Smart SpendingSmart Spending

A third of consumers have made saving money their top New Year's resolution.

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 12:58PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


Making a commitment to save money in 2010 is the rare New Year’s resolution that is easy to keep.


After a turbulent economic year, it’s a popular one, too. A December survey from financial service firm Edward Jones found that saving more money next year is the top resolution for a third of consumers.

Try these 10 strategies for significant savings:


You can rent the latest 'it' bag, but is that really a good deal?

By Karen Datko Dec 28, 2009 11:20AM

This post comes from staff writer April Dykman at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


Most of us, at one time or another, have seen a photo of a celebrity with an “it” bag, even if just in tabloids at the supermarket checkout. Most of the time they are oversized totes, logo prominently displayed, on the arm of an actress or pop star. (Sometimes I wonder if the tinier celebrities could, in fact, fit inside their own handbag.)

And as ridiculous as it might seem, you can bet that if a pop star is carrying a bag, the masses are sure to want it, too.


The problem is the price sticker.


Claim forms must be postmarked by August.

By Karen Datko Dec 26, 2009 5:03PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


Comcast has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the wireless provider of blocking access to peer-to-peer Web sites.


The agreement brings an end to two years of litigation that sparked heated debate over whether Internet providers should be allowed to filter content, and how much filtering they can get away with.


On a tight budget? You can probably still give. I am, and I did.

By Donna_Freedman Dec 24, 2009 5:12PM
A whole bunch of this year's holiday presents were frugal hacks. Almost all of the gifts I gave cost more to mail than they did to buy. The mailing supplies were free, though, and I think I should get extra credit for re-gifting some gift cards. Is there a word for that?

Lest you think I'm handing out dessicated bath sets from last year's post-holiday sales, I'll list some of the presents that I gave. Would you have been upset if you got: 

New Web site allows people to share their credit card transactions with friends.

By Karen Datko Dec 24, 2009 5:00PM

Just in time for last-minute Christmas shoppers, Blippy has gone public -- allowing new users to share information about their credit card purchases with their Blippy friends.


Blippy began issuing public invitations earlier this week and after one day had tracked more than $1 million in sales. Rafe’s Radar calls it the “Twitter of personal finance.”


For instance, if you’ve signed up, your friends can learn that you just bought “The Joy of Cooking” at Amazon, as well as "The Joy of Sex." 


As you can tell, we’re really struggling to see the upside of this, so we turned to others for more perspective.


A family story about passing the torch on a Christmas tradition.

By Teresa Mears Dec 24, 2009 12:45PM

Since it's Christmas Eve, I thought I'd share a Christmas story. It has a bit of a personal finance angle, since it involves spending money on gifts, maybe on gifts people didn’t even want. And yet those gifts mattered after all.


The year I was 51, Santa Claus almost didn’t come.


In most families, Santa visits only the children. But in our family, he left presents for adults and children alike. Long after my four sisters, brother and I had grown into adulthood, Santa Claus was still coming. As the family expanded, through marriage and children and then grandchildren, Santa kept coming.


With just hours of shopping time left before Christmas, procrastinators have limited bargain options.

By Karen Datko Dec 24, 2009 12:29PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.


About 12% of shoppers say they plan to wrap up their shopping today, according to the National Retail Federation. “Many people have procrastinated, in part because they’re hoping for the same deep discounts we saw last year,” says Deborah Mitchell, a senior lecturer of marketing and associate dean for Enterprise MBA programs at the Wisconsin School of Business. But stores’ scaled-back inventories have left those shoppers out of luck. “Retailers are holding the line (on price),” she says.

If you’re planning to brave the crowds, however, cautious spending is still the way to go. The sales are out there, but they’re targeted to items that aren’t selling as well as retailers hoped -- namely, winter clothing and kitchen electrics, Mitchell says.

No matter how late you leave your shopping on Christmas Eve, there are still ways to snag a bargain. Here’s how:


Are you tall, good at duck calling or have a certain last name? There may be money for you.

By Karen Datko Dec 23, 2009 5:39PM

Blogger Ramit Sethi likes to point out that college scholarship money can be found if you’ll just look for it. He’s right. You can find it from some unexpected or unheard-of sources.


Skeptical? Check out “45 of the weirdest college scholarships” at Zen College Life (and thanks to J. Money at Budgets are Sexy for the link.) If you’re tall, love hunting, or are a left-handed student at a certain college in the commonwealth known as PA, you can apply for free money for school.

Here are some examples from the list of 45, starting with the wackiest one on the list (and our personal favorite):



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.