Heinz completes Kraft purchase, Buffett joins board

(Reuters) – H.J. Heinz Co on Thursday completed its purchase of Kraft Foods Group Inc, creating the third largest food and beverage company in North America and fifth largest worldwide.

Bail set for Florida doctor tied to Senator Menendez corruption case

MIAMI, Fla. (Reuters) – A judge set bail on Thursday at $18 million in a Medicare fraud case for a doctor who has also been accused of bribery and political corruption for giving lavish gifts to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, his attorney said.

10 Things You Need to Know About Saving Money in July

Save Money in July

By Jeff Yeager, Contributor

July: Climatologists agree that July 24 is the hottest day of the year in the U.S., but the tenth of every month during the summer feels the hottest to me … that’s the day our electric bill arrives in the mail.

1. Free Family Fun

No need to break out the wallet this summer to keep the kids entertained. Bass Pro shops are offering free summertime activities for families. With a free shooting arcade, BB shooting range, casting challenge, arts and crafts, and archery and bird watching workshops, kids and their parents can expect to have a lot of fun this summer at Bass Pro shops through July 26.

Apple is offering free in-store camps to teach kids about filmmaking, and Microsoft stores are providing free programs all about gaming.

2. Skip the Ice Cream Shop

Notice I said, “Skip the ice cream shop,” and not “Skip thice cream.” After all, it wouldn’t be summer without ice cream.

July is National Ice Cream Month, so you’ll find some real deals on your favorite flavors at the grocery store. Do the math, and you’ll realize that ice cream shops typically mark up the cost of a scoop by 500 percent or more compared with the cost of dipping it for yourself at home! With that kind of savings, make mine a double dip and don’t skimp on the jimmies.

3. Install a Rain Barrel

Summer thunderstorms might help to cool things off, but much of the rainwater that comes along with them ends up as runoff instead of having time to soak into the soil. Install a simple, inexpensive rain barrel (about $100 for a 50-gallon unit at home improvement centers) to catch excess water from your roof/eaves, and use it to water your lawn and garden to save money on your water bill.

Also, take a minute to contact the environmental division of your county or municipal government to see if they offer any type of “storm water rebates” or similar program to encourage homeowners to reduce storm water runoff. The program in our county actually paid for the rain barrels I installed at our house and also offers cash rebates for planting trees and other runoff abatement projects undertaken by homeowners.

4. Get Naked

July 14 is National Nude Day, a day dedicated to staying cool by stripping bare — although, around our house, all summer long there’s a rule that we don’t touch the thermostat unless we’re already down to our undies. It’s as fun as playing strip poker, and when you consider that you can save 3 percent on your energy bill for each degree higher you keep the thermostat set during the summer, it pays to be a “skinflint” in more ways than one.

5. Fire Up the BBQ and Save

July is also National Hot Dog Month. You’ll find some of the lowest prices of the year not only on frankfurters, but also hamburgers, other meats for the grill and all the fixin’s. Grilling outdoors also helps to keep your kitchen and house cooler, saving on AC. Check out these cheapskate grilling tips to save even more.

Read: How Your 4th of July BBQ Helps Our Economy

6. Free Water Guns

Nothing refreshes on a hot day like a good old fashioned squirt gun fight. Skip the store-bought water pistols and repurpose empty plastic squeeze bottles from dish soap and shampoo instead (thoroughly cleaned out, of course) — they work even better. Or for more sophisticated — and powerful — homemade water toys, get free DIY instructions.

7. Can It

July will likely see the lowest prices of the year on many fresh fruits and vegetables, from apricots and arugula to watermelon and zucchini. That means a busy month in the kitchen for the cheapskate chef, as we cook, freeze, dehydrate (Google it) and can Mother Nature’s bounty while it’s at its freshest and cheapest.

If you’re not conversant in canning and other old-school-but-once-again-so-cool food preservation methods, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for free tutorials — they’ll save you a bushel full of cashola.

8. Take a Free Boating Safety Courses

Summertime is boating time, but be sure to learn how to stay safe and know your state’s boating laws before you leave the dock. The nonprofit BoatUS Foundation offers free online boating safety courses based on the specific laws of all 50 states, and testing your nautical knowledge with one their courses is actually kind of fun. Try one of their courses.

9. Free WiFi for Summer Travelers

Getting online for free while you’re traveling this summer is easier than ever. Most of America’s 18,000-plus public libraries offer free computer and WiFi access, although you might need to get a temporary pass or library card if you’re just passing through. Also, some apps allow you to find free WiFi service at hot spots, including restaurants, stores, hotels and more.

10. Cut the Grass

Americans spend about $40 billion every year on their lawns. Lawns are not only hard on our wallets, but hard on the environment with all of the water, fertilizer and pesticides they require.

Save money, time and the environment by mulching over all or part of your lawn, or planting a low maintenance ground cover or vegetable garden instead of grass. And if you have a lawn, this short video will show you how to keep it green without spending so much green.

July: Having never owned a cell phone, I won’t be celebrating National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, although I’d encourage all cell phone users to give up their phones during July and experience the joy — and cost savings — of living cell phone free.

Keep reading: Your Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals and Concerts in 2015

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What Greek ‘Austerity’?

It’s hard to find anything written or spoken about Greece that doesn’t contain a great deal of hand wringing about the alleged austerity — brutal fiscal austerity — that the Greek government has been forced to endure at the hands of the so-called troika. This is Alice in Wonderland economics. It supports my 95 percent rule: Ninety-five percent of what you read about economics and finance is either wrong or irrelevant.

The following chart contains the facts courtesy of Eurostat. Social security spending as a percentage of GDP in Greece is clearly bloated relative to the average European Union country–even more so if you only consider the 16 countries that joined the EU after the Maastricht Treaty was signed in 1993. To bring the government in Athens into line with Europe, a serious diet would be necessary — much more serious than anything prescribed by the troika.

Social Security Fund

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

FTC approves Dollar Tree’s takeover of Family Dollar

(Reuters) – Dollar Tree Inc was given the go-ahead to buy Family Dollar Stores Inc by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on condition that they sell 330 Family Dollar stores, putting to rest a year-long merger saga.

Officials say N.Y. prison escapee pointed gun moments before death

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York prison escapee Richard Matt was aiming a shotgun at a federal agent when the fugitive was shot and killed following an intense three-week manhunt, officials said on Thursday.

John Sculley And David Steinberg Explain How Zeta Interactive Works with Big Brands to Track Engagement

john sculley Last week we had a chance to sit down with the founders of Zeta Interactive, an online marketing service — which isn’t the first company that brought CEO David Steinberg and former Apple CEO John Sculley together. Zeta Interactive focuses on using data-mining and analytics to basically track where a customer came from. The example the pair used was tracking a car test drive from… Read More

Genome study reveals how the woolly mammoth thrived in the cold

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Woolly mammoths spent their lives enduring extreme Arctic conditions including frigid temperatures, an arid environment and the relentless cycle of dark winters and bright summers.