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Items might be cheaper, but you still need to set a budget.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:45PM

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

If the national media is any indication, more people are embracing the notion of buying used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops. Recently, USA Today ran a story describing how secondhand stores are reaping the benefits of recession:

"As Americans look for ways to cut spending, they are scooping up bargain clothes, accessories, toys and furniture once owned by someone else.

"'We're sorry about the economic situation, ... but it is a good time for our industry,' says Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. Three-fourths of resale stores said they had higher sales in September and October, compared with the same period last year, according to the trade group. The average sales increase was about 35%."


It's not easy, but nicotine addicts can save some big bucks.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:37PM

Among the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, a new crop has sprung up in the gardens of inveterate smokers. They're growing tobacco, The Associated Press reports. This gives new meaning to "roll your own."

The substantial federal tax increase on tobacco products on April 1 apparently sparked this avocation. And, it turns out, do-it-yourselfers can save serious dough (although not nearly as much as they would if they'd quit).

"Cigarettes cost an average of $4.35 a pack; home growers can make that amount for about 30 cents," the AP says.


You need to figure out your total cost first.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:27PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

If you've ever tried to buy a car or a house, you've probably faced the monthly payment math trick. It's a psychological trick salespeople use to get you to buy something you couldn't afford or to pay an amount you weren't originally comfortable with.

A salesperson will try to convince you to purchase something based on the monthly payment you'll have to make. It frames the purchase in a way that lets you begin integrating the purchase into your life, before you've actually made it, and may even make it more likely you'll make the purchase.


Does your family really need multiple cell phones?

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:13PM

Here's a concept we can wrap our mind around: A Bankrate article talks about 12 "new necessities" of modern living that are actually "entitlements" we can do without.

The article quotes psychotherapist Olivia Mellan by way of explanation:

A lot of us in wealthy, overspending America are either born or raised with a tremendous sense of entitlement. We say to ourselves,"I work hard or, I work at a job I hate -- at least I should be able to have a Starbucks coffee every day or eat out for lunch." But of course, those are not needs, they're wants. They're pleasures.

Here's a partial list and why we agree with the article's conclusions:


If you're looking to get hired, you need to stay connected.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:05PM

What's the best way to use the Internet when you're looking for a new job?

The answer these days is different than it was just a few years ago, observes Steve at bripblap, who's been in the job market recently. Sites like Monster and CareerBuilder list lots of jobs, but he's having better success with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

He said in a post called "Internet job boards -- wasted effort?": "The future of work will be connectivity -- networking, in person and online -- and not the traditional advertise-submit-review pattern. It's another one of those culture shifts that's happened slowly enough that we won't notice  it -- but it will happen."


Maintaining a shared financial vision is key.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:39PM

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

My wife and I never fight about money. I used to claim this was because we keep separate finances, but now I know it's because we share similar financial goals and dreams. Even during those years I was deep in debt, I never did anything that might jeopardize our financial future.

Our shared vision has helped us to maintain a successful marriage. We're not alone, however. Writing recently in The New York Times, Tara Siegel Bernard says that the key to wedded bliss just might be marrying someone who shares your attitudes about money.


Trying to 'wing it' is not the best strategy for getting hired.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:33PM

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

I have conducted a substantial number of job interviews. Although the jobs I usually hire for are technical in nature, most of the truly telling -- and thus truly valuable -- questions I've asked are nontechnical questions. A great interview question reveals the nature of the person you're hiring -- honesty, reliability, ability to communicate intelligently and quickly.

Over time, I've collected a pretty good pile of questions I use in almost every interview. Here are 25 of the most reliable ones, along with a tip or two about what makes a good answer -- and what makes a bad one. If you can easily answer these questions, you shouldn't have much to worry about in an interview.


Lousy attitudes don't discourage some generous tippers.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:16PM

Hardly a personal-finance topic provokes strong opinions like the question of how much to tip, particularly after the waiter treats you like a case of scurvy.

A special dinner out for Bob of ChristianPF and his wife lost its luster when their waiter became rude and unresponsive. And yet, after all that, Bob left a 20% tip.

That's more than we would have done, and we aren't alone. However, some of his readers offered other opinions when he asked, "How much should you tip a bad waiter or waitress?"



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