th1 See a penny? Pick it up!During my recent trip to Austin I continued my habit of picking up stray coins. A penny at the drugstore checkout. Two pennies and a nickel behind a bench at the bus stop. A dime on the airport floor.

No matter where I go, I’m an inveterate coin-grabber. Except maybe Phoenix, Arizona, where picking up a coin in high summer can burn like the dickens. I learned this important safety tip from my daughter, who lives in Phoenix and blogs at…

(wait for it)

….I Pick Up Pennies.

I carry an old prescription bottle in my suitcase just for found money, which amounted to 24 cents on this trip. When I got home the coins went into an old pink vase that my daughter once got from the “free” box at a yard sale. My change purse gets emptied into a pink piggy bank that was a Christmas gift from Will Chen at the Wise Bread blog; this money gets wrapped every so often and deposited into savings.

According to a November 2013 survey from Coinstar, the average respondent figured he had a little over $26 in spare change lying around the house. In fact, the average trade-in at a Coinstar kiosk is $56.


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th2 You know whats hot? A money date.Hey, all you single men and women: Want to attract a mate? Work on your credit scores as much as your abs.

Of the 1,010 married adults surveyed by Experian, 95 percent rated “financial responsibility” as more important than “physical attractiveness” (86 percent) and “career ambition” (77 percent).

Not that romance is dead: “Personal compatibility” was the most important attribute in a potential partner, ranking at 98 percent.  

Financial compatibility is important, too; in fact, at 96 percent it edged out “sex and intimacy” (95 percent) and trounced “religion and spirituality” (69 percent). The thing is, plenty of people don’t talk about finances before they marry – and that’s a huge mistake.


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th 22 6 financial lessons from “Godzilla.”To be honest, I’d hoped for more from the “Godzilla” reboot. The trailer sure made it look like a big ol’ popcorn romp.

Sure, plenty of stuff happened: buildings stomped flat, nuclear facilities collapsing, trains bitten in half, EMPs causing quarter-slot machines to malfunction.

But despite high production values and a handful of really swell actors (Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, David Strathairn) the film had a marked sense of detachment, as though nothing we were seeing really mattered much.

On the bright side, Linda B. and I saw the film on cheap day ($5.25 all shows) and we paid with discounted gift cards, which brought the cost down further. Not that it matters: I’m taking the price of the ticket as a business expense  because – as usual – I  found money lessons in the film.


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Go win these gift cards.

th6 Go win these gift cards.Whenever I see a chance to win gift cards I tend to enter. Sometimes I even win.

Whenever I see a chance for readers to win gift cards, I tend to share. Here are two chances to win Home Depot and Amazon.com cards. The former is pretty easy; the latter takes a bit of work but there’s a chance at a pretty decent payoff.

Savings.com will be giving away $3,000 worth of Home Depot e-gift cards today through Wednesday. Between 9:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. EDT each day, go to the Home Depot page at Savings.com and enter your e-mail address.


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th6 Cant get ahead? Try a savings challenge.Years ago I moderated MSN Money’s Smart Spending message board, on which people would post frugal hacks, recipes and other tips to stretch a buck.

The boards went away some years before the Smart Spending blog did; when that happened, some of the most loyal commenters created an alternative universe.

Not MSN Money Proboards” is a place for veterans of Smart Spending and other message boards to stay in touch and keep sharing the wealth. Or, rather, the road to wealth.

One post I checked in on today, “2014 Savings Strategies,” brought up the old custom of “savings challenges.” Those were popular during the worst of the recent recession; you couldn’t swing a virtual cat in the PF blogosphere without running into someone’s post on challenges.

Stuff like:

  • Spare Change Challenge – Every night put all your coins in a jar
  • Dollar Bill Challenge – Like the above, except with paper instead of specie
  • Five-Dollar Bill Challenge – Pretty ambitious, but a little too rich for some bloods
  • Random Number Challenge – Pick a number and every night check the bills in your wallet; if one has a serial number ending in the chosen digit, into the jar it goes

But the Proboards posting also mentioned a couple of new ones.


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