Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Fake e-mail says your bank has been taken over by the FDIC.

By Karen Datko Oct 27, 2009 1:11PM

This post comes from partner site


It's all too easy to believe these days that your bank has failed and been seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The current crop of bank failures is ripe for scammers trying to fool unsuspecting account holders into handing over their personal information.

The FDIC has received numerous reports of a fraudulent e-mail that has the appearance of being sent by the FDIC.


The subject line of the e-mail states: "Check your Bank Deposit Insurance Coverage."


There are several ways besides not answering the door.

By Karen Datko Oct 27, 2009 11:24AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


As the sugar-fueled, much-anticipated mischievous holiday of Halloween draws near, frugal families are trying to figure out how they can save money on Halloween candy. Unfortunately for the money-conscious, this year's Halloween falls on the worst possible day, a Saturday.

A Saturday Halloween means trick-or-treaters will be out earlier and longer than if it were on a workday, and that means there will be more ghosts, pumpkins and football player zombies wandering up to your door asking for candy.


However, if you're smart about how you approach Halloween, you can save yourself a little bit of money. Every little bit counts.


Quality of life is more important to him than a high-paying job.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 5:53PM

This guest post comes from David Weliver at Money Under 30.


When Forbes named Portland, Maine, the most livable city in America this year, it didn't surprise me or my wife or any of Portland's other 64,000 denizens. With a low cost of living, great culture and dining (we were also named Bon Appetit's "foodiest small town") and easy access to the ocean and mountains, Portland freaking rocks.

The only big thing Portland lacks for well-educated, ambitious 20-somethings? An abundance of career options.


There's nothing scary about these deals.

By Teresa Mears Oct 26, 2009 4:52PM

Halloween is coming, and that’s as good an excuse for free stuff as anything. This year, merchants have all kinds of freebies for us.


Monroe on a Budget has a good list of sales on costumes and candy at national chain stores. Nestle has printable coupons good for $1 off Nestle and Wonka candy products. (Look for the boxes on the right.) You can get coupons for $2 off larger bags at

Other deals are as wide-ranging as coupons for free bowling, yogurt for used candy wrappers and free burritos for anyone who dresses like one.


The downturn arrived late or hardly at all in some U.S. metro areas.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 3:48PM

What does San Antonio have besides great food and the Alamo? The right stuff to beat back the Great Recession.


San Antonio ranks No. 1 in a BusinessWeek ranking of the top 40 strongest U.S. metropolitan economies, based on a Brookings Institution MetroMonitor survey.


In Texas' second-largest city (yep, San Antonio is now bigger than Dallas) the unemployment rate in June was just 6.9%, two points higher than a year ago, according to BusinessWeek, which produced a slideshow of its top 40 cities. San Antonio, it says, "has one of the strongest job markets in the nation."


No. 2 on the list is the Austin-Round Rock area in Texas, the last state to experience the recession. Also representing Texas on BusinessWeek's list are Dallas, Houston, El Paso, and McAllen, despite that metropolitan area's 11% unemployment rate.


Company spokeswoman rails against 'propaganda groups.'

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 11:43AM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


A chastened Disney is offering refunds to consumers who own copies of the company's Baby Einstein videos, bowing to pressure from a parents group that says the video is more likely to turn children into Baby Alfred E. Neumans.


Disney's move allows anyone who bought a Baby Einstein video between June 5, 2004, and Sept. 4, 2009, to get their money back. Alternatively, consumers can trade their DVD in for a Baby Einstein book or CD, or redeem it for a 25% discount on future Baby Einstein purchases. The offer is good through March 4, 2010, and is limited to four per household.

For years, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a group fighting to "reclaim childhood from corporate marketers," has said the videos don't live up to Disney's promises.


Want to be happy? Sometimes there is no place like home.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2009 9:01AM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.


My wife recently spent a long weekend touring eastern Oregon with two of her co-workers. They drove from small town to small town, shopping for antiques and visiting museums.


On Saturday -- with an early October snow falling outside -- Kris and her friends stopped to eat lunch at La Laguna in the small town of Joseph (population 1,054). As part of the worst job I ever had, I spent several weeks selling insurance door-to-door in Joseph, so I know the locals are friendly. Such was the case at La Laguna. Kris's party struck up a conversation with their waiter.

He told them that he was raised in Joseph. When he was a young man, he moved to Portland; the big city seemed exciting. He had a good time, and is glad to have had the experience, but after a few years he moved back to small-town life in Joseph.


"Life is simpler here," he said. "And it's less expensive. When I lived in Portland, I couldn't save anything; there was always something to spend my money on. There just aren't as many temptations here."


If you want to sleep better, readers say, dump your debt.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 26, 2009 4:54AM

Frugal people sleep better.

That’s a recurring theme in a Smart Spending message board thread called "Why are you frugal?" Readers say it’s hard to beat the contentment of a good night's slumber, untroubled by debt.

Some readers say they're frugal because they love finding great deals, but most have more complex reasons. They're thrifty now to meet future goals: a car, a house, a family. They've chosen to reject hyperconsumerism. They're called to careers (e.g. the arts) that are fulfilling but require careful money management. Or they simply enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having an emergency fund.



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