Smart SpendingSmart Spending

With a little patience and effort, you can repair your own credit without soliciting the assistance of a credit repair company.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 6:10 PM

By Allison Martin,  Money Talks News    Money Talks News


You've managed to get back on your feet after a financial disaster, and you've finally reached the last hurdle: the credit repair process.

It's no secret that your credit needs to be rebuilt, but the thought of undertaking what seems to be such a complicated task frightens you. Should you go it alone to save money, or place the task in the hands of a professional who's far more experienced than you are?


To cut costs more students are living at home and picking two-year programs and in-state schools.

By MSN Money producer Fri 2:46 PM

Diploma, mortarboard cap and cash © zimmytws/Getty ImagesBy Katie Simon, LearnVest  LearnVest


A college education is supposedly more valuable than ever -- so families are sacrificing everything to make sure their kids can attend their dream schools, right?


Not quite.


Many families are choosing to forego those dream schools in favor of more affordable options. In fact, over two-thirds of students and parents dismiss certain college choices because they’re too expensive. That's a big increase from 2009 when, even at the height of a recession, only 56 percent of families said "no" because of cost.


According to a study by Sallie Mae, 34 percent of families surveyed chose two-year programs, cutting the cost of school by nearly half, from an average $21,072 per year at a four-year institution to $11,012 per year at a two-year college. Meanwhile, 69 percent of families are taking advantage of discounted tuition at in-state schools.


Do your homework to make sure you don't get swindled or stuck with higher interest rates.

By Fri 1:13 PM
College student with laptop sitting on library floor. © Hero Images/Getty ImagesBy Gerri Detweiler, 

When Johnnie was trying to figure out what to do about his student loans that were in collections, he got more than the runaround. He was almost misled into making what could have easily been a costly, bad decision.

Johnnie was thinking of getting a personal loan to consolidate about $12,000 in federal student loan debt that had gone into collections. He was in the process of rehabilitating his loans to get back on track, but the student loan debt collector made it sound like taking the rehabilitation route would bring Johnnie nothing but misery in the future.


He wrote in a comment on the blog:

I was told my loans can be bought and sold at (the lender's) discretion and that I would have to randomly renegotiate my terms. That bothers me a lot. Should I just constantly deal with this ridiculous flip-flop of lenders selling my loans off and always renegotiating my payments and interest constantly changing, or will it be OK to pay them with something I can get set in stone?

What Johnnie says the lender told him was flat-out wrong.


Sales of jeans are down by 6% in the US as clothing choices move toward active and casual.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 5:59 PM

Rack of blue denim jeans © Joanna Pecha/Getty ImagesBy Krystal Steinmetz, Money Talks News


Denim is singing the blues.

Sales of the American-born fashion staple have plummeted, according to NBC News. The NPD Group, a market research company, told NBC that domestic jean sales declined by 6 percent last year.

"A 6 percent drop may not seem like much, but it's rare for denim to take such a dramatic drop. It's a commodity business, we buy it and replenish it all the time," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group.

Jeans have been an American uniform for decades. But Americans' love affair with jeans isn't what it used to be. Women prefer "athleisure" clothing these days, a comfort-based casual clothing that includes yoga pants, leggings and jeggings. NBC said:


Some restrictions may apply. But you can still get in absolutely free at plenty of places during Sept. 27 event.

By MSN Money Partner Thu 4:47 PM

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. © Rick Friedman/CorbisBy Donna Freedman, Money Talks News Money Talks News


More than 1,500 museums in all 50 states will be open free of charge on Saturday, Sept. 27, aka "Museum Day Live!" That is, they'll be open to those who take advantage of a Smithsonian magazine offer: a ticket good for two people to any participating museum.

Register online and a ticket will be emailed to you. Then just print it out and take it to the venue of your choice. All participants also get a one-year digital subscription to Smithsonian magazine; you can opt out if you like.

That's one sweet deal. But it's not the only way to get in free at museums -- or at zoos, aquariums, science centers and children's museums.

Do some restrictions apply? Naturally. But still: Free admission!


When dollar amounts are the same, we're more likely to say yes to renting -- and less likely to compare options or gather information.

By Thu 1:47 PM
A house for rent sign © Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Christine DiGangi,

Consumers exhibit more reckless behavior when deciding to rent something rather than buy it, a new study out of the University of Maryland finds. The lack of commitment required when deciding to rent a product leads people to consider fewer options, gather less information and settle for a less appealing product than they would when buying, according to a release about the study.

Anastasiya Pocheptsova, the study's author and a professor at Maryland's Smith School of Business, worked with researchers from Columbia and Yale universities to conduct studies of people's behaviors while considering renting and buying the same products. Shoppers more often chose to buy when they had the choice of buying or renting, but when an item was presented only with an option to buy or only with an option to rent, more people chose to get the product when it was framed as a rental. The price of renting and buying was the same.


This roundup of coupon and deal websites will help you save time, energy and money.

By Thu 1:02 PM

With all the coupon and daily deal sites sprouting up these days, we've updated our roundup of the best coupon sites for 2014. Fight the flood of emails and discover discount codes that actually work, saving you time, energy, and, of course, money.

Best coupon sites The coupon pioneer and a perennial favorite remains a top pick this year because of its wide selection. As one of the biggest sources of online coupons, it feeds into many affiliates and other coupon sites. is especially useful for grocery trips. Search, "clip," and print coupons before going shopping.

Money Saving Mom: The recipes and frugal-living blog on this site are just extras on top of a comprehensive coupon database. Sort coupons by retailer, item, or expiration date and print before you head to the store. This site draws from other major aggregators such as, as well as individual retailers such as Target, so you can search them all in one place. It was a little messy-looking on our browser (Chrome version 35) when we checked recently, but with more than 5,250 coupons it's hard to complain.

A good novel, a classic whodunit, a scientific treatise, a trashy celebrity mag -- all this and more can be yours for little or nothing.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 2:51 PM

This post comes from Donna Freedman at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyA good read is one of life’s great pleasures, whether enjoyed in a hammock on a sunny summer afternoon or in a cozy armchair while winter winds howl outside.


You might be the one howling, though, when you add up the cost of all that reading material.



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.


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.