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Cut the cost of visits to animal attractions year-round.

By Karen Datko Jul 15, 2010 11:34AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Consumers visiting animal attractions this summer can count on encountering lions and tigers and -- bargains.

 

While most of the leisure attraction industry, including amusement parks and museums, struggled to draw consumers during the recession, many zoos and aquariums reported record attendance. The North Carolina Zoo, for example, saw its highest attendance in 13 years during its last fiscal year, which ended June 30. In total, 749,627 people visited -- 20,210 more than during the previous year.

 

The combination of low entry fees at zoos and aquariums and their proximity to home is a draw for people on a budget, says John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors LLC, a Richmond, Va.-based consulting group.

 

Here's how to save:

 

They clearly have a significant value conflict. Can they reach a compromise?

By Karen Datko Jul 15, 2010 9:54AM

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

 

Recently, I posted an article about setting goals with your partner. In the comments, Brittany left a wonderful question that I felt deserved a post all its own:

What if you have your shared goals, but one partner doesn't have the financial gumption to see it through? I'm not married, not even engaged, but I'm in a relationship that looks like it might be heading for the long term. But my partner is awful with money and even worse with savings. We have a few shared long/medium-term goals (and one is a life goal of his, so I'm positive it's not my goal; I'm just calling "ours"), but my partner isn't making any progress toward the goal. He's far more likely to make a bunch of little frivolous purchases now. ("Eh, it's just $10 … it's just $20 … I'll save when I have a reasonable amount to save.")
 

U.S. Tax Court rules that nonprofit status would not be appropriate.

By Karen Datko Jul 14, 2010 8:29PM

How thoughtful is this? A California sperm bank is willing to donate its product to wannabe moms, who would otherwise have to pay if they can't find their own supplier. Sperm can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars a vial, and you generally need more than one. That's pricey.

So why couldn't that sperm bank obtain nonprofit, tax-exempt status from the IRS? The U.S. Tax Court recently ruled against the Free Fertility Foundation, settling a six-year dispute.

 

The court cited a couple of reasons, Kathy Kristof reports at CBS MoneyWatch. Most important seems to be that the sperm bank has only one donor -- the foundation's founder and director, Donor fwcn02453.

 

Frustrated by your carrier's waiting list? Here are some options.

By Karen Datko Jul 14, 2010 3:43PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Buying most cell phones takes minutes, but getting one of the must-have new smart-phone handsets is an endeavor that could last weeks.

 

Apple's iPhone 4, which sold out of pre-orders for its June 24 launch, currently has a three-week wait through the company and AT&T. The HTC Droid Incredible, launched in April on Verizon Wireless' network, ships within a month of ordering, and Sprint's Evo 4G (another HTC phone) is backordered indefinitely -- the company's site isn't taking orders, and refers customers to check back later.

 

Cities are using special toll lanes for drivers who are willing to pay for the privilege. Are "Lexus lanes" fair?

By Teresa Mears Jul 14, 2010 2:07PM

Would you pay more to drive faster through high-traffic areas?

 

Highway officials in a number of cities are deciding that many drivers would be willing to pay to escape highway congestion.  

 

They're installing what are known as HOT (high-occupancy toll) or express toll lanes, where you pay a toll to be able to drive in what used to be the carpool lane or, in some cases, newly constructed lanes. In some cities, vehicles with more than a certain number of occupants get a free ride.

 

Cities, states experiment with how to force banks to clean up rotting properties.

By Karen Datko Jul 14, 2010 12:10PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Health officials in Orange County, Calif., are pondering whether mosquitoes breeding in the 6,000 to 7,000 stagnant swimming pools in abandoned homes there are helping spread the deadly West Nile virus.

The bugs pick it up from birds and pass it to humans, says The Orange County Register, noting elsewhere that distressed homes make up 31% of all properties for sale in the county.

 

All across the country, abandoned homes -- a legacy of the economic and mortgage meltdown -- are creating blight and trouble for neighborhoods and cities.

 

The trick is to shop strategically and with an eye toward several key items and areas. Here are 12.

By Karen Datko Jul 14, 2010 8:44AM

This post comes from Myscha Theriault at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Trying to eat healthier? Wanting to explore organics and plant-based eating without spending the equivalent of a second mortgage? Whole Foods is considered by many to be out of financial reach.

 

Believe it or not, you can go bargain shopping at Whole Foods and actually save money.

 

To the list of the absurd becoming ordinary we can now add the idea that richer Americans should arrange to die in 2010 to save on estate taxes.

By Karen Datko Jul 13, 2010 7:14PM

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

 

I am always amused by things that started as a mocking joke but then, through repetition, slowly became unfunny enough that they were taken seriously. The word "software," once used derisively by engineers who built actual electronics to refer to the work of their programmer counterparts, is a good example. Daylight saving time, first proposed in a satirical essay by Ben Franklin in 1784, is another.

 

To this list of the absurd becoming ordinary we can now add the idea that richer Americans should arrange to die in 2010 to save on estate taxes.

 

In May 2008 The Wall Street Journal ran an article with the eye-catching title of "Death by taxes: Seniors may plan their demises to maximize their bequests." But the author made clear his humorous intent in the opening paragraph.

 

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