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Samples abound -- if you don't mind looking like a pig.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 7:45PM

After reading "Filling up on freebies: Where to score free food," at AzCentral.com, we thought: Writer Scott Craven wasn't craven -- in fact, he was brazen -- as he scoured the Phoenix area for free food.


From car dealerships and grocery stores to churches, restaurants and probably the most celebrated source of free samples of all (all hail Costco), Scott scored so much free food that he probably put on weight.

He proved that "there is such a thing as a free lunch. Or breakfast. Or dinner." That is, if you know where to look.

First, he set several conditions and expectations:

 

Many need to look at their own financial actions instead of making excuses, blogger says.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 7:24PM

Some people are financially sidelined by circumstances beyond their control, while others just poor-mouth -- making excuses for their circumstances with phrases like "The poor man just can't get ahead" or "We struggle just to make ends meet" or "I work hard so I deserve it."


"Frugal Dad" calls these folks the "perpetual poor" and explains how you can identify them in this biting and humorous post. For instance, he writes, those who use the "poor man" rant referenced above "can recite the last five winners of American Idle (that's not a typo) from memory, haven't picked up a book since high school," and "never stretched to learn a new skill at work, but complain about being passed over for promotions."

 

Steps will help her financially, even if she keeps her job.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 7:15PM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


It's probably a bit late to batten down the hatches, since the perfect storm has already made landfall.


On the other hand, I hadn't planned on being laid off, and that still looks like a possibility. My beloved employer, the Great Desert University, did not announce the predicted layoffs that were to have included everyone in my job classification. But with the economy still riding the down elevator, it's likely GDU will have to make more cuts.


So, I've taken a series of steps to help weather bad times. Some of these, I think, apply to just about anyone in most situations. Here's some plywood to nail over the windows:

 

Planning your meals will help you save.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 6:45PM

This post comes from Lisa Wade McCormick at partner blog ConsumerAffairs.com.


A family of five now spends an average of $135 a week on groceries, according to the Food Marketing Institute's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report for 2008. Fuel costs and other economic concerns could force that grocery bill to climb even higher.

Consumers are already feeling the pinch of high food costs on their pocketbooks, and many have changed their eating and shopping habits, the survey found.

 

One responder laments decision to get liposuction.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 6:40PM

"Fox" at Squawkfox once a week hosts "squawkback." She poses a question every Wednesday and invites her readers to sound off.


This produces instructional and often entertaining stuff. In one recent week, she inquired about their three best financial decisions. Then she hit the flip side and asked for the three worst.


Hayden Tompkins' three worst covered the gamut: "Co-signing for my brother's student loan. Signing up for a credit card in college. They need to get those people off campus. Getting liposuction. Sigh. Don't ask."

 

Make it less painful by turning it into a game

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:56PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity:


Keeping to a budget is like keeping to a diet. It's painful.


It’s a nuisance to keep track of the money you spend. However, it's a necessary evil. If you don't, you're setting yourself up for failure. 


I’ve come up with seven tricks that will help you stay on track and not give up.

 

You'll be doing them a favor, blogger says

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:53PM

RacerX remembers the college experience: You get a credit card and "probably then only use the card for emergencies -- no pizza or beer left in the house! Taking our girlfriend out! Maybe even rent once or twice," he writes. Since you know nothing about finances, you get a second credit card to make payments on the first, and so the cycle goes.


His kids won't be like that, he says. Why? Because he and Mrs. X have decided they're not paying for their kids' college education. Why not? you ask. Because every kid they know who went to college "on the parent express" left school unprepared for life -- and sometimes didn't even graduate.

 

Items might be cheaper, but you still need to set a budget.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:45PM

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


If the national media is any indication, more people are embracing the notion of buying used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops. Recently, USA Today ran a story describing how secondhand stores are reaping the benefits of recession:


"As Americans look for ways to cut spending, they are scooping up bargain clothes, accessories, toys and furniture once owned by someone else.


"'We're sorry about the economic situation, ... but it is a good time for our industry,' says Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. Three-fourths of resale stores said they had higher sales in September and October, compared with the same period last year, according to the trade group. The average sales increase was about 35%."

 

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