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When does healthy financial caution become pecuniary paranoia?

By Donna_Freedman Dec 31, 2009 1:17PM
Great Northern beans. The baby and I pretty much lived on them for a year and a half after we moved to Philadelphia. Twice a week I would put a pound of the white beans in the slow cooker with diced onion, grated carrot, and a neck bone or ham hock. When I struggled back through the door of my fourth-floor walk-up in the evening, carrying the baby and a sack of dirty diapers, I was grateful for the smell of the soup we'd be eating for the next few days.

Oh, we had a few other foods -- primarily vegetarian minestrone, homemade spaghetti sauce, baked white or sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs and occasionally a chicken leg quarter that I'd buy and roast for my daughter. The meat counter guy used to kid me: "Come on, live it up -- buy two!" I'd laugh along with him, but he would never know how I hoarded change just to be able to buy one.  

It's not too late to get a better deal on your party plans.

By Karen Datko Dec 31, 2009 11:38AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.

 

New Year’s parties thrown at bars and restaurants typically offer food, champagne and a festive group countdown, but those events typically charge guests much more than the sum of their parts. Landing a good deal on a night of revelry doesn’t have to break a New Year’s resolution to save -- even if you’re buying tickets today.

That’s not to say it will be easy. “Ticket prices always go up closer to the event,” says Mario Stewart, the president of EMRG Media, a New York-based event planning and marketing firm. And the truly big parties -- the ones that boast celebrity guests like Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera -- typically sell out in advance.

 

However, there’s still hope for nabbing a good deal on lower-profile parties, Stewart says. “If people are savvy, there are deals to be made,” he says.

 

Here are seven ways to score a deal on your New Year’s Eve festivities:

 

GM offers several incentives to rid itself of the last of these cars, but which is better for consumers?

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2009 4:37PM

Anxious to retire two unwanted brands, a leaner and meaner post-bankruptcy General Motors is offering another major incentive to dealers to sell off all remaining Saturns and Pontiacs.

 

The Wall Street Journal called it a fire sale: You could get a car for up to 46% off. There were only 5,700 brand-new Saturns and 8,500 Pontiacs left on Dec. 1, and GM wants them to go fast -- off the showroom floor.

 

But is this a sweeter deal than the $6,500 rebate dealers have been advertising for these cars? Before you decide, consider these factors first:

 

6 ways to use tools like Twitter and LinkedIn to find a job or boost your career.

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2009 3:45PM

This post by Greg Go at partner blog Wise Bread was also published at LifeScoop.

 

The Internet is a boon for doing all kinds of things -- including getting a better job or getting paid more at your current job. Technology helps us stay connected, learn something new, and make new connections quickly and efficiently.

Here are six ways to use technology to upgrade your career.

 

So far, a Georgia undertaker has no takers on the special New Year's Eve offer. Meanwhile, Colorado offers a free app for iPhone drunks.

By MSN Money_Edit Dec 30, 2009 1:38PM

So, just how cheap are you?

 

A Georgia funeral home has a deal for party monsters with a frugal streak: a free burial if you drink, drive and die on New Year's Eve.


Between now and noon Thursday, drivers can visit McGuire, Jennings and Miller Funeral Home in Rome, Ga., and sign a contract stating they plan to drink or use drugs and drive on New Year's Eve. If they're killed in a wreck that night, the funeral home will bury them for free.

 

Many utility companies offer rebates and credits to help pay for programmable thermostats and other upgrades.

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2009 9:52AM

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

 

Recently, just before a large blizzard hit central Iowa, our furnace went out. I took a look and couldn’t diagnose the problem myself, so we called a repairman. (Ouch.) The guy we called was someone who was recommended by a few friends who told us that we’d be surprised how inexpensive his first visit was.

 

They weren’t kidding.

 

The repairman stopped by on Monday morning, took a look at our furnace, and within 10 minutes had figured out the problem. It was our thermostat, which had short-circuited. He offered to replace it with a programmable one, of which he had several on hand. (I’ve mentioned before that programmable thermostats can be a big money saver.)

 

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t buy one in this fashion, but he happened to have the exact model I was considering buying, and offered to provide and install it for the same price I was going to buy it for.

 

Here’s the kicker:

 

Landing a great deal is all about timing.

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2009 8:54AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Just as summer apparel and furniture tend to go on sale in the fall, the end of the year is a good time to start checking the price tags on winter clothing like thick overcoats and water-resistant shoes. It’s also the season to score deals on some home goods and video games.

 

To make way for new items and clear out last year’s merchandise, retailers typically discount heavily this time of year. Those discounts won’t be as steep as they were last year because retailers were able to adjust their inventories, but shoppers will still have plenty of opportunities to land a deal, says Jack W. Plunkett, the chief executive of Plunkett Research, a market research firm in Houston that tracks the retail industry. “The deeper into January you get, the bigger the markdowns,” Plunkett says.

Here are three categories in which shoppers can now find some of the best deals:

 

You need to wear a patch, travel to Guatemala or Mexico, and keep a diary.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2009 8:16PM

A U.S. vaccine manufacturer is offering to cover travel expenses for 1,800 volunteers who are planning to go where Montezuma’s revenge is more than an idle threat.

 

In exchange for up to $2,200 to cover airfare and accommodation in three-star hotels, Intercell is asking volunteers who travel to Mexico or Guatemala to keep a diary of study events, shall we say, for 17 days.

 

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