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A talker always has excuses for not getting things done: He doesn't have time, he doesn't have the skills, the odds are stacked against him.

By Karen Datko Sep 7, 2010 8:39AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

It's a Sunday morning and I should be editing articles in advance of my upcoming vacation. Instead, I just got done playing another game of Starcraft II. Since the game was released on July 27, I've played many games of Starcraft II.

 

In fact, I've played at least 150 games of Starcraft II. (I know this because the game keeps track of your record. I played 50 training matches, and have since won 47 and lost 42 against human opponents, putting me near the top of my division in the Silver League. Plus I've played some single-player games.)

How much time has playing 150 games of Starcraft II sucked from my life? At about 30 minutes per game, it's safe to say I've spent about 80 hours over the past month -- or about 20 hours per week -- building virtual armies and blowing stuff up.

 

Now, on the surface, there's nothing wrong with me having a little fun. I've been waiting for this game for almost 12 years. Plus, I've been working hard for the past two years, and I've been stressed because of it. I deserve some time off, and have intentionally been downshifting to a simpler life, one that gives me time for computer games.

 

However, having said that, in this case there's a problem.

 

Free genealogy research, a half-price chicken dinner and free meals for kids are among this week's specials.

By Teresa Mears Sep 3, 2010 1:43PM

It's Labor Day weekend, a time to do anything but work.

 

For some people, that means shopping. U.S. News & World Report has done a guide to the best Labor Day sales. (Thanks to Leah at Suddenly Frugal for the tip.)

 

For others, Labor Day means a potluck dinner, picnic or barbecue. Today only, Sept. 3, you can get grass-fed beef for $3.99 a pound at Whole Foods. Boston Market is offering a Family Meal or Market Feast for 50% off, Labor Day only, with this coupon.

 

The FTC is toying with the idea of a do-not-call list for computer users. But some experts doubt it will work as well.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 3, 2010 12:06PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.

 

You've probably heard of the national Do-Not-Call List. And perhaps you're one of the 145 million Americans who have signed up for the federal government's registry since it started in 2003. If so, telemarketers can't dial your phone number without facing hefty fines (up to $16,000 per violation) for ignoring your wishes.

 

Now the same agency that created Do-Not-Call is mulling over a similar plan called "Do-Not-Track." The Federal Trade Commission wants to do for computers what it's already done so well for telephones. But despite its past success, tech experts are skeptical -- mostly because computers are so much more complicated than phones.

 

Boomeranger? Failed to launch? PF blogger offers (satirical) tips to help you score.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 3, 2010 11:29AM

Sam, who blogs at Financial Samurai, was startled to read a number of recent posts about college grads who live with their parents. "Is there no shame in living at home with parents as a grown adult?" he wonders.

But he also feels a little sorry for these young people -- especially the guys, because a dude who mooches off Mom and Dad is not exactly a chick magnet.

 

A credit score of 500 will get you a car loan, but a score of 720 will get you a much better rate.

By Karen Datko Sep 3, 2010 9:33AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

So, you've taken advantage of a free credit score offer. With your score in hand, you may have even done some research on what is a good credit score. But the question still remains: What exactly does your credit score mean? How does your score compare with those of others? And do you have the score you need to qualify for the credit you want?

Money Magazine published an article this month that answered those questions. The article was actually about a few people that have nearly perfect credit (FICO score of 850). While a perfect credit score may give you bragging rights, who cares? As Money points out, a FICO score of 780-plus will get you the best deal on any loan.

 

But understanding where your score falls on the total range of credit scores and whether it's good enough to qualify for a loan can be helpful information.

 

With so many millionaires in the US, chances are one lives next door. What's he thinking?

By Karen Datko Sep 2, 2010 9:01PM

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

 

Although having a million bucks isn't as impressive as it once was, it's still nothing to sneeze at.

 

In fact, Reuters reports that in 2009 there were 7.8 million millionaires in the U.S. That's a lot of people, people. And the odds are one or two of them are living near you.

Heck, one of them might even be your neighbor. In fact, the odds are very good that it is your neighbor.

 

But, Len, you don't know my neighbor. That guy doesn't look anything like a millionaire.

 

Well, guess what. Your suburban millionaire neighbor called (oh, yeah, we go way back), and the two of us had a nice little chat.

 

Total cost of premiums didn't rise much this year, but employees are paying a higher percentage and seeing cuts in benefits.

By Teresa Mears Sep 2, 2010 7:59PM

Chalk up another budget category where you're paying more and getting less: employer-provided health care.

 

A new survey shows that workers are paying a higher percentage of their health insurance premiums as benefits are reduced and co-payments and deductibles rise.

The 2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust found that workers are paying 19% of the cost of individual insurance and 30% of the cost of family insurance, the highest rate in the 12 years the survey has been done. Last year, workers paid 17% of the cost of individual coverage and 27% of the cost of family coverage.

 

The cost of food is going up, experts say. Here's how to offset higher prices with smart savings strategies.

By Karen Datko Sep 2, 2010 1:21PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromKelli B. Grantat partner site SmartMoney.

 

Coupons don't cut it for grocery savings anymore.

 

Although inflation has been modest lately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts food-price inflation is likely to jump 2% to 3% in 2011. That means food companies and supermarkets will soon be facing higher overhead costs.

 

Prices of commodities such as coffee, cattle and grain are rising, and they can go up only so far before the food industry is forced to reduce package size, raise prices or both.

"When a food that depends on one commodity like coffee goes up, we see it pretty fast in retail prices," says Jack Plunkett, chief executive of Plunkett Research, a market research firm.

Consumers who want to keep rising food costs in check will need to adjust their spending substantially, says Phil Lempert, founder of grocery information site Supermarket Guru.

 

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