Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Now that there's enough real-world data, it's clear that programmable thermostats have only a minimal impact on energy consumption.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 28, 2011 8:44AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


Programmable thermostats save you money. That's a no-brainer, right? You've seen that advice in books and magazines and on personal-finance blogs -- even here at Get Rich Slowly.


Well, it turns out programmable thermostats aren't the miracle device we've believed all along. In fact, sometimes using a programmable thermostat costs more than not having one at all.


The IRS is standing by Saturday to help you with your tax preparation.

By Karen Datko Mar 25, 2011 4:32PM

News alert for adults: Tax Day is April 18 this year, so you have a few extra days to get them filed. But that's no excuse to procrastinate.


About 100 IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers will be open Saturday (March 26) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help you get this annual chore out of the way. You can find more details about this free service here, and more information about other free tax help at this site.


Since the 1990s, single women have purchased homes at about double the rate of single men.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 25, 2011 2:46PM

This post comes from Steve Bergsman at partner site on MSN MoneyOn a recent sale, Hartford, Conn.-area real estate agent Maria Hagan of Prudential Connecticut Realty was dealing with a single-female client who had just sold her condominium and was looking to buy another. The client had a hard time finding anything she liked, until one day she drove past a single-family home on the way to visit her brother.


The property was a two-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot ranch.


After two years of meteoric performance, its daily deals seem to be losing the attention of bargain hunters. What could be going wrong?

By doubleace Mar 25, 2011 1:20PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.


What's gone wrong with Groupon? Just a few months ago, the online daily deal deliverer peddled 411,000 $50-for-$25 coupons for Gap in just one day. More recently, the two-year-old company rejected a $6 billion purchase offer from Google.


Now the numbers look a lot different. Groupon's U.S. revenue fell 30% in February from a month earlier. This week, Yipit, a daily deal aggregator that indexes more than 400 services, reported that Groupon sales are down another 32% in March.


Surely, the world cannot be tiring of getting $40 worth of restaurant chow -- sorry, fine dining -- for $20. Or could it? 


A less-junky home is easier to keep clean later on. Plus it can make you calmer.

By Donna_Freedman Mar 25, 2011 11:53AM

Why do we feel the urge to clean house each spring? This post at TLC Home says the idea is reflected in at least three different cultures (Iranian, Chinese, Jewish).

But "simple biology" may also be a factor.


A 15-year mortgage allows you to pay off your mortgage twice as fast while saving a significant chunk of money on interest. Now let's examine some other issues.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 25, 2011 9:43AM

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


According to Freddie Mac's survey last week, there was a spread of 0.79 of a percentage point between the 15- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage benchmarks, which just so happened to be the largest spread since Freddie started tracking the 15-year mortgage 20 years ago. For comparison purposes, the average spread over that same time period has been only 0.47.

I think most people naturally assume that, when it comes to choosing between a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the 15-year loan is usually the better option anyway. Throw in this historic spread, and I'm sure a lot of folks out there are now beginning to think they'd be absolutely crazy to take out a 30-year loan.


Buying online isn't just about the websites you visit. Where you live affects both the price you pay and the time it takes to get the goods.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 25, 2011 7:30AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


If you like surfing big waves, Hawaii is a great place to live. But if you like surfing the Web for big deals, it's among the worst.


That's the result of a new survey by price-comparison site Extrabux, which crunched some numbers and spit out a list of the best and worst states for online shopping.


A new survey shows that people are also unwilling to give up Internet service and bare-bones cable TV.

By Karen Datko Mar 24, 2011 4:02PM

There are some things people are unwilling to do without, no matter how tight their money is. In a recent survey of U.S. adults, a whopping 64.4% said they consider basic cell phone service "untouchable" -- off-limits when it comes to spending cuts. That number rose to 70% among those who earn $50,000 or more.


What else is considered a must-have?



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.


Can you trust Carfax?

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.