did I mention that I live in the United States?  

Time extended, and credit added for some owners of existing homes.

By Teresa Mears Nov 5, 2009 6:25PM

While extending unemployment benefits this week, Congress also made a few moves its members say are designed to stimulate the housing market. If you're planning to buy a house, this could be good news for you.


Congress took two significant steps that will benefit certain homebuyers:

  • Extended the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers (defined as those who haven’t owned a home in the last three years) through April 30.
  • Added a new $6,500 tax credit for people who buy a new home after owning and living in their homes five of the last eight years.

The president is expected to sign the bill, which you can read here. The National Association of Realtors also has put together a helpful chart comparing the new and old tax credit provisions.


Is a text message all we really need to get us to save money?

By Karen Datko Nov 5, 2009 6:05PM

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


There is a movement amongst earnest policy wonks that might be called Nanny State Light. It’s a compromise position between full-on centrally planned we-know-what’s-best-for-you control and you’re-on-your-own-kid libertarianism.


The idea is that instead of making people do the right thing or hoping that they do what’s best on their own, you give them a little nudge and hint in the right direction. This is, I am told, the topic of a clever and popular book, “Nudge,” which I haven’t yet gotten around to reading. (But I bought a copy a few weeks ago. That’s something, isn’t it?)

The latest scheme along these lines to hit the media was in The Wall Street Journal this week. Apparently, all we need to do to get people to save more money is to send them a text message reminding them to save more money.


Frequent flier says he was denied seat upgrade because of his attire.

By Karen Datko Nov 5, 2009 4:36PM

A United Airlines Red Carpet Club member -- a Best Buy corporate vice president, no less -- says he was denied a first-class upgrade on a flight last month because he was wearing a track suit.

The My Fox Atlanta Web site reported about frequent traveler Armando Alvarez, who was commuting from his Maryland home to Best Buy headquarters:

He said he used his miles to upgrade to first class on a flight from Dulles to Connecticut. Alvarez said the gate agent called his name and when he walked up to the counter for his upgrade, the agent said he was dressed too casually for first class. "I was humiliated and embarrassed," Alvarez said.

Alvarez wore the same Puma track suit during a Fox interview and, in the video, his attire is very neat -- much nicer than a lot of sloppy-looking customers we’ve seen on flights.


Company targets high-end 'advanced devices' for price hike.

By Karen Datko Nov 5, 2009 2:26PM

This post comes from Martin H. Bosworth at partner site


A memo leaked from Verizon Wireless confirms that the company is increasing its early contract cancellation fees to as high as $350 for what it calls its "advanced devices." That's double the current fee.

The memo, obtained by tech blog Boy Genius Report, states that an advanced device's cancellation fee will drop by $10 for each month completed under contract.


Though the company did not specify what it meant by "advanced devices," Boy Genius Report's Andrew Munchbach speculated it was targeted at high-end smart phones like the recently announced Droid, which runs the open-source Android platform and was built by Motorola. It's scheduled to debut Nov. 15.


Deals on turkey dinners and electronics start this week.

By Teresa Mears Nov 5, 2009 1:22PM

At least one store isn’t waiting until Black Friday to unleash its deals. Rather than leaking its ads early, Wal-Mart is starting its electronics sales early, plus offering $20 turkey dinners for eight.


Wal-Mart will begin the first of several one-week “electronics savings events” on Saturday, Nov. 7. Here are the first week’s deals:



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