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The More You Think About Money, The Less People Like You

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Money Party

WASHINGTON — Subtle reminders of money can affect the way people behave in social settings, causing them to be less engaged with others, suggests new research.

A group of researchers discussed results from ongoing investigations into how money impacts social relationships here at the 25th annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) on Sunday (May 26).

"Money holds lots of different associations for different people," said Kathleen Vohs, an associate professor of marketing in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who moderated an APS panel on the topic. "There can be social benefits and social costs to reminders of money."

To study whether money can impact social relationships, Nicole Mead, an assistant professor at the Rotterdam School of Management in The Netherlands, designed an experiment to gauge whether indirect reminders of money could influence how an individual perceives another person during a live encounter. [5 Ways Relationships Are Good For You]

Pairs of participants began by completing a survey, during which time one person was exposed to a reminder of money, such as having to fill out the survey on top of a laminated poster showing dollar bills.

The test subjects were then brought together to have a 10-minute structured conversation. The participants started with basic questions to get acquainted with one another, before moving toward more personal and intimate discussions.

"This was intended to mimic the growing development of a social relationship," Mead explained.

Individuals who had been reminded of money perceived the other person to be less likeable during these interactions, indicating that even subtle money cues can impact interpersonal harmony.

The money priming didn't make the other person seem "nasty or horrible or completely unlikeable, but just slightly dampened their interpersonal appeal," Mead said.

Mead and her colleagues suggest that people have different expectations for social interactions involving money, which could explain these changes in behavior.

"We don't think it's necessarily the case that money makes people not want to have relationships with others in general, they just want very specific types of relationships," Mead said. "It's not a desire to be nasty or mean to other people, but just a subtle difference in wanting to engage in relationships based on principles of exchange rather than communal bonds."

Since money has been ingrained as a way of exchanging goods or services for mutual benefit, people are less likely to invest personal emotions into these types of social interactions, Mead said.

"When you prime people with money, they approach their social interactions in a fundamentally different way than they normally would," said Nathan DeWall, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, who has conducted similar research on the psychology of money. "Whereas when most people are presented with the possibility of having an interaction with another person, with anticipated rewards that accompany that, when you prime people with money, they just approach it in a socially disengaged and less rewarding manner. And this has profound consequences for their behavior."

Follow Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow LiveScience @livescienceFacebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.com.

SEE ALSO: TRUE CONFESSION: I Am A Trust Fund Baby And I Did Nothing To Earn It

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This Is A Real 1953 Volkswagen Beetle Formed Into A Perfect Sphere

New Portrait Of Queen For Royal Stamp Is Called 'Abominable' By Experts

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Queen Full Portrai_2576513b

A new portrait of the Queen, commissioned by Royal Mail to adorn a stamp marking the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, has been derided by critics who said it looked more like Margaret Thatcher.

The painting, by artist Nicky Philipps, was branded “abominable” by experts who said it did not bear a strong likeness to the monarch.

The stamp is one of a series of six released to celebrate royal portraiture and will be available to buy from Thursday.

Although dozens of images of the Queen have featured on UK stamps over the last 60 years, it is the first time Royal Mail has ever commissioned its own portrait.

Estelle Lovatt, an art critic and lecturer, said: “It’s Thatcher meets Rumpole of the Bailey meets Hogarth, in Hogarthian England all the worse or perhaps the better for a glug of gin.

“It’s surely dreadful, embarrassing, monstrous. It looks more like my neighbour than the Queen.”

David Lee, editor of satirical art magazine The Jackdaw, said the portrait resembled “a bloke wearing a wig and earrings” and had “a hint of Churchill about it”.

He added: “Isolate the face so you see only the features and it is certainly unrecognisable as the Queen.

“As usual the real problem lies with the likeness. The facial features aren’t right. She doesn’t actually look like this, and never has; a distant foreign relative of the Queen perhaps, but not the Queen herself."

Philipps, 48, painted a double portrait of the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry for the National Portrait Gallery, which was unveiled in 2010 to critical acclaim.

stamps queen_2576515c

However, portraits of the Queen are often the subject of ridicule, as artist Dan Llywelyn Hall found to his cost earlier this month when his own attempt to mark the anniversary of the coronation was likened to a “drag impersonator”.

Rupert Alexander, who painted the Queen in 2010, said he thought Philipps’s portrait one of the more “successful” of recent years with its strong sense of light and well-constructed composition.

But he said the general standard of paintings was no longer as good as it was in the days of Rembrandt or Velasquez because there were no artists who boasted the same technical abilities.

“When realist painting was superseded by modernism around the turn of the century, traditional practices were no longer taught in art schools, and the knowledge was, for the most part, lost,” he said.

“Presently there seems to be a renewed interest in figurative painting, which may slowly lead to an increase in the quality of work being produced.”

Lee agreed: “The sad truth is that the basics of portrait painting are no longer taught," he said.

"We no longer train painters to have the drawing skills to catch a likeness effortlessly every time.”

The Queen, who is depicted wearing the Order of the Garter robes, sat three times for Philipps in the Chinese Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace last autumn.

The artist said: “It was a great honour to be selected for this prestigious commission and I have enjoyed the process immensely.

