Smart SpendingSmart Spending

How to make the most of what you have

By Karen Datko Sep 16, 2009 3:23PM

It's unfortunate but true that homely folks often have more limited income prospects than their better-looking peers. People are shallow like that.


What can you do if you've been blessed with less than your fair share of good looks? Both "FMF" at Free Money Finance and Kiplinger columnist Marty Nemko have some advice.

Bing: Famous ugly people

Marty also has some relevant remarks for employers: "All other things being equal, I'd give the nod to an ugly candidate." You can probably hire them for less and they'll work harder than those who know how to get by on their looks.


9 ways this appliance can save you money

By Karen Datko Sep 16, 2009 2:21PM

This post comes from Alex Wayne at partner blog Wise Bread.


Looking for more money-saving ideas during these tough economic times? Dig that food dehydrator out of storage. This is a frugal living tip that almost everyone can act on. Just by reducing or eliminating food waste, you can save quite a bit of money.


Don't have a dehydrator? These days, you can buy a brand new one for less than the cost of a PlayStation game. Or, visit the flea market or yard sales around the neighborhood. Still can't find one? Try Craigslist. Don't have any money for another kitchen appliance? Alton Brown will show you how to make one.

Bing: Choosing a food dehydrator

Here are nine ways a dehydrator can help you stretch your budget:


She takes her case to YouTube, won't pay bill

By Teresa Mears Sep 15, 2009 5:56PM

Ann Minch is mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore.


Like many, she has seen the interest rate on her credit card jacked up (in her case, to 30%), even though she made all the payments on time, wasn't over her limit and didn't in any way violate Bank of America's rules. She had been making the minimum payment on her account for years, about $130 a month.


After trying, and failing, to get the interest rate reduced, she has, in her words "fired the first shot in the debtors' revolution" by refusing to pay another cent of her $5,943.34 debt unless Bank of America returns the interest rate to its previous level, 12.99%. She has staked out her position in this YouTube video, which has circulated widely on the Internet and has been viewed more than 150,000 times.


Frugality forces us to look at our priorities

By Teresa Mears Sep 15, 2009 4:16PM

The French president has suggested that economic indicators such as gross domestic product take into account some of a nation's more intangible assets: happiness, leisure time, availability of health care.


France looks pretty good by some of those indicators -- great food, beautiful buildings and countryside, a 35-hour work week and five weeks' paid vacation. Alas, using intangible features such as happiness to calculate economic statistics is probably not practical.


But we think Nicolas Sarkozy has a great point when it comes down to measuring our own personal gross domestic product. Are the things that make us happy really how much we own and how much we produce, or do other intangibles matter more? Does having a granite countertop really make people happier?


Overpaying your taxes is one of them

By Karen Datko Sep 15, 2009 12:38PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog


One of the biggest challenges in almost anything you do is knowing where your blind spots are. In simpler terms, you don't know what you don't know.


So, today I'll point out four money mistakes you might be making that you don't even realize you're making. Hopefully, you're making none of them. If you are making one of these, don't beat yourself up over it. Now you know you're making it and you can take steps to fix it.


Carriers love them, others not so much

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:59PM

That $29 or $39 one-way airfare sounds great, but before you buy, hold the phone until you've added in all the airline fees. Suddenly that ticket isn't such a great deal. (And don't buy it over the phone. That too will cost you extra.)


Airline fees are here to stay, no matter how confusing or annoying they are, USA Today reports. The story also says:

Sorting out the airlines' fees can be a time-consuming task. It took a week for a USA Today reporter -- who, unlike most consumers, was assisted by airline public relations staff -- to compile 28 different types of fees charged by 14 major airlines.

Holy buckets.


Here's what to do

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:33PM

Your cell phone, pager or iPod has fallen into the toilet bowl, swimming pool or kitchen sink full of water. You fish it out. After you've washed your hands -- depending on the circumstance -- what can you do?


FiscalGeek offers five techniques for restoring the gadget to life in a post called "Frugal fix: Revive your cell phone or electronic devices from water damage." He starts with his "go-to" method, which involves rubbing alcohol.


Motor home community is in Lot B

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:24PM

Here's the strangest proof we've seen to date that the airline industry ain't what it used to be. According to the Los Angeles Times, airline pilots and other employees are living in a collection of 100 campers and RVs in Parking Lot B of Los Angeles International Airport, less than 3,500 feet from the south runway.


It has the feel of a modern-day shantytown, replete with the sounds and smell of jets coming in for a landing at the nation's third busiest airport. Parking the motor home at a Wal-Mart sounds glamorous compared with this.



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.