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Play nice, do your part, and don't make fun of Bob's vegan macaroni and cheese.

By Karen Datko Apr 1, 2010 12:34PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Since freshman year of college, I’ve had approximately 15,000 roommates. Some are still my best friends, favorite people, and life partners. Others smoked crazy things too late at night. One remains the only unrelated adult I’ve ever yelled at. (Surprise! It was over the dishes.)

 

Whether you’re fresh out of university or shacking up with your significant other for the first time, living with other people has multitudinous benefits. It can save everyone involved a ton of cash. It can be a social opportunity, cultural experience, and culinary education. It can keep you from being plain lonely.

 

But if you’re not careful, it can also be a terrifying descent into a cohabitational hell, in which anger and discomfort become facts of everyday life. Living with the dishes guy? Was kind of like that.

 

This nonexistent device and numerous others submitted by fictitious companies were approved for Energy Star certification.

By Karen Datko Apr 1, 2010 11:21AM

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

 

You know those blue Energy Star labels you sometimes see on appliances in the store? Think hard. No, not the train that gets stuck in the Channel Tunnel when it gets cold. That’s EuroStar.

 

Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Americans “save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.” Their elaborate and cheerful Web site goes on to claim that:

Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars -- all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.

That’s a savings of about $150 per household last year. And you are only vaguely aware of the program? Ungrateful wretch.

 

Couple wants to have four children, but can they really afford it?

By Karen Datko Apr 1, 2010 9:33AM

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

 

Anthony writes in:

My wife and I have two children, ages 2 and 1. We’d like to have more; we both think that four would be a great number, although there’s no particular logical reason for that number. The problem is the expense. With day care costs, adding each additional child will cost another $260 a month. If we stopped paying extra on our student loans and cut our savings per month to $145, we could afford the day care for the third child, but a fourth would require more painful cuts. We already live frugally: buy used clothes, drive used paid-for cars, make almost all of our food at home, etc. I’ve looked into second jobs, but there’s very little IT work in the area, other than what I already do. And with our county having the highest unemployment rate in the state, I suspect even paper-route jobs and that sort of thing would be hard to find.
 

Only a very small percentage of people are 'supertaskers' who can do both successfully.

By Karen Datko Mar 31, 2010 6:55PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Are you one of those annoying people who can't get behind the wheel without carrying on a conversation on your cell phone?

 

You might be interested to know that a new study conducted by University of Utah psychologists found that only a small number of people have the extraordinary ability to multitask: Unlike 97.5% of those studied, they can drive safely while chatting on the phone.

 

Actually, many readers said, it's not about the money. Restaurant portions are way too large.

By Karen Datko Mar 31, 2010 6:44PM

What’s one of the easiest ways to make dining out more affordable? Share an entrée, of course. It’s a big cost savings even if the restaurant charges a plate fee.

 

But after reading a Slashfood post, we suspect that your server may strongly object to this practice and view you as cheap.

 

There are few Americans who can save $30,000 in five years, but anyone who buys and finances a new car could be doing exactly that.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 31, 2010 4:51PM

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

 

I’m 54 years old and have yet to own my first new car. In this post, I’m going to explain why I never buy new. In the next, I'll go over the steps to finding a reliable $5,000 car.

 

When I graduated from the University of Arizona in 1977, my parents gave me a 1975 Toyota as a graduation present. Much to my parents' dismay, within a few weeks I’d sold that car and used the proceeds for the down payment on my first house: a 900-square-foot concrete box in a dicey section of Tucson that I bought for less than $20,000. For wheels, I borrowed a couple thousand dollars from a credit union and bought a 1958 Triumph TR3, a car I drove every day for more than a year.

 

Blogger rounded up the neighborhood kids to do a blind taste test. Were name-brand cereals the winners?

By Karen Datko Mar 31, 2010 1:39PM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.

 

When it comes to breakfast, kids can be real cereal killers. Unfortunately, for those of us trying to keep our grocery costs reasonable, name-brand cereals can be a very expensive proposition.

 

When I was growing up, I remember my sister pounding down multiple bowls of Froot Loops and Lucky Charms every morning.

 

I enjoyed kid cereal too -- Apple Jacks and Frosted Flakes are still favorites of mine -- but I never could put it away like Sis.

 

Cereal is big business

Here are a few facts about cereal I found while surfing the Internet:

 

Retailers are offering presents -- with a few strings attached. Here's a list.

By Karen Datko Mar 31, 2010 11:29AM

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

 

You don’t need to look much further than your inbox to see that friends and family aren’t the only ones wishing you a happy birthday. Today, plenty of stores and restaurants offer you bargains on (and ahead of) your birthday, but these deals aren’t always worth celebrating.

 

The birthday marketing tool is particularly common among chain stores. Starbucks gives reward club members a free coffee; Baskin Robbins, a free ice cream cone. DSW loyalty members get a $5 reward certificate, while Express credit card holders receive a $15 coupon toward their next purchase.

 

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