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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:


Free admission to museums and amusement parks, plus discounts on cruises, are among the offerings.

By Teresa Mears May 27, 2010 11:09AM

With Memorial Day weekend approaching, it's time to remember the reason for the holiday: to honor those who gave their lives in defense of our country.


In honor of all U.S military members, both past and present, some businesses and attractions are offering special deals this weekend. Some deals are only for active-duty personnel, and others include retired and former military members.

Some businesses always give a military discount, and it never hurts to ask. The Army Times maintains a long list of year-round military discounts.


Among the tips: Don't be afraid to be on hold -- and use it to your advantage.

By Karen Datko May 27, 2010 9:16AM

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


The New York Times recently published an article of reader-collected techniques for prevailing in customer-service disputes. Here's a sampling of a few of my favorites from the article:

Use your camera. Suzanne Barchers of Stanford, Calif., always photographs any unpleasant surprises in hotel rooms, using her handy digital camera. Of a recent trip to Las Vegas hotel she writes, "When asked upon checkout how my stay was, I simply said, 'Let me show you.'" The images included some dingy towels, broken shelves and a view that was less than promised and paid for. "My bill was cut in half without any prompting."


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