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Here are some of my recent posts about money for

A Look at Amish Finances: Amanda Grossman was interested in finding out how it was possible that the Amish, who don't use electricity and shun many modern conveniences, are able to own large, well maintained houses surrounded by plenty of farmland.

How to Prevent Your Waiter from Altering Your Credit Card Bill: Take a cell phone photo of your receipts and check them against your statement or use a geeky checksum method to alter-proof your receipt.

Obama's Policy Advisors Are "Devotees" of Behavioral Economics: In Greensboro, NC, teenage mothers are paid $1 a day by the city if they don't get pregnant. That's not a lot of money, but the small incentive is enough to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy in the town.

25 Traits of the Not-So-Well-To-Do: People who are in debt share 25 similar traits. Those include buying the latest consumer technology, eating out frequently, getting a new car every few years, and maintaining poor health habits.

A Visual History of Credit Cards: Caitlin McDevitt of Slate's The Big Money site has written a fun, brief history of the credit card, starting with a photo of the very first credit card, The Diners' Club from 1951.

Interview with "Nudge" Author Richard H. Thaler: Google invited Richard H. Thaler, author of the book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, to come to the Google campus and talk about behavioral economics. His hour-long presentation is a fascinating trip through irrational human behavior, especially when it comes to how we make financial decisions.

Interview with Predictably Irrational's Dan Ariely -- the Power of a T-Shirt Slogan In one experiment, Ariely gave a group of volunteers t-shirts with the word "generous" printed on them and gave another group shirts that said "stingy." It turned out the the people behaved according to the word on the shirts they were given, even when the word was printed inside the shirt so that no one else could see it.


  1. The checksumming method is pretty nifty, but I can’t imagine trying to explain it to my credit card company. :)

  2. I guess you should still save your receipts, but it makes it easier to check your statement.

  3. Yeah, I’m in a bad habit of tossing my receipts, too. I should really hold on to them. Would definitely make it a heck of a lot easier!

  4. I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to equate the “not-so-well-to-do” with those in debt…

    Plenty of us “not-so-well-to-do” avoid debt pretty stringently – we know we can’t afford it…

  5. Nice pieces, Mark.

    Some of the “25 traits” are certainly causes of financial misery, but others seem closer to symptoms.

  6. Sammich, if you’re avoiding debt and also manage to save a little each month, then you are doing pretty well. At least better than most.

  7. The article on the Amish neglects to mention all the money that comes in from their puppy-mills. There is well-documented evidence of the horrific cruelty that goes on at these “establishments”.

    The Amish may be frugal but they’re sure as hell not my role models.

  8. Sorry Mark, aren’t you the one who offers money advice but didn’t know until two months ago that wasn’t free? As boring and unlikeable as he may be, I’d still follow Clark Howard’s advice over anyone.

  9. The ’25 Traits’ article is judgmental and self-righteous. I can see the validity in some of the reported traits, but others just seem to be an excuse to talk about all the things that poor people could do to be not poor.

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