July 2007

How to Watch Less TV

I’m not someone who thinks TV is bad, but I recognize that it can easily absorb a whole afternoon if you’re not careful. Studies have shown that watch TV produces alpha waves, which are the same waves produced when you meditate. That’s why it’s so easy to watch a night of silly sitcoms without realizing it. At the same time, I find that some shows get me thinking…
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Is Credit Monitoring Worth the Cost?

I now return to my series on credit history and credit scores. Monday, I covered the VantageScore. Today, I focus on credit monitoring. FICO, the three credit bureaus, banks, credit card companies, and many other independent services try to use scary warnings about identity theft to try to convince you monitoring is a necessity. So what exactly is credit monitoring and is it worth the cost? What Is Credit…
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How to Plan for Major Purchases

In addition to buying a new home, we’re also planning to make several other major purchases, including a washer/dryer set, a fridge, a dining room set, china, a new family room set, a living room set, a new sofa bed for the guest room, a new TV, and a new TV stand. Plus the usual stuff like lamps, towel racks, etc. that make a home feel lived in.…
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Agree on a Holiday Gift Budget with Your Spouse

My husband and I have never been the type to think we need to spend hundreds of dollars on each other at Christmas. In fact, many years we’ve opted not to exchange gifts and instead bought something big jointly, like our trip to Belize or a Wii. If you and your spouse plan to exchange gifts, make sure you agree on a budget beforehand. Spend a Lot or…
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10 Ways to Prepare for a Depression

Recently, a few economic naysayers have leaped ahead of those warning about a recession, and are now warning about a depression. They’re not talking about a situation akin to the Great Depression of the 1930s – current US banking and market regulations prevent that severe a disaster – but rather a depression similar to the one Japan suffered following the collapse of its real estate and credit speculation…
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That Makes Me Stabby: Pizza Is Not a Vegetable

This has nothing to do with personal finance, but I was so mad when I heard this report Tuesday, that I had to say something. Congress is pushing a bill that would continue to allow school lunch programs to count the two tablespoons of tomato paste on a slice of school pizza as a vegetable. Under the recommendations set to go into effect, pizza must be accompanied by…
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Get Ready for Earth Hour 2010

It’s that time once again. Time to recognize the effects of light pollution and experience just one hour of darkness. Even though the Earth Hour organizers ask that you turn off the lights at 8:30PM on March 27, 2010,  usually go a step further. Turn Off All Lights and Electronic Devices for One Hour We can do this for one hour. It’s really not that hard. Turn off the lights,…
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Cheapest Sources for Foreign Currency While Traveling

Before my honeymoon, my dad gave me great advice for avoiding hefty foreign transaction fees and ATM charges. The advice has served me well, and served several friends well. Now I’ll share it with you. Best Places to Get Foreign Currency You’ll need some cash while traveling in a foreign country. If you’re traveling in the Caribbean or parts of Central America, you can usually use US dollars…
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