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It's not hard to beat fast food prices (and the food tastes better, too).

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 2:06AM

This post comes from partner blog The Simple Dollar.

This is a question I had from a reader (we’ll get to the cheeseburger in a minute):

"My question is about budgeting for food. I’ll be starting my first real job soon so I’m setting up a list of monthly expenses. I haven’t yet lived on my own, so I don’t have a good basis for estimating monthly food expenses. Could you shed some light on the matter?"

My rule of thumb is this: For one month, save the receipts for every food item that you buy, whether it’s at the grocery store, eating out, or anywhere else. Then add 10 percent to that. That should be your food budget for a month.


Many of these tactics prey on our desire to do good.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 1:46AM

This post comes from Linsey Knerl at partner blog Wise Bread.

The cost of food isn't going down, and for some, it's making the task of feeding a family more painful than ever. It doesn't help that ad agencies and PR companies are getting better at creating snazzy gimmicks to get you to buy.

Instead of providing you with better food at larger quantities, some of them are selling slicker packaging and empty promises. Here's a look at some of the biggest marketing myths designed to keep you spending.


Blogger recounts finding wallet with $1,100.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 1:26AM
This post comes from partner blog Five Cent Nickel.

I recently asked readers how they would handle finding a large sum of money in a wallet with no ID. My wife and I ran into this situation just over 10 years ago.

We were living on a shoestring and about to have a baby. In fact, my wife's due date had passed, and we were out walking to get things moving. We ran across a wallet containing 11 $100 bills and nothing else. No identification, no credit cards, nothing.

I must admit it was tempting, given our situation, to pocket the money, but $1,100 is a lot of money, and walking off with it would have been not only wrong, but also possibly devastating to the person who lost it.


Social network posts can cost you a job.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 1:14AM

Trying hard to get or keep a job in these tough economic times? Learn a real-life lesson from head Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who had to apologize to Sen. Hillary Clinton after an embarrassing photo of him was posted online.

It's unclear how the party photo showing Favreau, 27, groping a full-size cardboard likeness of the secretary of state nominee ended up briefly on Facebook. And he didn't lose his new White House job. But the incident emphasizes a point we've tried to make.

Don't post your most-embarrassing moments or, if you must, use the privacy settings at your social-networking site. Make sure your drunken or otherwise stupid moments -- and we all have them -- aren't being displayed online for the world to see.


You can eat well on only $100 a month, blogger says.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:46AM

Can one person get enough to eat by spending only $100 a month on groceries? "Tight Fisted Miser" says he can.

The topic came up at his blog when he posted about his experience with food stamps. He argued that people who can't make food stamps stretch through the month are probably making poor choices when they buy food.

Tight Fisted Miser is a 40-year-old law student and the blogger who is thinking about cutting expenses by moving into a van. He said he was on food stamps in Texas for three months in 2003 when he wasn't making very much money.


Words of wisdom: Eat before you visit a grocery store . . . or the state fair.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:39AM

This post comes from Paul Michael at partner blog Wise Bread.

How are you doing with your money? Do you have everything under control, or are you spending a little more than you should?

Well, if you'd like to blow even more of your money, this list will help you empty your bank account in half the time you usually do. Enjoy. 


Blogger has saved thousands with his basic buzz cut.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:20AM

This post comes from partner blog Five Cent Nickel.

On the heels of my confession that we take our own treats to the movie theater instead of buying them at the snack bar, I thought I’d throw out another one: I cut my own hair.

I’ve been doing it for at least 10 years. I don't have special skills in this area. I simply give myself periodic "buzz cuts" with inexpensive clippers. My current weapon of choice is a  Remington Precision haircut kit I picked up at Wal-Mart for less than $20 a couple years ago.


Many denied because of 'outdated' state laws.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 12:14AM

Did you know that many people who've lost their job aren't eligible to collect?

In fact, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich writes at his blog that "most people who lose their job these days don't qualify for any unemployment benefits at all."

And, we'll add, it's often low-wage and female workers who get left out.



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