Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Your smartphone and your credit card can be tools to reduce the damage of high gas prices to your budget.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 29, 2011 10:34AM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.

 

Gas prices continue to rise to atmospheric levels, leaving many Americans to wonder how they can save on fuel during the forthcoming summer months.

 

Fortunately, while little can be done to stop escalating costs, there are a few steps motorists can take to minimize the toll it takes on their pocketbooks.

 

"The biggest way to save on gas is to lower the amount of fuel you use," Jen Funkhouser, the co-founder and CEO of CarCheckup, tells MainStreet. The most obvious way to do this, of course, is to simply drive less, but for those who prefer to stay on the road, there are some small changes to your driving habits you can make.

 

Gasoline really isn't such a bad deal when compared with those expensive beverages from Starbucks or a lot of other products we use all the time.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 29, 2011 9:23AM

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

 

I drove by the corner gas station the other day, as I do every day on my way home from work, and I couldn't help but notice that the price of gasoline had risen another few cents over the weekend. This time the sign was unapologetically advertising a price of $4.179 per gallon.

 

You know, I hate that sign. Some days I feel like it's taunting me -- especially the days when I have no choice but to pull into the station and fill 'er up. 

 

"I've read your blog, Penzo," that dumb old sign seems to say. "You and I both know shopping for low gas pricesis a losing proposition, so suck it up and pay the piper."

 

The fact that I own a Honda Civic that averages about 35 miles per gallon doesn't make it any less painful. I still end up dropping more than $30 each time I fill up the tank.

 

Anyway, when I got home I had to share the latest gas price news with the Honeybee, who happened to be curled up on the couch with a good book (so I'm told).

 

That financial aid letter from your school of choice isn't the end. Keep looking.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 29, 2011 8:42AM
By now, high school seniors planning on postsecondary education have received their envelopes (whether thin or fat) and accepted financial aid packages.

Congratulations! But don't think you can quit looking for ways to pay for that sheepskin. 

You already know that your mother's work is never done, but the Mother's Day Index has put a fairly hefty dollar figure on all her efforts.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 28, 2011 6:35PM

This post comes from Barbara Marquand at partner site Insure.com.

 

Insure.com on MSN MoneyFrom patching up skinned knees to chauffeuring kids around town to investigating what teenagers are up to after school, moms do a little bit of everything.

 

And those little bits add up fast.

 

We took an informal look at the various tasks a typical mom does and how much a family would have to spend to pay professionals to do the same things.

 

Sticking with one supermarket for every shopping trip could be costing you plenty. Here's how to find the best prices before you head out.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 28, 2011 5:46PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Note up top: In almost four years of blogging, I can't believe I haven't dedicated a column to the following food shopping strategy, because it's one of the most effective around. Experienced frugalists, you're probably familiar with this already, but it shouldn't stop you from seeing the, er … surprise note from … uh … Bob, um, Barker? … at the end of this article. So let's get to it.

My old apartment was within a mile of three major supermarket chains.

"Whee?" you might say. "Let's throw a fiesta?"

And while the prospect of ending this column here and grabbing a margarita is highly tempting, I endeavor to persevere, meaning this: It may sound like it ain't no thang, but having access to multiple supermarkets allowed me to save huge, big, hulking bucks on my grocery bill every month. In fact, hitting up two or more food stores is one of the most effective food shopping strategies around.

 

It works because of two simple reasons:

 

Renters are paying increasingly large chunks of their income on keeping a roof over their heads, and it's going to get worse.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 28, 2011 2:59PM

This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.

 

Consumers are increasingly being squeezed by the cost of renting property, a new study shows.

 

One-fourth of renters in the U.S., or about 10 million households, currently spend more than half of their income on rent and utilities, while 26% of renters spend between 30% and 50% of their income on rent, according to a report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (.pdf file), and the situation will likely continue to worsen.

 

There are lots of tips, tricks and best practices to cut gasoline consumption. What works? What doesn't work? Tell us your secrets below.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 28, 2011 2:41PM

This post comes from Ellen Cannon at partner site SavingsAccounts.com.

 

SavingAccounts.com on MSN MoneyThe price of gas is putting the brakes on Americans' lives these days. As of April 22, regular unleaded gas in the United States averaged $3.88 per gallon, a jump of 11.53 cents in two weeks and 77 cents since January, when the national average was $3.11 per gallon, according to the Lundberg Survey.

 

To avoid pain at the pump, people are making efforts beyond carpooling. Many are driving less, combining shopping trips, using public transportation or riding bikes to run errands. Many car shoppers are trading in gas guzzlers for gas sippers or hybrids. With summer coming, many may be reconsidering their vacations.

 

There are other ways to maximize the dollars you feed to the pump without driving less -- by maximizing your miles per gallon.

 

Factories are running again, but shortages mean higher prices, less availability.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 28, 2011 1:06PM

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

 

Six weeks after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most factories are back in operation. But new numbers show how even the brief disruption will keep prices high on autos and electronics through the summer.

 

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