Textbook sellers want to gouge you. Banks keep finding ways to gouge you. Some states are investigating potential gouges, i.e., taxes on everything from shoe repair to golf to bowling. (Wonder where they stand on the repair of bowling shoes?)

Read on for a chance to learn, among other things, how to put your children on a budget. No more free rides, kiddies.

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In most of the country — not here — summer means sandals and flip-flops. We’ve still got a month or more of naked toes.  That’s why you need this week’s giveaway.

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My monthly health insurance payment has risen by $40, starting now. The increase was anticipated, or at least announced. I’d managed to block the amount, though, so I was still surprised.

My bimonthly electric bill was $22 higher than the previous one, thanks to a Seattle City Light rate increase. An extra $11 per month won’t kill me. But it got my attention.

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Here’s today’s word, and it’s a funny one: gofobo. (Try saying it five times, fast.) This movie-mad site offers access to free screenings, contests and events.

I’d been planning to write about free movies but my daughter beat me to it. Well, at least she got me off my dime. Which, of course, means saving you some dimes. Lots of them. I’ve paid as much as $10.25 for a matinee ticket in Seattle.

As Abby notes in the blog post linked above, gofobo is chronically last-minute; you might have 24 hours or less to respond.

“Still, what’s the worst that happens? You get an offer on a movie you can’t go to,” she writes. “I’d say that’s one of the smaller tragedies in life.”

About that $10.25 ticket: It was a business expense. Otherwise I would have used a freebie. Here are some other ways to get them.

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Maybe you read the article about the doctor with $555,000 of student loan debt. In addition to that horrific sum (which started out as $250k in 2003) were a few other scary numbers:

  • A laid-off factory worker whose $300 unemployment check is garnished down to $180 because of the PLUS student loan she took out for her son.
  • A woman who after 14 years of deferment and forbearance (and bankruptcy) saw her Sallie Mae loan leap from $28,000 to more than $90,000. Her monthly payment was once $230; now it’s $816.
  • An estimated $730 billion of outstanding federal and private student-loan debt exists, and just 40% is being repaid. The rest is in default, deferment or forbearance.

Gargantuan loans taken out with no clear idea of how they’ll be repaid. Sound familiar?

Actually, there’s a crucial difference between subprime mortgages and student loans: You can’t return your diploma to the school and walk away from college debt. In fact, such debt can’t even be discharged in a bankruptcy. With few exceptions, student loans stay with you until you pay them back.

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