Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Bank returns interest rate to previous level, 12.99%

By Teresa Mears Sep 21, 2009 5:06PM

Ann Minch, the California woman who took her fight over a credit card rate increase to YouTube, apparently has extracted the concession she sought from Bank of America.


In a new video posted Saturday, she said Bank of America had agreed to return the interest rate on her $5,943.34 balance, which had been hiked to 30%, to 12.99%. The bank's first offer was 16.99%, which she said she rejected.


Live Nation venues offer all concerts for one price

By Teresa Mears Sep 21, 2009 2:36PM

With the recession taking a bite out of concert ticket sales, concert promoters have come up with all kinds of deals and discounts this year to lure us into the venues. For good music, we don't need too much luring, if we can afford the tickets.


Live Nation has continued to offer promotions every Wednesday with discounts on concerts nationwide.


Now, Live Nation is offering a concert pass. The Live Nation Club Passport gives music lovers entry into every concert the rest of the year at participating venues for $49.99 -- if the show isn't sold out. That includes all fees except parking.


Group says taxing surgery drinks would improve health

By Teresa Mears Sep 21, 2009 2:32PM

Is it time to tax sugary drinks?


Another group is saying yes. In a paper published in the Sept. 16 issues of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of public health experts is advocating a tax of one cent per ounce on sugary beverages, The New York Times reported. The tax would apply to soft drinks, energy drinks, sports beverages and many juices and iced teas -- but not sugar-free drinks.


Truly "found money," those stray pennies and dimes will add up -- if you save them.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 18, 2009 7:39PM

I'm superannuated enough to remember penny candy. Finding a cent was cause for celebration, because it would buy Squirrel Nut Zippers (the candy, not the band), Smarties, Pixy Stix or a host of other treats.

I still pick up pennies. Also nickels, dimes and any other American paper or specie I see on sidewalks, in parking lots or pooled in the rejected-change bin of those Coinstar change-counting machines.


You can find a home for anything, or anything for your home, at this wonderful site.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 18, 2009 6:43PM
I know I'm late to the dance here, but I finally understand why people love The Freecycle Network so much. You can give or get, de-cluttering your life or filling some basic needs at no cost.

No matter how odd the item, you can probably unload it. Earlier this week I gave away a half-pint of keys.  

It's not easy, but you CAN do it

By Karen Datko Sep 18, 2009 11:44AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


Here is one of the most frequently asked questions in all of personal finance: "How do I get out of debt?" At one level, eliminating debt is simply about following a few steps:

  • Stop going into more debt.
  • Spend less than you make.
  • Pay off debt with the difference.

If you follow these steps, eventually you'll be debt-free. The problem is that following these steps isn't always so easy. And to make matters worse, there is a lot of "help" out there that can make matters worse. From debt-consolidation companies to books like Kevin Trudeau's "Debt Cures," which I wouldn't recommend to my worst enemy, there are a lot of promises being made that getting out of debt is easy. It's not.


In fact, tackling your debt may be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. You have to control your emotions, which can play a big part in how we make financial decisions. You have to educate yourself about everything from home loans to credit cards to credit scores. And you have to discipline yourself in the way you manage and spend money.


The fact is that controlling your spending and paying off your debt is not an easy thing to do. But the good news is that you can do it. If you want to be debt-free bad enough, you can make it happen.


To help you reach your goal of being debt-free, I've assembled a list of 23 tips and tools. 


Paperless ticketing is the key

By Karen Datko Sep 18, 2009 11:30AM

Here's good news for many sports and concert fans: Ticketmaster has found a way to sidestep the scalpers and control the price of ticket resales.


How does it work? It's made possible by Ticketmaster's paperless ticket option. Limited now in application, you can expect that more and more ticket sales will become paper-free.


Our Smart Spending colleague Teresa Mears explained how paperless ticketing worked when she did a most unfrugal thing by attending a concert by the Boss, who likes the paper-free approach. (I am extremely jealous.) Teresa said:

To get into Sunday's Bruce Springsteen concert in South Florida, concertgoers had to swipe the credit cards with which they had bought the tickets. The handheld machine then printed out paper tickets with their seat numbers on them. If one person had bought the tickets for a group, they all had to enter at once.

Venues also require a separate photo ID.


Unemployed and spending like crazy

By Karen Datko Sep 18, 2009 11:23AM

Ashley Baxter has good cause to be worried about her friend. The woman has gone on a major plastic spending spree since she became unemployed five months ago.


We'd heard that such people exist but hadn't run across a case quite like this. It's one thing to maintain your normal standard of living for appearance's sake when you're jobless. That's bad. But this seems worse. Along with the $40 lunches, $300 eyelash extensions and extremely expensive handbags, the friend is now committed to an extra $300 in monthly payments on debt that she didn't have when she was working, Ashley writes at SpendOnLife.


Those aren't living expenses, folks. Is a credit card intervention in order?



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