Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Yes, you can use the Internet to make money -- real money, not pocket change. Here's how it works and which websites can help you pull in the dough.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 6, 2014 1:17PM

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


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAt one time, Mike Lam was just your average New York City office worker, doing whatever programmers do at Goldman Sachs. Then, he needed to find someone to watch his dog and stumbled upon the website DogVacay, which hooks up owners with pet sitters and boarders.


Man with laptop © Image Source/SuperStock"I didn't want my dog in a kennel, and I didn't want to pay (hundreds) for a doggie hotel," Lam said in an interview. So he used the online service and was so smitten he signed up as a host himself. His very first client was someone jetting off to China for an extended trip.


Fast-forward and Lam was ready to move on from the world of high-finance firms to something new. While he certainly could have taken his programming skills elsewhere, Lam decided to focus on his DogVacay services.


"What sealed the deal was realizing how lucrative it can be," said Lam, who added that he makes about as much dog watching as he did at Goldman Sachs. "Plus, I'm not sitting in an office 10 to 12 hours a day. It's a much happier life."


Lam's story is the perfect example of how regular people can use the power of the Internet to quit their 9-to-5 jobs for a more enjoyable and fulfilling career path. Forget the blinking pop-ups and spammy ads promising thousands while you sit in your pajamas. Here's the real way to make the Internet your moneymaking machine.

 

You can't stop rising prices, but there are ways you can soften the blow.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 6, 2014 1:11PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyInflation means prices are rising. With inflation, a dollar buys increasingly less. Really bad inflation can destroy economies and governments. In post-World War II Hungary, prices doubled every 15 hours, says The Atlantic.


American inflation concerns aren't in the same ballpark. Not even on the same planet. Still, you feel it when prices rise. See for yourself: The American Institute for Economic Research's cost-of-living calculator shows the purchasing power of money over time.

 

Drowsy driving is the No. 1 problem for people who shouldn't get behind the wheel, according to a recent survey from CarInsurance.com.

By QuinStreet Aug 6, 2014 1:07PM
This post is from Michelle Megna at partner site CarInsurance.com.

CarInsurance.com on MSN MoneyDriving drowsy is the most frequent problem among people who get behind the wheel when they shouldn't, according to a new CarInsurance.com survey.


CarInsurance.com asked 2,000 drivers about the times they drove when they shouldn't have and found that many people hit the road whether or not they feel well and regardless of broken car equipment. 


Tired man yawning while driving © mediaphotos/Getty Images

People who have driven when they shouldn't did so when:

  1. They were sleepy:  68 percent
  2. They had a headache: 53 percent
  3. They were sick enough to be in bed but got up to drive: 35 percent
  4. They were less drunk than a friend: 23 percent
  5. They weren't wearing needed glasses or contact lenses: 16 percent
  6. They were taking narcotic pain medicine: 15 percent
  7. They had an arm in a cast: 8 percent
Loss of good driver discount

Sixty percent of respondents in CarInsurance.com's survey think driving while sleepy should be illegal, and in two states it is. In New Jersey, a driver who has been without sleep for 24 hours is considered to be driving recklessly, in the same class as an intoxicated driver. In Arkansas, you can be charged with negligent homicide if you kill someone due to "fatigued driving." Other states have pending laws about drowsy driving or are studying it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 

Research indicates Americans still aren't doing the math on retirement. What's stopping them?

By QuinStreet Aug 6, 2014 11:46AM

This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site MoneyRates.com.


MoneyRates.com on MSN MoneyA new survey of retirement preparedness paints a grim picture of the financial future awaiting older Americans. Fortunately, there are steps you can take if you want to be more financially secure in retirement than many of your peers.


Consumers' Research, an independent educational organization, surveyed 1,200 American adults and found that even as people approach retirement, they often have no idea how they are going to afford it. The high level of uncertainty should be a wake-up call for anyone who does not want to settle for such a troubled version of their golden years.


Financial adviser talking with clients © NULL/CorbisA grim picture

Consumers' Research found that 46 percent of people age 60 to 69 feel they are not on track to having enough money to retire. The retirement picture gets only a little clearer as people get even closer to the end of their careers: Twenty-six percent of people over 70 said they were not on track toward being able to afford retirement, and another 22 percent of this age group were unsure.


