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Road conditions, population density and peculiarities of state law make a difference.

By Karen Datko Apr 14, 2010 2:44PM

Want to lower your car insurance rates? Don’t move to the great-food state of Louisiana, which is also the state with the highest average premiums -- a mind- and budget-blowing $2,511 a year.


That compares with only $903 in lovely Maine.

So says a new study by, an insurance shopping and comparison site. It also explains some of the reasons for the great disparity in car insurance rates state to state. Bad roads, population numbers and density, and the peculiarities of state law can be factors.


It shouldn't, and here's a proposal to phase it out.

By Karen Datko Apr 14, 2010 1:08PM

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


Continuing in the spirit of the tax season, last week saw at least two blogs, Weakonomics and WalletPop, asking if allowing taxpayers to deduct mortgage interest is really, after all, a good idea. Both wasted little time before concluding of course not.


In as much as this policy has any sincere defenders, the argument in favor is that it encourages homeownership. But why homeownership, of all things, is a worthwhile goal is generally left unexplored. I suppose a person might imagine some sort of Jeffersonian argument about how a nation of property owners makes for a more stable democracy. Alas, our leaders in Washington are rarely so philosophical.


You've just plunked down $400-plus to buy this device. Now let its apps help you save.

By Karen Datko Apr 14, 2010 12:00PM

This guest post comes from Theodora Blanchfield at LearnVest.


If you shelled out $400-plus for an iPad last weekend, you’re probably looking to save some money right now. Here’s a relief: The iPad can actually help you save money. Granted, this is not reason enough to buy an iPad, but you should make the most of your device once you’ve bought it.


Here are some of the apps you’ll want to check out:


Information that could make you stand out from the crowd may seem irrelevant to you.

By Karen Datko Apr 14, 2010 10:45AM

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


Deciding what to include and leave out of a résumé can be perplexing. Professional goals should influence those decisions. But I have found that job hunters can intrigue potential bosses and land interviews based on (seemingly) irrelevant but standout stuff.


Consider including standout items in these categories, or others that differentiate you and add dimension to your professional presence:


Tips for planning a 'voluntourism' trip that won't break the bank.

By Karen Datko Apr 14, 2010 9:40AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.


Can you claim your next vacation as a tax deduction? Would your co-workers chip in to help send you on a trip to Vietnam? If you’re considering using your vacation time to volunteer abroad, the answer to those questions could be yes -- but you’ll have to do some pre-travel footwork.


Start by thinking selfishly: What’s in it for you?


You should present a defense in court, even if you can't afford a lawyer.

By Karen Datko Apr 13, 2010 6:00PM

The New York Times told this chilling story recently: A Virginia man was sued for nonpayment of a personal loan. He didn’t show up in court, and the bank won a judgment of $4,750 plus $900 in lawyer’s fees.


Over six years, the lender garnished more than $10,000 from his paychecks. After six years, he still owed $3,965.


How could this happen?


Crooks are trying to sell phony policies by telling people the new law requires they buy insurance now.

By Karen Datko Apr 13, 2010 2:38PM

This post comes from partner site


Scammers often follow the news headlines, crafting their schemes around real events to make them seem more plausible.


For example, after Congress passed financial bailouts for big companies, scammers tried to convince ordinary Americans they too could qualify for money from the government. People who had not followed the news closely were easy prey.


Now that Congress has passed health care reform, consumers are being warned about scammers trying to convince Americans the new law requires them to buy health insurance immediately. Actually, the law does require all Americans to be insured, but the mandate does not begin until 2014. 


Cupcakes, 'ice cream pizza' and massages are among the Tax Day deals.

By Teresa Mears Apr 13, 2010 12:40PM

Filling out tax forms and sending off a big check to the Internal Revenue Service can be painful. Some restaurants (and a few other businesses) want to take the bite out of Tax Day by giving us a free bite of something a little sweeter on Thursday, April 15.


Like cupcakes. Cinnabon is giving away two free cupcake bites per person from 6 to 8 p.m., or until they run out.


Or ice cream. You can get a free sample of MaggieMia’s ice cream pizza from 3 to 7 p.m. at participating MaggieMoo's locations.



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