Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Eating The Road covers every imaginable aspect of getting your money's worth.

By Karen Datko Nov 30, 2009 7:04PM

A post from "ETR" at Eating The Road -- “The All-Inclusive All-You-Can-Eat Buffet Guide” -- arrived with perfect timing, as a new Chinese buffet has opened in town.


Sick of turkey leftovers, we tried it out last night -- using a few of ETR’s best tips for getting our money’s worth. Why didn’t we try them all? ETR says his tips are “the best, quickest way to find yourself in a motorized cart.” 

Here are a few snippets from his post -- the most comprehensive and entertaining guide to all-you-can-eat buffet dining we’ve ever come across:


DealNews gives Amazon top marks for live price-matching.

By Teresa Mears Nov 30, 2009 5:38PM

Who were the winners and losers on Black Friday?


More shoppers came out this year than last year, but they spent less. Some of the popular small items were sold out before Cyber Monday sales. We’re not shopping from work today, but we do have our eyes on a few deals online if we finish our work in time.


Partner site DealNews has come up with its list of “cheers and jeers” for merchants for their Black Friday performance.

The big winner, they say, was Amazon, which cut prices live to match the best deals offered at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and nearly every other store. Blu-ray and DVD movie prices hit new lows, with popular films selling for $10 or less.


It's making a debut in California and Colorado.

By Karen Datko Nov 30, 2009 4:26PM

The weirdest prepaid card news to date: A company is offering a prepaid debit card for medical marijuana users.

“There may be no greater sign of marijuana's rising profile in the national economy than this,” David Morrison wrote at Credit Union Times.


The card -- dubbed the GreenCard -- will debut in California and Colorado and double as a photo ID for members and users of legal medical marijuana collectives and dispensaries. Expect it to spread to other states where use of marijuana to treat various illnesses and conditions is legal with a doctor's note. No word yet on a medical marijuana gift card.


Popular gifts range from GPS to winter clothes

By TracyC Nov 30, 2009 1:52PM

More shoppers headed out to the malls and onto the Web this year for Black Friday shopping, but once there, they didn’t exactly load up their carts.


The National Retail Federation estimated that 195 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend, up from 172 million the year before, but spending dropped 7.9% to $343.31 per person from $372.57 in 2008.


Some of the drop can be attributed to shoppers focusing on smaller-ticket electronics such as cell phones, rather than computers and huge flat screens, and more practical gifts such as


Reader gets lots of grief at work because he doesn't have a TV.

By Karen Datko Nov 30, 2009 12:34PM

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


Your friends and family influence you. They affect the way you view life. If your friends are frugal, it’s easier to be frugal yourself. But if they’re wrapped up in consumerism and materialism, it can be difficult to resist the urge to join them. It’s only natural to want to fit in.

Rob wrote recently to ask how to handle a situation where he wants to lead a simple life, but those around him aren’t supportive. How can he cope with peer pressure? Here’s his story:


Actually, you shouldn't use your work computer to order gifts, but many people will.

By Karen Datko Nov 27, 2009 7:00PM

Employers won’t like this combination: Lots of people plan to shop online at work for holiday gifts, and retailers are pushing Cyber Monday with more gusto than ever before.


That suggests that come Monday, as the online holiday shopping season kicks off, you've got to wonder who will be minding the store, so to speak.


The Wall Street Journal reports:

According to, more than half of the participants in a recent survey said they planned to shop online on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Of those, two-thirds expect to make purchases on Monday (80% will on Friday, and half will on both days).

A National Retail Federation survey found that 56% of men, 51% of women, and 74% of those between 18 and 24 who have Internet access on the job plan to shop on their work computers this holiday season.


But it is important that you get the basics right.

By Karen Datko Nov 27, 2009 1:33PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


You’ve seen this e-mail:

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit any porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Whlie it's not at all clear wheehtr a Cmabrigde Uinervtisy stduy rellay exsits, the concpet has treeemnduos aplpication to presoanl finncae and ivnsetnig.

Get the important things right. While we don't have to be perfect, we do need to get the important things right. Just like the first and last letters of a word need to be correct, there are some core personal-finance and investing concepts that we must get right:


Found coins add up slowly, but they DO add up.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 27, 2009 11:53AM
I'd planned to wait until mid-December to count my dropped change. By Nov. 18, the old vase in which I keep the coins was about to spill over. Eleven months' worth of found funds came to $34.54: a $5 bill, three $1 bills, 25 quarters, 117 dimes, 46 nickels and 629 pennies.

In the past week I've already found $1.05. Looks like it's going to be a good year for what blogger Candace Baltz-Smylie calls "Dirty Money."

She means that in a good way, of course.  


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.