Should you feel any shame in giving used designer handbags to your nieces for Christmas?
The holiday season can test a frugal person's patience: There are so many temptations to spend. Sure, we all want to enjoy the festive nature of this time of year, but where do you draw the line? And how fugal is too frugal?
Michelle wrote with a terrific question. She has the sort of dilemma I can picture myself facing. Here's her story:
Like you, I am a big proponent of thrift store shopping. It saves money, and it's just more fun than going to the mall -- at least for me. Because I live in the New York City area, I'm fortunate in that many of the area thrift stores are filled with fantastic stuff, including designer and name-brand quality clothes, many of which are barely worn.
On a recent thrift store trip, I picked up two designer handbags as Christmas gifts for my college-aged nieces, but now I'm having second thoughts.
On the one hand, there's no way they would ever really acquire Coach and Kate Spade handbags on their own. On the other hand, I don't know if they share my acceptance and love for thrifting, and they may not react well to the thought of being gifted someone else's castoffs.
A survey shows that will be the average monthly income from what Americans in their 50s are saving for retirement.
It seems as if every financial services company in the world conducts its own retirement survey and each one is more depressing than the last.
The most recent one comes from Wells Fargo, which says that most Americans in their 50s should be prepared to live on $190 a month, because that's all the personal saving they'll have to look forward to.
- Calculator:Are you saving enough?
But the point is clear: Wake up or be prepared to spend your retirement years living in a van down by the river, as the late great comedian Chris Farley used to say.
When you pick the food up yourself, do restaurant workers act as if you're still supposed to tip?
How much do you tip for takeout when you pick food up at a restaurant?
We talked a lot about holiday tipping the other week, but I think this question is much more interesting because it affects each and every one of us -- or at least the ones who enjoy splurging on takeout every now and then.
I've heard pros and cons to both sides here, so I'm kind of curious to see what you all think.
Here's the comment that prompted this post (thanks, Linda):
What about tipping for takeout? They seem like they want the full 20% and get angry if they don't get it. How do other people handle this?
Shoppers report longer waits for ordered gifts. How to make sure yours arrive on time.
Every night of Hanukkah, Barbara Adler gave one gift to each of her three sons. Until the last night of the eight-day holiday, when she presented an electronic puzzle game to the trio, "for all of us."
The other gifts, ordered from Amazon.com affiliates, hadn't arrived at their Roslyn, N.Y., home -- even though she'd ordered them some 11 days before.
No one keeps track of real-time complaints like these, but anecdotal evidence suggests that plenty of shoppers are still waiting on holiday gift orders placed weeks ago.
Restaurants are giving bonuses with gift cards, plus coupons for subs, bagels, soup and a deal on pizza.
This seems to be the year for days of deals, as in "The 12 Days of Christmas."
Now Chili's has joined the movement, with "Holidaily Specials" through Dec. 24. The special changes every day, but you can see the whole schedule now. This coupon will give you free chips and queso through Dec. 23.
Many restaurants are offering specials on gift cards this year, with the most likely bonus being a free smaller gift card. Miami FL on the Cheap has a list of restaurant gift card bonuses and freebies.
A lot of folks unwittingly -- and repeatedly -- make misguided money decisions based upon well-intentioned beliefs.
The other day I was at the gas station and I observed a soccer mom topping off the tank of her bright yellow Hummer.
Thunk. Thunk, thunk, thunk. Thunk. Thunk, thunk. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk.
Maybe I am being a bit snooty, but I find that kind of behavior extremely annoying, not to mention just a wee bit ignorant. Don't you?
Readers share unbelievably dense comments about personal finance they've heard. Got any to add?
Talk about your latte factor! Smart Spending message board reader "AmberStorck" was told it would be silly to shell out 30 whole bucks for a coffee machine when you could just buy a cup for $3.50 at Starbucks.
Or how about this one: "I never redeem rewards points. It's just a waste of money."
Or: "I can't ride the bus because I don't know how." (Did this person fail "sitting down" in kindergarten?)
2010 sees home prices sink by $1.7 trillion. Falling taxes deprive communities of crucial services.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.
Since housing values started plummeting in 2006, the U.S. housing market has lost almost $9 trillion -- enough to fund 12 Iraq wars. That's the news from researchers at Zillow, the online real estate marketplace.
A big chunk of that loss -- $1.7 trillion -- was shed in 2010 alone.
"That's 63% more than the $1 trillion in value that homes lost last year," The Wall Street Journal points out.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
If you're thinking about buying a car and the Carfax report comes back clean, you're good to go, right? Um, maybe not. Here are four other ways you can avoid buying a clunker.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'