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Venues are hoping you'll want to buy tickets as holiday gifts.

By Teresa Mears Dec 10, 2009 4:44PM

You’re probably not thinking about baseball games and theme parks right now.


But TravelZoo has just published news about a huge nationwide sale on Broadway shows, Las Vegas shows, sporting events, theme park passes and more, in the hope that you might want to buy some of these tickets as holiday gifts. I know I’d rather have tickets to a concert or play than a bat-shaped candy dish or yet another scented candle.


The retailer's environmental consciousness has grown, but it still has a way to go.

By Teresa Mears Dec 10, 2009 2:54PM

Wal-Mart is one of those stores people either love or hate.


The store has lately been trying to attract more affluent customers, who in this economy are looking for lower prices along with everyone else. But those customers aren’t willing to abandon their ideals to save a few dollars, says CBS MoneyWatch.


Keeping in mind both price and idealism, MoneyWatch has put together a guide to the things you can feel good about buying at Wal-Mart and also a guide to things you shouldn’t buy at Wal-Mart.


Seriously underwater homeowners are passing up the option to walk away.

By Karen Datko Dec 10, 2009 1:53PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.


Last week The Consumerist had a post telling readers to “Go ahead, strategically default on your underwater mortgage.” This was based, more or less, on a paper (.pdf file) from a law professor at the University of Arizona which addressed the legitimate conundrum of why strategic defaults are not more common.

A strategic default on a mortgage is when a borrower can make the payments but chooses not to. In other words, the borrower hands the keys over to the lender and walks away. It is important to remember that, despite much play in the media and academia, this is still a rather exotic maneuver. In order for a borrower to even begin considering such a move two things need to be true.


A former salad hater has found ways to incorporate them inexpensively and deliciously into his meal plans.

By Karen Datko Dec 10, 2009 11:23AM

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


Lately, my wife and I have been studying ways to reduce our weekly grocery bill. We’ve been using several tactics to do this, which I will discuss one at a time over a series of articles.


Salads before dinner are a common staple at our house. For a long time, we would buy lots of different dressings and other items to complement the salad. While planning for a grocery trip a few weeks ago, we realized that we were about to spend $15 or so on salad accompaniments (because several of our items were depleted). We decided to try some different tactics to drastically reduce our spending on salad.


When a huge storm moved in and the lights went out, she knew she wasn't ready.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2009 9:33PM

This guest post comes from “vh” at Funny about Money.


Quite a little storm blew through two nights ago. Apparently it started about 11:30 -- that’s when my power went out -- and carried on into the wee hours. Cassie woke me at 1 in the morning, barking at the distant thunder and fretting to go out. The wind was blowing so hard it made a weird, symphonic noise -- like an orchestra of kazoos.

Almost 300,000 utility customers lost power. Mine came back on about 8:30 the next morning. By then, the refrigerator’s interior appeared to be about room temperature: 62 degrees. I haven’t dared to open the freezer, but I expect it will be OK, even though, being a cheapie, it’s not well-insulated.


This minor episode brought one issue sharply to my attention: I am not prepared for a serious emergency lasting any length of time.


Before bailing out offspring, ask yourself whether you're really helping.

By Teresa Mears Dec 9, 2009 6:12PM

A new poll by found that 42% of people with adult children have paid a debt for their children at some point. But should they?


The debts most commonly paid off were auto loans (40%) and medical debt (37%). But the survey also found that parents had paid utility debt (31%), credit cards (30%), student loans (29%) and mortgages (11%).


"It used to be that kids would be embarrassed to ask for help. Not anymore," Michael McAuliffe, president of Family Credit Management, a Chicago nonprofit credit counseling agency, told’s Connie Prater.


These real-life examples go way beyond fruitcake and socks.

By Karen Datko Dec 9, 2009 5:15PM

One oven mitt -- half of a cheap set. A loaf of store-bought white bread. A used breast pump. These are some of the “worst” gifts we found on the Web.


For a thorough examination of how to avoid the most common pitfalls and also extreme gift-giving mistakes, read MP Dunleavey’s “15 worst holiday gift ideas” at MSN Money. But we thought it would be fun to find real-life examples.


People are still falling for bogus lotteries and work-at-home rip-offs.

By Teresa Mears Dec 9, 2009 2:15PM

Every time you turn around, it seems as if someone has come up with a new scam. And then there are a few that never seem to go away.


Just last week, the Ohio attorney general warned about a new scam related to H1N1 flu, in which  an e-mail directed consumers to create a “personal vaccination profile” on a site that mimicked the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Follow the instructions, and you won’t get an e-mail but a virus, in your computer, reported Jill Kelley on the Dayton Daily News’ Here’s the Deal blog.



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