Friday Grab Bag: Sign of the Times Edition

Credit cards make you spend more

This seems pretty obvious to me, but now the scientific research (from MIT no less) is here to back it up. Michelle Singletary explains why credit cards still cost you, even if you pay your balance in full every month and avoid all additional fees.

How I would spend $33 million

Deep down, a part of me wants to be British. Royal family gossip, Jane Austen novels, BBC comedies (remember Ab Fab??), the Beatles…these are all things I enjoy immensely. So when I saw this English village for sale “complete with grand Edwardian manor house, cricket pavilion and ground, blacksmith’s forge, and rectory,” I got pretty excited. Because, you know, $33 million is really a steal to live like a Queen, or at least a Duchess.

Keep your cup of Joe! When being smart is better than being frugal

I get tired of all the advice telling us to cut out that morning latte and save something like $1200 a year instead. I’m all for being smart with money, but if enjoying a mocha with whip is the best part of your day, keep doing it for heaven’s sake! Like MoneyNing says, “Saving $100 or saving $1 a hundred times is the same thing.” If you can’t forego the coffee, just make sure you build up your savings using other funds.

Saver’s Remorse?

Actually, now that you mention it, I do regret passing up that pair of strappy sandals I saw at Anthropologie last weekend. John Tierney of the NY Times explains to all the super-savers out there why it’s okay to indulge sometimes.

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Sign of the times / Quote of the week

I think it means the economy is really bad when super-rich dinosaur collectors aren’t shelling out the big bucks for the bones of an awesome, rare teenage woolly mammoth. I love the gallery director’s quote: “The woolly is so special because it wasn’t fully grown and can therefore fit in someone’s living room.” So true.

Identity theft ring steals birth certificates, SSNs from 7,000 school children

Criminals broke into 50 schools in Puerto Rico and stole the identification of thousands of school kids. The crime ring then sold the documents for $250 each to illegal immigrants looking to establish themselves in the US. This relates back to my post from last week discussing the dual crime of illegal immigration and identity theft.

Unemployment now and then not apples to apples

Unemployment is currently at 8.5%, but that’s not nearly as bad as the 30% rate of the Great Depression, right? Howard Rosen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics explains why it’s tricky to compare these percentages (the primary reason being that most women in the 1930’s weren’t a part of the workforce, and therefore not included in unemployment statistics).

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