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When the emotional and rational parts of the brain square off, guess which one is liable to win?

By Karen Datko Sep 9, 2010 12:30PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


Back in the '60s, it was apparently OK to torture little kids. Just kidding, but one study came close.


Here's the gist. Stanford economists took 4-year-olds one at a time and put them in a room with a single marshmallow sitting on a table. The experimenter told them that he had to leave for a short errand, but if they waited without eating the marshmallow, they would get an extra one upon his return.

Seventy percent of the kids caved, on average lasting three minutes before eating it. The rest of the kids were visibly frustrated as they tried to wait. Some turned away from the table so they wouldn't see the marshmallow. Some covered their eyes.


Decades later, the researchers asked the kids (now adults) for their SAT scores. The patient kids scored better.


Since then, the study has been replicated a number of ways. But just a few years ago, scientists took it to a new level.


More outlets are going online. What savvy shoppers need to know.

By Karen Datko Sep 9, 2010 11:00AM

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


Finding deals at outlets used to require serious effort: a lengthy drive to the nearest outlet mall, followed by hours spent combing through racks, item by item, and waiting in long lines behind like-minded bargain hunters. Now, it often takes just a few clicks from home.

Camera manufacturer Nikon launched an online outlet store last week, and J. Crew plans to make its outlet store clothing available online this month. The two join a host of retailers with an online outlet presence, including J.C. Penney, Crate & Barrel, Dell, Zales, Sears and The Disney Store.


Because a frugal person focuses on the maximization of value, sometimes it's easy to fall into the trap of keeping too much stuff.

By Karen Datko Sep 9, 2010 8:58AM

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


The other night, I watched a couple episodes of the A&E documentary series "Hoarders." For those of you who haven't seen it, "Hoarders" focuses on the struggles of people who suffer from compulsive hoarding.

One thing that struck me over and over again was that people were saying things along the lines of "I can't get rid of this stuff because I might have a use for it someday." Of course, they were making this statement in a home that was so full of stuff that they had difficulty even walking through their home.


Frugal people live on an interesting spectrum between minimalism and excessive accumulation of stuff.


New study shows that more than a third of the unemployed who've found new jobs are working for less pay.

By Karen Datko Sep 8, 2010 5:47PM

Just how hard has the recession been on American workers? A new Pew Research Center report offers some stark numbers:

  • 26% of the 139 million working Americans were jobless at least once since the recession officially began in December 2007. (These folks are referred to as the "re-employed.") The report adds:
And for some workers, finding a new job was a short-lived victory over hard times. According to the survey, more than a third have suffered two or more spells of unemployment during the recession, including 16% who have been out of work three or more times.

More homeowners are making extra cash by renting their properties to vacationers. But it may not be legal where you live.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 8, 2010 2:00PM

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


The next time you travel, consider a setting that's unique and potentially more comfortable than a hotel: renting a home from a private homeowner.

The idea is simple: Instead of cramming yourself into a tiny hotel room, rent an entire house. You win by getting a lot more space and amenities for a similar price. The homeowner wins by bringing in extra cash.


The online retailer is enlisting help from customers to pressure manufacturers to use packaging that's easier to open.

By Karen Datko Sep 8, 2010 12:18PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


For the last two years, online retailer has been on a mission to persuade manufacturers to make product packages that are easier for consumers to open. The results so far have been less than stellar.

According to The New York Times, Amazon has been able to persuade manufacturers to make easier-to-open packages for only about 600 of the millions of products Amazon sells. Traditional retailers like products in large cases and multiple layers of plastic because it's believed to deter theft. Amazon says someone ordering online shouldn't have to deal with the frustration involved in liberating products from their packages. 


Thinking of purchases in terms of how long you have to work to pay for them is an effective way to control spending.

By Karen Datko Sep 8, 2010 10:26AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


One strategy that seems to work well for people looking to conquer bad spending habits is to convert purchases into hours of work.

A latte, the classic enemy of frugalists everywhere, doesn't seem too expensive because it's only $4. However, if you earn the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, that's nearly half an hour of work -- before you take taxes into consideration. Is a cup of coffee worth a half-hour of your life?


This is why the strategy works. Here's how you can start using it.


Office Depot offers special deal to Facebook fans to promote its new shipping services. Offer is good for shipping 1 item.

By Teresa Mears Sep 8, 2010 10:23AM

Here's a deal we've never seen before: a 50%-off coupon for the U.S. Postal Service.


To get the coupon, you'll need to become a fan of Office Depot on Facebook. Click the photo on the wall post to get the coupon. And you'll need to ship today, Sept. 8, from Office Depot.



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