Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The list of most-ticketed vehicles includes just two American-made cars.

By Karen Datko Oct 25, 2010 8:34AM

This post comes from Fred Yager at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

You may not believe the concept of "you are what you drive," but the police who hand out traffic tickets apparently do. A new study found that certain makes and models of cars were ticketed more than others -- and some of the results might surprise you.

It's no shock that the survey found that younger drivers in flashy sport utility vehicles or sports cars attracted their share of tickets. But would you be astonished to learn the car that attracted the most tickets was a $100,000 Mercedes SL convertible?

 

Imagine a stranger serving you foreclosure papers as you stand in your front yard -- even though you've never missed a payment.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 22, 2010 2:42PM

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

 

According to RealtyTrac, about one in every four home sales in the second quarter this year was a foreclosure.

 

In former bubble markets like Florida, Nevada, and parts of California and Arizona, the numbers are even higher: 56% of home sales in Nevada were foreclosures. RealtyTrac also reports that the sale price of a foreclosed home is about 26% below the average home's market price, thus depressing the price of all homes in the market.

But while foreclosures have a negative impact on those losing their houses and those living nearby, not everyone is a loser in the foreclosure process. Some of the firms that produce and process the paperwork necessary to kick a homeowner out are making money -- a ton of it. 

 

Some are more difficult to overcome than others, but first things first: Take the initiative to look into it.

By Karen Datko Oct 22, 2010 2:04PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

With mortgage rates at historic lows, refinancing your home loan can be a really easy way to save a bundle of money. Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that can prevent many homeowners from refinancing.

We put together a list of seven of the most common problems, along with some suggestions on how to overcome them:

 

Dress like a 'horrifying processed food product' to get $2 burritos, or dine in Halloween garb and score free appetizers.

By Teresa Mears Oct 22, 2010 11:50AM

If you want to get food deals next week, you're going to have to dress up -- in Halloween costumes.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has teamed up with TV chef Jamie Oliver to promote Chipotle's natural ingredients. If you dress up like "a horrifying processed food product," you can get a burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos for $2. Proceeds go to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. You can watch a video on the Chipotle site. Don't let Target see your homemade Halloween costume.

 

T.G.I. Friday's is offering a free appetizer (fried mozzarella, pot stickers or crispy green beans) to customers who come in costume Oct. 29-30. On Oct. 31, kids in costume eat free, with a limit of one free meal from the kids' menu for each adult entrée purchased.

 

Kids 12 and under can get a free Scary Face pancake on Oct. 29 at IHOP, no costume required.

 

Is the official estimate for real? Some parents say it's not.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 22, 2010 10:47AM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that it costs about $222,360 to raise a child in this country.


Miranda Marquit, a staff writer at Moolanomy, doesn't believe that. She ran some numbers of her own for a post called "Does my son really cost me $26,000 a year?" Marquit figures it's costing less than $15,000 per year to raise her little guy.

Maybe a lot less.

 

Blogger's kids say mints are out. So are pretzels, other healthy fare, and chewy things that don't mix with braces.

By Karen Datko Oct 22, 2010 10:06AM

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

 

When I was a kid, I would come home from my annual after-dark Halloween trip around the neighborhood and empty the booty from my pillowcase to see what I had scored from my ghoulish trick-or-treating adventure.

 

Of course, most of my take was usually the typical Halloween fare, like miniature candy bars. Every year, though, I also got a few unexpected items; some were really awesome Halloween treats -- but others were not.

One year I even got a rock in my bag -- just like Charlie Brown. I'm not kidding.

 

It's a good thing I didn't see that rock go in my sack when it was handed out, or I promise you that bozo's front yard would have looked like a winter wonderland because I would have gone back and toilet-papered it later in the evening.

 

I recently surveyed my kids -- Matthew, 13, and Nina, 11 -- to find out some of the worst stuff well-meaning folks in my neighborhood have tossed in their Halloween bags.

 

High shipping fees, complex return policies and on-time delivery can make the process daunting.

By Karen Datko Oct 21, 2010 7:08PM

This post by Moolanomy's Pinyo comes from partner site USNews.

 

The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means that many of us are getting ready to order gifts online.

I love online shopping for gifts. You get a wider selection, and you can use online wish lists to help you find just what someone wants. However, there are plenty of pitfalls associated with online holiday shopping. Make sure you understand the possible problems and prepare for them.

 

Here are five common pitfalls associated with online holiday shopping:

 

Is it the beginning of the end for Black Friday Midnight Madness?

By Karen Datko Oct 21, 2010 5:47PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.

 

One Massachusetts city has decided it wants none of the retail frenzy associated with Black Friday.

 

Voters at a town meeting in Dartmouth this week approved rigorous new restrictions for retailers who want to open their doors between midnight and 4 a.m. on the traditional holiday shopping kickoff on Nov. 26.

 

"We're not looking to interfere with business," Dartmouth police chief Timothy M. Lee told meeting members, according to SouthCoastToday.com.

Rather, he said they want to protect shoppers and employers from the frenzied stampedes of hundreds of bargain-crazy shoppers that have resulted in countless injuries and at least one fatality -- at a Long Island Wal-Mart in 2008.

 

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