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More and more travelers choose the 'BYOF' option.

By Donna_Freedman Jul 30, 2010 1:57PM
Forget the hotel restaurant. Ignore the lobby store. Bring your own grub.

More and more travelers are opting to bring their own food, according to Lisa Grossberg, manager of Manhattan's Buckingham Hotel. Meal costs can eat up "anywhere from a third to half of the total spent on an average trip," Grossberg says.

Of course, savoring local flavor is an integral part of the travel experience. But if you cut corners on breakfast and lunch, you can afford some really fine dining -- or possibly an extra day or two of travel.

Some hotels offer full kitchens, or at least a small refrigerator and/or microwave. If not? Get creative.  

Some patience is required. But if the wait is routine and interminably long, here are steps you can take.

By Karen Datko Jul 30, 2010 1:55PM

How many of you have arrived at the doctor's office (on time) and been forced to wait, be it 20 minutes, or maybe an hour or two? You inevitably think: Hey, I know you went to medical school (and have the student loan debt to show for it), but my time is valuable, too.

We are not totally powerless when this happens, says a post at The New York Times Bucks blog. From Bucks and other sources, we've come up with several possible courses of action.


But first, why does this happen?


Deals on dessert, burgers, small plates -- and free bowling for all.

By Teresa Mears Jul 30, 2010 12:09PM

We hope you're in the mood for dessert, because it's National Cheesecake Day.


That means two dessert deals good today only, July 30.


The Cheesecake Factory is offering a slice of any cheesecake on the menu for half-price for dine-in guests only.

At Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro, if you buy one slice of cheesecake, you can get one free. You can also save $10 off a whole cheesecake.


We bought a home in the blink of an eye -- the month the housing bubble burst.

By Karen Datko Jul 30, 2010 11:19AM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


I was at a loss for topics to write about the other day, so I decided to go through some of my old drafts piling up and see if anything sparked my interest. And what do you know -- I found a link I'd saved more than a year and a half ago that was just waiting to come out.


What I liked about this post is that it shows just how NOT perfect we personal-finance bloggers really are. We do stupid stuff and blow our money too, just like you -- even when we very well know it's not financially smart to do so. In fact, if you look around you'll notice that many bloggers are blogging BECAUSE they're in debt. They have awesome war stories, unlike myself. (Although some of mine below are pretty close.)


While the wife and I have gone from $0 net worth to $150,000 in a little more than three years, I am not a perfect angel.


Rent is just one of the new expenses you'll face when you move out on your own.

By Karen Datko Jul 30, 2010 10:16AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Renting your first apartment can be an exciting undertaking. Unfortunately, despite all the energy and excitement conjured up visiting new apartments and thinking about furniture and floor plans, potential renters need to keep their heads on straight.


We've compiled seven basic but extremely important things that first-time (and, for that matter, all) renters need to remember before signing on the dotted line.


The home debt crisis is changing the landscape, causing millions of vacant homes, rising for-sale inventories and downward pressure on prices.

By Karen Datko Jul 29, 2010 8:15PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


The long middle of the foreclosure tsunami rolls on. And on.


The news from RealtyTrac, which counts foreclosure actions (repossessions, auctions scheduled and notices of default) nationwide, is that foreclosures are increasing in 75% of the nation's largest cities.


In the first half of this year, 1.6 million properties were in foreclosure, RealtyTrac reports. Since RealtyTrac has been keeping records, beginning in 2005, the fewest foreclosures -- 68,525 -- were in March that year. The record, so far, was March this year, with 367,056 properties receiving foreclosure filings in that one month alone.


Four states -- Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona -- are responsible for the top 20 metro foreclosure rates. (Read a recap at Listed, the MSN Real Estate blog.)

Darkness -- and a little light


Once you become loyal to a brand, that company counts on your repeat business throughout the course of your lifetime.

By Karen Datko Jul 29, 2010 3:10PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


I have a confession: Cooking healthily and staying on budget remain constant struggles. Though I'm learning, and hope you're enjoying the journey, I'm ultimately not an expert chef, dietician, or personal-finance guru.

But I am a media professional. And I know a little bit about advertising. And I know that the brass ring of every ad agency in existence is brand loyalty. And I know that brand loyalty can cost a food shopper (you, me, us, etc.) a lot of cash.

Today's article focuses on that phenomenon. What is brand loyalty? When does it start? Why is it less than great? How can it be tamed? You might find the piece a bit drier than most CHG posts (in which case, pace yourself by periodically checking into Cute Overload), but it could also be one of the most important yet.


Federal judge rules against Coca-Cola and allows a lawsuit challenging Vitaminwater's labeling to go on.

By Karen Datko Jul 29, 2010 12:35PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


Vitaminwater's claim to fame -- that it's a healthy alternative to water and other sports drinks -- is about to get some serious scrutiny.


A federal judge shot down Coca-Cola's attempts to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the drink's labeling is deceptive, setting the stage for further litigation.


Judge John Gleeson, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, wrote a 55-page opinion asserting that Vitaminwater's name could potentially "reinforce a consumer's mistaken belief that the product is comprised of only vitamins and water" and ignores "the fact that there is a key, unnamed ingredient [sugar] in the product."



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