Smart SpendingSmart Spending

A new study indicates that despite federal reforms consumers are still angry and confused about banks' practices.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 3, 2014 11:25AM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyImagine getting hit with $90 in overdraft fees for a $3 taco you purchased with your debit card. The only thing that might make that situation worse is not being able to recall if you signed up for overdraft protection on your debit card in the first place.


According to a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts, many Americans are still confused about banking rules regarding overdrafts, despite a requirement that customers need to opt in for debit card overdraft protection.


Bank Vault © Radius Images, JupiterimagesIn fact, more than half (52 percent) of people who paid a debit card overdraft penalty fee in 2013, said they did not remember signing up for the service. And it gets expensive. The report said:

In 2013, overdrafters report paying total fees averaging $69 during their most recent overdraft. Although the median total reported was $35, a quarter of overdrafters paid $90 or more during their last overdraft.

Since 2010, federal regulations have dictated that banks get consent from customers before they can process overdrafts and charge overdraft fees. If you don't sign up, your card will simply be declined if you don't have enough money in your account to cover the purchase.


Before that, consumers were automatically enrolled in so-called overdraft protection. But people are still confused.

 

Is $5 per gallon gasoline on the horizon?

By Money Staff Jul 2, 2014 4:08PM

This post comes from Myra P. Saefong a partner site MarketWatch.


MarketWatch on MSN MoneyDrivers heading out for the Independence Day holiday face the highest gasoline prices since 2008 thanks to Iraq tensions, but $5-a-gallon record-breaking prices are out of the question.


Crude prices haven’t even gained more than $1 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange since turmoil in Iraq hit the headlines in the first half of June.

 

A new survey found that some Americans even think that frugality is downright sexy.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2014 2:21PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDon't be afraid to whip out a coupon to help pay for a first date.


Man feeding woman © Jack Hollingsworth/Brand X/Getty Images

It turns out your date most likely thinks it's OK, and may even think your frugality is sexy.


That's the finding of a new Harris Poll on behalf of LivingSocial, a daily deals site that provides discounts on restaurant meals and other activities.


About 86 percent of men and 88 percent of women agreed that using a coupon is acceptable dating etiquette, while just 13 percent said it's unacceptable to use a coupon on a first date.


Interestingly, Americans with household incomes above $100,000 were more likely to approve of coupon use than those who make less than $50,000 -- 90 percent vs. 84 percent.


Other highlights from the dating survey include:

 

Stores offer you lots of incentives to sign up for their cards. Once the glow of that initial discount wears off, though, are they worth it?

By Credit.com Jul 2, 2014 2:05PM
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyNearly every retailer wants you to sign up for their co-branded credit card. To entice customers, these offers feature discounts on purchases, interest free-financing options, or both. With the opportunity to save 10 percent, 15 percent or even 20 percent on your purchases that day, what can go wrong? Plenty, if you don't know what you're dealing with.


Woman shopping at a store © Jack Hollingsworth, Brand X, Getty ImagesThis isn't to say that store credit cards are always a bad option. These cards can really work if you leverage the rewards and discounts, and if you fully understand the terms and conditions.


Be sure to ask yourself these questions when you're thinking about getting a retail credit card, versus a standard credit card.


Can I find a better promotional offer?

Retail cards can offer some form of interest-free promotional financing, but their offers are rarely as attractive as those regularly offered by major bank's credit cards. For example, the Lowes Consumer Credit Card features six months 0 percent APR financing, but only on a single-receipt purchase of $299 or more.

 

Continuing your education doesn't have to mean leaving home for graduate school, with the accompanying student loans.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2014 12:47PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyHigher education for a fraction of the cost?


Most certainly. If you are looking to broaden your knowledge in a particular area of interest, you may be able to do so without accumulating a hefty bill for tuition from a major university or leaving the comforts of your own home.


College graduate © Rob Melnychuk, Image100, JupiterimagesHere are 10 ways to continue your education for free or for a modest amount of money:


1. Books

This may seem rather obvious, unless you despise reading and would rather jump into a fiery pit instead. Well, continuing education goes beyond listening to lectures, both in and out of formal settings. For every subject of interest to a human walking planet Earth, there are many books about them. (Determining the quality is another story.) So there's no excuse not to learn something new every day.


Still not motivated?

 

Did you get a great bargain last week? Hate to tell you, but if it fell into one of these 10 categories, it was probably a dumb deal.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 2, 2014 12:44PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAs a smart shopper, you probably spend lots of time searching for the best deals. However, we're here to tell you some of your great finds aren't really all that great.


In fact, a lot of "good deals" are actually for items you could get for a lot less or totally free.

 

Your girlfriend moved out. Will your auto insurance rates soar or sink?

By QuinStreet Jul 2, 2014 11:47AM
This post comes from Susan Ladika at partner site CarInsurance.com.

CarInsurance.com on MSN MoneyThe breakup with your girlfriend is finally complete, and you're celebrating your own personal Independence Day with your buddies and some brews.


Woman and Man © Image Source, CorbisBut if she was also listed on your auto insurance policy her departure could mean big changes for your car insurance premiums. Will you be celebrating with your own fireworks as the rates fall? Or will you be crying in your beer as they rise?


The only easy answer is: It depends.


"If the driver removed from the policy is a safe-driving superstar with a pristine driving record and the driver remaining is far below average, then rates can go up," says Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the Insurance Information Institute.


On the other hand, if your girlfriend had her own collection of traffic tickets and your driving record is squeaky clean, you're most likely to see your car insurance rates decline, says Brandt Minnich, vice president of marketing at Mercury Insurance.

 

A panel of tasters voted Oscar Mayer the best beef frank and Ball Park the best pork-based wiener, although the latter group was panned.

By Cheapism.com Jul 1, 2014 4:47PM
This post comes from Raechel Conover at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneyJuly is without doubt the month of the dog -- hot dogs, that is. The hot summer month plays host to the International Hot Dog Eating Contest, a July 4 tradition, and National Hot Dog Day on July 23. To pull everything under one umbrella, July is National Hot Dog Month.

Girl eating a hotdog © Chris Williams Black Box/Getty Images

With so many hot dog celebrations coming up, you may be curious to know which hot dog will tickle your taste buds without leaving much of a scratch on your budget.

We stopped off at a Kroger supermarket one day and picked up eight packs of inexpensive hot dogs: beef franks from Oscar Mayer, Ball Park, Nathan's Famous, plus two Kroger labels (Value and Simple Truth) and pork-based wieners from Oscar Mayer, Ball Park, and Eckrich. We rounded up seven hot dog tasters, grilled up samples of each, and asked for their assessments without identifying which dog was which.
 

DATA PROVIDERS

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.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More