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That's particularly true of big-bank customers. Those of smaller banks are generally happier and more loyal.

By Karen Datko May 4, 2010 3:23PM

A survey result from J.D. Power & Associates doesn’t surprise: Customer loyalty to big banks has declined and more people are willing to switch. Maybe the Move Your Money campaign is catching on.


Only 34% of customers said they “definitely will not” switch banks, compared with 46% three years ago. However, among small-bank customers, 41% said they wouldn’t switch, compared with 32% of those who use big banks. J.D. Power says: “Higher customer satisfaction with in-person service and attention is an important contributor to increased loyalty at smaller banks.”


Other findings from the report:


While it's cheaper and better for the environment, does it convey the same sentiment?

By Teresa Mears May 4, 2010 2:37PM

Carlos Alcala of The Sacramento Bee has brought forward a burning question of our time: Is it OK to send your mother an e-card for Mother's Day?


Rather than simply respond "Are you KIDDING?" we thought we'd explore some pros and cons.

The obvious pros, of course, are that e-cards are free and good for the environment.


Many share information, like their full birth date, that cyber crooks can use to their advantage.

By Karen Datko May 4, 2010 12:43PM

This post comes from partner site


Everyone, it seems, is benefiting from the growing numbers of consumers using social networks like Facebook and MySpace -- including criminals.


The number of online U.S. households using these networks has nearly doubled in the past year and, according to the latest Consumer Reports State of the Net survey, 52% of adult social-network users have posted personal information -- such as their full birth date -- that can increase their risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.


If you're brewing your morning cup with a $20,000 coffee maker, that's a pretty expensive jolt.

By Karen Datko May 4, 2010 8:49AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


The "latte factor" is the idea that frequent, small-dollar purchases add up quickly. We don’t notice them because the purchases are so small, like a $3 cup of coffee each morning, but over the course of a year that adds up to serious money. It’s not a novel idea. There are plenty of idioms that mirror that same idea (death by a thousand cuts, tipping point), but it's a popular one in personal finance.


Except $3 a cup is nothing. Worry about the $10-a-day or $30 mistake you’re making. Forget the latte factor; focus on bigger things. And when you really think about it, $3 for a cup ain’t bad. Let’s see how really expensive it can get.


Blogger organizes national event to share with food banks, homeless shelters and other people in need.

By Karen Datko May 3, 2010 2:55PM

What are the coupon queens (and kings) of the blogosphere doing this week? They’re sharing their bounty to benefit people who need help. The event, Couponing for Community, began Sunday, May 2, and will last the entire week.


The final day, incidentally, coincides with the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Suggestion: Use your extra coupons to buy nonperishable food items to leave in a bag at your mailbox or door.


Kudos go to Kaley Ehret, who blogs at Cha Ching on a Shoestring, for coming up with the idea for Couponing for Community and taking it nationwide.


The company was slow to set up a procedure, but it now has a form on its website. Retailers are also issuing refunds.

By Teresa Mears May 3, 2010 1:36PM

When a unit of Johnson & Johnson recalled its liquid children’s cold medicines this weekend, it told parents to throw all the old medication away.


What the company did NOT tell parents was how to get a refund for the over-the-counter products, which cost $5 per bottle and up.


Mothers don't want junk you can't afford for Mother's Day. Here are some frugal gifts for the mom who cares about how you spend your money.

By Teresa Mears May 3, 2010 11:08AM

Sunday, May 9, is Mother’s Day, and that means we are being bombarded by ads for “deals” on Mother’s Day gifts.


But what does Mom really want? She wants you to call or visit, of course. She wants you to do the cooking and cleanup, or else take her out to eat. Yes, she does want a mushy greeting card. But your mother cares about your financial health, and she doesn’t want you to spend money you don’t have.


A merger could increase the number and cost of travel fees.

By Karen Datko May 3, 2010 9:58AM

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


Investors have already digested many of the implications of a merger between Continental Airlines and United Airlines. Now, consumers should brace themselves for one in particular: new fees.


After years of sputtering merger talks, the two carriers announced a deal to combine operations this morning. The new airline would be the world’s largest, in terms of the number of passengers carried. During 2009, Continental and United carried more than 77.4 million passengers on domestic flights alone, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Delta, the current record-holder, carried 55.6 million domestic passengers over the same period.


Fusing Continental and United may affect a variety of customer services, including fare sale policies and frequent-flier miles. But the carriers’ differing approaches to fees could also mean added costs for many fliers -- particularly Continental fans.



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