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This week: information on tipping, transferring credit card balances, food stamps for pets, low-income homebuying and controlling toy clutter.

1. Can Tipping Change a Waiter’s Behavior?

[Consumerism Commentary]  If you normally tip 20 percent, but tip 15 percent because of bad service, this post by Luke Landes suggests you won’t influence the behavior of waitstaff because they don’t know how much you normally tip. It’s a good point. His suggestion? In addition to the tip, provide verbal feedback to the server. There’s more food for thought in this post. Check it out.

2. The Ins and Outs of Balance Transfers

[Credit Sesame Blog] This post by author Susan Johnston suggests asking four questions before you transfer a high-interest credit card balance to a 0 percent credit card: How long does the low interest rate last? Can I pay it off during the promotional period? Is there a balance transfer fee? Will zero interest apply to new purchases?

3. Owners of Hungry Pets Can Now Turn to Pet Food Stamps

[Daily Finance]  Having done many stories at the Humane Society, I’m aware that many pets residing in shelters are there because their owners can no longer afford to feed them. This story is about an enterprising person named Marc Okon who decided to do something about it. If you’re thinking this involves a government handout, not to worry: This nonprofit relies on private donations.

4. Homebuying Programs for Low-Income Families

[Dough Roller] This post by Abby Hayes points to several programs that provide help to those who might not otherwise be able to afford a home. For example, HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door program offers cops, teachers and some other public servants up to 50 percent off the cost of homes in designated revitalization areas. See the post for more ideas.

5. 7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter

[Wise Bread] While we’ve written thousands of posts, this is one subject we’ve yet to touch on. The ideas include rotating toys, using baskets and bins, storing some at Grandma’s, and cleaning up every night. See the post for more.

What do you like?

We’re always in the hunt for talented personal finance writers and interesting sites. If you’ve got a favorite, let us know below or on our Facebook page!

Stacy Johnson

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