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Health care can be a big expense.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 6:17PM

Guest poster Emily Starbuck Gerson at Sense to Save had a revelation not uncommon  among new pet owners: "I love my pets, but I had no idea they would be so costly."

The cost of pet ownership has been discussed by many personal-finance bloggers lately, and we'll share a lot of their ideas here, starting with one of the most expensive and emotionally difficult issues. My Money Blog asks how much you would pay to treat a pet with a serious illness or injury.

He writes: "For us, we would give up just about all of our luxuries before withholding health care for our dog." But, he adds, if treatment will merely extend your pet's misery, "there is a time that palliative care is the most humane choice."

Free Money Finance writes about a recent article in Parade magazine on pet care. One point he stresses is that you need to keep your pet at an ideal weight, and observes -- correctly, we think -- that "it seems like most pets I know are fat."


Blogger says a $1 fee would make the free service better.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 5:31PM

Seth Godin raised a good question at his blog: What would happen if Craigslist ads were no longer free. How about charging a buck an ad?


He predicts that Craigslist, the nation's top source for online classified ads -- most of which are now free -- would become better.


How to improve Craigslist has been an online topic of conversation in recent days.


Some of the fake listings were posted on Craigslist.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 5:28PM

This post comes from partner site

Scammers have learned that using the name of a legitimate business or organization often helps deceive victims. The National Association of Realtors is warning that its name is being used as part of a property-rental scam.

Victims targeted by scammers are led to believe that NAR is functioning as an intermediary to receive rental deposits from prospective tenants. NAR says nothing could be further from the truth.

"NAR is not involved in this business and has contacted law enforcement officials to request that the matter be investigated. We encourage any consumers who may be affected to file a complaint," said NAR president Charles McMillan.


Agency takes issue with health claims.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:30PM

The Food and Drug Administration has smacked down General Mills for its claims on cereal boxes and a company Web site that eating Cheerios can reduce cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. But the way the FDA went about it seems bizarre.

The FDA says the wording in the health claims can be used only about an approved drug. Thus, Cheerios must be a drug and must submit an application to be considered as such.

The nation's most popular cereal is a drug? What's going on here?

Something got lost in all the bureaucratese and lawyer-speak. Here's what really happened, according to The Associated Press and other news sources:


Want quality? Get a grinder and a good coffee maker.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:24PM

This post comes from partner blog

Eight O'Clock Coffee 100% Colombian at $6.28 per pound ranked No. 1 in Consumer Reports' tests of 19 ground coffees, besting Folgers, Maxwell House and Starbucks -- America's best-selling ground coffees.

A CR "Best Buy," Eight O'Clock costs less than half the price of Gloria Jean's, Peet's and other more expensive brands. CR's coffee experts deemed it a complex blend of earthy and fruity, with a bright, pleasing sourness -- a good thing in coffee parlance.

Starbucks Coffee Colombia Medium, $11.53 per pound, didn't place among the top regular coffees and trailed among decafs. While the regular was rated "good," testers said it had flaws such as burnt and bitter flavors, though milk and sugar may help.


Overtime and the variety of job functions inflate the number.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:17PM

Want proof that stay-at-home moms would be earning a pretty good income if they were getting paid for their work? A report by says the time SAHMs spend on 10 "mom job functions" -- including housekeeper and psychologist -- would bring $116,805 in the work world.

Full-time moms work an incredible amount of overtime at their jobs -- 54.4 hours a week above and beyond the normal 40, the Web site says.

In contrast, working mothers spend 54.6 hours total a week on mom stuff, in addition to their paying jobs. Their mom pay would be $68,405, according to's calculations.


Resist the urge to panic.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 4:05PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

Make no mistake about it -- a recession is here. While we do not know how long or painful it will be, we do know that it has the potential to be the worst financial crisis any of us have ever lived through.

The stock market lost more than 20% in 10 trading days. Retirees and those nearing retirement have seen their nest egg eroded, some by 30% or more. And the banking system is under severe stress in the United States and globally. That's the bad news. Now for some good news.

There are steps we can take now to better prepare for potentially difficult financial times ahead. There is no silver bullet that can insulate us from any financial crisis, of course. But there are basic things we can do to make sure we are as ready as we can be to weather the coming financial storm.


They're not as high as you may think.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2009 2:49PM

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


Note: Although I try to keep GRS a politics-free zone, today's topic is inherently political. I've stayed as neutral as possible in the article, but I know that there'll be some political discussion in the comments. Please keep conversation civil, as always.


Because I was frustrated with my own ignorance about the U.S. federal budget and our tax system, I recently spent 12 hours researching a variety of tax topics. From my research came two articles: my recent short guide to the federal budget and today's post, which answers some of my personal questions about taxes.


In the earlier post, we tried to take a few small steps toward understanding the federal budget. We looked at where the U.S. government spends its money. But where does it actually find the cash to spend?



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