“Her Majesty was wonderfully patient and friendly during the sittings and I hope she is pleased with the final result. I know she will be happy to see her corgis immortalised!"

The stamp was approved for release by the Queen, although the Palace declined to comment on the painting.

Philip Parker, head of stamp strategy at Royal Mail, said he thought it an “excellent portrait”.

He added: “We have featured the Queen many times over the last 60 years but when we looked back we realised that Royal Mail had never commissioned an original painted portrait.

“We thought the anniversary of the coronation was a marvellous time to correct that.”

The five other portraits featuring in the special series were produced between 1953 and 2000 by artists Terence Cuneo, Andrew Festing, Pietro Annigoni, Sergei Pavlenko and Richard Stone.

Royal Mail is gifting the latest work to the Royal Collection.

SEE ALSO: The First Official Portrait Of Kate Middleton Is ... Interesting

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19 Tiny Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Quickly Get Healthier

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HealthA Reddit-user recently asked: What is one small lifestyle change you can do to be healthier?

The suggestions came pouring in. We've selected our favorite small lifestyle tweaks, which over time, should lead to larger personal changes. 

1. Learn to drink your coffee black.

Coffee is good for you (in moderation). Eliminating milk, cream, sugar, or flavorings will cut calories and maximize coffee's health benefits.

2. Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. 

This is an easy multi-tasking activity that can improve your balance

3. Spread avocado on your toast instead of butter. 

Avocados are a good source of healthy fats. The fleshy green fruit is a mainstay on the "superfood" list

4. Meditate for just 20 minutes a day.  

At least a dozen executives swear by the relaxing technique.

5. Eat fruit instead of candy.  

Candy is sweet because it contains processed sugar, usually high fructose corn syrup. Fruit is sweet because it contains natural sugar, while it's also rich in fiber and vitamins. 

6. Learn how to cook.

You will eat healthier, save money on dining out, and boost your self-esteem armed with a new skill. 

7. Park farther away from your destination. 

This is an easy way to squeeze more physical activity into your daily routine. 

8. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. 

This will burn calories and tone leg muscles.

9. Shop on a full stomach.

Studies show that people who snack before a grocery trip buy fewer unhealthy foods

10. Drink more water.

The benefits of staying hydrated are endless — healthier hair, skin, and more energy. Some fitness experts claim you can lose weight if you drink water before every meal

11. Turn off your phone from time to time.

Occasionally unplugging can help stressed individuals achieve a state of complete relaxation

12. Read a book.

Expand your knowledge, reduce stress, and briefly cut ties with the Internet. 

13. Walk faster. 

Power walking will help blast fat — and get you to your destination sooner. 

14. Eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread.

Whole wheat bread is higher in fiber than regular white bread. Fiber helps with digestion.

15. Moisturize daily. 

A good moisturizing regimen prevents dry, flaky skin.  

16. Stretch every day.  

Studies have shown that, in addition to enhancing flexibility, stretching makes you stronger and increases endurance

17. Regularly wash your hands with soap and water and dry properly.

This simple step gets rids of germs and drying off prevents the spread of bacteria.  

18. If you are a regular public transport user, get on the bus one stop later than usual, and get off off one stop earlier than usual.

Walking burns calories, reduces anxiety, and strengthens bones

19. Wear sunscreen. 

You don't want skin cancer. And you don't want to look like this

SEE ALSO: THE FAST DIET: Get Thin Quick By Starving Yourself Two Days A Week

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5 Delicious Cocktails You Can Make With Moonshine

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Moonshine has had a lot of nicknames throughout the years: White Lightning. Mountain Dew. Tennessee white whiskey. Hooch.

But modern moonshine has come a long way since it risked blinding Appalachian imbibers in the 1800s.

Thanks to changing liquor laws and a renewed interest in artisanal and local products, you can now order "moonshine"  a term that generally refers to unaged white whiskeys  online and at a number of restaurants across the country.

According to TIME's Josh Sanburn, making moonshine is now legal in Tennessee, and big brands such as Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, and Ole Smokey are cashing in on the growing trend.

Though true aficionados will tell you that moonshine is best consumed by its lonesome, the stuff still packs a punch. Here are some delicious moonshine cocktails for those of us who can no longer stomach straight shots.

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Bee Sting Cocktail: Tennessee restaurant The Loveless Cafe is proud to show off its collection of moonshine cocktails. The Bee Sting in particular stands out — it's made with honey, squeezed lemon and a half a cup of sweetened or unsweetened ice tea. This is quite the Southern treat.

bee sting cocktail

Grown Up Shirley TempleOle Smoky Distillery makes moonshine in several flavors, but a must-try is the company's Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Cherries. Add two moonshine-infused cherries to lime juice and ginger ale, plus and a shot of the juice from the jar, and you have a lightly-alcoholic take on a virgin classic.

