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Nervous lenders are taking an more severe view of mortgage applications when one borrower is out on new-baby leave.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 6:00PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

Take your pick: Stay home with the new baby, by all means. Or buy a home. But get ready for trouble if you do them at the same time -- while applying for a home loan, that is.

Tara Siegel Bernard reports in The New York Times that increasingly conservative lenders are rejecting or questioning borrowers who are home on maternity leave: "Expectant parents shopping for a home are not the only ones concerned about the date of the baby's arrival."

 

Free sandwich offered to employees of other fast-food chains who go to KFC in their work uniforms.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 2:19PM

KFC's latest promotion is sure to be less controversial than the free grilled-chicken meal deal that landed the company in court. Today only, employees of competing fast-food joints who come to KFC in a work uniform can get a free Doublicious sandwich, Original Recipe or grilled. 

Before you think about borrowing your cousin's or kid's (or mom's) McDonald's work attire and heading out the door, keep in mind that the offer is good only for the first 10 uniform-garbed diners who show up at participating stores. A maximum of 50,000 total will be handed out.

 

Eater.com correctly labeled this a "stunt."

 

Agency suggests states enact reforms to give consumers more protection in court proceedings brought by debt buyers.

By Teresa Mears Jul 20, 2010 2:04PM

To anyone who has read the stories about consumers harassed, taken to court and even jailed over debts they may not even owe, the latest Federal Trade Commission report on debt collection comes as no surprise.

 

The system is broken, the FTC concludes, and consumers don't have adequate protection against abuses. "The current situation is untenable," FTC Commissioner Julie Brill wrote.

 

The nickel-and-dime fees we're used to from banks could become dime-and-quarter fees.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 20, 2010 1:35PM

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

 

The main idea behind financial regulatory reform is to prevent a repeat of the banking crisis that sent our economy into the Great Recession. But there's more to the new law than that -- a lot more.

 

In addition to new rules regarding supervision and regulation of U.S. financial firms, other new rules do everything from reducing the amount stores pay for debit card processing to providing more financial literacy to our nation's citizens.

 

While many of the bill's provisions are designed to protect consumers, some of that protection will come at a price.

 

Shopping on the Web for basics can be convenient -- and pricey.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 12:44PM

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

 

Consumers running low on paper towels or dish soap used to run to the store. Now, the needed item could already be in the mail.

 

New sites Soap.com (a sister site to Diapers.com) and Alice.com aim to keep shoppers in supply of common household goods. Their pitch: fast and often free shipping, competitive coupons, and regular reminders when (by their estimates) you're running low.

 

The regularity with which consumers buy household goods appeals to Web retailers, says Dawn Iacobucci, a professor of marketing at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Even Amazon.com offers groceries and home products. "They're all hoping to hook you on the convenience of home delivery for a regular order," she says.

 

But that convenience does come with a cost.

 

The first president was also one of the richest at his peak.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 11:11AM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets are Sexy.

 

Ever wondered how much George Washington was worth? How about HBO legend (and my new fave) John Adams? Or President Obama? Well, you're in for a treat, kiddos. I got a tip from one of our readers that The Atlantic recently did a story on this.

 

It won't help you out in your own financial endeavors, but it'll be great for convo starters. And perhaps it will motivate you a bit too.

 

How the card company categorizes your purchase could affect the amount of rewards or cash back you get.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 9:23AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

One of the reasons we put 99.9% of our spending on credit cards is the rewards. A percent or more back in cash or reward points isn't going to make anyone rich, but it's a little better than getting nothing back.

 

At the moment we use only two credit cards, so keeping the bonus rewards categories in order is fairly simple. But there was a time when I used as many as four cards. You want to use the card that gives you the most rewards for the type of purchase you make. One important lesson I learned early on was that not all purchases are categorized as you would intuitively expect.

 

Failing to fully repay a loan is bad. Why that happened -- carelessness, greed, or naive foolishness -- is relatively unimportant.

By Karen Datko Jul 19, 2010 3:45PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

In certain circles there has always been plenty of discussion of credit reports and scores. But since the Great Recession, interest in the topic has grown to the verge of mainstream consciousness. Ordinary folks now routinely consider the credit score impact of their actions, including such esoteric issues as the undesirability of closing unused credit card accounts. (It increases the ratio of used to available credit, which is bad.)

 

But through all this it seems as if the underlying point of credit scores has been lost. It is not a game with arbitrary rules meant to keep consumers on their toes. Nor is it a measure of virtue.

 

If you are in the business of lending money, what you want to know about a potential borrower boils down to a simple question:

 

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