UPDATE

March 17, 2006

On finance and practice

Getting a tax extension is easier this year

Where the best savers live

Buy organic apples, but skip the shrimp

Paying extra for most organic fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products makes sense, but you can pass on organic seafood and cosmetics, says Consumer Reports. Fish can be labeled as organic even if it contains mercury or PCBs, because the federal government hasn't developed organic certification standards for seafood. Cosmetics labeled as organic are supposed to meet the same standards as food, but the consumer group found that some products used synthetic ingredients and violated food-labeling standards.

It pays to buy organic produce, however, such as apples, bell peppers, celery, cherries, spinach, and strawberries. Even after washing, conventionally grown produce can still carry high levels of pesticide residues. But if you're looking to save some cash, you can skip organically grown broccoli, cauliflower, corn, mangos, and sweet peas, since these rarely contain multiple pesticide residues, even when conventionally grown.

Man's best (and more expensive) friend