Adult shirley temple

Jungle Juice: The whole point of Jungle Juice is to mix everything you have on hand — why not add in some moonshine? There are a ton of different recipes, but a good rule of thumb is to add fruit juices, sprite, fruit punch, and pre-cut fruit into a huge cooler with 2 liters of alcohol. There go your memories!

jungle juice fruit punch

Raspberry Fizz: Dark Corner Distillery has a slew of yummy moonshine recipes, but the most delicious-sounding is the Raspberry Fizz: It's made with moonshine, orange liqueur, raspberries, egg whites, and seltzer water. Muddle the raspberries with the orange liqueur, add the rest of the ingredients and shake vigorously, drop in ice, strain, and top off with seltzer water.

raspberry fizz cocktail

White Julep Moonshine Cocktail: Update the classic summer Mint Julep cocktail with some good ole' fashioned moonshine. Prepare a classic Mint Julep (here's a great recipe), but in lieu of bourbon, add some moonshine. Just be careful — this will knock you off your feet.

mint julep

SEE ALSO: 7 Tasty Dishes To Get You Started On The Mediterranean Diet

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Meet The Residents Of 'Billionaire Lane' In The Hamptons

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meadow lane billionaires southampton

Some of the most famous millionaires on the planet own homes in the Hamptons.

But even the 1% have a 1% — and in the Hamptons, there's no more ritzy and expensive address than Meadow Lane in Southampton, according to Forbes' Morgan Brennan.

The median sale price on Meadow Lane last year was just under $18 million, according to Property Shark.

And the five-mile road has a helipad to whisk residents off to Manhattan in under 20 minutes.

Brennan recently wrote about the denizens of Meadow Lane for Forbes; we're taking a closer look at some of these mega-wealthy property owners and their mansions.

Meadow Lane is one of the most expensive addresses in the country, and no wonder — it runs along a coveted beachfront strip in one of the most exclusive towns in the Hamptons.

Source: Forbes




The famous millionaires and billionaires who live there all reside within throwing distance on the same stretch of road.

Source: Forbes



Daniel Och, CEO of Och-Zipp Capital Management Group, has a 4-acre estate valued at $20.4 million with a 7,000-square-foot mansion.

Source: Forbes



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PLEASE VOTE: Where Are The Best Places For Guys To Shop?

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burberry tieRetailers are clamoring for their share of the men's wear market. 

Men are shopping more than ever, thanks to the convenience of the Internet and stores working to tailor to their needs. 

We've compiled a list of some of the best and brightest men's fashion offerings, and we want to know your favorites. 

Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey below. Thanks in advance for your time and cooperation. We'll publish the results in a couple of weeks.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

SEE ALSO: 51 Companies That Are Changing The Way We Shop >

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Here's The New Hamptons #Humblebrag You'll Be Seeing A Lot Of This Summer

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instagram footsieThank god for Instagram this season. How in the world did people "humble-brag" before this stuff existed?! 

Today, we'd like to point out a new phenomenon we noticed this past weekend while scrolling through the #hamptons hash-tagged photos on Instagram: the Footsie Humble-Brag Shot.

When the sun came out on Monday,  SCORES of people took to taking photos of their feet while lounging next to their summer digs out east.

What a clever way to subtly show off how important you are! In a matter of minutes, we had dozens of "footsie" photos to rank by the best "Humble-brag" scale system.

Check out how these Instagramers did, and check to see if you spot anyone you know!

See some of the best Footsie Humble-Brags at Guest of a Guest >

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We Now Have Our 30th Reason Why Elon Musk Is America's Most Badass CEO

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Cameron Diaz

Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been getting close to actor Cameron Diaz, the New York Post reports.

They reportedly got to know one another after Diaz bought a Tesla Model S, and Musk has been spending extra time in Los Angeles, where Diaz lives (also where SpaceX is headquartered).

A few weeks ago, we came up with 29 reasons why Elon Musk is the most badass CEO in the country— including having an adorable set of young boys with his first wife, Justine Musk, and then marrying (and divorcing) gorgeous British actor Talulah Riley.

Dating — or even hanging out with — a successful, beautiful woman like Diaz, puts the number at 30.

THE FULL LIST: 29 Reasons Elon Musk Is The World's Most Badass CEO

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Take A Tour Of The World's Most Luxurious Hotel

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Burj Al Arab hotel exterior

The Burj Al Arab calls itself the "World's Most Luxurious Hotel"—and for good reason.

With 202 luxurious duplex suites, four swimming pools, a private beach club, personalized butler service, and airport transfers in a Rolls Royce, Mercedes, or helicopter, it stands out in almost every way for its over-the-top luxury.

They even recently unveiled solid 24-carat gold iPads, which serve as a "virtual concierge" for guests.

The hotel is filled with over-the-top luxuries that may seem extravagant, but when you're paying $1,500 per night (the starting rate for a double room), you expect the ultimate in luxury—and Burj Al Arab delivers.

The hotel is located on artificial island in Dubai, overlooking the Persian Gulf.



It's the fourth-tallest hotel in the world, and it's known for its sail-like shape.



Inside, the building feels grand and spacious. The colorful lobby area is influenced by Islamic design aesthetics.



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Here's The Real Cost Of Going To Therapy

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Psychologist, TherapistOpinions and descriptions of therapy vary as much as the individuals who engage it: It’s medical; it’s personal; it’s a luxury; it’s a necessity; it can be tremendously helpful and beneficial; it can be expensive.

Logan and Martha have discussed how depression affects them (and their money). There’s another money factor involved here: When you want or need to go to therapy, how much is it going to cost you?

