Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Do you know how to swim, perform CPR or jump-start a car?

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 8:20PM

Marc at Marc and Angel Hack Life says his list of "50 things everyone should know how to do" is far from inclusive. Oh dear, because there are a number of things on the list of 50 that we need to get cracking on.


This list of essential skills is impressive and, better yet, entertaining. Marc's brief explanations about why you should know each thing often have just the right amount of sass. (Our pick for No. 51: Know how and when to be sassy.) For example, Marc writes: "Swim -- 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by water. Learning to swim might be a good idea." 


Plus, Marc provides helpful links that can help you master each vital skill.

 

Challenge participants learn that it's not easy -- or nutritious.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 8:00PM

The $25 Challenge is over in Illinois, and we're sure the participants are thrilled about that. They agreed to spend no more than $25 on food for a week -- that's about $3.50 a day -- and blog about what they learned during the experience.


It was a real eye-opener for most. When you have so little money for food, you realize that "there is food all around you, all the time, but you can't eat it," wrote Frank Finnegan, who was planning yet another dinner of ham and beans. He added, "Forget nutrition. When shopping, the only thing that matters is price."


He makes a number of good points. It is difficult -- but not impossible -- to buy fresh vegetables and fruit when you're working with a tiny food budget. And you'd better make sure you can stomach repetition in your diet. You quickly learn that when you're buying and cooking in bulk to stretch limited dollars, food becomes a means to get necessary calories rather than a delicious treat.

 

You might be a star, but you're still expendable.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:53PM

In honor of that upcoming blessed event known as the start of the NFL season, we'll point you to RacerX's post "What the Green Bay debacle can teach us" at Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Money.

Backstory, short and sweet: Green Bay icon Brett Favre retires, changes his mind, but the Packers have already transitioned to another quarterback. Favre will wear green this season, but the logo will be that of the Jets.


So what does this have to do with personal finance? RacerX says:

 

Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:21PM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

There was a pretty good post over at Wise Bread the other day on how if a credit card company forgives some of what you owe, what was forgiven is income you have to pay taxes on.

 

On the one hand, this is a point worth repeating because it seems to surprise most people. On the other hand, the post neglects to mention an important exception, and, moreover, feeds into the belief that this is an irrational fluke of the tax code. It isn't. It makes sense.

 

You owe Credit Card Corporation (CCC) $5,000. Realizing you are unlikely to pay them back in full, and now regretting lending you the money to begin with, CCC agrees to settle the debt for $2,000 cash. You sell your PEZ dispenser collection on eBay and send them a check.

 

Blogger cut off a charity that pushed too hard.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:14PM

Has a charity ever pushed and annoyed you to the point that you've cut them off?

 

When do you draw the line at giving? When they've hired a telemarketing company that pesters you, or if they send you too much mail?

 

"FMF" of Free Money Finance raised the question in a recent post called "Off my giving list." He stopped giving to a group he had generously supported because a telemarketer who called his house wouldn't take no for an answer.

 

A too-brief, jargon-filled resume isn't helpful.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 7:06PM

This post comes from Julie Rains at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Many people are job hunting these days. I have worked with job seekers for many years and have found that these five common assumptions frequently derail a job search.

 

Being open to anything will increase my chances of landing a job. The search ought to have a focus: You should be targeting opportunities in a certain discipline or function; or you should identify the strengths you'd like to leverage and then uncover positions that match those strengths. The résumé should convey that focus; otherwise, you can't differentiate yourself from other candidates because you're not really great at anything but rather average at many things.

 

Welcome to the 'food-storage' movement.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 6:59PM

A whole year's worth of food for one person for only $799.99? And that's after a $200 discount. Is this too good to be true, or should we order?

 

Well, there is one small catch. The offer is for 78 one-gallon cans of dehydrated and freeze-dried food, plus a wheat grinder. Now, that's an emergency fund you can eat.

 

Actually, the ad exposed us to a movement we weren't very familiar with.

 

Pens, vitamins and toothpaste are on his list.

By Karen Datko Sep 30, 2009 6:56PM

We're all for dollar stores. They can provide savings, many people agree. At last count, 55% of about 423,000 people who have participated in an MSN Money online poll said they sometimes shop at dollar stores, and 36% said they frequently do. (Another 3% chose "I'd never set foot in one.")

 

But there are some products "rutgerskevin" of The Red Stapler Chronicles recommends you avoid, via his post called "The 10 dumbest things to buy at a dollar store." First on his list are home pregnancy tests.

 

DATA PROVIDERS

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.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More