Monday, January 31, 2011

Daily Dose: The Submarines - Submarine Symphonika

Eco Friendly Dorm Ideas

Dorm life isn't always practical, and that's what makes college fun. There are plenty of small changes you can make to your daily routine that will make your dorm greener.

Turn off your power strip when you go to sleep and unplug it from the wall. Most students have several appliances plugged into power strips due to the dorm room's lack of outlets. This makes it easy to save energy, since you only have to unplug one cord. Always unplug--even if something is turned off, it's still using energy.

Buy reusable dishes, cups and utensils instead of throwing away paper plates and plastic utensils every time you eat. If it's not practical for you to wash reusables in a sink, opt for biodegradable plates made of recycled material and utensils that can be placed in a recycling bin. Avoid using drinking straws, too.

Buy a water pitcher with a filter if you have your own fridge. This way, you can always have clean water available without buying plastic water bottles. The bottled water industry creates millions of tons of plastic waste while draining energy, oil and natural water sources. Using a thermos to carry water to class or the gym is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bottle.

Find a paper-recycling bin on campus if you don't have one in your dorm. Stick all of those old fliers, magazines and newspapers in a reusable bag and empty it there every week or two--this will eliminate waste and keep your room tidy. At the end of the semester, go through all the notes and handouts you've accumulated and bring whatever you don't need to the recycling bin instead of the trash can.

Save energy--and burn calories--by taking the stairs rather than the elevator to your room. If you live on an upper floor and go in and out of your residence hall often, aim to at least cut in half the amount of times you take the elevator daily. If you live any lower than the fourth floor, the stairs should always be your first option.

Article Found:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daily Dose: Blind Pilot - Story I Heard

Turn Your Dorm Into a Home

One of the most exciting things about going away to college is moving into the dorms. However, when homesickness strikes, your dorm room can seem almost like an alien planet if you do not decorate in a way that makes you feel like your little space belongs entirely to you. Help make your dorm room feel like home by incorporating the best of the new college you and the old you into homey dormitory decor

Use your old comforter or a cozy afghan to make your room look more familiar. The best way to make a dorm room feel like home is to bring one of the most integral parts of your old room with you. A familiar comforter not only makes everything look a little more comfortable, but it is reassuring to snuggle up under when the nights are cold or long.
Customize the lighting. While you probably cannot change the light fixtures in your dorm room, you can accessorize with softer lighting. Large paper lanterns that plug into the wall or a pleasantly shaded lamp will prevent you from having to use harsh fluorescent lights all the time.

Hang up the bulletin board and begin decorating it with old and new photos. This will help you keep your friends and family close but also begin to make new friends. As your collage grows with the passing year, you will be able to look at it during down times to remind yourself that you are glad to be in college and that you are going to make a success of your time there.

Mount the wall shelf. You can usually do this with a drill and two screws. Most dorms do not prohibit hanging this type of space saver as long as you do not damage the wall.

Place some favorite books or other items from your old room on the shelf. If you put books on it, make sure to use steady bookends to make sure that you do not end up under them in the middle of the night.

Full Article

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daily Dose: Band of Horses - The Great Salt Lake

How to Survive Dorm Bathrooms

When you first move into a college dorm, the biggest adjustment you might have to make is to using the dorm bathroom. Only the luckiest of dorm dwellers, at very few colleges, have private or semi-private bathrooms. Most people living in a dorm have to share a bathroom with dozens of other students.

1. Find out right away if the bathroom is coed if you live in a coed dormitory. Many coed dorms separate guys and girls by floor or wing and keep bathrooms separate. But some coed dorms have guys and girls living next door to each other. In these dorms, the bathrooms could be single sex or coed.

2. Get over the shock if you find out your bathroom is coed. At first it feels very uncomfortable, shortly it starts to feel normal. Coed bathrooms do not usually have urinals and if they do they are inside the stalls. In time you get to know all of the other people who share the bathroom and see the opposite sex like sometimes annoying siblings.

3. Learn the cleaning schedule. Dorm bathrooms sometimes get cleaned during the week, but not on the weekend. Find out what the cleaning schedule is for your bathroom and try to coordinate your bathroom use to right after a cleaning. Of course you have to use the toilets in between, but time showers and other extended bathroom use to follow a visit from the cleaning person.