Therapy involves trusting someone with your deeply personal thoughts, your secrets and your raw self. Yet therapy is bracketed by commerce—it is a service, and a source of revenue and expenses, with insurance adding another twist in the process. If I quantified the comfort and help I get from therapy, that number would be far higher than what I can afford to spend. Money and value play a tricky game here: I want excellent care and support; I also want to minimize my out-of-pocket costs.

When I decided to see a therapist in New York, I had three options:

• See a therapist who did not accept my insurance
• Pursue a low-cost alternative, like a student training program or referral center
• Find an in-network therapist.

I figured out these options after stumbling into the office of a pricey out-of-network therapist. I met with this therapist based on a recommendation from someone in the field, and I liked her right away. Scratch that, I loved her. She looked like she could be my aunt, she totally got me, and she was going to fix everything! I could feel my problems melting away—right up until she told me she charged $220 per 45-minute session, and did not accept insurance.

It was a rude awakening. I had assumed that insurance would cover my visits, and didn’t think to ask about fees until the end of our first session. I briefly considered if I could make this work, but the thought of spending $900 each month for these sessions practically had me breaking out in hives. For $900, I could buy 100 Chipotle burritos! (Though probably more like 85 burritos with guac—they really get you on the guac.) Still, the ups and downs of eating three burritos a day would be stressful, as would worrying every month about coming up with enough money to pay for therapy. It was hard to walk away from someone I felt could really help me, but practically, I needed a lower cost option.

Other friends had found help through training centers and graduate programs, with costs ranging from $0-60 per session. I researched nearby places, many of them with rave reviews about their services and low costs, and called for intake appointments. However, the variability in their pricing gave me pause. None of them took my insurance in-network, though after intake fees of $30-60, I might be assigned to a therapist who accepted my insurance. There were too many unknowns for me in this scenario. I wasn’t sure if I was eligible for sliding scale fees, and that would not be determined until after the assignment was made. It was impossible to anticipate what this route would cost me.

Additionally, this would be a long process—it could take a month to be seen an intake, then more time for an assignment. Ever the optimist, I inquired about reassignment if I didn’t like my initial therapist. I was assured it was possible, though would make for a longer process. I wanted more certainty about both provider and costs. This might have been the least expensive option, but I couldn’t know until later in the process. I was impatient, and didn’t want to spend any more time wondering about therapy’s affordability.

Looking for someone in-network was appealing, since my in-network deductible was significantly less than my out-of-network one. I spent several hours on Psychology Today’s website looking for providers who would take my insurance and seemed like a good fit (I also used recommendations and my insurance’s doctor directory). I called and emailed a dozen therapists. Many therapists did not take my insurance, were not taking new in-network clients, or did not have suitable time slots available.

Research and follow-ups were a frustrating process that required a hefty time investment. And it was stressful; I often felt hopeless about finding someone I could afford who would be a good fit for me. I worried if the quality of care I would receive from someone in my network would be as good as my $220 therapist-on-a-pedestal. I felt limited by my finances. I wanted to give up. But I didn’t give up.

I started having introductory phone calls and sessions with therapists I hoped would be my match. The parallels to dating here are unavoidable: friends, and even other therapists, trotted out familiar language, like “keep meeting people until one feels right” and “I’m sure you’ll find someone great.” These lines could be in the pages from a book called He’s Just Not That Therapist for You.

Find Out My Ultimate Decision At The Billfold >

SEE ALSO: Here's The Real Cost Of Being A Wedding Guest

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Watch A Ukrainian Guy Take A Nude Dip In A Supermarket Fish Tank

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A man jumped naked into a supermarket fish tank in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kriviy Rih — and now the video is going viral.

Captured by security cameras, the video was posted Thursday on YouTube and already has over 450,000 views at the time of this post. Commenters seem to think it was the result of a lost bet or dare.

Miraculously, the man isn't stopped by employees or security guards, and his only set back is a minor slip as he exits the fish tank.

Watch the bizarre incident below.

DON'T MISS: A Ukrainian Daredevil Defies Death In These Crazy Photos

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A New Jersey Frozen Yogurt Chain Is Being Called 'The Hooters Of Froyo'

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A New Jersey frozen yogurt chain is being called the 'Hooters of froyo" because of its attractive staff. 

Cups Frozen Yogurt has 12 locations in New Jersey and New York, and is expanding quickly.

"The yogurt gets good reviews but the buzz comes from pounding music, a nightclub ambiance and arresting female staffers who have led some customers to dub this chain 'the Hooters of froyo,'" says Rick Newman at The Exchange

Featured flavors include strawberry banana, sweet coconut, and pomegranate raspberry sorbet. 

Like Hooters, the company's logo is suggestive: 

cups frozen yogurt logo

Photos on the franchise's Facebook page reveal the cute staffers: 

cups frozen yogurt

Modern storefront: 

cups frozen yogurt

And, of course, the frozen yogurt: 

cups frozen yogurt

Check out the company's website to see if there's a Cups franchise near you. 

SEE ALSO: Small Businesses On The Verge Of A Breakthrough >

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SUPERCAR FACE-OFF: Lamborghini Aventador Vs. Ferrari 458 Italia

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In the realm of supercars — where prices, top speeds, and horsepower are all sky high — it can be hard to know what's the best choice.

