Each week, WalletPop looks back on the week's top personal finance stories as it joins with CostRefuge. This week's batch:

Since Februrary, the Associated Press has calculated a monthly ecomomic "stress test" aimed at local muncipalities & states to help illustrate improving (or worsening) economic conditions. In June, the stress level went back up after four months of consistent drops in score. The Huffington Post has the full report, courtesy of the AP.
Could a home really be put on the tax auction block because of a $4 tax delinquency?That's exactly what happened to Tim Nickels' home in Baltimore after the $4 tax bill went unpaid and citations unanswered. Jamie Smith Hopkins from The Baltimore Sun details the story and Nickels' explanation as to why the bills went unpaid.

New stories crop up every day on the trouble city and county governments are having in coming up with money to cover shortfalls & severe gaps in their budgets. Ben Simmoneau from CBS 3 in Philadelphia covers a program that was intended to save money but instead is causing severe hemmorahging in the city's pension fund.

Do you have that annoying co-worker who's always deluding themselves (and the rest of their co-workers) into thinking they have any legitimate chance at winning the lottery? (and making you chip in money to boot?) This might give them other ideas. Two students at the Rhode Island School of Design created sculptures of interesting items that one could spend their money on instead of lottery tickets. The sculptures were of course made out of....lottery tickets! Gizmodo has the story here.

Finally, TechCrunch has the lowdown on the best apps of the year so far that have come out for Apple's iPhone, including games, productivity apps & more. Guest poster Alex Ahlund has the story.

Be sure to check back next week for more of the best financial content from around the Web and visit CostRefuge.com (or follow us on Twitter @CostRefuge) for the latest news affecting your finances.

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