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California homeowners find strategic default and becoming renters the new American dream.

By Teresa Mears Dec 11, 2009 6:02PM

Is defaulting on your underwater mortgage and then renting a better house for less money the new American dream?


The Wall Street Journal this week wrote about several families in California who did just that and are happier for it.


"It's just a better life. It really is," says Shana Richey, a schoolteacher who gave up on a house in Palmdale, Calif., that had declined more than 50% in value since she and her husband bought it in 2004.


The people in the Snuggies marketing department are evil geniuses.

By Karen Datko Dec 11, 2009 2:41PM

This guest post comes from Andrea at Fools and Sages.


They’re everywhere!


Last year when the Snuggie commercial came out, it was just another silly product with a fun commercial -- although not nearly as fun as the ShamWow. When a parody went viral on YouTube, I was laughing along with everyone else. And when my neighbor admitted to actually owning one, I patted her on the arm and told her how much I appreciate her as a constant source of amusement.


Free Christmas songs for iTunes and Amazon, plus a free poinsettia.

By Teresa Mears Dec 11, 2009 1:22PM

It’s time for Friday freebies and food deals, but the deal makers seem to be settling down for a long winter’s nap, or at least a holiday hiatus. Some of last week’s deals are still good.


To make up for the lack of free food, we’ve found you some free music, free kids’ craft workshops, a free poinsettia and even a free bus trip.


Our blogger is hooked on hoofing it. She's saving money, too.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 11, 2009 11:45AM
My name is Donna, and I'm a walkaholic. It's been four hours since my last perambulation.

I've always liked walking to a nearby market or to the library. For the past three years there's been plenty of walking on the university campus. But I used the bus, too, and sometimes I even drove my car on errands. Back then, I was still in control. 

But you can find great deals on magazines, computers, jeans and travel to Mexico.

By Karen Datko Dec 11, 2009 11:32AM

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


Visit your e-mail inbox this time of year, and it’s easy to think you’re being stalked by every retailer in the mall. Depending on how you handle the influx, those e-mails can be your best bargain or your worst budget-buster.


Looking back over the past week, I’ve received roughly 50 e-mails a day in my personal account touting sales and deals, including a few travel and shopping newsletters. Yet I pulled out my credit card for just one: a $300 Calphalon pan set. They’re on sale for $80 through Dec. 13, and I wanted to replace the warped hand-me-downs I’ve been using since college. Minus a $42 leftover gift certificate balance from last Christmas, I got them for $38 -- an 87% discount.


He used to drink up to 8 cans of Diet Coke a day.

By Karen Datko Dec 10, 2009 6:19PM

Any fool knows that you can save money by not drinking soda. But what if you’re a soft drink freak?


During his more-than-decade-long love affair with Diet Coke, Steve at brip blap sometimes drank eight cans a day. Reportedly, the caffeine in Diet Coke and other types of pop can be addictive.  

Steve quit in 2005. He might drink a regular soda from time to time, but diet no longer passes his lips.


How did he quit? Among his tips:


Venues are hoping you'll want to buy tickets as holiday gifts.

By Teresa Mears Dec 10, 2009 4:44PM

You’re probably not thinking about baseball games and theme parks right now.


But TravelZoo has just published news about a huge nationwide sale on Broadway shows, Las Vegas shows, sporting events, theme park passes and more, in the hope that you might want to buy some of these tickets as holiday gifts. I know I’d rather have tickets to a concert or play than a bat-shaped candy dish or yet another scented candle.


The retailer's environmental consciousness has grown, but it still has a way to go.

By Teresa Mears Dec 10, 2009 2:54PM

Wal-Mart is one of those stores people either love or hate.


The store has lately been trying to attract more affluent customers, who in this economy are looking for lower prices along with everyone else. But those customers aren’t willing to abandon their ideals to save a few dollars, says CBS MoneyWatch.


Keeping in mind both price and idealism, MoneyWatch has put together a guide to the things you can feel good about buying at Wal-Mart and also a guide to things you shouldn’t buy at Wal-Mart.



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