Friday Grab Bag – 12/11/2009

It happens to the best of us: you’re tired, in the mall or grocery store parking lot, and someone comes up to ask you to sign a petition. You sign it just to make the guy with the pen and clipboard go away so you can move on with your life. Unfortunately, that’s not what is happening in the above video. Real people signed a petition to increase inflation by 100%, which would devalue the dollar to a penny. Mark Dice was the individual who engineered the spoof. Check it out to see the “tragically comic” results.

How to buy a bank-owned home

Don’t feel bad: sometimes, a previous homeowner’s loss can become your gain. “REO” homes are properties that have been foreclosed on and are now assets of the mortgage lender. Often, you can purchase one of these at well below market values. Wisebread offers tips to make a smart REO purchasing decision and what to expect during the process.

Reveal your salary to the check-out girl?

That may be exactly what you’ll have to do soon when applying for a retail credit card in a store. Up until now, retailers like Macy’s, Sears, and Best Buy extended you plastic based solely on your credit score, but new Federal Reserve Rules may mean they’ll be required to ask for your income, assets, and other debt obligations as well. Advocates are calling these new rules a win for consumers who shouldn’t be given new lines of credit if their debt-to-income ratio is already tipped in the wrong direction. Those against the proposed policy label it an invasion of privacy. I agree it would be a bit embarassing to shell out numbers about your household income and total debt with other customers standing around. What do you think?

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Red Salvation Army kettles now take credit

No spare cash? No problem. You can now charge your charitable donation at an increasing number of Salvation Army red kettles throughout the country. This was a smart move for the organization: based on tests in select cities last year, Salvation Army reports the average credit donation was $15 (as opposed to the average cash donation of $2). And don’t worry, the credit card machines don’t store any of your credit information, so you can feel secure swiping your plastic. The bell ringers will even hand you a printed receipt for your tax records.

Do you know your credit fact from fiction?

Longtime SpendOnLife readers already know most of the myths about credit scores floating around out there. But it never hurts to get a refresher. Here’s a quick question to test your skills: True or False? “Scores get merged when married.” Check out Financial Highway for the answer, plus six other credit tidbits you may or may not know.

3 things to check when shopping online

Don’t know the ins and outs of the world wide web? That’s okay. Just follow Identity Theft Secrets three key tips for safe online shopping to protect yourself this holiday season (they’re easy, I promise!).

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