To help you decide if your next ride should be a Lamborghini Aventador or a Ferrari 458 Italia, there's supercar comparison site TwinRev.com.

Rather than focus on the look and feel of the cars, TwinRev provides a full, numbers-driven breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of each, drawing on testing numbers and professional reviews.

You should drop the extra $150,000 on the Aventador. Here's why:

lamborghini aventador ferrari 458 italia comparison infographic

For more supercar comparisons, head over to TwinRev.com.

SUPERCAR BATTLE: McLaren's P1 Vs. Ferrari's LaFerrari

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10 Shockingly Stupid Ways To Save Money

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If you thought being cheap means always leaving a small tip or stealing packets of ketchup, you aren’t familiar with the extremely cheap.

Extreme Cheapskates, one of TLC’s questionable “reality” shows, features penny pinchers who will amaze (and even disgust) you with how far they’ll go to save a few bucks.

Here are 10 money saving ideas from Extreme Cheapskates that I bet (and hope) you don’t try.

1. Drying and reusing paper towels

With great spills come great opportunity – to reuse paper towels, that is. Who said they were meant to be used just once?

paper-towels-in-trash

Trash to most. Money wasted to cheapskates.

The extremely cheap can use their paper towels, wash them, then hang them to before using them again, just like Roy Haynes does on the show!

Image by: overheadfluorescence

2. Living without toilet paper

Forget about separating two-ply — just stop using toilet paper altogether!

Kay Hashimoto, who was featured on the show and interviewed by The Daily Mail, has sworn off buying toilet paper. Instead, she’s substituted soap, water and, errr, her hands. If that makes you queasy, her actual quote from the show is too gross to publish here.

Extreme Cheapskates Toilet Paper

And her savings for all of this trouble/grossness? Drumroll… $6 per month!

Image by TLC.com

3. Collecting your own drinking water

We’ve all heard about the high cost of bottled water, but tap water costs too much now? For those that don’t want to pay $0.001 per gallon from the tap, there’s another option: Collect your own drinking water.

Free water tastes even better when you know how many pennies you're actually saving

Free water tastes even better when you know how many pennies you’re actually saving

Ben Livingston of Extreme Cheapskates drives out and fills up on water in a local creek.

Image by: copleys

4. Covering yourself in cornstarch to beat the heat

I’m not sure how or if this absurd idea even works. But for Ben (mentioned above), who lives in Austin, Texas without air conditioning, anything as crazy as putting cornstarch on your skin is worth a try to beat the sweltering 100+ degree heat.

wear-cornstarch

No word on if he cooks with it after wearing it

Sure, A/C is expensive, but can’t he get by with an electric fan?

Image by: fstorr

5. Eating left-behind food at restaurants

I rarely waste food, but I’d never touch diner’s plate. For Cheapskate Roy (from above), it’s an opportunity to save a few bucks. He’s not shy about dining off abandoned food from a nearby restaurant table.

food-on-table

Keep an eye on your food if you’re seated near a cheapskate.

Image by: geishabot

6. Serving roadkill to dinner guests

If you won’t touch food left behind by nearby diners, how about snacking on a fresh kill by a fellow driver?

Extreme Cheapskates Vickie and John go out with their kids in search of a deliciously-free meal that doesn’t even require a trip to the store. After passing on a little-too-rotted corpse of a fox, they settled on a rabbit they found down the street.

pineapple-roadkill

This roadkill pineapple would’ve gone nicely with the rabbit

But don’t think they’d be so greedy to keep it all to themselves. They invited over a few friends to feast on their road kill rabbit meal.

Image by: brownpau

7. Asking for a dozen free samples, then not buying anything

We’ve all tried an ice cream sample or two before picking the best flavor to indulge in an entire cone’s worth. But if you don’t care about enjoying a whole scoop (and drawing the ire of a local business owner), just go for a dozen or so samples and then buy nothing like Roy does on the show.

free-samples

Free samples = free dinner

For extra effect, tell your wife it’s a date and let her suffer the embarrassment (yup, he did that, too).

Image by: elwillo

8. Driving a “car” (or what remains of one)

I’m on board with keeping things frugal by driving used car that’s seen more than it’s fair share of miles and may have lost a bit of it’s glimmer along the way. But you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. That is, unless you’re Ben, who takes “clunker” to a whole new level with his ride.

clunker-car

You couldn’t pay me to get inside this car

Image by: mindfrieze

9. Unplugging everything when you leave the house

Phantom energy wasters like TVs, stereos, and cell phone charges suck up power when you’re not using them. While I’ll even admit to unplugging some of my devices when I leave the house, I can’t imagine unpluggingeverything in your house every time I leave.

That’s what Extreme Cheapskate Victoria does on the show, leaving literally no appliance untouched.

do-not-unplug

A cheapskate’s nightmare

Image by: crazytales562

10. Flushing only once a week

Not to be outdone by the toilet paper saver mentioned above, another cheapskate (Greg) start puts the “It’s it’s yellow, let it mellow” rule to shame. No matter what it is, Greg lets it go a full week before flushing.

Oh, and when he does finally flush, it’s using shower water collected in a bucket.

What’s your favorite moment from Extreme Cheapskates?