Difficulty affording retirement does not seem to come as a shock to older Americans. If the responses of younger Americans are any indication, people can see that difficulty coming from a long way off. Only 28 percent of people in their 40s feel they will have enough money to retire, according to the study.

 

It's not too late to plan a three-day holiday weekend getaway before autumn hits. Don't want too long, though.

By Credit.com Aug 6, 2014 11:39AM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyTravelers looking to get away over Labor Day weekend still have time (but not much) to snag a deal on airfare, according to an analysis of fare trends in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Waiting until after Aug. 9 to buy plane tickets for a Labor Day trip could cost consumers up to 30 percent more, showed the data from airfare search engine Fly.com.


Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 22, 2013, fares jumped as much as $174, depending on the destination, a news release from Fly.com said.


747 plane landed, Miami airport, Florida © Juan Silva, PhotographerThese figures are based on 1 million user searches conducted between July 15 and Aug. 22 last year: Destinations included Chicago; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Plans included departure dates spanning Aug. 28 and Aug. 31, 2013, and return flights were scheduled between Sept. 1 and Sept. 4.


It's common for airlines to raise prices and take advantage of last-minute bookings, and those flying this Labor Day generally have until Aug. 8 (that's Friday!) before their trip costs significantly increase, the findings indicate.

 

When it comes to money matters, ignorance is not bliss.

By Credit.com Aug 5, 2014 2:50PM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyWhether you hope to buy a home or retire comfortably (or both!), financial goals can often seem too big and like they will take too long to reach.


Dealing with your personal finances may feel like just another thing on your to-do list. That can cause stress, but ignoring the problem will not eliminate it, so it’s important to work toward reducing your financial stress as well as meeting your financial goals.


Man with paperwork (© MM Productions/Corbis/Corbis)It’s a good idea to determine what you want your financial future to look like and work to make your goals a reality. Below are some tips to maximize your chances for success and minimize your stress.


Be realistic and prioritize

No matter what your goals or your lifestyle, it is important to set aside time in your schedule to plan and manage your financial goals. This can be something you schedule once a month or even once a week. If it’s in your calendar, you will be less likely to forget it and more likely to prioritize it over whatever else comes up.

 

If you're in debt, every little bit helps. Here are some ideas to put more cash in your pocket.

By Credit.com Aug 5, 2014 2:41PM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyGetting out of debt can be tricky for one very simple reason: It's expensive. You fell into debt because you bought things you couldn't fit into your budget in the first place, and that usually doesn't get easier as time goes on, especially because the debt will likely have accrued interest, as well.


Man Taking Money Out of Wallet © NULL/CorbisOther than cutting back on a variety of expenses, the simplest thing you can do to help get out of debt is make more money. Of course, simple isn't always easy, and assuming you're already working full-time, it can be extremely tricky to supplement your income.


Get creative about making money

There are few places to start when looking for extra money, and many of them are in your own home. First, you can sell things you don't need, like used books and sporting equipment, and you have a variety of channels for doing so. There are Internet marketplaces, you can have a garage sale, and you can work with a local consignment, pawn or secondhand shop to sell your things.

 

If you're rebuilding your credit, secured cards are like credit training wheels. Here's what you need to do to get rid of them.

By Credit.com Aug 5, 2014 2:07PM
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyWhen people are struggling to rebuild their credit, a secured card can offer them the opportunity to qualify for a credit card and establish a positive credit history. Unfortunately, secured cards also have several drawbacks compared with standard credit cards.


Locked credit card © Francisco Cruz/SuperStock

For example, secured cards always require a refundable deposit that is held by the card issuer, and nearly all secured cards charge an annual fee. In fact, there are many secured cards that charge a monthly fee. Also, secured cards tend to offer fewer benefits such as purchase protection policies and travel perks.


Eventually, secured card users are going to want to graduate to standard, non-secured credit cards to enjoy some of features they have been missing. If you are a secured credit card user, here is how you can get there:

 

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