Smart SpendingSmart Spending

In short, know when to spend and when to save, and how to donate wisely.

By Karen Datko Oct 14, 2010 8:02AM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site USNews.

 

When you start earning a steady income for the first time, it's easy to spend too much on luxuries or to take on debt. But it's also the best time to set yourself on the path toward wealth.

These tips, based on my book "Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back," will help you spend smarter, save more, and even give back to the causes you believe in.

 

Save one-third of your income. Putting $1 out of every $3 you earn into the bank might sound like a lot, and it is.

 

Turning financial paperwork into confetti won't solve the whole problem. For that, laws need to change.

By Money Staff Oct 13, 2010 10:08PM

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

 

Liz Pulliam WestonShredding is good. I'm all for shredding. But shredding isn't enough.

 

But safely destroying old financial records alone isn't enough to protect your identity. Neither is buying a locking mailbox, safeguarding your Social Security card, monitoring your accounts online, using anti-virus and anti-spyware software or being careful what you post on Facebook.

All of these steps can help, of course, but some of the biggest threats to your identity lie beyond your control -- in the big databases of your personal financial information that companies gather, sell and often fail to protect.

 

TV host ranks at the top of 'best boss' poll, followed by both Obamas and Donald Trump. Who would be your favorite celeb boss?

By Teresa Mears Oct 13, 2010 5:24PM

Friday is National Boss Day. But do American workers want to celebrate?

 

They would if Oprah Winfrey or Barack Obama were their boss.

In a survey done by Braun Research for Adecco Staffing, 37% of respondents said they would like to have Oprah as their boss, and 35% said they would like to be supervised by the president. Next in line were Donald Trump (28%), Michelle Obama (26%), former President George W. Bush (19%), Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (16%), Sarah Palin (15%) and Martha Stewart (14%).

 

BP's Tony Hayward and Simon Cowell of "American Idol" were ranked the least desirable bosses in the survey, at 4% and 8%, respectively.

 

The cashier is offering you 20% off for signing up. Is it worth it?

By Stacy Johnson Oct 13, 2010 4:46PM

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

 

With holiday shopping season soon in full swing, you're likely to encounter an offer like this: Sign up for our store credit card and receive a 15% to 30% discount on today's purchases.

 

Should you jump on it?

 

Reporter's experiment found high charges to cash checks, prepaid cards with hefty fees and lots of standing in line.

By Teresa Mears Oct 13, 2010 1:23PM

About one in four U.S. households doesn't have a bank account. Associated Press reporter Candice Choi did a one-month experiment to find out what it would be like to be one of them.

Her conclusion: Living without a bank account is expensive and time-consuming.

 

In one month, she paid $93.50 in fees for such services as check cashing, money orders or prepaid cash cards. That would amount to an annual cost of $1,122 a year just to use her own money.

 

Among the products where you're better off with generic: baby formula, bleach and gasoline.

By Karen Datko Oct 13, 2010 1:14PM

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

 

Where do you stand in the generic vs. name-brand products debate? Do you proudly flaunt your thrifty buys or stealthily slip your generic purchases under oversized toilet paper packages?

Is your selection a reflection of your personal tastes or simply a matter of money?

The main reason for buying generic products is simple enough: You're a thrifty consumer. But there's something to be said for turning your nose up at marketing manipulation by major manufacturers.

 

You can overcome the fear that you'll make a mistake that will cost thousands of dollars to fix.

By Karen Datko Oct 13, 2010 8:02AM

This post comes from Elizabeth Sanberg at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Just over a year ago my spouse and I bought our first home -- a foreclosure. A lot of repairs needed to be made -- an asbestos abatement to remove the original 1925 "octopus" furnace, refinishing hardwood floors, fixing locks, replacing electric outlets, and painting.

We hired professionals for the major projects -- furnace replacement, plumbing updates, and hardwood floor refinishing. And the easiest issues we fixed ourselves.

 

But there were a lot of more difficult, but not impossible, projects that needed to be done.

 

Under a formula in place since the 1970s, Social Security recipients likely won't get an increase for the second straight year. Is that fair?

By Karen Datko Oct 12, 2010 7:48PM

For the second year in a row, it looks as if Social Security recipients won't get a cost-of-living raise next year.

 

"How can that be?" you're probably wondering. Answer: The cost of living hasn't gone up -- enough.

Whether seniors can expect an increase will be announced later this week, but numerous reports say the monthly benefits will remain where they are for 2011. The same occurred for 2010. (The Social Security trustees predicted this in 2009, so it should not be surprising.)

 

How can this be? A year without an increase, let alone two in a row, hasn't happened in at least 30 years.

 

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