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LANDLORD: Why I Will Never Advertise My Apartments On Craigslist

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Front door, entrance, house, brownstone, brooklyn

Have you seen the ad for my apartment?

No?

Excellent – my strategy is working!

I will never advertise my apartments on Craigslist.  And your broker will never hear of them either.

Here are a few reasons I don't work with brokers:

  • Using a broker tells me that you lack confidence and independence, and may have an elevated sense of self-importance, all of which suggest that you’ll be an annoying tenant. I share a walk-up building with some of my tenants, so they have the ability to make my life a living hell. Moreover, unlike many bigger landlords, I’m not a real estate pro; I’ve still got a day job that pays far more than the maximum amount I could ever squeeze out of my rentals. My rentals are my pension, and my goal in finding a tenant is a person who will be a good neighbor, who respects my property and my time, and who won’t be a pain in the neck. That's why I’m looking for seasoned New Yorkers with a DIY vibe. If you can’t even find an apartment without training wheels, can you change a light bulb, install an A/C unit, or fix your toilet without calling me? 
  • Most brokers charge 12 to 15% of a year’s rent.That's money that I could get by charging a higher rent. But instead of hiring someone to pick a tenant’s pocket, I’d rather keep the cost of moving in low and encourage the tenant to spend more on new furniture and apartment upgrades.
  • I like to meet each of my tenants in person. Since they are going to be my neighbors too, I want to see how well we get along, and to see how their experiences have prepared them to live in my building. Brokers interfere with that process, and make it hard to get a sense of what the tenant is actually like.
  • I’m not looking to have Section 8 tenants in my building, because I simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with a government bureaucracy that might or might not pay me, and to sit at home waiting for the apartment to be inspected. By carefully selecting who sees my ads (more on that below), I can filter out nearly all of the applicants who might be Section 8 tenants.  Not so of a broker, especially since the common marketing strategy for brokers is to stick the apartment on Craigslist.
  • Brokers often don’t even do a very good job protecting my interests. If the brokerage fee came with a money-back guarantee for both tenant and landlord, I’d consider it, but what if my tenant doesn’t even pay me? It isn’t as if I can go sue the broker for malpractice.

What, no Craiglist?

Twenty years ago, when the Internet was used mostly by geeky university dwellers, Craigslist was a great idea. Now, putting an apartment on Craigslist, as often as not, is an invitation to scammers, and local “entrepreneurs” who will pose as me and try to “rent” my apartments. I also avoid other websites like StreetEasy/Zillow/whatever, who will carefully log the trajectory of rental price changes that I’ve made. No thanks.

Instead I selectively market my apartments to friends of friends, employees of finance companies and prestigious law firms, and alumni of elite universities and private schools.

Bottom line: If you aren’t in one of those aforementioned networks, you won’t have a crack at my apartments. NYC’s incredibly tenant-friendly court system and my lack of a professional staff mean that if I don’t have some way to easily vet you, you are too much of a risk.

But don't hate me too much. Contrary to popular belief about landlords, I really want my tenants to stay long-term. This is due to the basic economics of being a landlord: it costs me a lot of time and effort to rent you the apartment, to clean up after your move, to deal with the utility companies before and after, and to patch, paint, and renovate when you leave.

Even if I could jack up the rent by another 5%, if it cost me a month of vacancy, it would take two years to break even, and that assumes that the new tenant doesn’t find a better deal and leave. So (at least with my free-market units), I’m happy when you are happy, and I’ll try and give you a good reason to stay here.

Lessons from a Small Landlord is a bi-weekly column penned by a real-life NYC landlord whose pseudonym is Craig Roche.

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The Online Rental Market Is Becoming A Hot Bed For Scams

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kathleen perkins brooklyn carriage house tour that kevin spacey rentedSince lenders have tightened their requirements for getting a mortgage — which is making it harder to buy a home — the rental market is hot right now. Turns out, so is the online identity theft market, which is why it’s no surprise that identity thieves are attacking people who are looking to rent.

How do they do it?

Melania Mirzakhanian, Broker and Director of Operations at Tomea, Inc., said that some identity thieves try to get people’s personal information by posting phony online advertisements for rentals.

“Identity thieves may also pose as real estate agents and through that route obtain personal information,” she said, “especially if transactions are conducted online only.”

It’s important that people know how to avoid falling into identity thieves’ trap. Here are some tips that can help prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft when looking for a home:

1. Avoid extremely low-priced listings

Just because the price is appealing, doesn’t mean it is a legitimate listing and it’s important to not let the attractive price lure you into their trap. Kevin Sali, criminal defense attorney in Portland, Oregon, said that an unusually low price is an immediate red flag. “In many of these scams, the victim is told that there are many people interested in the property and why wouldn't there be? The price is ridiculously attractive, which is another indication that this could be a scam,” he said.

2. Do your research

This is one of most important steps you can do to prevent someone from stealing your identity. Researching the post and verify that the landlord or real estate agent is who they claim to be.

Steven Weisman — author of "50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age," professor at Bentley University and editor of the blog Scamicide.com— said that this research can be as easy as Googling the property and verifying that it’s listed with legitimate real estate agent or landlord.

