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Life's tough enough without paying for things you could be getting free. Here are some examples.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 30, 2010 2:23PM

This post comes from Donna Gehrke-White at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Your mom always told you that money doesn't grow on trees. She's right, so why waste it. There are plenty of free things you can pluck from the Web as well as from libraries, parks, banks and other businesses.

Here's a look at 10 potential freebies.

 

Free pancake puppies, discount jelly beans and free food samples at Wal-Mart are among this week's deals.

By Teresa Mears Jun 30, 2010 12:46PM

It's time to fire up the grill and get ready for the July Fourth holiday.

 

Just in time for outdoor parties, Mark Bittman, The Minimalist at The New York Times, has come up with a list of 101 fast recipes for grilling. If you're looking for more recipes, check out all the offerings from our friend Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

The freebie offerings for the Fourth of July weekend are sparse, so you may want to stay home and throw a big potluck dinner for family and friends. After dinner, you can probably find a free fireworks display in your town.

 

The perception that laid-off workers have gotten rusty or were substandard employees to begin with is on the rise.

By Karen Datko Jun 30, 2010 11:35AM

This guest post comes from Frugal Zeitgeist.

 

I saw an article recently about how some businesses are increasingly unwilling to consider unemployed people as job candidates. I filed it away mentally as something to blog about once I got back in my groove, but never got around to it. Several more friends were laid off recently, though, so the topic's definitely been on my mind. A similar article appeared on CNN this week, so I'm not going to let this one get away.

The general synopsis is that it's an employer's market right now, and the stigma of being unemployed is increasing.

 

Sales are down and fees are up this year. Here are some tips on how to find the best deals.

By Karen Datko Jun 30, 2010 10:17AM

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

 

Travelers hunting for airfare deals have their work cut out for them this year.

 

With more consumers scheduling vacations and airline scheduling cutbacks, the supply-demand equation has swung back in the airlines' favor, says Tom Parsons, the founder of BestFares.com. Fares are slightly higher across the board -- last year's $49 sale is $69 this year, for example -- with substantial increases on select routes, he says.

 

Sales are still out there, but on many, either the deals aren't as favorable or there are more restrictions on eligible days. "This summer, you're just going to have to poke around," he says.

 

Part of the equation: fees, which have continued creeping up.

 

Don't serve too much at a time, don't put foods they don't want on their plate, and don't fear the sippy cup.

By Karen Datko Jun 30, 2010 9:06AM

This post comes from Carrie Kirby at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

I don't know about your kids, but mine just will not eat kibble. At least not the generic kind. Which means I have to shell out for pricey people food like vegetables, fruit and milk.

 

To be honest, I'm a better mom than I let on -- I even shell out for organic stuff for my three tykes. But then, so much of that pristine, chemical-free food ends up on the floor or being scraped into the garbage disposal that I wonder why I bothered.

 

Here are the guidelines we use at our house to try to cut the waste-to-consumption ratio when feeding the kids.

 

Divorce lawyers are finding a treasure trove of information on social-networking sites. Here's what not to share.

By Karen Datko Jun 29, 2010 7:31PM

If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred (OK, maybe three or four) times: Don't put stuff on Facebook or any other social-networking site that can come back to bite you.

 

The latest proof of how damaging this can be: An Associated Press story related how divorce attorneys are routinely looking for incriminating stuff on social-networking sites, and they're finding lots of it -- most often on Facebook.

 

'Luxury squatters' take over vacant houses and declare themselves owners. In Seattle, one family moved into a $3.3 million place.

By Teresa Mears Jun 29, 2010 5:47PM

For years, the 8,000-square-foot mansion in suburban Seattle sat vacant and for sale, the price gradually coming down from $5.8 million to $3.3 million. One day in June, a 30-year-old woman, a man and two children took down the for-sale signs, changed the locks, moved in and declared it their home.

 

They didn't actually buy the house, or even rent it. They just moved in and declared it their house.

Jill Lane, who was arrested on a charge of trespassing after two weeks in the house, is not contrite, The Seattle Times' Danny Westneat reports. Not only did she try to take over the mansion, with its wine cellar, home theater, six bedrooms and nine baths, she has staked a claim to 10 other bank-owned houses in the Seattle area.

 

"Banks do whatever they want and nobody holds them accountable," Lane told Westneat by phone from Disneyland, where she went on vacation after she was released by the police. She and her partner ran a company that pledged to "eliminate mortgages" and help others move into empty foreclosed homes.

 

A traveler's journey through the endless fees imposed by airlines, hotels, cell phone companies, etc. Is there no end to this assault?

By Karen Datko Jun 29, 2010 12:33PM

This guest post comes from Cap at StopBuyingCrap.com.

 

A trip from San Diego to Indianapolis.

 

As you're about to book your flight, you stare at the computer screen, wondering what's the best choice.

You quickly searched Southwest, but the timetable and seats available just didn't match up to the meeting's schedule.

 

You could fly American, as you actually managed to store up some mileage through the years. Despite the fact that you prefer other airlines, you've stuck with American, because loyalty's gotta mean something, right?

 

With a quick check, those mileage are currently meaningless as there are no reward seats available to claim.

 

The problem is that you're now running on a much tighter budget. Ever since the recession, business hasn't been going so well, and you can barely afford this trip out to the Midwest. But you have to get to Indianapolis, as sealing this deal ensures your business' survival and that of its six lifelong employees.

 

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