Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Fake product reviews are more common than you might think, and even big-name companies sometimes get caught using them.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 14, 2011 1:14PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


People often look at product reviews when deciding whether to make a purchase or choosing between brands. It's not that they necessarily care what a stranger thinks. Rather, a batch of reviews can offer an idea of common problems or complaints and sometimes suggest better alternatives.

The problem is fake reviews. Yes, there are people who actually spend time doing that.


Trade in old jeans for 25% off new ones, plus coupons for popcorn, pita, coffee and smoothies.

By Teresa Mears Jan 14, 2011 12:08PM

It's Friday, and we're here with new deals and freebies, both edible and inedible.


Admission to all national parks is free this weekend, Jan. 15-17. If you'd rather not visit a national park this time of year, you'll have more chances for free visits later in the year.


If you're looking for indoor family fun, Borders is having free game nights on Thursdays in January with board games for those 6 and older. Check to see if your local store is participating.


A frugal reader feeds two people on $30 a week. How does your weekly spending compare?

By Karen Datko Jan 14, 2011 11:26AM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.


The other day I was mailing out one of the $50 Christmas stimulus gift cards that I was kind of slacking on, and I got a pretty interesting e-mail back from the winner. Get this: She said she could feed her husband and herself for almost TWO WEEKS on that much money! She only spends $30 a week on groceries. It almost blew my socks off.


And then it got me wondering how much everyone else spends on groceries each week? So I tweeted it out to Twitterland, and Facebooked it around. What I got back was an array of different numbers and lifestyles.


Of course there's a ton of different variables that come into play here -- number of family members, diet, location, if you include alcohol or toiletries or anything else you can pick up at grocery stores, eating out, etc. But I wasn't about to sort it all out in 140 characters or less.

So, take from this what you will, but all I know is that many of you have far out-frugaled the Mrs. and me.


The tab for a brief instant of inattention? More than $1,900 so far.

By Donna_Freedman Jan 14, 2011 11:02AM
Last May I broke my toe in a moment of carelessness, i.e., I was exercising while thinking about something else. (Really bad idea.)

I wrote about it in a post called "Inattention can cost you. Ask me how I know," describing the incident as "a slightly painful reminder to focus on what I'm doing while I'm doing it. Next time I might not be so lucky."

Guess what? I wasn't.  

Of course the winner will be Heinz, right?

By Karen Datko Jan 14, 2011 9:22AM

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


Ketchup is the most popular condiment in the United States, and if you ask 100 people what their favorite brand is, usually 99 will say Heinz. As for the other guy, he'll simply say he doesn't like ketchup, period. It's true.

Then there are the kids: I'm certain mine believe that if Heinz ever went out of business, then ketchup would become extinct.


There can be little doubt that the world definitely revolves around Heinz -- at least when it comes to ketchup.


All kinds of sensitive documents hit the mail after the first of the year, and identity thieves know this.

By Karen Datko Jan 13, 2011 6:22PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


More than 11 million people become victims of identity theft each year. Often, experts say, that theft occurs at the beginning of the year -- in January.


While media attention focuses on cybercrime, consumers need to remember that identity thieves are still taking advantage of one of the oldest ways to hijack your identity: stealing from your mailbox.


Pitney Bowes is planning a new service that would issue every household an online mailbox. Will consumers embrace digital mail?

By Teresa Mears Jan 13, 2011 2:43PM

What if all your mail came, not on pieces of paper delivered to your doorstep, but in digital documents sent to a secure online location?

The days of digital mail may not be as far away as you think. The company that invented the postage meter 90 years ago is creating a new national network of secure digital mailboxes, with one assigned to every address in the United States.


A new study indicates that limits on how credit cards can be marketed and approved for those under 21 aren't working as planned.

By Karen Datko Jan 13, 2011 1:34PM

This post comes from Scott Gamm at partner site MainStreet.


The epic Credit CARD Act, which took effect last February, aimed to reform the entire credit card industry as well as protect students from the questionable marketing practices of most credit card companies.


Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have worked.



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.