Smart SpendingSmart Spending

You'll spend almost $6 more on your turkey dinner this year, the American Farm Bureau Federation says.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 21, 2011 1:52PM

This post comes from Jeff Reeves at partner site InvestorPlace.com.

 

InvestorPlace on MSN MoneyOn Thursday, American families will gather around the table for traditional Thanksgiving meals. Classic dishes like turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie will be on millions of home menus nationwide.
 
Unfortunately, thanks to rapidly inflating food prices, there will either be a whole lot less food on the table or a much bigger price tag on the Turkey Day feast.

 

See if you can pass these eight tests to pass Personal Finance 101. If you can't, here's help on getting extra credit to improve your grade.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 21, 2011 12:50PM

This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.

 

When my son was 12, he brought home his midterm progress report and I noticed he was getting an "F" in one of his classes.

 

What was most infuriating was that the "F" was in physical education.

 

"How in the world do you fail phys ed?" I asked the Honeybee, shaking Matthew's mid-term report card in my hand for added emphasis.

 

"Beats me, Len. Why don't you ask him?"

 

Paying with plastic took on new meaning this week when the Bank of Canada introduced its new polymer $100 bill.

By Giselle Smith Nov 18, 2011 7:19PM

The debate over paying with paper or plastic once referred to whether you were using cash or a credit card, but Canada's new plastic $100 bill -- soon to be followed by smaller denominations -- will limit your choices to plastic or plastic.


The polymer-blend bills have a number of advantages over the old paper-and-cotton ones. One key difference is that they are more difficult to counterfeit. And they won't disintegrate if you accidentally run them through the washing machine.

 

As Black Friday approaches, Wal-Mart reduces prices on many top holiday toys. Will the competition follow suit?

By MSN Money Partner Nov 18, 2011 4:44PM

This post comes from Matt Townsend at partner site Bloomberg.

 

Wal-Mart has widened its pricing gap for toys over Target and Amazon as Black Friday approaches, according to analysis by Bloomberg Industries.

 

Online prices for a group of more than 100 toys, including items such as Hasbro's Let's Rock! Elmo, were 4.7% higher at Target and 4.6% more expensive at Amazon, according to a survey taken Nov. 16. Wal-Mart was also cheaper than Toys R Us and Kmart.

 

Government inquiry led to action in shutting down 500 suspected mortgage-modification fraud advertising online.

By MSN Money Partner Nov 18, 2011 1:40PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

The government working with Google this week shut down 85 mortgage-modification scams by targeting their online ads. CNET wrote that the Special Inspector General for TARP asked for and got Google's help in pulling some 500 online Google ads.

 

"Scammers targeted unsuspecting victims by buying key words from Google for search advertising," CNET explains.

 

TARP, you'll recall, is the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Treasury Department program that received $700 billion from Congress to buy mortgage-backed securities and bail out failing banks after the 2008 autumn meltdown of the markets.

 

With sophisticated smartphones and expensive data plans, it's more important than ever to rein in your family's cell phone bills.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 18, 2011 12:53PM

This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Money Talks News.

 

MoneyTalksNews on MSN MoneyOver the past 20 years, our mobile phones have grown smaller as our bills have grown larger. These bills are taking up so much of our budget, it's easy for a small family to spend more on wireless services than they do on electricity.

 

While Money Talks News already gave you 5 Ways to Save on Your Cellphone Bill, here are five more easy steps to cut your costs ...

 

It's definitely not MyPoints, says an expert who compared a dozen popular programs.

By Donna_Freedman Nov 18, 2011 12:06PM
Ever wondered what MyPoints really mean, or puzzled over which cash-back shopping site had the best rates overall?

Becky Ford of Compare Rewards has done the work for us, putting up an article that analyzes and compares a dozen top programs. In other words, she's done the math for us.

Who has the best program?  

A better credit scores can improve your financial future. Do you know how to improve your scores?

By MSN Money Partner Nov 17, 2011 8:27PM

This post comes from Amy Fontinelle at partner siteInvestopedia.

 

If you're strapped for cash and having trouble making ends meet, improving your credit scores may be the last thing on your mind. However, it's a worthy goal because it can help you get lower interest rates and improve your financial situation down the road. Even if your current financial picture isn't exactly rosy, you can still make significant strides forward with these easy ways to improve your credit rating.

 

Prioritize extra payments on maxed-out cards

A third of your credit scores is based on the percentage of your credit limit that you use. This portion of your scores looks at how much credit you use overall -- your total credit utilization rate across all of your credit accounts -- and it also looks at the percentage of available credit you've used on each card.

 

Because of the way credit scoring works, it's better to carry a $1,000 balance on a card with a $5,000 limit (20% credit utilization) than to carry a $500 balance on a card with a $1,000 limit (50% credit utilization).

 

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