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As our nation's birthday approaches, something to consider: The Constitution protects free speech but exercising that right can be costly.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 1, 2010 11:30AM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


Freedom of speech is one of our Constitution's greatest protections. But in this country, guns and the government aren't what suppress speech.


Here it's money and corporations that keep people quiet.

It's called a SLAPP suit: strategic lawsuit against public participation. A company doesn't file a SLAPP suit because it feels it's been legally wronged. The suit is filed because executives know that defamation lawsuits cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend, and the vast majority of people will stop using the "offending speech" rather than face such an expense.


Sometimes I think the business of tracking every penny that's spent on this or that category is just obsessive.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2010 9:51AM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


Here's the question: Is it better to mound up your spending money in one big pile, or does it make more sense to divide it into "piggybanks" dedicated to one purpose or another? Is it an over-complication to dedicate x or y amount to, say, groceries or eating out?


Wouldn't it be simpler to give yourself a set amount of money to spend for a given period, and not obsess over how it's spent?


Outsourcing your chores isn't logical if you'd just waste the extra time it frees up.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2010 8:30AM

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


Most of this article applies to any situation in which someone hires someone else to perform work, whether it's paying someone to change the oil in their car or hiring a plumber to fix a leaky faucet. On that note, Connie writes in:

Your schedule seems overstuffed. Have you ever considered hiring an assistant or a housecleaner or something?

I have, actually. We earn enough right now to be able to afford hiring some additional help to take some of the hours off my shoulders, whether it's helping with the grunt work behind the scenes of The Simple Dollar or doing some of the household chores -- dusting, vacuuming, etc.

We haven't done it yet, for one simple reason. Let's say, hypothetically, that I hired someone to take care of 10 hours of grunt work a week. What would I do with those extra 10 hours?


Forget about the official 9.7% unemployment rate. A new study shows that more than half of American workers lost jobs, hours or pay.

By Karen Datko Jun 30, 2010 5:36PM

A new study contains this depressing statistic: 55% of American workers have either lost a job, experienced a reduction in hours or pay, or were forced into part-time status at some point during the Great Recession.


But the Pew Research Center survey does have one tentative bright spot. The Washington Post reports:

More than six in 10 respondents say they expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year, which the report called the rosiest outlook since before the recession began in December 2007. Similarly, 61% predict that the damage caused by the recession will be temporary.

The Pew survey also indicates that no matter how well the recovery goes, many are unlikely to borrow and spend as they did in those giddy, good ol' days. Also, many think the good times won't be as good for their kids:


Life's tough enough without paying for things you could be getting free. Here are some examples.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 30, 2010 2:23PM

This post comes from Donna Gehrke-White at partner site Money Talks News.


Your mom always told you that money doesn't grow on trees. She's right, so why waste it. There are plenty of free things you can pluck from the Web as well as from libraries, parks, banks and other businesses.

Here's a look at 10 potential freebies.


Free pancake puppies, discount jelly beans and free food samples at Wal-Mart are among this week's deals.

By Teresa Mears Jun 30, 2010 12:46PM

It's time to fire up the grill and get ready for the July Fourth holiday.


Just in time for outdoor parties, Mark Bittman, The Minimalist at The New York Times, has come up with a list of 101 fast recipes for grilling. If you're looking for more recipes, check out all the offerings from our friend Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

The freebie offerings for the Fourth of July weekend are sparse, so you may want to stay home and throw a big potluck dinner for family and friends. After dinner, you can probably find a free fireworks display in your town.


The perception that laid-off workers have gotten rusty or were substandard employees to begin with is on the rise.

By Karen Datko Jun 30, 2010 11:35AM

This guest post comes from Frugal Zeitgeist.


I saw an article recently about how some businesses are increasingly unwilling to consider unemployed people as job candidates. I filed it away mentally as something to blog about once I got back in my groove, but never got around to it. Several more friends were laid off recently, though, so the topic's definitely been on my mind. A similar article appeared on CNN this week, so I'm not going to let this one get away.

The general synopsis is that it's an employer's market right now, and the stigma of being unemployed is increasing.


Sales are down and fees are up this year. Here are some tips on how to find the best deals.

By Karen Datko Jun 30, 2010 10:17AM

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


Travelers hunting for airfare deals have their work cut out for them this year.


With more consumers scheduling vacations and airline scheduling cutbacks, the supply-demand equation has swung back in the airlines' favor, says Tom Parsons, the founder of Fares are slightly higher across the board -- last year's $49 sale is $69 this year, for example -- with substantial increases on select routes, he says.


Sales are still out there, but on many, either the deals aren't as favorable or there are more restrictions on eligible days. "This summer, you're just going to have to poke around," he says.


Part of the equation: fees, which have continued creeping up.



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