Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Since you're paying more for gas, maybe it's time to save on another expensive part of the driving experience.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 7, 2012 12:26PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent $5.75 each and every day for gas in 2010. Since the average price per gallon is now approaching a record price of $4.11, you can bet that's a bigger number now.

What's a driver to do? You can try to use less by doing things like checking tire pressure, cleaning air filters and rolling up (or down) your windows. You might even try to hedge prices by following the advice in "The single best tip to beat high gas prices." But here's an additional idea you may not have considered: Adjust your car insurance.


Homeowners are likely to feel the impact of a nearby foreclosure on their own property values.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 7, 2012 10:50AM

This post comes from AnnaMaria Andriotis at partner site SmartMoney.


SmartMoney on MSN MoneyForeclosures and other distressed properties account for more than a third of all home sales, and data released Tuesday suggests that figure may soon grow even bigger.


Lenders in January took back nearly 91,100 distressed properties, up 29% from the previous month, according to data released by LPS Applied Analytics, which tracks mortgage performance. In the next few months, experts say those homes will make their way back to the market to join the already high percentage of distressed homes being snatched up by buyers.


How many of us can remember what our garage looked like before it became a warehouse for half-dead consumer goods?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 7, 2012 9:59AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


Wise Bread on MSN MoneyMy holiday wish list last year was simple: I just wanted one pound of good coffee. For all the folks who were kind enough to ask "What would you like for Christmas?" my answer was the same -- a bag of good, dark, aromatic French roast coffee. Something fair trade and organic.


I didn't want a new laptop (although I could use one). I didn't want an LCD TV (even though my current TV is the size of an old fridge). I didn't need new shoes, DVDs, an e-reader, a light saber, a crossover vehicle, a pillow filled with barley or adult footie pajamas in a leopard print.


Instead, I wanted something I would use and use up. Something I could savor over the course of a month or two. Something I would not have to feed, water, dust or maintain.


Prices rose every day for the previous 27 days, and they're likely to start climbing again.

By Karen Datko Mar 6, 2012 7:25PM

This is one streak we're glad to see come to an end: After 27 days of going nowhere but up, gas prices have dropped by an itsy-bitsy 0.3 of a cent.


The national average price for regular gas is now $3.764, according to AAA. The average a month ago was $3.478. A year ago it was $3.509.


Here's where you'll find the highest average gas prices around the United States.


Now that Amazon, Comcast and others have jumped into the online movie business, how do you select the service that's right for you?

By Giselle Smith Mar 6, 2012 5:48PM

Not long ago, if you talked about DVD-by-mail rentals and video streaming, you were talking about Netflix, period. Now, however, it seems everyone wants to be in the video streaming business, and some also offer rent-by-mail services.


Last month, Comcast launched its new subscription video service, Xfinity Streampix, and Amazon added Viacom, owner of the Nickelodeon and MTV cable networks, to its list of partners. The Viacom deal made Amazon's streaming service a better deal than Netflix, Signal News says, based on the sheer number of titles: 15,000 available through Amazon Prime compared with 10,000 to 12,000 through Netflix.


The competition -- and your options -- will increase even more later this year when Verizon and Redbox launch their video streaming service. Few details have been released about the partnership, announced last month.


With so many options, how do you decide which streaming service is right for you?


Spring is in the air, and that means yard-sale season is right around the corner. Here's how to be a better shopper.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 6, 2012 3:56PM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyMost of my books cost a quarter. Half the furniture in my house cost less than $50. I've been drinking wine out of a 10-cent wine glass for the past three years. And I owe it all to getting up at the crack of dawn to score good deals at garage sales.

While garage sales are a great way to make money, they're also a great way to save money -- if you do it right. 

Here are 10 things I've learned after years of garage sale hunting.


Consumer watchdogs want to stop banks from offering short-term, high-cost advances on paychecks and other direct deposits.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 6, 2012 2:42PM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronskiat partner site MainStreet.

MainStreet on MSN Money


Overdraft protection may be at the center of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's inquiry into checking account practices, but consumer advocacy groups have another banking product they'd like the bureau to immediately examine.


Nearly 250 advocacy groups petitioned federal regulators last week to stop banks from offering deposit advance loans. The product in question is one many consumers are unfamiliar with. Here's a breakdown of what you should know about the issue.


Events this week will teach people how to protect their finances from identity thieves and other scammers. Here are the basics.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 6, 2012 11:56AM

This post comes from Matt Brownell at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneySunday kicked off the 14th annual National Consumer Protection Week, in which various advocacy and governmental groups hold workshops and other programs intended to teach consumers how to protect their finances. We'd encourage you to check out such events through your state attorney general's office. In Massachusetts, for instance, the attorney general’s office is holding presentations and workshops all week.


Don't have time for all that? That's OK. You can still learn how to protect yourself as a consumer in various aspects of your life by following a few basic tips.



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.