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Most workers say they don't feel obligated to buy a holiday present for supervisors. Consider the ramifications before you do.

By Teresa Mears Nov 29, 2010 3:53PM

There is nothing that brings out my inner Scrooge more than the issue of "obligatory" holiday gifts.


You know what I mean. The gifts you buy not because you want to, but because it's "expected." Or at least you think it is.


In these times of job insecurity, one question that looms large is: Should you buy your boss a holiday gift?


Four ways to find bigger discounts and better deals with social media and apps.

By Karen Datko Nov 29, 2010 3:00PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Shoppers looking for the best discounts this holiday season won't be able to get them all on their own. They'll need a little help from social networking sites and their cell phones.


The technology behind these deals was already in place on Black Friday, when shoppers who "checked in" to a Hollister store using app Foursquare got an exclusive coupon for 20% off that could be scanned at checkout. Earlier, RadioShack offered $10 off a purchase of $40, and a 20% discount on all accessories, only to its Facebook fans.


Retailers have been experimenting for months with exclusive deals via apps and social media, but this is the first holiday season they'll be using those tactics, says Lynn Mettler, founder of Step Ahead, a marketing firm in Mount Pleasant, S.C. And it's an important time for this push.


Do you overspend, thinking that your future self will somehow find a way to come to your rescue?

By Karen Datko Nov 29, 2010 1:22PM

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


I recently had dinner with Wendy and Dennis, two Get Rich Slowly readers who recently moved from Phoenix to Portland, Ore. We talked about a lot of things -- most of them nerdy. We also chatted about the ever-evolving nature of Get Rich Slowly.

"I've noticed you're writing more about credit cards lately," Wendy said. "Is that because you're using them more often?"


"Well, maybe," I said. I thought about it for a moment.


Life is too short to obsess over whether the gift tags match the wrapping paper.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 29, 2010 11:40AM

One harried late-October evening years ago, I rushed through a store's costume section in a frenzy of last-minute preparations. To my horror, the reds and greens of Christmas cards and wrapping paper beckoned from a nearby aisle.

"Oh, spare me," I said aloud. "I haven't finished feeling guilty about Halloween yet."


Here are a couple of ways to give to food banks -- even if you think you can't afford it.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 26, 2010 3:29PM

Yesterday I counted up my found money -- the coins and bills I pick up from sidewalks, the floors of public buildings and the returned-change bins in Coinstar machines.


It added up to $19.79, considerably less than last year's $34.54. Maybe that's because I got my degree last December -- no more days on the University of Washington campus, the home of lots of loose change.

Or maybe the economy is tight enough that more people are picking up the dimes they drop.


Free photo collage, plus coupons for waffles, soft drinks, ham and sweet potato fries are on this week's list of food deals.

By Teresa Mears Nov 26, 2010 2:22PM

If you've spent the morning shopping till you drop, you might be thinking of how you can save a little money in the future.


We're here with new food deals and freebies. Some of the Black Friday food deals we posted earlier are good through the weekend. Today is the day to get a free purple Slurpee from 7-Eleven. Some of last week's food deals and coupons also are still good.


Chick-fil-A wants you to celebrate and save all year. Its annual calendar, "The Cows of Reality TV," is on sale for $6, filled with more than $30 worth of coupons, with a new food freebie each month.


If you want to create a permanent record of your Thanksgiving memories, you can get a free 8-by-10-inch photo collage at Walgreens through Nov. 27 with promo code THANKSGIVING. Eliminate shipping charges by picking it up at your local store.


Cyber Monday awaits. If you're planning to shop online this year, here's how to stay safe.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 26, 2010 2:08PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


A few years ago, some shopping analysts were predicting the demise of Black Friday because online retailers had declared the next weekday "Cyber Monday."


Well, most Americans still believe nothing beats shopping in person.

"Consumers not only think Black Friday has the best deals, but they also plan to put their beliefs into action and shop on Black Friday," said shopping site PriceGrabber, which recently conducted a Black Friday shopping survey. This was the key finding:

Sixty-one percent of consumers said they believe Thanksgiving weekend has the best shopping deals compared with the rest of the holiday season. Of this 61%, 86% believe the best deals are found on Black Friday. Cyber Monday came in a distant second, with 33%.

Make no mistake: Online holiday shopping continues to grow, but so do the concerns about it.


Here are three points to consider before you bring the wrong tree home.

By Karen Datko Nov 26, 2010 12:56PM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


Oh, Christmas tree! When I was growing up, I had a friend whose family used to put up an artificial aluminum Christmas tree every year. Pink.


After all, nothing says happy holidays like a beautifully trimmed pink aluminum Christmas tree, don't you think?

The pink color wasn't the only thing unconventional about their fake tannenbaum either. I remember one particular Christmas this family had an ornament of a smiling Elvis Presley hanging on the tree -- just above the manger scene they had neatly tucked under it.


For those of you counting at home, one could make a strong argument that their version of the Nativity actually had four kings instead of three. I digress.


Needless to say, I now detest pink artificial aluminum Christmas trees. In fact, truth be told, I'm really not a fan of artificial trees of any material or color -- even the forest-green ones. That's why, although nobody will ever confuse me with Grizzly Adams, when it comes to the holiday season I demand a fresh-cut natural Christmas tree in my family room.



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