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I don't expect a dollar to fund my dream. But I won't sweat an occasional greenback spent on the weekly drawing.

By Donna_Freedman Jan 15, 2010 1:40PM
Every now and then I buy a lottery ticket.

I'll pause for a moment to give some of you the chance to draw in a big ol' breath of righteous indignation.

All puffed up now? Let's hear it:  

Get free tacos, then download free workout music to stay in shape.

By Teresa Mears Jan 15, 2010 1:20PM

It’s time for Friday food deals and freebies, with a little help from our friends at Cities on the Cheap.


Some of last week’s deals are still valid, including any size pizza at Pizza Hut for $10. If you’d rather have Papa John’s or Domino’s, check their Web sites before you order. The big pizza chains often offer a list of neighborhood-specific coupons after you enter your address.

Don’t forget the usual disclaimer: Not all local restaurants participate in all national promotions so it’s wise to check ahead of time.


Here are the latest deals:


Even if you're in your 50s, it's not too late to get started.

By Karen Datko Jan 15, 2010 12:42PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


A reader recently asked about financial goals for those 50 years old or better. Here’s her question:

Now I'd like to know if you can list ways of setting up long-term goals for people 50 years and over. At least some examples would do the trick.

While I’m not quite 50, I’m much closer than I care to admit. And so the reader’s question was timely for me. And it got me thinking about whether financial goals should be different based on your age. The answer it seems to me is unequivocally yes. It’s not that any particular age is significant, but your stage in life likely will affect your goals and desires. And why shouldn’t financial goals be part of this?


So I sat down and thought through what financial goals many baby boomers should have or at least strongly consider. What came from that exercise is the following list of five financial goals.


An extended warranty might keep you from a budget-busting repair bill. But make sure you buy it right.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 15, 2010 7:08AM

You insure against untimely death, bad health and damage to your property. Should you insure against giant car repair bills too?

An extended warranty can provide protection against a budget-busting bill. But keep it in park until you understand what they do and how they work.


It's not quite as bad as it sounds, but you too could see this on your card statement.

By Karen Datko Jan 14, 2010 7:08PM

As the Feb. 22 deadline approaches for most of the new Credit CARD Act requirements to kick in, weirdness abounds. CBS MoneyWatch columnist Kathy Kristof can attest to that.


She opened up the first bill for her new Macy’s store credit card and read that the “minimum interest charge" on her average daily balance “worked out to ‘an actual annual percentage rate’ of 703.8%,” she wrote.


What, we thought -- are our eyes deceiving us? Sure enough, the headline on her post is “Credit reform and my new 703.8% card.” There is an explanation for this, and you should read it, lest you open your credit card bill and suffer a heart attack.


We're creatures of habit, and our new habit of saving more is sinking in.

By Karen Datko Jan 14, 2010 5:38PM

Will people continue to save, pay down debt and pursue frugal ways once the economy noticeably improves (oh, and can that day come soon enough)? Everyone has an opinion about that, but when Dan Ariely speaks, we tend to listen very closely.


Ariely thinks we’re developing a new set of habits.


He’s the Duke University behavioral economist (formerly at MIT) who wrote the bestselling book, “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.” In it, he examines why we make the spending choices we do. For instance, “free” compels us to do strange things.


Best option is to give cash to a reputable organization that has a track record of working in Haiti.

By Teresa Mears Jan 14, 2010 3:45PM

A tragedy of the magnitude of the earthquake that hit Haiti makes us want to help, but we also want to make sure that our donations get to the people in need. Scams diverted much-needed aid sent to victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


The best strategy is to give to an established charity that is already working in Haiti. Haiti is an extraordinarily complex country, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere even before this disaster. It is not an easy place to work.


Among her 10 big blunders: She bought a new car and a condo for the wrong reasons.

By Karen Datko Jan 14, 2010 2:14PM

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, another blogger publishes a post about money blunders that includes some you hadn’t read about before.


Such was the case with Jessica Ward’s “Jessica’s top 10 money mistakes” posted at Debt Kid.


Jessica bought a new car because she couldn’t afford the higher interest on a used-car loan. That cracked us up. Apparently we’re not alone. “You may stop laughing now,” Jessica wrote after explaining that predicament.



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