Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Thieves took nearly $90,000 from a Minnesota man's HELOC account, and his credit union says it's up to him to pay it back.

By Teresa Mears Dec 29, 2010 5:09PM

Mike Calcutt was shocked to learn that nearly $90,000 had been spent from his home equity line of credit


He was more shocked when Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union said he would have to pay back the $88,593, even though he had reported the fraud as soon as he received his bank statement.

Calcutt, who lives in Minnesota, is among a growing number of victims of HELOC fraud, in which scammers either open home equity lines of credit in other people's names or withdraw money from existing accounts by impersonating the account owners.


Many people have been jobless for more than two years, and the government wants to know how many.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2010 3:24PM

This post comes from Fred Yager at partner site


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says so many people have been jobless for so long that it's being forced to change how it records long-term unemployment.

Referring to "an unprecedented rise" in long-term unemployment, starting Jan. 1, the BLS will raise from two years to five years the upper limit on how long someone can be listed as having been jobless. 


The weak economy has dragged on for so long, many people just can't wait any longer to buy a new or used car.

By Stacy Johnson Dec 29, 2010 1:12PM

This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.


With the economy still down, used car prices are up. And as we reported last week, gas prices are also rising. So why are many Americans planning to buy a car in 2011?

Well, we just can't put it off any longer, claims car-buying website Autobytel in a new survey of its users.


You have until Dec. 31 to go through your stuff and make a noncash tax-deductible donation. Here's how.

By Karen Datko Dec 29, 2010 9:59AM

This post comes from Meg Favreau at partner blog Wise Bread.


If you've ever thought about moving during December, I have one contraction for you: Don't.

I was stupid enough to do so this year, taking the stress of hauling my belongings to a new apartment, finding a storage unit, and trying to remember how my bed frame fits together and adding it to an already busy schedule of shopping, baking and holiday parties.


There is, however, one great thing about moving during December:


Starting early next year, new first-class stamps will no longer have a denomination.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2010 9:13PM

Finally, some good news from the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service: New first-class stamps will no longer have a denomination on their face. That means the new stamps you buy next year can be used to mail a letter or pay a bill no matter how many times the first-class rate goes up. 


Every first-class stamp will be a "Forever" stamp -- those denomination-free stamps that first appeared in April 2007. The change is expected to debut with a new stamp issued on Jan. 22. 


We can see several pluses in this:


Some people do, and some also love their computers and their guns.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2010 5:22PM

This post comes from Sara Huffman at partner site


We all know people who seem so attached to their car, they spend all their free time working on it, all their extra money buying accessories for it, and even call it by a pet name.

If it seems like those people are in love with their car, they might actually be.


According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, when it comes to possessions like cars, computers, bicycles, and even firearms, many owners exhibit love-like emotions.


Mother got tired of her daughters always asking for more stuff, so she made them listen to other people's stories.

By Teresa Mears Dec 28, 2010 3:50PM

If you're a parent, you've probably been in this situation: You're doing something special for your kids, like taking them out for ice cream.

And then they whine, because a small cone isn't enough. They want more.


When Sharon Dunki Vermont's 11-year-old daughter threw a fit in the ice cream shop because she wanted a larger scoop, the St. Louis mother decided it was time to teach her two daughters a lesson.


In reality, they defy the stereotype of the young college dropout who goes it alone.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2010 2:43PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


Recently, I detailed the results of several studies on entrepreneurship, all of which started with certain hypotheses -- like "entrepreneurs are risk-takers!" -- but came up empty when they were actually put to the test.

After that post, you might, rightly, be wondering what entrepreneurs do have in common? They're not risk-takers or go-getters -- at least not any more than regular high-performing managers at big corporations are.


Researchers have had success finding behaviors and backgrounds -- rather than traits -- that successful founders have in common. There are things that entrepreneurs do that can heighten their likelihoods to surpass $1 million in sales or sell out in an IPO, in contrast with the things that entrepreneurs feel that we were looking at in the last post.


So, what are the behaviors of entrepreneurs who hit the big time? Read on.



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.