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Which little expenditures really brighten your life and which ones can you put on the chopping block?

By Karen Datko Aug 12, 2010 9:11AM

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


The other day, I had a conversation with an Associated Press reporter who was writing a story about teaching children how to be frugal. The discussion wound through several topics, eventually coming back to the idea that many people (for example, Ramit) do not like frugality because it doesn't give you the "big win" and that people don't like giving up things like lattes.


She gave herself as an example of this. She lives in a small apartment in a major metropolitan area, which means that in order to entertain friends she has to do it outside the apartment.


My response to her was simple:


Leaving a pet at home can be as expensive as traveling with one. How to decide.

By Karen Datko Aug 11, 2010 6:21PM

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


Pet owners planning a trip face a tough decision: leave their four-legged friend at home, or bring him along. Either choice is expensive and potentially dangerous.


Last week, seven puppies died in the cargo hold of an American Airlines plane heading from Tulsa, Okla., to Chicago. The airline says it is investigating possible causes, including pre-existing health conditions and heat stroke.


The American incident was not an isolated one.


Jamba Juice takes a shot at McDonald's with 'cheeseburger smoothie' video. It's taking McDonald's coupons, too.

By Teresa Mears Aug 11, 2010 3:50PM

It's the Great Smoothie War of 2010.


At least there are coupons involved.


Jamba Juice has taken exception to McDonald's entry into what it considers Jamba Juice turf: real fruit smoothies.


McDonald's introduced the smoothies last month and spread around some coupons, though a planned giveaway was canceled. Diners apparently are responding warmly to the cool smoothies and iced frappes; McDonald's July sales posted the biggest increase in more than a year.

But Jamba Juice is not taking McDonald's smoothie success lying down. In fact, it has created a tongue-in-cheek video in which it introduces its "Cheeseburger Chill" smoothie. The video isn't really all that funny, but it does reward viewers with a coupon. Post continues after video.


The fed-up flight attendant's heated departure was a blaze of glory to some folks, but such bold antics can backfire.

By Karen Datko Aug 11, 2010 1:36PM

Flight attendant Steven Slater is a hero to many people. But, we have to wonder, would anyone have cared about his "take this job . . . " moment before airlines turned planes into cattle cars and Wall Street nearly blew up the economy?

And, more important for him, does Slater have any job prospects now that he "fired the 'I Quit!' shot heard round the world"? You can't survive on compliments, even if the way you quit your job enters the popular lexicon. MSNBC writer Allison Linn referred to it as "pulling a Steven Slater." "Hit the slide," The Washington Post reports, is now in the Urban Dictionary: "To quit one's job in a truly stunning fashion."


For those of you who missed the news, here's Slater's bizarre story (post continues after video):


Does it make more sense to buy or rent a home where you live? Three websites help provide answers.

By Karen Datko Aug 11, 2010 11:12AM

This post comes from Little House at partner blog Wise Bread.


I recently made the decision to continue renting as opposed to rushing into homeownership. Of course, my ultimate goal is to own my own home and I've been tenaciously working toward this goal for more than a year.

However, the more I research renting versus purchasing a home, the more resources I find that confirm I've made the right choice.


And why it's dumb to just be 'happy to have a job.'

By Karen Datko Aug 11, 2010 9:00AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


Standing still is not a career plan. Here's how to turn the final months of the Great Recession into an opportunity to bolster your salary by 10% or more.

Oh, yes, the job market is bad. You probably know someone who's looking for a job right now. I know several, and many of these professionals have started to apply for temporary jobs in retail -- folding clothes and working registers -- and still haven't gotten a bite. That's enough to make anyone want to hunker down and just pray that the suits on the top floor don't look your way.


That's a big mistake.


Can you really eat more cheaply by going out? Let's rethink this.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2010 5:20PM

This guest post comes from Lauren at Richly Reasonable.


When poking around for some information on the costs of eating out, I discovered this article from the Mayo Clinic. According to the Mayoans, or the Mayoites, if you prefer, McDonald's can make me a burger for the same cost, if not cheaper, as I can make myself. This means I don't have to cook, clean, or even eat with my husband if I don't want to. Research done. 


But then I realized that I really only like McDonald's every now and then (aside from Diet Coke), I actually do like cooking, and Husband is good people.


A lot of people are choosing to eat at McD's just a little too frequently for their health. This isn't news. But they aren't just eating there; try Chili's (.pdf file), Applebee's, or CPK (.pdf file). You can see that their calorie counts are about par with McD's and their prices are always higher (unless you order the 50 McNugget meal).

Money money money ... mo-ney!

Let's do a little math. 


Rising cost of education has students and parents rethinking how much it makes sense to borrow.

By Teresa Mears Aug 10, 2010 3:42PM

Here's a statistic that should make us sit up and take notice:


Americans now owe more in student loans than they owe in credit card debt.

This is the result of two factors: people paying down credit cards and incurring more student loan debt, Mary Pilon reports in The Wall Street Journal's Real Economics blog.



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