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Some people complain about products just so they can get them for free. Know anyone like that?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 2, 2011 4:50PM

This guest post comes from Squirrelers.


Do you ever complain about bad service at a restaurant? Do you contact a company if you purchase a product that doesn't live up to your expectations?


If so, maybe you just want to let the business know your thoughts, or perhaps in some cases you want a refund. This edition of Squirreling Gone Wild will focus on a unique type of individual who goes beyond complaining and likes to suck free goods or services out of a business as a vampire likes to suck blood.


It's frugality run amok.


It's good news for the auto industry, but can mean bad things for credit-poor buyers.

By doubleace Mar 2, 2011 11:54AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


It turns out that the boom in new automobile sales -- up 11% in 2010 and even stronger so far this year -- is not being driven primarily by a reviving economy, a more optimistic population or even low prices. The cause, according to The New York Times is ... subprime lending.

But haven't all the lenders learned from their mistakes, and tucked their money into vaults before setting the time-release lock to "eternity"? As far as real estate, that perception is true, but America's auto industry has been successfully wooing the subprime borrower -- rotten credit scores, shaky employment history and low-paying jobs aside -- for months.


How a $3,000 purchase can turn into one that costs you $6,641.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 2, 2011 9:24AM

This post comes from Debbie Dragon at partner blog Wise Bread.


Credit cards sometimes make a purchase hard to pass up. For example, they make it possible to buy something for $3,000 and pay just $60 per month until it's paid off.


Most people can afford a $60 monthly payment, but what is often overlooked is how much you end up paying in interest. A common mistake people who are new to credit cards often make is paying just the minimum payment on their credit card bills. The small monthly minimum payments seem insignificant and comfortable in most budgets until you look closer at what your credit card debt is really costing you over time.


While gas prices continue to rise, half the people looking for a vehicle online are seeking out SUVs and trucks.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 1, 2011 7:49PM

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


Last week the cost of oil hit the highest point since the recession started, and closed today over the $100-per-barrel mark. Fuel prices are still headed north too -- but that isn't stopping people from buying gas-guzzling SUVs, according to a new report from


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.



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