Kathy Peel: The unexpected benefits of dealing with tight finances

Monday, November 24, 2008

Despite glum financial forecasts, many families are taking the challenge head on — making sacrifices and implementing cost-saving strategies. Melissa Tarun, mother of two from Helotes, Texas, painlessly whacked around $1,700 from her family's annual budget. Cuts included:

  • Cancel seven magazine subscriptions: save $84.
  • Cancel unlimited access video rental plan: save $156.
  • Cancel premium cable channel: save $120
  • Don't renew season passes to area amusement parks: $300
  • Fewer haircuts for the two girls and fewer highlighting sessions for moms: save $452.
  • Sack lunches instead of buying lunch at school. $277.

Melissa says, "Our 'sacrifices' really aren't that at all. I mean, we gave up a "premium" channel! And a redundant satellite radio system." ...(continue reading)

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Q&A: Alvin Hall takes your questions on personal finance and debt

Friday, November 21, 2008

Financial educator and author Alvin Hall took your questions on personal finance and debt on Friday, November 21, 2008.

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Lisa Margonelli: Spoiler alert! The plot of the oil opera

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I like to think of the oil market as an opera, where big dramas get played out by colorful outsized characters ranging from OPEC, China and Russia to currency hedgers, militias in Nigeria and choruses of American commuters, among others. The opera metaphor also works to explain how the market gets carried away on symphonic swirls of emotion that lead to a price of $145 a barrel in July before falling to below $50 a barrel. (continued ...)
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Ronald Wilcox: Prodigal sons?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I talk and write frequently about things that can be done, both in the public and private sectors, to increase household savings in the United States. But a more primitive question is, "Why such the mess?" Are we just the prodigal sons and daughters of the world, caught in some kind of moral decay that is uniquely American?
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Debtor Nation: My Take

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Explore listener stories about mortgages, credit cards, student loans, losing a job, changing one's lifestyle, the bailout, and who's to blame.

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Debtor Nation: Numbers

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our debt

Household mortgage debt (2nd quarter 2008): $10.64 trillion
Total credit card debt (Sept. 2008): $2.59 trillion

Source: Federal Reserve System

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Today's conversation

Monday, November 17, 2008

Leave a message for our 'debt' series online or call our SpinVox voicemail at 1-877-8-MY-TAKE (1-877-869-8253). You'll have one minute to tell your story: how you got into debt, how debt is affecting you, whether you're in danger of losing your job or your house, or what debt is preventing you from doing. Or maybe you have questions about getting out of debt. We'll play a selection of your messages on our show this week.

Or, join any of the other conversations going on now...
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Jeff Beresford-Howe: Same-sex marriage and other California propositions

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

While the rest of the United States — indeed, the world — was dancing, carousing and toasting VB Day, California voters gave the Obama administration an idea of what the future's going to look like, and a serious reality check: letting go of the brutal, stupid politics of the last 20 years is not going to come easy. With no statewide office races this year — Gov. Schwarzenegger's tenure ends in 2010, neither California senate seat was up, and the legislature is locked into place by gerrymandering that rises to the level of abstract art — this California election was all about ballot propositions.
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Poll: The Obama cabinet. Should it be based on "change" or "experience"?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama faces a challenge in picking his formal advisers: Does he shun Washington and fill the cabinet with outsiders who personify "change," or does he dip into the pool of insiders and Clinton-era vets with a track record of getting things done?
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Obama supporters in New York City’s Harlem react to the election of America’s first black president

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

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Transition 2009

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Listen, read and watch more about Inauguration, the presidential transition and issues facing the new government.  RSS | Podcast

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David Wall Rice: The complex joy of poll-watching with Mrs. Maple

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

So here we go - Election Day. I've rolled out of bed much, much, much earlier than normal in an effort to get to the polls before they open. I am a poll-watcher today. Exciting!
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The importance of winning central Florida, “the battleground region of the biggest battleground state”

Monday, November 03, 2008



ORLANDO, FLORIDA — I met up with Aubrey Jewett, a University of Central Florida political science professor, to find out why the “I-4 corridor,” a stretch running from Daytona on the Atlantic coast all the way over to the Tampa on Florida’s west coast, is critical to winning the presidential election. Jewett explains why this once Republican region is slowly turning Democratic.
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David Wall Rice: Sipping the Kool-Aid and voting early

Monday, November 03, 2008

I've sipped the Kool-Aid. Not the Obama brand, or the McCain for that matter. It was labeled true democracy — flavored red, white and blue. I didn't drink it all mind you, just a sip. The first time I was able to vote was as an undergraduate in school in Atlanta — Clinton vs. Bush 41 in 1992. It was simple enough. I rolled out of bed, probably went to a class or two and strolled to the poll set up in Archer Hall, our auditorium at Morehouse College. No big deal, but a big deal — people died for me to vote, so it was my responsibility to show up. It was the same with Clinton vs. Dole in 1996. This time I was in graduate school in Washington, D.C. Clinton won, again. Whatever. And it was downhill from there.
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Unemployed in central Florida: Voices behind the vote

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Trouble viewing this video? Check out the YouTube version (click “watch in high quality” for best quality).

BUENAVENTURA LAKES, FLORIDA — While visiting an early voting location in Buenaventura Lakes, less than 10 miles from Disney World, I was intrigued by one voter, David Fernandez Rido. He’s an unemployed small-business owner who is struggling to make his mortgage payments and find a job in this depressed economy. Like nearly one in two residents of this community, he’s Hispanic. He’ll soon be in the majority.
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Yes, We Van! Early voting made easy for university students in central Florida (Republicans accepted)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trouble viewing this video? Check out the YouTube version (click “watch in high quality” for best quality).



ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Early voting in Central Florida’s Orange County has already dwarfed 2004. Four years ago, a total of 79,000 people voted. Today, with two more days left in early voting, some 114,000 people have already turned out here.

Part of that total comes from the “Yes, We Van!” shuttles at the University of Central Florida. These students have been running vans from campus to early voting sites. They’re supporting Obama for the presidency, but they’ll take any student who wants to vote. Takeaway producer Jennifer Hsu rode along.
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Video: Xtreme polls 2008: Getting creative with political prognostication

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trouble viewing this video? Check out the YouTube version (click "watch in high quality" for best quality).

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Mary Elizabeth Williams: Screw the polls, voters are putting candidates where their mouths are

Thursday, October 30, 2008

In these last few days before the election, many of us are furiously surfing the Web looking for the clues to the outcome. We electoral-vote.com. We 538. We Gallup. Maybe we check out some goat entrails. But we're American. We vote with our wallets — especially when there's a delectable sweet or a meat lover's pie thrown in the deal.
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A new, strikingly accurate polling method: Shortbread cookie sales

Thursday, October 30, 2008



I spoke with Gregg Forrest, who owns and runs Layers Bakery with his wife Jeanne in Henderson, Nevada. Early voting started on October 18, but Forrest has been running an unofficial poll for several weeks from his bakery counter with some startlingly accurate results.

UPDATE:
The Layers cookie poll finished up with 467 “O-Biden” cookies to 352 for “McPalin.” (That’s 57% to 42%.) The bakery’s polling accuracy continued to be uncannily dead-on: the official voting results for Nevada showed 55% for Obama, 42% for McCain. (This is only a guess, but perhaps if Layers had offered (and sold) a handful of third-party cookies, they’d have been even closer to the final results.)
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