You've heard 'Turn off the lights!' before, but when's the last time you cleaned your fridge's coils?
With a list that long, there's bound to be some redundancy. A big chunk is ideas we've all heard before: Turn off lights and appliances you're not using and unplug "vampire" electronic devices. But despite the number of no-brainer solutions, several gems caught our eyes:
Why worry about thieves? Your fraud liability is zero.
I like few things more than writing posts that cause consternation. A recent gem was on my confusion over debit cards, and who can forget my assault on the irrational fear of identity theft. So why not combine the two themes?
Consumerism Commentary has a nice post on writing "Check ID" in the little strip on the back of your credit card where you are supposed to sign it. Turns out that this is a relatively common practice and that it is against Visa and MasterCard's rules. I guess I'm not really surprised at either of these facts.
Why would a person write "Check ID" on a card? I can only assume that it is an attempt to deter a potential thief from using the card if stolen. Does anybody really think this would work? How often do cashiers actually look at the back of credit and debit cards? And then there are all the situations, from the self-checkout line to Amazon.com, that there is no cashier.
You'll need to instill good habits when they're young.
In the past, I've strongly advocated for families to introduce their teenagers to financial reality as early as possible. I know that in my own case, I went off to college with almost no idea of how to manage my money, and it really showed in the spending decisions I made over the next 10 years of my life.
Over the past decade, I've had the chance to intimately watch other families raise their children through the teenage years with lots of success and some failure. I've been impressed with some of the young people that are the core of Generation Y coming of age. Two in particular, my niece and my first cousin, are the kind of people that are a big net benefit to the world, and I would be incredibly proud if my own children turned out as well as they have.
You shouldn't feel obligated to send out cards.
Some of us suffer from chronic skepticism about the annual Christmas merchandising frenzy. But you don't have to be totally cheap to come up with a pretty holiday celebration that won't leave you feeling like Ebenezer Scrooge.
Here are a few strategies that have saved me some bucks:
Bing, Google and eBay are offering deals at airports, hotels and on planes.
What do adults want for the holidays?
If they’re travelers, free wireless Internet access in the airport is always a welcome gift. Bing, Google and eBay are all offering free wi-fi at airports and a few other locations -– including in the air -- this holiday season.
- Bing: Best free wi-fi spots
Here are the deals:
Retailers jump on the clunker trade-in bandwagon, but will you get top dollar?
- Got an old appliance your want to replace? Buy an energy-efficient model and receive rebates ranging from $50 to $250. This federally sponsored program, similar to the Cash for Clunkers program, varies by state. More details can be found here.
- Trade in old video games at Amazon.com and Toys 'R' Us in exchange for gift cards.
- Old electronic devices can be traded in to Radio Shack, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon and Costco.
Deals include a $250 GPS for $97, cheap DVDs and $3 appliances
Looks like Black Friday shoppers can “expect more, pay less” at Target’s post-Turkey Day sale.
On Friday, while supplies last, you can get
Should you line the interior with foil? Read on to find out.
Saving money is made all the sweeter when you also rest assured that you did your part to save power and energy. And although using the oven is not nearly as efficient as sticking to the stove-top, sometimes you just have to bake that casserole or cake.
So take a look at these 19 tips to help you maximize your oven's energy-efficiency, as well as to cut your cooking costs.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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