Personal Finance 

Super Bowl Buffalo Wing Recipe

Who doesn’t like wings? Even without any sauce what soever, they’re the perfect combination of crispy skin and delicious dark meat chicken that make it the perfect snack food – especially on Super Bowl Sunday.

When it comes to wings, I prefer them to be unbreaded. This is partly because I don’t have a deep fryer and partly because I don’t like the greasiness of deep fried wings. When making wings at home, I find that the best way to make them is to season them and then throw them on the grill. Charcoal grill if you have them, for that awesome smokey flavor, and a propane grill if you want to be fast. If you have any wood chips, you can always put them on the grill to infuse a little bit of that smoky flavor. After grilling them, I brush or toss with sauce and then broil in the over to get that extra crispy texture when the sugars in the sauce caramelize.

Is your mouth watering yet? If not, here we go!
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 Personal Finance 

Can You Make Money Taking Surveys?

Yes, it’s true but before this ends up sounding like a bad informercial, let’s be clear. You’re not going to make a living taking surveys but if you’re looking for extra spending money, an income source for your emergency fund, or a way to pay for a piece of your family vacation, this may be worth a look.

If you didn’t know that marketers would pay for your opinion, here’s how it works. Marketing has never been a very efficient business. For every 100 pieces of direct mail sent, an average of 3 will get a response and how many advertisements do you see on TV that don’t fit your lifestyle? Companies pay a lot of money in wasted advertising just to find the few that will turn in to revenue but as marketing evolves, the old way of doing things is changing.

Manufacturers would rather pay you a small fee for your opinions before making a full investment in to a product. By picking out a group of people from their database that would be likely to use the product, they can get targeted feedback with minimal expense. They would rather pay you a small amount of money than invest millions in to product development and advertising campaigns.

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Kids & Money: Teach Your Kids about Credit Cards

credit cardsFor many parents, the idea of teaching their children about credit cards seems absurd. The thinking is that mentioning credit cards encourages irresponsible financial behavior. As a result, some parents avoid the subject of credit cards altogether.

It is important to realize, though, that just ignoring credit cards won’t guarantee that your child won’t use them — and use them irresponsibly — in the future. Your best option is to teach your children about credit cards, and how they can be used appropriately.

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 Frugal Living 

Target Arts + Culture: Free & Discounted Events

TargetMuch like Bank of America’s Museums on Us promotion, Target Arts + Culture is a program put on by Target in which you can get discounted or complimentary passes to a variety of arts and cultural sites in your area. The program isn’t nearly as widespread as Bank of America’s program but in many cities you can get discounted or free tickets to local venues. The larger the city, the greater the number of options.

For example, Baltimore has just one discounted venue (Port Discovery) while New York City had eleven free venues. If nothing else, it’s worth checking out to see if there’s something fun you can do on the cheap!

(Photo: hellomokona)

 Personal Finance 

Series EE Savings Bonds Explained

When the United States issues treasury bonds, bills, and notes, they are asking you, the taxpayer, for a loan. In exchange for that loan, they pay you a set interest rate just as you pay credit card and mortgage companies a set interest rate to use their money.

Many of us as children received savings bonds as gifts. These were easy to purchase and used to offer an attractive rate of return but is that still true today? There are two types of savings bonds left: the I bond and the EE bond. We’ll leave the I bond for another time but let’s take a look at the EE bond.

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 Health Care 

What are Some of the Effects of PPACA?

Health Insurance ReformIn March of 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Since then, challenges to the PPACA have been wending their way through the justice system.

In December 2011, the Supreme Court announced that it will listen to arguments about the law, which affects the way health insurance is purchased in the United States, in March of 2012. A ruling on the constitutionality of the law is expected in June 2012. The PPACA is expected to have an effect on consumers, since it requires everyone to purchase health insurance by 2014 — or be fined.

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 Devil's Advocate 

Rent Your Furniture

Devils Advocate Logo
This is a Devil's Advocate post.

Here’s a topic you don’t see being covered every day – renting furniture. Renting furniture is often regarded as a bad idea, and for most situations I have to agree, it’s not a good idea. There are, however, some instances where renting isn’t as bad as you think.

The biggest strike against renting furniture is that it’s expensive. After doing some quick research online at Cort (it gave me the DC rates), you can rent a nice queen bedroom set for under $200 a month. A comparable bedroom set from a department store would be around $2,000. So you’re paying a significant premium when it comes to renting furniture. I don’t think anyone would dispute that the biggest strike against renting furniture is cost.

So why would I advocate renting furniture? Sometimes the situation requires it.

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 Your Take 

Your Take: Hard Work or Connections?

The WSJ Wealth Report blog talked about a Pew Research Center study that attempted to find the origins of the conflict between rich and poor, which has been playing out in the headlines lately. While the main story talked about the impression of significant conflict between the rich and poor, the part that interested me was the same one that caught Robert Frank’s eye – did the rich get rich from hard work or their social network? That poll showed that 46% of respondents thought they were born with money or knew the right people, while 43% thought hard work, ambition or education was the root reason.

There obviously isn’t a definite answer, there will probably never be, but the question is an intriguing one. My belief is that both are necessary and the more you have of either, the higher your probability for finding success. Whether that success comes in the form of money or in the form of achievements, it’s hard to argue that you can be successful without hard work, ambition, education, or knowing the right people. Whether you’re rich depends on where you point yourself. You can be a successful philanthropist and not have a high net worth, you’d still be seen as very successful, you just chose a different path.

What do you think?

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