Smart SpendingSmart Spending

People choose not to because the next level of cuts requires a lot more effort or a noticeable lifestyle change.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 1, 2011 5:45PM

This guest post comes from Sandy L at First Gen American.


Sandy, my doppelganger over at Yes, I Am Cheap just wrote a beautiful post on growing up poor and surviving. Her post definitely brought back similar memories.


I remember living with seven other people in our little apartment, wearing clothes from the thrift store, and the big sighs my mom made when I grew out of something too quickly. There were no such things as going on vacation, eating out or recreational spending.

I was a little luckier than Sandy, though, because my mom never got permanently injured. She did lose a finger in her factory, but was able to go back to work after a short leave. There was always plenty of food that we were able to get from foraging and/or from her urban garden.


This leads me to my topic of today's post. One of the things I often read in comments at many people's personal-finance sites is a statement similar to this one:


"I'm stuck. I'm already living a bare-bones budget and I still can't save. 


Credit scores have a huge impact on personal finances, but many consumers don't know when or why they're used -- or even how they're compiled.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 1, 2011 4:02PM

This post comes from Elizabeth Ody at partner site Bloomberg Businessweek.


BusinessWeek on MSN MoneyAmericans don’t fully understand how their credit scores are determined or how the scores may be used, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions.

About 67% of those surveyed incorrectly said that age is used in calculating credit scores, and a majority of those surveyed didn’t know that a landlord or a cell phone company may consider applicants' numbers in deciding whether to offer housing or service and at what price.


The GAO recommends changes to ensure that millions of savers' funds are protected.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 1, 2011 2:05PM

This post comes from Neil Weinberg at partner site on MSN MoneyThe nation's 401k retirement plans are riddled with conflicts of interest that are causing financial damage to tens of millions of savers, according to a Government Accountability Officereport released this week titled "Improved Regulation Could Better Protect Participants from Conflicts of Interest."


Those conflicts of interest involve undisclosed "revenue sharing," in which firms administering 401k programs receive fees from fund managers, record keepers, custodians and others, who pay to be included in the plans, the GAO says.


Some people can't handle their own finances and can pose a threat to your own. Here's how to identify and stand up to them.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 1, 2011 1:50PM

This guest post comes from Shawanda Greene at You Have More Than You Think.


The purpose of this blog post is to make you aware of the diverse array of haters and to arm you with a strong defense against their jealousy and ignorance.


Generally, you should avoid negative people who seek to steal your joy, light or whatever. But haters are often close family members and friends -- loved ones, if you will. As a result, it's hard to escape their misguidance.

You'll find that haters are pretty crafty. They won't explicitly state that you shouldn't dream of becoming financially wealthy. Instead, they'll attempt to disguise their foolish opinions as wisdom.


The various haters we're about to discuss aren't necessarily terrible people. They're just terrible with money.


You don't want to take frugality to extremes when you're buying these essentials.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 1, 2011 10:49AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


We're all looking to save a few dollars when prudent, but oftentimes we go too far.


Sometimes it's obvious when frugality goes too far -- like splitting two-ply toilet paper. Other times, it's not as clear-cut. Does it make sense to make your own laundry detergent by the 5-gallon drum? It depends.


There are, however, four things you shouldn't be cheap about.


Girl Scouts add another tactic to their powerhouse sales machine. Have they no mercy?

By doubleace Mar 1, 2011 9:21AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


Those sweet-faced, cookie-peddling Girl Scouts have added another weapon to aid their blatant exploitation of the American sweet tooth.

Now they take credit cards.


According to Fast Company, which reports on the changes in business technology, some Scout troops this year "will be toting iPhones wrapped in Mophie's Marketplace credit card-reader cases and running Intuit's GoPayment system, turning each Scout vendor into a tiny, mobile credit card-processing machine. ... When you buy cookies you'll swipe your card, then be required to sign your signature with your finger on the touchscreen."


So easy -- and so unfair. Just when they have you all but helpless, they add another weapon -- easy credit -- to their arsenal. Consider the Scouts' lethal selling strategy: 


Allegiant is proposing to offer the option of a lower-cost ticket that could change in price depending on the cost of fuel.

By Karen Datko Feb 28, 2011 8:22PM

Given a choice between two types of airlines tickets, which would you pick?

  • A ticket with a fixed price.
  • A cheaper ticket with a price that could increase by the time you fly if the cost of jet fuel goes up.

It's a new proposal that would inevitably confuse airline customers if it comes to pass. Here's how Allegiant Air's plan would work:


How to buy the USDA recommended 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables for $2.50 per day. It can be done.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 28, 2011 5:53PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.


As part of its 2010 dietary guidelines released last month, the USDA recommended that the average American eat approximately 4.5 cups of produce per day. Broken down a bit more, that's 2.5 cups of vegetables, and 2 cups of fruit. In a study released days later by the USDA's Economic Research Service, researchers concluded all 4.5 cups could be purchased for between $2 and $2.50 per day.

Reactions on one major food blog ranged from supportive ("(I) like that they are promoting the fact that eating healthy doesn't have to expensive.") to skeptical ("Where the hell are they shopping?") to outright critical ("God, the USDA is full of such bull****.").



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.