“Also, go online to the city or town tax assessor and look up the real name of the owner of the property,” he said. “It is easy and can be an immediate indication that the listing is a scam.” Weisman said that this is a successful technique that he had recently used himself. “In fact, I used this technique to disappoint my son and daughter-in-law who thought they had found a great apartment only to learn from me that it was a scam,” he said. “But at least they didn't get scammed out of any money.”

Another technique that you can use to verify that the posting is legitimate is by going back to pre-Internet ways of doing business by talking to the agent in person, according to Sali. ““If you have any concern, you’ll have to sacrifice a little of the convenience of the online world for walking over to an office or making a call or doing some of the kind of things that you would have done before everything was done online,” he said.

Both techniques are effective ways to gather information about the posting.

3. Let information flow one way

One of the major ways that these identity thieves steal your information is by requesting all your personal information up-front. They will tell you that they need you to fill out a real estate rental application before you can be considered for the property. Mirzakhanian said this can sometimes be a scam to get your personal information.

“Real estate rental application forms ask for personal information such as name, current and previous address, social security number, driver’s license number and bank account information,” she said. “If this information gets into the wrong hands, then there are many possibilities for misuse. Misuse can include applying for credit cards, generating fake IDs or credit card fraud.”

Don’t reveal any of your personal information up-front, and instead let the landlord or real estate agent give you all the information about the listing, then do your research. If you feel that the posting is legitimate, then pass along your information.

4. Never send money before meeting in-person

This is a crucial step that most people completely forget to do because either they’re really anxious to get the apartment or property, or they’re blinded by the unusually low price and want to put down a deposit before someone else does. Sending money before meeting the real estate agent or landlord in-person can cause you to lose money, but it can also give the identity thieves your bank account information if they ask you to wire the money. Sali said that wiring funds is extremely common with identity thieves.

“Because there are so many people interested, the victim is told that they must wire funds immediately to hold the property,” he said. “When money is wired, it is all but impossible to get back which is why it is a primary choice of scam artists.”

5. Meet in-person and ask questions

Scheduling an appointment to meet in-person at the property — after doing research on the property — can save you from the headache of identity theft. Mirzakhanian said that another way you can avoid being scammed is by using a reputable real estate agent. “Also, always meet in person before sending in information and verify credentials,” she said. “Obtain information about their credentials and ask questions.”

Sali said that it’s also important to look out for red flags indicating that it could be an identity thief. “A few things to look out for are owners who, for whatever reason, are out of the country and unable to meet with you in person or have someone on their behalf meet with you in-person at the property,” he said. “This is a big indication that this could be a scam.”

6. Trust your intuition

This is one of the biggest thing you can do to protect your identity when house hunting — just trust yourself. If you feel that a posting may not be legitimate or you have a funny feeling about a property, then don’t respond to the posting. Instead you can flag it — if that’s an option on the site — or even report it. Mirzakhanian said that you can report online-related crimes to an organization working with the FBI called the Internet Crime Complaint Center. They will investigate the reported posting and determine if it is phony or not. “Use the internet and common sense,” she said. “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

Julie is a NextAdvisor Content Manager who covers identity theft, VoIP, virtual phone, online college, photo cards, parental controls and people search. She is a graduate of San Jose State University, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Restaurants Offering Lion Meat Are Causing Public Outrage

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lion roar

Why do U.S. restaurants keep trying to sell lion meat?

This month a Florida restaurant called Taco Fusion put $35 lion tacos on its menu, and a California restaurant called Mokutanya announced $70 lion skewers, its second such promotion in the past year.

Public outrage rose up almost immediately, forcing both restaurants to remove the controversial fare from their menus.

Taco Fusion and Mokutanya were not isolated cases.

“There have been about 10 incidents in the past two years where restaurants have said they were adding lion meat to their menus for a very short time,” says Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “All of them have put it forward in kind of a gimmicky, promotional type way. Each time there have been public outcries. I would call it an extremely dangerous way to drum up business.”

Although lions have experienced at least a 50 percent population decline over the past three decades, African lions (Panthera leo) are the only big cat species not currently protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

That may change in the near future: Earlier this month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced an initial status review to see if listing lions under the ESA is warranted. (The species is protected under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which requires signatory nations to get a license before exporting lions or their bodily parts. No import license is required on the other end of the transaction.) An unknown number of African lions, probably numbering in the thousands, currently live in the U.S. in backyard pens, roadside zoos and other less-than-desirable circumstances.

Although lions are increasingly imperiled in their home ranges, many Americans are unaware of the species’s plight. People see lions on television and in zoos and assume that the cats must be doing well in the wild. Events like these short-term lion meat sales compound the problem, Flocken says. “We definitely believe that it undermines our conservation efforts, in that it makes it seem like this animal is so populous that people should eat it as a dining choice.”

Although Flocken doubts the restaurants sourced their lion meat from the wild—it probably comes from those roadside zoos and backyard exotic animal enthusiasts—he says the promotions “send a message that it is okay to eat this animal. If for some reason this became popular or trendy, that would then really impact the wild because it’s always cheaper to hunt and kill a lion in the wild than to raise it, slaughter it and get it to the market.”

The restaurant sales also illustrate the shady side of the exotic meat market. Many previous sales have claimed the lions were raised and slaughtered humanely and that the meat had been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“We have investigated this,” Flocken says. “We have called the USDA and we have spoken with investigators at the USDA and the FDA. Every time they have said that they do not inspect lion meat, that it’s not part of their remit, and that they have no history of inspecting lion meat.”