4. Wear shower shoes, flip flops or sandals when going into the bathroom if you are barefoot. Keep your flip flops on when taking a shower to avoid getting athletes foot, staph and other infections that can be transmitted from shower floors.

5. Use common sense. Assess the cleanliness of the bathroom before using it. If someone throws up in a bathroom stall on a Friday night, and the cleaning person isn't coming until Monday, consider putting on rubber gloves and cleaning it yourself. If you don't want to clean it, notify the Resident Director or whoever is in charge of the building to see if they can call in a cleaning person.

Article Found:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daily Dose: Chromeo - Bonafied Lovin

Dorm Privacy

It's difficult enough to have privacy in a house, so privacy in a 12 x 12 dorm room is next to impossible. However, it can be done if both roommates are willing to cooperate.

Tie a scarf to the outside doorknob as a symbol of Do Not Disturb, but be careful not to do this too consistently. Forewarn your roommate beforehand about possible days and times when this scarf will be on the door so your roommate will have the ability to make plans ahead of time instead of it being a surprise, especially if you plan to have an overnight guest. Be considerate if your roommate needs to get into the room regardless of the scarf on the door to get something out of the dorm because it is his dorm room too.

Use a shower curtain to separate one side of the dorm from the other. It's a little difficult to do this with a shower curtain on a wall because the pole tends to slide down when the shower curtain is repeatedly moved. It's much easier to take one side of the shower curtain or a blanket, tape it to a steady piece of furniture (i.e., desk), and then tape the other side of the blanket or shower curtain to the wall.

If one roommate is a light sleeper and the other is a heavy sleeper, the heavy sleeper could consider an alternate way to wake herself up besides an alarm. Heavy sleepers tend to ignore alarms, but sometimes vibrating cell phones feels like someone is shaking them. Using a vibrating cell phone is also a quieter way to not disturb the light sleeping roommate.

Take cell phone calls outside of the room. Your roommate may not want to hear your conversation or you may want some privacy, but your roommate should not have to leave every time you have a phone call. The roommate who is not on the phone has no way of knowing how often you will have phone calls and should not be put out because you do.

Ask if it's okay to have a guest in the room. Although your roommate is not your parent, and you may feel like this is your room too, remember that it's also his room. He may not want company when you do. If one roommate is more sociable than the other and guests become a repeated argument, consider asking the resident director if you can swap roommates with someone else.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Daily Dose: Lupe Fiasco - Hip Hop Save My Life

Dorm or Apartment?

Apartment or Dorm? This is one of the biggest college decisions you’ll make. With one wrong choice, you can make yourself miserable. How do you make the right choice? How can you decide what will work best for you? The following steps will help walk you through the process of choosing between a college dorm room and an apartment.

Determine the amount you can afford to spend. Before you choose between a dorm room and an apartment, you need to check your funds. Can you afford to rent an apartment? How much does a dorm room cost? Is a dorm room covered by financial aid? These are all questions to ask yourself. The last thing you want to do is work two jobs to cover the cost of housing.

Decide whether or not you can stand living with a roommate. Most dorm rooms are shared by at least two students. This is something you must consider. Chances are that you won’t know the person you’re paired with. You may not even get along with him or her. Is this something you could live with? If not, an apartment may be a better option.

Consider the amount of space you need. Are you the type of person that just needs a place to sleep and study, or do you like to stretch out a bit? You must remember that dorm rooms are extremely small, while an apartment usually offers at least four rooms.

Think about the distance to classes. A dorm room gives you the advantage of living on campus. This allows you to walk to class each day. You can usually find apartments close to a campus, but the cost is usually more expensive than apartments that are further away. If you don't have a vehicle, a dorm room may be the better option.

Take rules into consideration. Dorm rooms and apartments both have rules. For the most part, an apartment will come with fewer rules. A landlord will require you to keep the apartment clean and may have a rule against parties. A dorm room, on the hand, will come with a booklet of rules that you must abide by.

Article Found:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Daily Dose: Yeasayer - O.N.E.

Mental Illness Increase in College Students

Severe mental illness is more common among US college students than it was a decade ago, National Public Radio reported Monday.

Citing statistics collected by the American Psychological Association, NPR reported that the number of students on psychiatric medicines has increased by more than 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.

College counselors have reported a notable rise not only in the number of students seeking help for mental disorders, but also a rise in the severity of their illnesses.

