Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Credit card issuers and stores are offering special rewards programs for the holidays.

By Karen Datko Nov 18, 2010 11:54AM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

During November and December, consumers are expected to buy $447 billion worth of holiday gifts. That's a 2.3% increase over last year and, if each dollar generates a single rewards point, enough to cover more than 17 million free plane tickets, $28 million in cash back or a whopping $4.4 billion in store credit.

This holiday season, stores and credit card issuers have rolled out temporary reward bonus programs that, in concert, can generate meaningful savings.

 

Her parents supported her family while her husband pursued various business opportunities.

By Karen Datko Nov 18, 2010 10:22AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.

 

Recently, I had a long e-mail exchange with a reader who asked me not to reprint her story, but gave me permission to discuss it in general terms.

 

The reader -- let's call her Annie -- is 38 years old. For almost all of her adult life, she was a stay-at-home mom while her husband tried to start several businesses, failing each time.

Yet, they not only survived but thrived, thanks to a large amount given to them each month by her parents, who were exceptionally well off.

 

It wouldn't be the same financial boon to airlines as luggage fees, but it'd make your travel quicker and easier.

By Money Staff Nov 17, 2010 6:46PM

This post comes from MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston.

 

In some ways, air travelers' experiences are far better than in the past.

 

Airlines are less likely to bump you or lose your luggage and more likely to stick to their schedule than in previous years, according to U.S. Department of Transportation reports. And thanks to hefty new fines, you probably won’t get stuck on the tarmac for hours with overflowing toilets and no food.

But most airlines still make travel unnecessarily annoying because of their absolutely backward approach to luggage fees.

 

Target doesn't match prices on BF; other retailers strongly suggest you have a competitor's ad in hand.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 4:40PM

This guest post comes from Ashley Watson at dealnews.com.

 

Good shoppers know how to find the best deals, but expert ones know how to get the best deal no matter where they are shopping -- thanks to price matching. Put a little legwork into research, and you can go to a convenient store and get the best deal possible, even if it's not what they've advertised.

The trick is to know the store policies on price matching, and that's where we come in. We also did a little investigating to find out if there are any restrictions regarding price matching on Black Friday. Here's what we learned:

 

Imagine how you'd feel if your mortgage lender bought a new homeowners insurance policy for your home -- then billed you $33,000.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 17, 2010 3:53PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

If you don't buy insurance on your house, your mortgage company can legally do it for you. This makes sense because your home is the collateral for your home loan; without insurance, an accident or natural disaster could wipe out their security. So your lender ensures that you have insurance, and if you don't, they buy it and bill you for the premiums.

It's called forced-place insurance, and it's been around for a long time. But some are now accusing lenders of using these policies to generate excessive profits at the expense of hapless homeowners.

 

Class-action settlement addresses taxes charged by AT&T for Internet access.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 1:52PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

A swath of AT&T smart-phone customers have received text messages letting them know that a recent class-action settlement may put some extra money in their pockets.

The settlement applies to AT&T customers who bought smart phones or mobile data services between Nov. 1, 2005, and Sept. 7, 2010.

 

More shoppers are using loyalty program rewards to stretch their budgets. Here's how to get the most value for them.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 12:26PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Last year, Staci Gerardi spent about $600 on holiday presents. This year, she's planning an equally generous holiday, but she's spending just $30 -- using store gift cards she got by navigating the maze of rewards points, loyalty programs and other discounts.

"Why am I going to spend money when I don't have to?" Gerardi says. That $30 she spent? It wasn't for gifts, but for shipping charges at sites that didn't have a coupon code for free delivery.

 

Her homemade ketchup and mayonnaise worked out fine. Mustard was next on the list.

By Karen Datko Nov 17, 2010 10:27AM

This post comes from Marla Walters at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

I use a lot of mustard. Before embarking on my latest make-your-own condiment project, I took a jar count in the refrigerator. I already owned five different kinds.

 

However, I can easily rationalize this. You need different types of mustard. I use Dijon in many sauces. Whole grain on a ham-and-Swiss panini is great. French's is a necessity on a hot dog. Well, you get the idea.

 

To review, here are my criteria for make-it-yourself stuff:

 

DATA PROVIDERS

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.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More