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Bundle: Couples with kids spend 14% more than couples without.

By Janet Paskin Mar 18, 2010 1:56PM

Kids are expensive. They outgrow their clothes every year and drink milk by the cow-full. Add extras like braces, summer camp and piano lessons, and more than one parent will testify to the financial drain -- worth every penny! -- of raising a kid. Which raises the question: Would you be better off, financially speaking, if you skipped the procreation?

 

If you believe that carrying a balance is good for your credit score or that bankruptcy will eliminate student loans, keep reading.

By Karen Datko Mar 18, 2010 12:21PM

This guest post comes from Ron Haynes at The Wisdom Journal.

 

What if much of what you think you know is wrong?

 

Just because a belief is widespread and pervasive doesn’t mean that it’s true. If you read or hear something about personal finance or money, take a few moments to think it through. Do some independent research to see if there could be another side to the coin. And never let a financial myth stand in the way of achieving your financial goals. The only way one of these money myths can stop you is if you believe it.

 

I assembled some pervasive money myths after listening to unsuccessful people over the years. This is a big list, but I’ll bet you have a few you could add to it. Which of these have you heard?

 

How much are you paying for the convenience of someone else washing your lettuce?

By Karen Datko Mar 18, 2010 10:35AM

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

 

Every time I visit the grocery store, I’m amazed to see how much of the produce section is taken up with prepackaged fresh foods. You know what I’m talking about -- bags of prewashed lettuce, precut apples, precut celery, precut pineapple.

 

I understand why such items are for sale: They’re convenient. It’s easier to just grab a bag of prewashed romaine lettuce than it is to grab a head of romaine and deal with it when you get home.

 

Yet, when you look at the prices, you’re actually paying a significant markup.

 

If you're fed up with high fees and poor service, you might rather switch than fight.

By Teresa Mears Mar 17, 2010 5:31PM

These days, it seems as if we’re all suffering from irreconcilable differences with our banks and contemplating divorce, either because of higher fees or poor service.

 

A new Web site seeks to make the process easier. It won’t get you a divorce lawyer, but it promises to help you find a better bank.

 

Cut cost -- and calories -- with these easy-to-follow suggestions. Cheers.

By Karen Datko Mar 17, 2010 5:29PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Top o’ the afternoon to ye, my fellow Irish, part-Irish, and Irish-on-March-17-only. I raise a pint of Guinness to you, since today, of all days, calls for a drink.

Alas, alcohol is expensive, and certain beverages come with calorie counts you’d expect only from a Double Whopper. So, how can one quaff without ending up as nutritionally and financially bankrupt as '70s-era meat loaf? Read on …

 

Use Congress' sometimes-ignored pay-as-you-go rule in your own home.

By Karen Datko Mar 17, 2010 4:20PM

This guest post comes from Jason at Frugal Dad.

 

U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky created quite a stir by holding out his vote for extending unemployment benefits. His contention was that it violated the PAYGO (pay-as-you-go) rules that Congress and the president had reinstated just a month earlier. Bunning eventually caved and the benefits were extended, but just because the government won't operate under PAYGO doesn’t mean we the people can’t.

 

A free night's stay is within reach. But you might be better off hoarding points.

By Karen Datko Mar 17, 2010 12:52PM

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

 

With room occupancy at historic lows, hotels are looking for the kind of customer who doesn’t sleep around.

 

Hotel occupancy levels plunged to 55% during the recession and are expected to continue hovering there this year, reports PKF Consulting, a hospitality research firm that tracks pricing trends. “It’s still very much a buyer’s market, and brands are fighting for guests,” says Robert Mandelbaum, director of research for PKF. Room rates, which dropped 8.8% in 2009, are projected to fall an additional 1% to an average $96.17. Some properties are trying to find ways to entice guests without harming the bottom line.

 

Enter loyalty programs.

 

The bedside manner wasn't great, but the online chat saved them a trip to the doctor.

By Karen Datko Mar 17, 2010 10:36AM

This post comes from Marla Walters at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

My husband was building a shed recently. I went out to see how it was coming, and noticed that he seemed distracted about something. He said his calf was sore, as though he had a pulled muscle.

 

As the soreness got worse, he finally stopped to look at his leg, and there was a spot of blood right where the soreness was. He felt it, and there was something there, which he assumed was a splinter. He scratched at it, and something came off. He wondered if a treated-lumber sliver could have such an effect on his leg. Before too long, there was a grape-sized swelling under the small wound.

 

He decided that he had better come inside and put some ice on it. I felt it, and under the grape-sized swelling there was a larger hard area, as though his calf muscle were flexed, even when relaxed.

 

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