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Frugal folks are stereotyped as miserly, cheap and out of style.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 22, 2012 11:03AM

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


Wise Bread on MSN MoneyWe frugal folks often get a bad rap. In the media, one of two things tends to happen. When the economy is bad, the media races to interview die-hard frugal gurus to figure out how they do it and peek behind the mysterious veil of living within your means.

  • Check out Donna Freedman's new Frugal Cool blog on MSN Money

When economic times are brighter, frugality is marginalized, and those same gurus are looked upon with a mixture of sympathy and disdain.


I think both of these extremes are fueled by fundamental myths about what frugality really means. Let's set the record straight and debunk seven of the most common frugal myths:


E-commerce sites satisfied their customers more than traditional retail stores did in 2011, a survey finds.

By Giselle Smith Feb 21, 2012 6:13PM

How was your experience the last time you purchased something on an e-commerce site? If you're like most customers, you were relatively satisfied -- or at least that's the conclusion of the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index e-commerce report.


Customer satisfaction in the online retail category scored 81 on a 100-point scale in the fourth quarter of 2011, a 1.3% increase from the previous year, according to a news release from the ACSI. Overall, traditional retail scored 76.1.


There are ways to avoid the growing threats to your mobile phone's security and privacy.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 21, 2012 3:08PM

This post comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


SmartMoney on MSN MoneyAccessing personal and financial information on a smartphone can be as reckless as leaving bank statements or credit cards on the sidewalk. But with a few easy protections, experts say, phones can be made much safer.


When it comes to mobile data, very little of what's stored on a phone is secure or private.


Here's how to separate the true deals from the duds and take full advantage of them.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 21, 2012 12:42PM

This post comes from Brian O'Connell at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyThey may be called "daily deals," but often those trendy once-a-day offers are weighted in favor of the retailer and not the consumer. Still, you shouldn't necessarily opt out just because you fear a shady deal staring back up at you from your smartphone or laptop.


You can actually turn the tables and get the best from that deal if you follow some key strategies. Here are five ways to get the most from a daily deal:


Personal-finance writers nag about small daily expenditures because these items are often overpriced, and less-expensive or free alternatives are easy to find.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 21, 2012 10:38AM

This guest post comes from Jennifer Derrick at


I've been helping a neighbor attack her New Year's resolution to get her finances in order. She's been writing down all of her spending for a couple of weeks and I'm helping her identify things that can be cut back. Like many others, she spends a lot on things like coffee from Starbucks, movies, meals out, snacks from vending machines, books and other relatively small, "frivolous" expenditures.


The other day as I was pointing out, yet again, that she was wasting a lot of money on items like this, she turned to me and said, "Why are you so hard on me?


Drastic debt reduction requires tough decisions. Are the extra savings worth the cost?

By MSN Money Partner Feb 20, 2012 3:31PM

This guest post comes from Lindy at Minting Nickels.


Over the past few years we've not only experimented with making money, but also saving it.


We canceled cable. We stopped getting our shirts laundered. We cut back on eating out. We lost our sense of entitlement that was causing us to spend money we didn't have.


All of these are small steps that, over time, led to bigger savings. But each one of these steps, though minuscule, didn't come so easily. With clenched fists we held on to them until the bitter end, until the logical sides of us slightly outweighed the emotional ones.


After all was said and done, the changes we made were never as bad as we had originally feared, but it was pretty hard to convince ourselves to take these tiny hops.


Though we've chosen a gradual approach to cutting our spending, I've always admired those who have taken the more drastic routes. 


You can substantially reduce the cost of a college education if you plan ahead.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 20, 2012 11:04AM

This post from Chase Miller originally appeared as a guest post at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


Get Rich Slowly on MSN Money"Where are you going to college?"


"What are you going to major in?"


"What kind of career do you want?"


As senior year flies by like a speeding car, there are certain questions I have been asked countless times by friends, family members and co-workers. These questions are probably the same for every high school senior: What's next? What do I want to do with my life?


Now, this isn't a bad thing. In fact, I think it's rather positive. Deciding what you will do after high school is part of growing up and setting a course. But with the average cost of attending a private university in the U.S. at a staggering $28,500 per year, not including room and board, the goal of attending a four-year college without debt seems unattainable to most people.


The daily deals site is testing a program that lets members pay a fee to get early offers and have access to closed or sold-out deals.

By Giselle Smith Feb 17, 2012 4:52PM

Groupon aficionados know there's nothing like being away from email for a day or two, then learning that you missed out on a huge discount at your favorite salon, that new restaurant you want to try, or a much-needed massage. 


But would you be willing to pay an annual fee to have greater access to the deals you want?



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