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These real-life examples go way beyond fruitcake and socks.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2009 5:15PM

One oven mitt -- half of a cheap set. A loaf of store-bought white bread. A used breast pump. These are some of the “worst” gifts we found on the Web.


For a thorough examination of how to avoid the most common pitfalls and also extreme gift-giving mistakes, read MP Dunleavey’s “15 worst holiday gift ideas” at MSN Money. But we thought it would be fun to find real-life examples.


People are still falling for bogus lotteries and work-at-home rip-offs.

By Teresa Mears Dec 9, 2009 2:15PM

Every time you turn around, it seems as if someone has come up with a new scam. And then there are a few that never seem to go away.


Just last week, the Ohio attorney general warned about a new scam related to H1N1 flu, in which  an e-mail directed consumers to create a “personal vaccination profile” on a site that mimicked the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Follow the instructions, and you won’t get an e-mail but a virus, in your computer, reported Jill Kelley on the Dayton Daily News’ Here’s the Deal blog.


If 66% of jobs are found through networking, it's time to learn how to do it effectively.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2009 12:51PM

This post comes from Julie Rains at partner blog Wise Bread.


Competition for jobs is fierce, but networking is one way of differentiating yourself as a stellar candidate.

Recently, I read the e-book, "Stop Job Searching, Start Networking" from Job Bound, a career-services company. According to Job Bound, 66% of all jobs are won through networking, so much of your job-search time should be concentrated on spreading the word about your credentials, in addition to applying for open positions found through publicly available listings (a target company's Web site, online job boards, Craigslist, etc.).


Here are some of their tips on networking basics.


Psychologists have noticed an increase in drinking, smoking and other vices.

By Karen Datko Dec 8, 2009 9:36PM

We’ve read about all kinds of fascinating responses to the economy: people moving to the country (“ruralpolitans”) or hiking the Appalachian Trail full time (and we really do mean hiking).

But some people appear to be taking the economy out on themselves by drinking too much, smoking or stuffing the old pie hole with fattening foods -- all of which, we might point out, cost money.


Kiri Blakeley wrote at

Debbie Mandel, a stress management expert and author of "Addicted to Stress," says that in times of uncertainty people turn to bad habits to either numb their pain or experience an adrenaline rush. "They seek to replace the low with a high," she says. Apparently so -- Mandel reports seeing an increase in her clients' marijuana use.

Some merchants offer free shipping on other days, too.

By Teresa Mears Dec 8, 2009 3:11PM

We’ve observed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but the special shopping days aren’t over yet. Are you ready for Free Shipping Day?


Free Shipping Day, which will be celebrated Dec. 17 this year, is a one-day shopping event in which participating merchants offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Dec. 24. Last year, the first year for the promotion, 250 retailers participated. More than 490 have signed up so far for this year’s event.


Are tweeting and facebooking at work a distraction or a productivity boost?

By Karen Datko Dec 8, 2009 2:37PM

Rainy-Day Saver tackled a good issue: Are people wasting too much work time on social media, or are they so adept at multitasking that tweeting and texting don’t detract from their performance -- or are they even a plus?

Call us old or old-fashioned, but we think multitasking is highly over-rated. But research on this issue has produced seemingly contradictory results.


She located lots of freebies, including pancake mix, coffee, and special food for the dog.

By Karen Datko Dec 8, 2009 12:58PM

This post comes from freelance writer and editor Bev O'Shea.


Can you really fill a stocking without spending a nickel? Should you? Or, are "free" gifts worth what you pay for them?

We'll know Christmas morning. We think the teen fashionista will like having a ring sizer (Blue Nile -- and it was here three days after I signed up), and hope her younger brother will appreciate his luggage tags (which feature a picture taken this fall -- thanks, KLM -- and arrived in three weeks).


Provocative clothing and too many tattoos and piercings (and bad breath) can sink your chances.

By Karen Datko Dec 8, 2009 11:41AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


This article is part of Bargaineering Career Week 2009, a weeklong series focused on your career -- how to find a job, how to tailor your resume, how to find  job opportunities, and how to nail the interview.


First impressions count. No matter what people say or want to believe, people will judge you based on the way you look, what you’re wearing, and how you present yourself. That’s why it’s critically important to dress properly for a job interview.

Interviews are hard enough to get as it is. You don’t want your chances to be hurt simply because you’re wearing the wrong clothes.



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