The author of the research added that in 1998, nearly all of the students seeking help at college clinics were diagnosed with one disorder. By 2009, 96 percent of students seeking treatment had more than one illness. Most were diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders as well as adjustment disorders or problems associated with impaired functioning.

One reason offered for the rise has to do with the high rates of successful rates of treating high schoolers with mental illness. As a result, many more teens with pre-existing mental problems are attending college, the research suggested.

The study authors also noted an increase in the number of students who are not socially connected, which is known to contribute to depressive disorders.

One positive finding was that, while severe depression is apparently on the rise, the percentage of students experiencing suicidal thoughts has declined dramatically in the last 10 years.

Article Found:

Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Healthy Dorm Room Breakfast -- powered by

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daily Dose: Shout Out Louds - You Are Dreaming

Beat The Freshmen 15

How to Eat Healthy in a Dorm -- powered by

More Students Living at Home

Lauren Katalinich saved a lot of money by living at home during her freshman year at the University of Iowa.

So much money, she paid living expenses while she was an exchange student at the University of Lancaster, England, during her junior year.

But while the savings were important, sacrificing a freshman year in the dorms was difficult, said Katalinich, now a senior majoring in international studies and French.

“I pretty much blocked out most of my freshman year,” she said. “It was a little bit shameful to think, ‘Oh, you’re still living with your parents.’ I wasn’t able to make a group of friends like I did in high school.”

Kelsey Carder, a UI sophomore studying health promotions, pays her tuition with loans. So living at home in north Coralville — a 20- to 30-minute commute from campus — reduced her debt. Carder said she likes the savings and talking with her parents about her day, but she admitted getting to know people on campus was sometimes difficult.

At first, telling friends she lived with her parents was embarrassing.

“Then they would say, ‘Good idea, save some money,’ or, ‘Wow, I wish I could have done that,’ ” she said.
Students living at home represent a trend in American college life. In 2008, they made up 31.5 percent of all U.S. undergraduates, according to U.S. Department of Education reports.

A July 2009 survey by the National Retail Foundation found the number of college students planning to or considering living at home increased from slightly fewer than 50 percent in 2007 to 59.3 percent during the 2009-10 school year.

And the reason was simple: the poor economy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daily Dose: Metric - Gimme Sympathy

Get Your Space Organized

Not the best video but she has a few good ideas...

How to Organize a Studio or Small Apartment -- powered by

Degree #1 - Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

Are you a natural leader? A degree in business administration can hone your communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills and prepare you as a manager and team-builder. It can also open the doors to a variety of fields and opportunities - many of which pay quite well. From marketing to health care to public relations, employers need people with a good foundation in business administration to fill all kinds of positions.

Related Careers & Salaries:
Public Relations Specialist: $51,000 
Corporate Finance Analyst: $73,150
Elementary or Secondary School Administrator: $83,000
Human Resource Manager: $96,000
Marketing Manager: $105,000

Degree #2 - Bachelor's Degree in Health Care Administration

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, few industries in the world are expanding as quickly as health care. Want a degree that will prepare you for this fast-growing field? With a degree in health care administration, you'll be able to use your honest desire to help others to provide patients with a positive health care experience - and make a good living doing it.

Related Careers & Salaries:
Medical Office Assistant: $28,300
Health Information Technician: $30,610
Health Benefits Specialist: $53,860
Assistant Hospital Manager: $80,240

Degree #3 - Associate's Degree in Paralegal Studies

Intrigued by the legal world but not interested in going through law school? A degree in paralegal studies can let you enjoy the satisfaction of being part of the legal system without the three years of law school training. According to the Department of Labor, paralegals are gaining new responsibilities in legal offices and now perform many of the same tasks as lawyers.
Related Careers & Salaries:
Paralegal for Employment Services: $50,050
Paralegal for Insurance Carriers: $52,200
Paralegal for the Federal Executive Branch: $58,540

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daily Dose: James Yuill - No Surprise

