Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The work obligation is less than 3 hours a month, but that's too much for some members, who send the help to do their work.

By doubleace Feb 21, 2011 1:50PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken of MSN Money.


There's trouble in a little slice of paradise called Park Slope Food Coop: Instead of working their required 2.75 hours a month at the Brooklyn icon, better-off members are sending their nannies and other hired help to do the heavy lifting.


Now, this isn't a moral offense on the level of paying a stand-in $600 to do your fighting -- and dying -- during the Civil War, but even in the neighborhood New York Magazine rates as No. 1 in New York City, it apparently is considered bad form.


So, when The New York Times exposed the scandal, nasty things were said.


Looking to cut the electric bill? One place to start is the kitchen, which accounts for about a third of household energy use.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 21, 2011 12:07PM

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the kitchen accounts for about one-third of our monthly electric bills. Some costs are unavoidable, like the fridge.

But there are many ways to save money and the environment by being a little more efficient in the kitchen.


One year later, 48 who walked away from their houses look back with shame, anger … and enormous relief.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 21, 2011 10:51AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


The typical questions about ethics and blame were not what three Huffington Post writers had in mind last year when they asked readers, "Are you considering walking away? Have you already walked away from an underwater mortgage?"

Nearly one in four American mortgages is worth more than the home it's tied to. That's about 10.8 million mortgages. Borrowers of 58 of those mortgages responded to the reporters. In the ensuing year, 10 homeowners lost touch with The Huffington Post but 48 stayed in contact and reported on their experiences. Today, just eight are still in their homes.


Giving the phenomenon a catchy name can trivialize it -- make it trendy. And thus new, financially responsible habits become easier to discard.

By Donna_Freedman Feb 21, 2011 9:24AM

Earlier this month the National Foundation for Credit Counseling shared the results of a new study. Apparently a whole bunch of U.S. residents are tired of budgeting.

"Majority of Americans have frugal fatigue," the press release trumpeted. Some 66% of folks surveyed by the NFCC are feeling the strain of having to watch their dollars.

Wait … Americans are unhappy that they can no longer spend like sailors on shore leave? There's news.


This is good news for renters who dream of owning their own home.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 18, 2011 2:35PM

This post comes from Bill Hardekopf at partner site The Street. on MSN MoneyPaying rent on time may soon improve your credit score. For the first time, landlords have incentives to report rental payment history to credit bureaus. This can be good news for many renters who need ways to boost their score.

Experian recently bought RentBureau, a credit bureau that allows apartment owners and managers to share rental payment history. Rental payment histories are now factored into Experian's consumer credit reports, and are one more thing lenders, landlords, insurance agents, and even employers can learn about you.


Got shoelaces? Odd bits of hardware? Rubber bands? Me too.

By Donna_Freedman Feb 18, 2011 1:32PM

Last week my new shoes arrived (thank you, cash-back shopping!). Automatically I took the laces out of the worn-out pair, folded them up, secured them with a rubber band and tossed them in the junk drawer.

They joined a couple of other sets of shoelaces and a stunning array of odds and ends, including:


When his mortgage lender didn't respond to his letters, a homeowner got a judgment against it in court. A sheriff's sale has been scheduled for contents of the loan office.

By Karen Datko Feb 18, 2011 12:31PM

Note to self: When a lender doesn't reply to your letters asking questions about your mortgage, you can take them to court -- and win.


That's what a Philadelphia man did when Wells Fargo ignored his letters about high-cost  insurance the bank required for his home. Now the contents of a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage office are scheduled for a March sheriff's sale to satisfy the judgment he won.


In honor of the 40th birthday of 'The Anarchist Cookbook,' here are a few really bad ideas -- bombs, you might call them.

By doubleace Feb 18, 2011 10:01AM

This post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


Once upon a time, no self-serving radical activist would be caught dead without "The Anarchist Cookbook" and its misguided recipes for making homemade bombs, tear gas and other sinister items out of everyday household products.

In fact, Lifehacker recently put out a post "celebrating" the cookbook's 40th anniversary with a bunch of relatively benign but dangerous do-it-yourself ideas you'd probably be better off staying away from, like making a pair of heated underwear and driving your car with an iPhone.


Of course, Lifehacker's post got me thinking. If I were to write my own version of "The Anarchist Cookbook" that focused on dubious ideas that were guaranteed to -- if you'll pardon the expression -- blow up your personal finances, what recipes for disaster would I include in it?


Here are a few financial Molotov cocktails for you:



Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.