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You'd never think of washing your clothes without detergent, or making your own. Maybe it's time you did.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 15, 2010 12:45PM
This post comes from partner site Money Talks News.
If you live in modern society, you probably use soap. It keeps you clean, healthy and smelling good, and who doesn’t want to smell good? But that doesn't make it OK for companies that make this stuff to take you to the cleaners. 

When it comes to laundry detergent, Americans pay plenty for a never-ending cascade of hyperbole: "New!" (No, it's not.) "Improved!" (How do you improve soap?)  "Ultra!" (Ultra?)


The latest twist is to sell us less product at a higher price with "ultra-new" concentrated detergents. Gee, that certainly sounds thrifty.


Well, here's a dirty secret that the suds salespeople don't want you to know:


Her mother-in-law insists on showering the grandkids with unsuitable gifts no matter what the parents say.

By Karen Datko Apr 15, 2010 9:30AM

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


Wendy writes in:

When well-meaning relatives give gifts to your children, do you always allow your children to keep those gifts? My mother-in-law (who lives 20 hours away and only sees us a few times a year) not only gives gifts that are not age-appropriate or do not meet our standards for marketed characters or quality of play, but she gives so many at birthdays, holidays, and throughout the year that I feel like the boys would drown in toys, even before the other family members add to it. My mom has happily adjusted by providing "experience" gifts for the grandkids -- swimming lessons, zoo pass, etc. -- but my MIL really likes new things and does her absolute best to instill the love of something "new" in our kids.

New report finds mortgage rescue plan is helping few people, and even those who get help may eventually end up in foreclosure.

By Teresa Mears Apr 14, 2010 5:30PM

For every homeowner who benefited last year from the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, 10 more went into foreclosure, a new report says.


In a 230-page report (.pdf file) on the Obama administration’s foreclosure rescue efforts, the Congressional Oversight Panel found that the number of homeowners who have received permanent mortgage modifications has grown substantially since December but is still just a drop in the bucket.


“Treasury’s response continues to lag well behind the pace of the crisis,” the panel noted. “As of February 2010, only 168,708 homeowners have received final, five-year loan modifications -- a small fraction of the 6 million borrowers who are presently 60-plus days delinquent on their loans. …  It now seems clear that Treasury’s programs, even when they are fully operational, will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble.”


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?



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