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It exists everywhere, but some places have more of it than others.

By Karen Datko Jun 1, 2010 7:35AM

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


I'm back! After 10 days boating through Southeast Alaska (and two days of recovery), I'm ready to think about personal finance once again. Actually, it'll probably come as no surprise that I never stopped thinking about personal finance. Even while we were skirting among ice floes, pulling up prawns, and admiring whales, my mind never strayed far from the topic of money. (I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it's the truth.)


It would be all too easy for me to share another sermon about the perils of stuff -- when you spend 10 days on a 38-foot boat, living out of a single carry-on bag, you come to realize how little you actually need in life -- but I think I've beaten that topic into the ground over the past few months. I'm working to cut down my dependence on things, and I know that many of you are, too; let's save further discussion for another day.


Today, I want to talk about the value of social capital.

Though I don't mention it often around GRS, the idea of social capital is constantly lurking behind the scenes.


The poll found that most people don't know how to react to a yellow traffic light.

By Karen Datko May 28, 2010 2:52PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


One reason highways are hazardous is because too many drivers don't know what they are doing, an insurance company study suggests.


GMAC Insurance conducted an online survey, posing 20 questions taken from state driver's-license exams. The results showed that many respondents might have flunked if it had been a real test.

For example, 85% of respondents did not know how to react to a traffic signal when the light is yellow. Others showed confusion on other questions or admitted to unsafe habits like texting while driving.


Frugal folks will have to find other ways to reduce their spending on toiletries.

By Karen Datko May 28, 2010 12:55PM

A friend of ours didn't spend a dime on bath soap for at least a decade. Her job required lots of travel, and she hauled all those little hotel soap bars home. Tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion, too.


(Is that theft? More on that below.)


The days of free bar soap for frugal folks appear to be numbered. A consultant to the hotel industry predicts that permanent soap and shampoo dispensers will be the norm in U.S. hotels, including the fancy ones, within five years.


Meanwhile, hotel soap bars have been getting smaller, reports blogger Harriet Baskas in an article at


Celebrate the weekend with deals on chicken, free breakfast and a free grilling cookbook.

By Teresa Mears May 28, 2010 12:51PM

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, time for travel, picnics and, don't forget, remembering those who have died in service to our country.


In honor of the armed forces, a number of businesses and cultural institutions have special deals for military personnel and veterans.


But the universe has a few deals for the rest of us, too. And don't forget that some of last week's deals are still available.

This is another good week for ice cream deals, we're happy to report.


Save your next four grocery bills. Add up the totals. Subtract half the money you spend on meat. Imagine saving that every month.

By Karen Datko May 28, 2010 10:57AM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


Today, we continue our May Top 10 series by addressing a popular topic in both the food and personal-finance blogospheres: eating less meat.

"Why in the good name of Bea Arthur would I want to eat LESS meat?" some might ask. "I don't get enough bacon as it is. Plus, humans were meant to be carnivores, right? Otherwise, how do I explain the dead alpaca in the fridge to my kids?"

Well, sweet reader. We come not to demonize meat, but to praise consuming it in moderation. Because when raised right and chomped sensibly, beef, chicken, pork, lamb -- maybe even that alpaca -- can be pretty good for you. What's more, it's good for your wallet, your children, the Earth, the moon, the universe, other universes, the multiverse, the Rebel Alliance, Hoth, Dagoba … sorry. Got carried away there.

Following that line of reasoning, here are 10-plus strategies for reducing your meat intake.


You do have some control over how much you'll have to pay.

By Karen Datko May 27, 2010 8:17PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


There are a lot of factors that affect how much you pay for auto insurance. Some of these factors are in your control; some are not.

Auto insurance companies use a process called underwriting to take your information, assess the risk they believe you present, and then quote a premium. While all insurance companies do not use the same criteria in exactly the same way to determine insurance cost, there are common factors that all car insurance companies use.


Here are 25 of them:


Carrie and the girls indulge in the good life like never before in the new movie. Are they still relevant?

By Karen Datko May 27, 2010 1:33PM

With all the focus on fashion and excess that seems to be the hallmark of "Sex and the City 2," will we still have a soft spot in our heart for the girls? Will we like this film? (Not to mention that the insufferably self-righteous Aidan returns.)


Fashion writer Nadine Jolie summed up our thoughts beautifully:

What with multimillion-dollar apartments and Vogue spreads and now couture in the desert, Carrie is no longer one of us. It's a beautiful fantasy, to be sure, but no longer has even the slightest footing in reality. . . .   

In case you've missed the news, "Sex in the City 2" has opened in theaters across the nation. Our "girls," now in their 40-plus years, leave the recession-bitten U.S. for a free trip to luxurious Abu Dhabi, where their hugely expensive stilettos challenge desert sands.

The reviews haven't been great. Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "The experience of listening to the girls complain about their fairy-tale lives from the comfort of an all-expenses-paid luxury vacation in the Arabian desert may leave a viewer feeling by turns nostalgic, disoriented and impatient."


A lot of us are frugal now. But we also wonder: Were they ever really one of us?


Forget road rage. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers reports a little hanky-panky.

By MSN Money_Edit May 27, 2010 11:33AM

This post comes from Des Toups of MSN Money.


Imagine what they could do with their hands free.

A survey by headset maker Jabra of 1,800 drivers in six countries found that 29% had kissed others while behind the wheel. And 15% had . . . done more than that. Only about half of respondents reported that they use a hands-free device for cell phones, Jabra laments.

Kinda makes the Big Mac and fries you juggled between shifting gears last night seem downright responsible.

Here's what else drivers owned up to:



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