University of Michigan: Not So Sure About Melting Ice Caps

A University of Michigan study released Tuesday claims shrinking snow and ice cover intensify global warming. But many skeptics question the conclusions and point to the limited amount of data over time that the researchers had available.
Mark Flanner, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences is the lead researcher. He has analyzed data from satellites over the last three decades in the northern hemisphere.
“The implication is that Earth's climate may be more sensitive to increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and other perturbations than models predict," Flanner said in a press release.
Pat Michaels, a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute, said in an e-mail that while many do not dispute that the phenomenon of “greenhouse warming” exists, what is important is the “amount of warming.” He said that it is clearly below what was predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at University of Alabama-Huntsville, said scientists have only been measuring Arctic sea ice since 1979. He said researchers who start with the conclusion that is a “normal” period for temperatures could not be proven right or wrong.
“That is the mistake everyone makes in this business,” Spencer said. “You can’t prove them wrong. It is one thing to measure what has happened. But to figure out cause and effect is extremely different. Yet, that makes all the difference in the world when determining man-made global warming.”
Thermometer readings in the Arctic suggest that it was just as warm in the 1930s as it is now, he said.

Fox Shoots Hunter

A wounded fox shot its would-be killer in Belarus…by pulling the trigger on the hunter’s gun, as the pair scuffled, after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region.

“The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw,” one prosecutor was quoted as saying.

Fox hunting is popular in the picturesque farming region of northwestern Belarus that borders Poland.

Article Found:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Daily Dose: The Bravery - An Honest Mistake

How to Evaluate an Apartment

Is Higher Learning a Waste?

A new report, issued by the authors of the bookAcademically Adrift, bolsters the notion that college students are spending less time studying than earlier students and are "failing to develop the broad-based skills and knowledge they should be expected to master." Professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa surveyed 3,000 students on 29 campuses and found that--based on transcripts, surveys and the standardized test the Collegiate Learning Assessment--45 percent of students showed "no significant gains in learning" after two years in college. Their research also finds that students spent 50 percent less time studying "compared with students a few decades ago." 

A minority of them start with a good high-school education and attend colleges that challenge them with hard work. They learn some things worth knowing. The rest--most college students--start underprepared, and go to colleges that ask little of them and provide little in return. Their learning gains are minimal or nonexistent. Among them, those with a reasonable facility for getting out of bed in the morning and navigating a bureaucracy receive a credential that falsely certifies learning. Others don't get even that.

Read the Full Article

Monday, January 17, 2011

Daily Dose: Moving Units - Between Us and Them

I Have a Dream...

Welcome to the Most Depressing Day of the Year

Mondays are considered to be the most depressing day of the week as people return to work; however, January 17 is said to be even worse. 

The third Monday in January is considered to be the most depressing day of the year.

Dubbed "Blue Monday" by a professor at the University of Cardiff in Wales, it takes into account things like weather, Christmas debt and how we feel after the holidays. 

About 20 per cent of Canadians will feel a touch of depression between November and March, while some feel seasonal effective disorder.

Experts said that the best way to deal with Mondays is to relax, try not to do anything too stressful and possibly treat yourself.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Daily Dose: Ra Ra Riot - Oh, La

7 Question Screening Could Spot Depression in Students

Among students who go to university health centers for a physical ailment, between one-fifth and one-quarter are depressed, but the condition often goes undiagnosed because most university health centers don't screen for depression, a new study reports.
The researchers also found that 2 to 3 percent of these depressed students have had suicidal thoughts or are considering suicide.
"Depression screening is easy to do, we know it works, and it can save lives. It should be done for every student who walks into a health center," lead author Dr. Michael Fleming, a professor of family and community medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a university news release.
Fleming and his colleagues surveyed 1,622 students who went to health centers at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Washington and the University of British Columbia. The study findings are published in the January issue of theAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry.
Screening for depression is simple, Fleming said. While sitting in the health center waiting area, students can answer seven questions about depression that can be immediately entered into his or her electronic health record. During the appointment, the health care provider can address any issues about sadness or depression.
The consequences of not identifying and treating students with depression can be serious and even deadly.
"These kids might drop out of school because they are so sad, or hurt or kill themselves by drinking too much or taking drugs," Fleming said.
He noted that university students face many challenges, and events such as a low grade or problems with a boyfriend or girlfriend can trigger depression.
"If you don't take the opportunity to screen at every [health center] visit, you are going to miss these kids," Fleming said.

Amazing What You Can Do With 300 SqFt

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Daily Dose: Low vs Diamond - Don't Forget Sister

Feng Shui & Color

One of the easiest ways of creating harmony and balance in your apartment is by adding color. This is also one of the most rewarding Feng Shui adjustments you can make.


