Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Homelessness among children appears to be rising, yet little is known about it.

By Karen Datko Dec 3, 2010 11:11AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


One of the odder aspects of the foreclosure crisis is how much the media coverage focuses on the financial fiasco and how relatively little you hear about the actual families who're thrown out of their homes. You don't see congressional committees, for example, asking for testimony from ordinary people.

Yes, there have been stories in The New York Times, here and here, at CBS News and AlterNet, among others. But with 11 million foreclosures possible, you'd think the media would cover this like a war.


"This foreclosure crisis is the largest forced relocation event we've had in this country since the Great Depression," one expert told The Washington Post recently.


Ice cream, burgers, pancakes and more, just for being born.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 3, 2010 10:08AM

Over the next 10 days I'll be eating at Red Robin, IHOP, Qdoba and Cold Stone Creamery. The good news is that all the food will be free because Dec. 5 is my birthday.

The bad news? I have to speak the phrase "Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity," the name of the gratis grub being offered at IHOP.


Agency calls on industry and Congress to create more privacy protections for consumers.

By Teresa Mears Dec 2, 2010 4:52PM

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed that Internet users get more privacy from the spying eyes of marketers who are tracking their moves around the Web.


In a 122-page report, "Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change" (.pdf file), the FTC staff recommended that marketing firms, technology companies and Congress take steps to protect consumer privacy, including creating a "do not track" mechanism. While "do not track" has been compared with the "do not call" list that keeps telemarketers from interrupting your dinner, "do not track" is a much more complex issue.


The FTC is collecting public comment on what mechanisms would work best. Any significant moves would have to come from industry or Congress.


Congress has said no. So what's next for the millions of people depending on those checks?

By Karen Datko Dec 2, 2010 4:10PM

You've likely read that Congress can't agree to renew extended unemployment benefits, meaning 2 million jobless Americans will lose those checks by the end of December, and 2 million more will join their ranks in the first two months of the new year.


Sounds simple enough, but confusion reigns. Some seem to think the current debate is over whether every unemployed person is entitled to 99 weeks of benefits -- or even more.


That's not what's happening here. To best understand, let's look at the benefits unemployed people have been eligible for in the last two years and what will happen now.


Some believe you're better off leaving it lie, though a good Samaritan might take more initiative.

By Teresa Mears Dec 2, 2010 12:47PM

You're walking down the street, you look down and you see a debit card lying at your feet.


Do you pick it up?


Not necessarily, says Sally Herigstad, a CPA who writes the To Her Credit column at


Picking up a fallen debit card and trying to return it to the rightful owner isn't necessarily the best course of action. Are you surprised?


Shopping for that special someone, guys? Here are five things you might want to cross off your list.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 2, 2010 12:18PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


When it comes to gift giving, the thought does count -- but think twice before you shop for the special lady on your list.


Although we pick presents with good intentions, let's not forget that good intentions also pave the road to hell. So if you're a guy without much experience in gifting, or if your special someone has ever found your "perfect gift" perfectly offensive, read on.


Blogger gets disappointing results after participating in four auctions at the website.

By Karen Datko Dec 2, 2010 11:18AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner site The Simple Dollar.


A reader recently asked for my opinion of QuiBids, an online auction site where you have to pay for your bids, but bids only make the auctions go up in 1- or 2-cent increments. I replied that my back-of-the-envelope math makes the site not worth your time.

Several readers wrote to me immediately afterward, bragging about various items they got at a steep discount and urging me to reconsider my perspective on it. So I decided to give the site a fair shake.


Budgets are tight and gift lists can be long, so it's time to start looking for ways to find more cash.

By Money Staff Dec 1, 2010 6:45PM

This post comes from MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston.


Liz Pulliam WestonThe holidays can be expensive -- and there are only so many people you can kick off your gift list before you start to feel positively Scrooge-like. When you can’t trim expenses any further, it’s time to look for ways to raise more cash.

Now, you could try holding a yard sale (in the snow) or opening a lemonade stand (in the snow), but there are other, easier ways to come up with free money, including the following:



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.