Smart SpendingSmart Spending

In your conversations with your inner devil's advocate about your nonessential spending, who is winning?

By MSN Money Partner Feb 28, 2011 11:15AM

This guest post comes from Lindy at Minting Nickels.


In a few days my brother-in-law will be e-mailing to tell me I owe him $100.

It's for my annual renewal of Sirius satellite radio.


(Note: We share a Sirius account with him, for reasons that are way too boring to discuss here. But sharing an account does save us money. At least I think it does.)


I never even considered satellite radio until I borrowed my brother-in-law's car for an extended period of time when we first moved back to Phoenix. But I became a Sirius sucker for life after experiencing a few months of good music sans commercials.


Speaking of music, there are umpteen million channels on Sirius satellite radio. The options are endless! So endless, that I only listen to ONE station on Sirius, seriously (you know that pun had to be done).


That's right. I pay $100 per year for a single music station. 


They're everywhere and they're a problem that won't go away -- unless you fire them, which is another problem.

By doubleace Feb 28, 2011 10:07AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken of MSN Money.


Fifteen percent of American workers show up late for work at least once a week, a new survey says. To which I respond: You gotta be kidding!


It's not that I don't believe it. The survey, conducted in late 2010 by Harris Interactive for job-search website CareerBuilder, didn't ask only employees, who probably would lie on the low side, but also employers, who tend to have documentation.


My questions are: 1) How do they get away with it? 2) Why do they do it? 3) And -- the biggie -- will they ever change?


My answers -- but definitely not the experts' -- are: 1) This is a world of enablers. 2) They are pond scum. 3) Never.


You can get these massive meals for free -- and maybe get a prize as well -- if you can force it all down in one sitting.

By Karen Datko Feb 25, 2011 5:46PM

I read Coupon Sherpa's post about 40 restaurant challenges with a mix of horror and delight last year. It's amazing how much some people will try to eat to get that special, oversized meal on the house, plus some bragging rights and perhaps a T-shirt or cash prize.

The Sherpa is back with a new and "improved" list -- more than twice as long. Here are some of the highlights from "Place your bets again: 83 gust-busting restaurant challenges for free food," which is handily broken down state by state. (And lest you think only Americans are willing to make pigs of themselves, there's also an international section.)


A central bank proposal would limit nonworking spouses' credit access.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 25, 2011 2:57PM

This post comes from Robert Schmidt at partner site Bloomberg Businessweek.


Bloomberg Businessweek on MSN MoneySometimes the best intentions can go awry. Just ask the Federal Reserve, which in its efforts to stop credit card companies from preying on poor people and students has touched off a battle over stay-at-home moms.


Charged with writing rules implementing the 2009 law designed to curb credit-card abuses, the Fed late last year proposed that card companies consider "individual" rather than "household" income or assets when issuing cards. The change, say lawmakers who worked on the measure, is meant to prevent banks from issuing credit cards to college students who then run up thousands of dollars in debt and have no ability to pay.


The Fed, which has spent most of the financial crisis getting slammed for its lax oversight of consumer credit, took things a step further, interpreting the law to mean that it should keep credit cards out of the hands of anyone without a paycheck or ample personal savings. That, of course, includes spouses who don't work -- husbands in some cases but most often wives. In its November proposal, the Fed said those without an income could get a credit card if a spouse co-signed the application.


IHOP will celebrate National Pancake Day with a free short stack -- one per customer until they run out.

By Karen Datko Feb 25, 2011 2:51PM

Need an excuse to eat pancakes on Tuesday, March 1? It's National Pancake Day at IHOP, where customers can get a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., or until supplies run out. Pancakes for dinner? Yum.


In exchange, consider leaving a donation for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since IHOP began the annual event in 2006, it's given away more than 10 million pancakes and raised $5.35 million for that and other charities.


As usual for any freebies and deals, call first to make sure your local restaurant is participating in the promotion.


Here are some other food freebies:


Stretch your vacation dollars with this simple travel tip.

By Donna_Freedman Feb 25, 2011 12:26PM

I just had my supper courtesy of a Tesco market near Piccadilly Circus: a chunk of Double Gloucester cheese, pita bread, grape tomatoes, an apple, a few "custard cream biscuits" (not-too-sweet sandwich cookies) and a Diet Coke.

When I travel, I always carry some foods with me, but I also check to find grocery stores in the vicinity. Supping at the supermarket is a fine way to stretch your vacation budget.

The above-mentioned foods cost me 6 pounds, 53 pence -- about $10.54 in U.S. dollars. But it was more than just supper.


A wallet company reprinted a secretary's Social Security number on a sample card inserted into one of its products. More than 40,000 people later claimed the number as their own.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 25, 2011 10:21AM

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


Recently I was looking through the safe that holds all of my most important documents, like family birth certificates, insurance policies and the secret recipe for Mom's sauce, when I ran across my Social Security card.

Now, I'll wager that if you poll a room full of people at a triple-keg Super Bowl party, more than half of them wouldn't be able to tell you the license plate number of their car -- and that's before the kickoff. However, if you asked those same folk to recite their Social Security number, they would all be able to do it forward and backward -- even after the kegs are empty.


Cited for speeding, 20-year-old tells the judge that his smart phone proves he was driving under the limit.

By doubleace Feb 25, 2011 8:23AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

He fought the law and the law … lost.

Sahas Katta, a 20-year-old college student from Davis, Calif., got pulled over and ticketed for driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone, at least according to the cop's radar gun.

Katta didn't believe it, and thought he had a way to prove he was right: He was carrying a Motorola Droid cell phone loaded with My Tracks, an app that uses the GPS and accelerometer in the Droid to measure distance traveled, average speed, average moving speed and max speed.



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