Although the source of the meat in this month’s sales has not yet been disclosed, many of the other restaurants selling lion meat over the past few years have purchased their supplies from a Chicago-area butcher named Czimer’s Game & Seafood. Owner Richard Cizmer was convicted in 2003 for selling what he claimed was lion meat but which turned out to be tigers and leopards—which are federally protected under the ESA. He spent six months in prison.

“He’s back now, and he’s back operating this butcher shop in Chicago,” Flocken says. “We’re finding that most of this meat is going back to him again. Where he’s getting his meat, he refuses to say. He says he gets it from a taxidermist and neither he nor the taxidermist will say where it’s coming from.

We’re also wondering, are these diseased animals? Are they surplus animals from roadside zoos or is it part of this strange culture in the U.S. where people have these big cats in private captivity?”

Restaurants aren’t the only ones selling lion meat. In addition to Czimer’s (whose site says it does not currently have lion available) I found at least one online vendor whose offerings, billed as “American lion,” include four ounces of stew meat for $49.99, a lion penis “with set of Rocky Mountain Oysters” for $999.99 (sold out, by the way) and a 10- to 15-pound shoulder roast for $1,999.99.

The site also sells lion bones for $999.99 a pound. Lion bones have recently become highly valued on the black market, where they are taking the place of tiger bones in traditional Asian medicine.

IFAW and other organizations are working on a few different fronts to stem this shady trade. The ESA could take care of most of it, because the sale of these products would not be allowed under the act, although the process to get lions listed under the ESA is still in its early stages and could take a few more years.

IFAW has also been working with California Reps. Buck McKeon (R) and Loretta Sanchez (D), who last week introduced the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act. If passed, the act would ban private ownership of all big cats—including lions and tigers. The animals currently in private hands would be grandfathered in, but owners would need to register their cats with federal authorities.

“I don’t want to exaggerate the restaurant angle,” Flocken says, pointing out that habitat loss and American trophy hunters are bigger threats to lions than restaurants. But he notes that the public outcry to restaurant sales comes more from a visceral reaction to the idea of eating a venerated animal, not due to public awareness that lions are threatened with extinction.

Unfortunately, as long as that public misperception exists, conserving these increasingly rare cats will remain a constant challenge.

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Late Private Equity Exec's Fifth Avenue Apartment Is For Sale For $11.5 Million

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953 Fifth Avenue

The co-op at 953 Fifth Avenue that belonged to Robert McKeon, the founder and chairman of private equity firm Veritas Capital who killed himself last year, has hit the market for $11.5 million, StreetEasy shows.

Jed Garfield and Matthew Pravda of Leslie J. Garfield & Co. have the listing for the four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom renovated duplex.

McKeon’s death at 58 made headlines when it was ruled a suicide. He died of asphyxia in September 2012 at his home in Darien, Conn., press reports show.

He purchased the co-op in November 2006 for $7.3 million, according to city property records. The brief listing said the apartment includes working fireplaces and offers “both views and sophistication.”

McKeon’s family recently unloaded his Hamptons estate to fellow financial mogul Steven Cohen, the founder of hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors. Cohen — who is currently listing his home at One Beacon Court for $115 million — paid $60 million for the spread on Further Lane in East Hamptons, as previously reported.

McKeon’s three-acre Connecticut estate is reportedly worth $5 million, and includes five bedrooms and six bathrooms. The late financier owned another home in ski town Telluride, Colo., the Daily Mail reported.

A native of the Bronx, McKeon founded Veritas in 1992. He was previously chairman and a founding partner at investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co.

Garfield and Pravda did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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15 Incredible Beachfront Hotels In The U.S. And Caribbean

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caneel bay a rosewood resort hotels on the sandsWho doesn’t love a beach vacation?

The sun, the sand, and the ocean all come together to make for a relaxing getaway that, when complete, will send you home rested and relaxed – and hopefully with a tan!

Where you stay, however, can make a big difference on just how fabulous your beach trip is.

That’s why we’ve found the 15 most decadent hotels on the sand to ensure that you enjoy the ultimate beachfront luxury.

Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

The Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community — which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club.

The 34 colorful suites are clustered around a small, man-made lagoon and feature elegant decor (picture four-poster beds, intricate floor tiling, and spacious bathrooms).

Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.



Four Seasons Maui

An immaculate, art-filled property fronting Wailea beach, the Four Seasons stands at the pinnacle of the area’s resorts, offering a slew of amenities, spacious rooms — some with outstanding views — and a top-notch staff. With three pools (one adults-only), golf courses, a 13-room spa, lit tennis courts, and numerous dining options, this luxe spot appeals to couples on a romantic retreat as well as families on vacation.



W South Beach, Miami

The stunning W South Beach— located right on the sand on the outskirts of South Beach — blends cute comforts, intricate design (that spares no expense), and flawless service.

Large, modern rooms, terraces angled to overlook the ocean, elegant landscaping around the pool (which is also surrounded by classy cabanas), a white-sand beach staffed with attendants, and a Bliss spa all come together to make the W one of the most luxurious hotels in Miami.



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