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A former salad hater has found ways to incorporate them inexpensively and deliciously into his meal plans.

By Karen Datko Dec 10, 2009 11:23AM

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


Lately, my wife and I have been studying ways to reduce our weekly grocery bill. We’ve been using several tactics to do this, which I will discuss one at a time over a series of articles.


Salads before dinner are a common staple at our house. For a long time, we would buy lots of different dressings and other items to complement the salad. While planning for a grocery trip a few weeks ago, we realized that we were about to spend $15 or so on salad accompaniments (because several of our items were depleted). We decided to try some different tactics to drastically reduce our spending on salad.


When a huge storm moved in and the lights went out, she knew she wasn't ready.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2009 9:33PM

This guest post comes from “vh” at Funny about Money.


Quite a little storm blew through two nights ago. Apparently it started about 11:30 -- that’s when my power went out -- and carried on into the wee hours. Cassie woke me at 1 in the morning, barking at the distant thunder and fretting to go out. The wind was blowing so hard it made a weird, symphonic noise -- like an orchestra of kazoos.

Almost 300,000 utility customers lost power. Mine came back on about 8:30 the next morning. By then, the refrigerator’s interior appeared to be about room temperature: 62 degrees. I haven’t dared to open the freezer, but I expect it will be OK, even though, being a cheapie, it’s not well-insulated.


This minor episode brought one issue sharply to my attention: I am not prepared for a serious emergency lasting any length of time.


Before bailing out offspring, ask yourself whether you're really helping.

By Teresa Mears Dec 9, 2009 6:12PM

A new poll by found that 42% of people with adult children have paid a debt for their children at some point. But should they?


The debts most commonly paid off were auto loans (40%) and medical debt (37%). But the survey also found that parents had paid utility debt (31%), credit cards (30%), student loans (29%) and mortgages (11%).


"It used to be that kids would be embarrassed to ask for help. Not anymore," Michael McAuliffe, president of Family Credit Management, a Chicago nonprofit credit counseling agency, told’s Connie Prater.


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.



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