Blends all the colors of light and represents truth, harmony, purity and the way to higher spiritual knowledge.


Associated with mystery and the unknown. When used carefully it can be considered powerful and dramatic but in excess it soaks up energy and vitality.


Denotes vitality and energy and is associated with joy, strength, love and motivation.


Offers a sense of spiritual completeness and contentment and promotes healing.


A happy color that inspires hope, confidence and enthusiasm. It also stimulates creativity and nurtures ambition.


A mood-lifter, stimulating joy, optimism and a sense of well-being.


An abundance of nature and is both restful and energising.


Generates harmony, hope, calm and stimulates creativity, communication and spiritual understanding.


Associated with intuition, dignity and wisdom. Purple is also considered very soothing and calming and can create the perfect atmosphere for meditation.

Feng shui

Feng Shui practitioners believe that all colours can affect Ch'i energy differently as the energy in the colour ‘speaks’ and helps to connect the mind, body and spirit.
Feng Shui inspire you to decorate your dining room, living and kitchen areas in warm colours from the red/yellow side of the spectrum and neutrals are preferred for hall and entryways. The cool colours from the blue/violet side are used in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Get Organized

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Daily Dose: Tokyo Police Club - Nature of the Experiment

Student Dont Get Science

Researchers from Michigan State University say most college students in the United States don't understand scientific basics. The report comes from the January issue of Bio-Science. It looked at more than 500 students from 13 US colleges and tested their knowledge on courses ranging from biology to ecology.
Most students in the study didn't know the basics of weight loss, climate change or how plants gather energy. The researchers say high school and college level instructors need to do a better job teaching science fundamentals.

Cheesy But Interesting Tips for Moving

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily Dose: Beautiful Small Machines - Counting Back To 1

Simple Ways to Save Cash In College

1. Calculate What You Need
Estimating the amount of money you need can lead to more deliberate decisions when applying for aid or filling out scholarship applications. A simple way to calculate what you will need is to subtract your expected family contribution from the cost of attendance. The difference is the amount you will need in financial aid.

2. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
The FAFSA is the only way to be eligible for federal financial aid, and it is available January 1 of your senior year of high school. If you haven't filed this year's taxes, you can estimate based on last year's tax information and any differences in income from the past year. Depending on when you submit the FAFSA, you'll generally receive your financial aid award letters from colleges indicating how much aid you will receive by March or April.

3. Find Free Information on Scholarships
You will undoubtedly come across many opportunities to pay for information about scholarships. Whether the offer comes from a college admissions consultant or an online ad, there is absolutely no need to pay for scholarship information that is already free and readily available. Some suggested online scholarship sites that are free and easy to navigate are, and

4. Look Beyond Dollar Amounts
While skimming over hundreds of scholarships, be mindful not to disregard scholarships that look small in dollar amount but are actually renewable. Certain scholarships can be renewed each college year, often depending on maintaining a minimum GPA or studying within a certain major. So while a $2,500 scholarship may seem miniscule, it could potentially be $10,000 of your total tuition.

5. Pursue Merit Scholarships from Colleges
Many colleges offer merit aid scholarships that can put higher-priced schools within your reach. Often, merit aid scholarships can be renewed, reducing your overall college cost by 50 percent or more. Interested now? These scholarships are easy to find using websites like or which will allow you to search through thousands of merit aid scholarships offered by colleges.

Full Article:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Daily Dose: Dr. Dog - Heart It Races

Do You Value Self-Esteem Over Sex?

Sex, favorite foods, alcohol, a visit with a best friend and a paycheck – a self-esteem boost trumps them all for most college students, according to two new studies that asked students to rate the pleasant activities they most desired.

"These are college students, look at this list of activities," said Brad Bushman, lead study researcher and a professor of communication and psychology at The Ohio State University.

"College students love sex, they love to eat — any place there is free food, they are there," Bushman told LiveScience, continuing through the list. "And yet they love self-esteem more."

When the results of the two studies were broken down by gender, however, self-esteem didn't trump everything. Male students preferred it to all other activities, but among women, self-esteem boosts, such as those linked with getting a good grade or a compliment, rated neck-and-neck with money and friends.

