Smart SpendingSmart Spending

If you're doing any of these things, stop it. You'll be glad you did later.

By Jul 8, 2014 11:37AM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyLiving in a villa in rural Italy. Enjoying the beaches of Florida. Skydiving in the Swiss Alps. Absorbing the culture of major metropolises around the world. No matter what your dream for retirement is, it is never too early to start planning. Achieving a well-planned, financially sound retirement is about making the right choices along the way. Below are five common mistakes that can put your retirement goals at risk.

Couple looking at computer © Corbis1. Not saving early or often enough

While you may think there is plenty of time between your current life stage and retirement, it’s never too early to start saving. The longer you wait to start, the more money you will have to contribute per year to make up for time lost. Not only will you save more the earlier you begin, but it’s important to establish the financial habit to continue throughout their career.


New car fever can make you do strange things. Before you set foot on a dealer lot, read these 10 tips to help you pay less for your next vehicle.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 7, 2014 4:15PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAfter a house, a vehicle is probably the biggest purchase you'll make. Unfortunately, while your house might appreciate -- that is, gain value over time -- your car will eventually turn into a nearly worthless hunk of metal, plastic and upholstery.

Couple shopping for car © Don Mason, Blend Images, CorbisRather than pour oodles of cash into something whose value is going to drop like a rock, use these 10 tips to spend as little as possible on a vehicle that will safely serve you for years.

1. Buy used … usually

You knew this would be the first bit of advice, right?

Of course it is. How could it not be when Edmunds reports that the average new car loses 11 percent of its value as soon as it's driven off the lot? That means your $20,000 car is suddenly worth less than $18,000. Then, after five years, it will likely be worth only slightly more than $12,500.

So it almost always makes sense to buy used. Wait two or three years and you can often get a much cheaper car that is almost as good as one fresh off the assembly line.

However, if you're planning to get a car that's only a year old, in some cases a new car may be cheaper when dealer and manufacturer incentives are factored in. Edmunds has a list of vehicles for which it may make sense to buy the new version rather than one that is last year's model.


Rising student loan debt has some people wringing their hands with concern. Is a crisis looming or is the issue overblown? You decide.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 7, 2014 2:26PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyI'm at a point in my life where student loans aren't a particular concern of mine. My own loans have long since been paid off, and I'm still a few years away from my oldest child entering college.

College graduate © Alys Tomlinson/Creatas Images/JupiterimagesHowever, a few months back, a photo with the following message popped up on my Facebook newsfeed.

Student loan paid faithfully for 23 years.
Borrowed: $26,400.
Paid back to date: $32,700.
Still owe: $45,276.63.
No bankruptcy or forgiveness allowed. Only death or total disability frees you. No Social Security or Medicare till paid off.

My first thought was that the numbers are obviously made up. I have a hard time imagining a student loan in which you pay for 23 years and still owe more than the principal. I also wonder how this person could possibly have a loan with a term longer than 30 years, which would seem to be the case if she still owes more than $45,000.


It's gotten so easy to find TV shows and sports on streaming video services that you likely don't need a cable or satellite subscription to watch your favorite programs.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 7, 2014 1:11PM

This post comes from Dan Schointuch at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyA few years ago I moved into a new apartment and did something revolutionary: I didn't set up cable or satellite TV. I was frustrated by the lack of choice (only one cable provider), lengthy contracts and inexplicably high prices.

As someone who watches a lot of television, this seemed like a truly difficult problem, but I resolved to find a way to see my favorite shows without paying a cable or satellite bill. Fortunately, it was much easier than I thought.

Here's how to cut the cable, step by step.


Hiring someone else to do your least-favorite household jobs may be cheaper and easier than you think.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 7, 2014 1:05PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you do your own housecleaning, you've probably dreamed of hiring a professional to take at least some tasks off your hands.

If there aren't enough hours in a day for you to accomplish everything, you should seriously entertain the idea, if it's economically feasible and you'd rather spend your time on other jobs.

Here's how to find the right housekeeper at the right price.


Buying a car is one of the biggest investments you'll make, so make sure you're not getting a raw deal on your financing.

By Money Staff Jul 7, 2014 11:53AM

This post comes from Stacey Bumpus at partner site on MSN MoneyIt’s not easy being a car buyer. Unless you have the privilege of paying cash for a vehicle, you’re probably going to have to finance it, either with a private lender or through a car dealership.

Salesman talking to woman in automobile showroom © Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty ImagesUnfortunately, some car dealerships have a reputation for sticking their customers with predatory auto loans strapped with extremely high interest rates.

The good news is there are ways to protect yourself from being taken advantage of by a dealership when acquiring an auto loan.


But that doesn't mean they're turning their back on higher education.

By Jul 3, 2014 4:57PM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyEveryone from researchers and reporters to politicians and educators has an opinion on student loan debt's impact on the economy, but that's not the only thing up for debate. The rise of student loan debt and conversations surrounding it has changed the family dynamic, as more people are approaching higher education as a financial partnership between child and parent.

Jodi Okun has noticed a significant change in family conversations about college in the decade or so she's been working with students and their parents. The fact that these conversations are even happening and that they're occurring more frequently is a significant sign of progress, she said. Okun is the founder of College Financial Aid Advisors and is a brand ambassador for Discover StCollege student © Stockbyte, Getty Imagesudent Loans.

Parents can't pay like they used to

In a new survey from Discover Student Loans, 33 percent of parents said they plan to limit funding based on their child's chosen course of study (53 percent said their student's major would have no effect on their funding choices).


A few simple tactics will make your apartment, condo or house feel like a brand-new place.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 3, 2014 1:16PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneySometimes our homes make us feel tired. As in:

  • Tired of rooms that have looked the same since 2007.
  • Tired of kid- or pet-raddled furniture.
  • Tired of wending our way through crowded spaces (let alone trying to clean them).
  • Tired of dark paint, insufficient lighting, cluttered shelves or anything else that keeps us from loving where we live.

Home garage sale © Image Source Pink/JupiterimagesMaybe you can't afford to redecorate. But you don't have to spend a dime to get a fresh, new look. Just a few simple tactics can provide the change-up you need, and summer is the perfect time to do it: When it’s just too hot and/or humid to enjoy being outdoors, why not focus on creating a more comfortable, welcoming interior?

Besides, we tend to have more energy with the longer, lighter days. The kids are out of school and can help, at least with the decluttering. (Hint: Tell them you'll share the proceeds of a garage sale afterward.)

It'll be fun to host friends and family in your newly redecorated digs -- and you'll enjoy living there a lot more yourself.

"Our homes should be our sanctuary, our safe space," says Andrea Brundage, of Simple Organized Solutions.

With sites like Pinterest and HGTV, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found. But here are some tips from the pros to get you started.



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.