Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Your friends can not only make you fat, they can make the social barriers to breaking a mortgage contract come crumbling down.

By Karen Datko Jun 21, 2010 7:36AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.

 

Your friends can make you fat. And I don't mean by baking you stuff.

 

A few years ago, scientists released the results of a 32-year obesity study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Pardon the description if you're already familiar with it.

 

Scientists followed about 12,000 people over a 32-year time period, many of whom ran in the same social circles, and tried to assess what common factors led to many of them becoming obese. It turned out that who those studied became friends with was incredibly important. In fact, if someone's friend became obese, he or she became 57% more likely to become obese. If someone's brother or sister became obese, his or her chances increased by 40%. And if it was a spouse, the chances rose 37%.

 

The study caused a pretty big stir.

 

A new program will enlist the help of medical professionals to identify seniors who are most vulnerable. But we can all help.

By Karen Datko Jun 18, 2010 5:34PM

People in our line of work often see stories like these: "Medicare recipients target of new scam." "Elderly Kansas couple lose heavily to scam." "Elderly couple targeted by timeshare fraud." And that's just a few we noticed today.

 

And then there's this one: "Medical professionals will try to spot elderly fraud victims." The McClatchy Newspapers story says:

The "Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation" project will train medical professionals across the country to identify patients with mild cognitive impairments who are most susceptible to financial scams. The goal is to have caregivers inform state regulators about patients who pose the greatest risk for abuse.

Plenty of evidence suggests that elderly people need more protection.

 

RadioShack sweetens T-Mobile's free phone deal, food freebies and deals for Father's Day.

By Teresa Mears Jun 18, 2010 12:16PM

Not only is today Friday, but it's National Flip-Flop Day. Wear your flip-flops into a Tropical Smoothie Café, and you'll get a free 24-ounce Jetty Punch smoothie. The deal is limited to the first 500 customers per location.

 

RadioShack has joined Saturday's Mother of All Father's Day Sales, in which all T-Mobile phones will be free (with contracts, of course). For some customers, RadioShack is offering an even better deal, Nicole Lee points out at CNET's Dialed In blog, with T-Mobile phones free on all plans, not just family plans, plus instant rebates and an activation credit.

With some help from our friends at Cities on the Cheap, we've rounded up more new food deals. Some of last week's deals are still good, too.

 

That's not as dangerous as it sounds. Free how-to clinics teach small fry the joys of DIY.

By Donna_Freedman Jun 18, 2010 12:09PM
My niece, Alison, is all about the affordable family fun. As an elementary school teacher, she has summers off and has already mapped out this one: free summer movies, library programs, coach-pitch Little League, free outdoor concerts, and heavy use of annual family memberships to the Alaska Zoo and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art.

And twice a month her two boys grab hammers and don goggles for free how-to clinics at Home Depot and Lowe's. Lucky mom: She gets two jewelry organizers, two miniature Adirondack chair flowerpot stands, two pet-treat keepers, etc.

Since the family's ancient cat has passed beyond the treat stage, what exactly is a pet-treat keeper good for?  

Today's graduates may not find a job, but they should find it easier to be insured.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 18, 2010 8:18AM

This post comes from Donna Gehrke-White at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Just graduating from high school or college and don't have health insurance? You're not alone. Almost one-third of Americans under 26 lack health insurance, the largest group in the U.S., Uncle Sam estimates.

 

A job seeker's confession in a post ignites a lively debate.

By Karen Datko Jun 17, 2010 6:46PM

A recent post at DailyWorth set off a heated debate at DW and at the Bucks blog: Is it acceptable to lie about your previous or current salary when you're applying for a job?

 

The issue was presented from a female perspective: Women need to be more aggressive about asking for higher pay, in their current jobs and when applying for new positions. In the post, a job seeker said she upped her current salary by a mythical $5,000 when a job recruiter asked how much she made, and then "summoned up my inner guy" and successfully negotiated another $5,000 when the prospective employer offered to meet her current salary.

 

Bonus! "Between my white lie and my assertiveness, I'd managed to snag $10,000 more than I was making," she gloated.

 

How do you feel about that? Readers had plenty to say:

 

Debtors' prisons may have been outlawed in the 1800s, but residents of some states are being arrested over unpaid bills.

By Teresa Mears Jun 17, 2010 5:00PM

Deborah Poplawski was feeding a parking meter in downtown Minneapolis when city police pulled up, arrested her and took her off to jail. She was forced to change into jail-issue underwear and an orange uniform and sleep in a room with a dozen women, one of whom offered her drugs. She spent 25 hours in jail.

 

Her crime? She failed to pay $250 in credit card debt. 

 

Debtors' prisons were outlawed in the U.S. in the 1800s, but more debtors are being sent to jail through the efforts of aggressive third-party debt collectors, who are using the courts and the police to collect old debt they bought for pennies on the dollar.

 

It was easier than I thought to dump cable and go online for all my television needs.

By Kim Peterson Jun 17, 2010 2:16PM

For as long as I can remember, I've paid for cable. But as the years have gone by, I found myself watching less and less of it while my monthly bill crept higher.

I was finally at the point where my family was paying $65 a month for cable -- just so my son could watch an hour of the Disney Channel each day. Wow, that was a pricey hour!

It didn't take me long to come up with a plan. First, call up Cox Communications and cancel. Resist urge to say nyah-nyah-nyah to polite customer service agent. That was the easy part. Then I had to get creative.

 

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