In the first study, Bushman's team asked 130 University of Michigan students, who received course credit, to think about their favorite food, sexual activity and self-esteem building experiences. Then they had to rate on a scale from 1 to 5 how much they liked it – "How pleasant would it be to eat it (food), do it (sex), or have that experience (self-esteem)?" – and how much they wanted it – "How much do you want to eat it (food), do it (sex), or have that experience (self-esteem)?"

n the second study, the 152 students rated how much they wanted and liked the same pleasurable experiences described in the first study as well as receiving a paycheck, seeing a best friend and drinking alcohol.

Overall, the participants liked all the activities more than they wanted, or needed, them, which is healthy, the researchers said. But the difference between liking and wanting was the smallest for self-esteem building experiences. This is significant, because addiction research suggests that addicts tend to "want" the object of their addiction more than they actually "like" it, according to Bushman.

"Notice for self-esteem the gap is the smallest, so if people are addicted to anything, they are addicted to self-esteem," he said, cautioning that the study results don't indicate any kind of addiction.

Only on Etsy...

"Are you a dog lover? Well what a great way to tell the world. This is a soft soft caftan decorated with more than a dozen beautiful dogs. The neck is bound to prevent any sort of stretching and the seams are completely finished to insure that the inside of your garment is as lovely as the outside. It is made of anti-pill fleece and sized to fit everyone up to a 5X. It is machine washable and can be machine dried or dried on a hanger."

And it's SOLD!! Be on the lookout for someone wearing this one of a kind piece.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Daily Dose: Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent

9 Reasons Why 2011 Will Cost YOU more

Health Care
"EBRI says that there's really no way to avoid saving for added health care costs, given the economic terrain now and in the future 'because employers are continuing to scale back retiree health benefits." They also estimated that both men and women would need a nest egg anywhere between $111,000 to $406,000 to cover their future health care expenses. 

Three economists, one psychic and a Coke Bottle app can't be wrong: Deflation's going to have a huge impact on consumer spending and saving next year.

"Retailers will remain reluctant to raise prices," says Mark Lieberman, a private economic consultant and former senior economist for Fox Business Network. Consumers will also likely be reluctant to invest in long-term commitments like mortgages or personal loans.

Consumer Price Index
Jeanine Skowronski reported back in November, "falling prices can actually hurt an already shaky economy by actually discouraging spending as consumers wait for prices to fall even lower." That's a recipe for a toxic cocktail of massive layoffs, company cutbacks and a possible double-dip recession.

Mortgage Rates
If interest rates shoot up the way economists and market experts expect them to, mortgage shoppers won't be pleased. As Jeff Brown wrote earlier this month, the current "rates are still so low there's a better chance they'll go up than down," and "while [home shoppers] might get a cheaper mortgage today than in six or eight months, the housing market is still pretty risky. Prices are continuing to fall … so a home bought today could be worth less later."

Bank of America  dropped its free checking this year and thanks to financial reform, more big banks could follow suit. To avoid the extra charges but still receive solid service, follow Brian O'Connell's tips to survive the demise of free checking.

Home Prices
No one was surprised by October 2010's news that home prices had weakened, but fears of a double-dip recession remain palpable. Experts predict another drop in U.S. home prices, while some are speculating that the market won't regain its footing until 2014.

Auto Loans
Lenders might be loosening their tight grip on cash for auto loans, but that doesn't mean those loans will cost any less in 2011. Interest rates are set to rise and with that comes larger fees down the line. Now might be the time to consider refinancing if you already have a loan.

Gas Prices
The high cost of gas didn't deter Americans from their annual holiday shopping spree, but next year it might. As reported on our sister site,, "Over the course of the calendar year the price has increased a relatively modest 13%; however, some analysts are concerned that prices have jumped almost 30% since September which could fuel inflation and impede further global economic growth." [See 'The Craziest Thing I Did to Save Money']

The airlines will hate us for this, but it's true. Until a sweeping package of consumer rights is passed, there's just no getting around the stupid baggage, peanut, leg room, headphone, blanket, carry-on and coach fees they love to charge.

Read the full article;_ylt=AtOl2h7KXoNSz1765g3tPqy7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTFhNGQxajI3BHBvcwMzBHNlYwNwZXJzb25hbEZpbmFuY2UEc2xrAzlyZWFzb25zMjAxMQ--