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The suggestion of trimming this popular tax break has people seething. But, really, few of us -- very few of us -- get anything from it.

By Karen Datko Oct 26, 2010 9:46AM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.

 

The Wall Street Journal reports that the mortgage interest tax deduction may be an endangered species, at least in its present form. From the reaction, you'd think they were proposing slaying all first-born children.

The bipartisan White House deficit commission (aka the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform) hands over its report Dec. 1. The Journal says it's considering suggesting trims to the popular mortgage tax break.

 

"The White House has said these and other breaks cost the government about $1 trillion a year," the Journal says. That's including "child tax credits and the ability of employees to pay their portion of their health insurance tab with pretax dollars."

 

The panel apparently isn't suggesting killing these tax breaks, just shrinking them.

 

Also: This is not a done deal. Not even a proposal. It's a rumor.

 

If you have an individual health insurance policy that was issued before March 23, some of the new health reforms may not apply to you.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 25, 2010 6:04PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Major employers that provide health care for employees have human resources departments that hopefully are making sure workers are taking advantage of the new reforms. But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 17 million people pay for their own health coverage in the individual health insurance market.

 

If you're one of them, it's definitely time to give your policy a checkup.

 

Before you jump on these deals, wait for the Black Friday ads to come out.

By Karen Datko Oct 25, 2010 5:06PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.

 

The giant holiday toy catalogs of three of the nation's largest toy sellers -- Toys R Us, Kmart and Wal-Mart -- have been leaked, and they push a huge number of "discounts."

These thick full-color displays of kiddie eye candy, released every year, are meant to get kids drooling over page after page of toys they didn't even know they wanted.  But are they a sweet deal for parents?

 

It's off-season for gyms and trainers. Beating the New Year's resolution crowds can pay off.

By Karen Datko Oct 25, 2010 3:22PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Sarah Morgan at partner site SmartMoney.

 

As if virtue -- and thin thighs -- weren't rewards enough, there may be significant financial benefits for those eager to commit to workouts throughout the holiday season.

Between the flagging economy and the annual seasonal drop-off, gyms are especially eager to make a deal now, industry experts say. Gyms attract just 9% of their members during November and December, compared with 12% in January alone, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.

 

I know many eBay aficionados who could blaze through listing my stuff in no time at all, but I'm not one of them.

By Karen Datko Oct 25, 2010 1:51PM

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

 

Ever since I cleaned out my closet, I've gotten more and more ruthless, removing more and adding less.

 

The result of deleting items from drawers and hangers is two large brown boxes taking up floor space in the closet, overflowing with castaways. The boxes have grown into mountains, and I can't walk to the back of my closet anymore.

 

My intention was to sell these items, which are the nicer things I actually like but don't work for one reason or another. I didn't want to drop them off at the consignment shop because the shop keeps 60% of the profit and accepts only in-season clothing, meaning I'd have to keep some of this stuff in my closet for almost a year. So I planned to sell it on eBay, thinking I could make some of my money back and maybe sell the out-of-season items.

 

Procrastination or lack of motivation?
Month after month passed, and I never got around to selling a single article of clothing. I even bought a cheap postage scale, convinced that the lack of a scale was what was holding me back from listing my stuff.

 

But last week I finally realized that there are about a hundred things I'd rather be doing than messing with this pile of stuff.

 

Credit card debt is the top culprit, but that may be the result of unemployment or other financial setbacks, not lavish living.

By Teresa Mears Oct 25, 2010 1:11PM

More older people are filing for bankruptcy protection, and the top reason is credit card debt.

But these older people aren't piling up credit card debt because they're eating out every night and taking fancy vacations, studies show. Instead, they are going into debt because they can't make ends meet and are hesitant to ask friends or family for help. In fact, some are suffering financially because they are helping friends and family.

 

Writer evaluates successes and failures of her two-year attempt to be gentler to the environment. But did she save any money?

By Teresa Mears Oct 25, 2010 11:36AM

We hear a lot about expensive houses that incorporate the latest "green" technology and people so dedicated to the environment that they will recycle 400,000 cans to pay for their wedding or will grow all their own food.

But how do the costs and benefits compute for your average busy homeowner living in a small house, with limited DIY skills? Do environmental moves such as reusing "gray water" and installing solar panels really pay off?

 

Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times, who cares enough about the environment to spend thousands of dollars over two years retrofitting the small bungalow she shares with her 7-year-old son, decided to do the math, or at least some of it. The results weren't pretty.

 

'Minimalism' is not a synonym for 'frugality.'

By Donna_Freedman Oct 25, 2010 10:54AM

One of my earliest articles for MSN Money was called "Living 'poor' and loving it." In the essay I noted that there's real joy in knowing that you have everything you need and some of what you want.

But what if your goal is to have more than one of everything you need, and a whole bunch of what you want?

 

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