Smart SpendingSmart Spending

A blogger compares prices of 13 items at the dollar store, Wal-Mart, Rite Aid and Albertsons.

By Karen Datko Nov 5, 2010 8:13AM

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


Believe it or not, the dollar store has been around since at least 1955, when Dollar General opened its first store in Springfield, Ky.


Granted, in terms of purchasing power, a dollar went a lot further back then -- equivalent to about $8 today. Even so, when you walk into a dollar store, it quickly becomes apparent that inflation has done very little to reduce the size of its qualifying inventory.

In fact, my local dollar store carries such a wide variety of products that I am confident I could get by fairly well in a pinch if it were the only store in town. It even carries fresh produce.


Still, for every person who says dollar stores provide terrific bargains for a buck or less, you'll find another who will say that you only get what you pay for. Others insist that if you aren't careful, you can actually get ripped off at a dollar store.


It's the modern version of the Hatfields and McCoys.


So who's right and who's wrong? I know I was confused.


Time to play secret shopper


7-Eleven also has free coffee, plus we have deals on pizza, coupons and free songs from the Grateful Dead.

By Teresa Mears Nov 5, 2010 1:36AM

What does everyone need in the morning to get going?


Coffee. Today, and every Friday in November, you can get it free.

Burger King is giving its customers a free 12-ounce cup of Seattle's Best Coffee during breakfast hours (until about 10:30 a.m.) on Fridays this month. The chain is hoping to win customers over to its breakfast menu.


You don't need a coupon and you don't need to buy anything. There is a limit of one free coffee per customer per visit.


Retailers will tell you they're not accurate. But should you believe them?

By Karen Datko Nov 4, 2010 4:06PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.


Scans of Black Friday ads are leaked to online deal sites weeks before retailers plan to publish them, often by printers and store employees.


Does that mean they are unreliable?

Retailers and some of their promotional partners would have you think so, because they don't want to put their prices out there too early -- for fear that rivals will undercut them or consumers will do more comparison shopping, deal site operators say.


Would you share your location for a free pair of jeans? FB and merchants believe many people will.

By Teresa Mears Nov 4, 2010 2:39PM

Facebook is joining the online deal world, adding mobile coupons to its new Places feature.

Places is a Facebook app that allows users to share their location with friends, similar to Foursquare and Gowalla. With the deals application, launched this week on iPhone, Facebook is adding tangible rewards.


A total of 23 national merchants, including Gap and 24 Hour Fitness, plus 20,000 smaller businesses, have signed on so far, Facebook says.


Hedge against increases expected next year in cotton apparel prices by shopping holiday sales. But for some items, it's best to wait.

By Karen Datko Nov 4, 2010 2:08PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromKelli B. Grantat partner site SmartMoney.


Consumers itching for new jeans, pricey dress shirts or other cotton-heavy goods might want to pay especially close attention to this year's holiday sales.


Although the rising cost of cotton hasn't hit shoppers yet, clothing companies have said prices will start climbing as early as January.

Bad weather in cotton-producing regions of India and China, and flooding in Pakistan, resulted in poor harvests this season, driving cotton prices up nearly 80% since the summer.


So far, most clothing makers haven't passed that cost increase along to consumers. But in recent weeks, the parent companies of a variety of brands -- including retail chain Bon-Ton, Jones New York, Hanes, premium denim producer 7 For All Mankind, and outdoor clothing maker The North Face -- have said they expect to raise their prices by up to 10% in 2011.


Glut of flat-screen televisions on the market will mean lower prices and lots of deals for the holidays.

By Teresa Mears Nov 4, 2010 12:45PM

If you've been thinking of buying a new TV, this may be the time.

Wal-Mart has fired the first shot in what is likely to be a TV price war this holiday season. Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Wal-Mart will cut the prices of its Vizio HDTVs to as low as $198 for a 26-inch LED to $898 for a 55-inch LCD model.


Expect other retailers to follow. In the next few months, we're likely to see lower prices on flat-screen TVs than we've ever seen before. The reason for the price cut is elementary: There is a glut of TVs on the market.


As the holiday travel season approaches, consider these suggestions for improving your chances of arriving on time.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 4, 2010 11:00AM

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


These days, it's easier than ever to find out if your flight is delayed. Whether it's an iPhone app like Flightcaster or FlightTrack Pro, or the airlines' own websites or even the FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center, you never have to guess when you're going to get off the ground or get grounded.

But that knowledge doesn't ease the frustration of flight delays -- or the cost. The FAA and the University of California, Berkeley released a startling new survey that puts a dollar figure on those delays: $33 billion in 2007, the last year researchers could get complete data.


How can you best store perishable foods, and how long can you expect them to last?

By Karen Datko Nov 4, 2010 9:47AM

This guest post comes from Kate Forgach at Go Frugal Blog.


The shelf life of a Twinkie may bear more resemblance to an atomic bomb's half-life, but refrigerated foods last only so long before taking a slow and steady ride to salmonellaville.


The expiration dates on food products aren't always of much help. Often, they simply serve as guidelines to quality and not safety. If they're not properly understood, you may end up pouring grocery money down the drain. On average, we waste about 14% of the food we buy each year, totaling about $600 worth of groceries per person.

We've compiled a list of refrigerated and frozen foods along with their shelf lives and storage methods. All dairy shelf lives refer to products that have already been opened and refrigerated.



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.