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Should you line the interior with foil? Read on to find out.

By MSN Money producer Nov 11, 2009 2:23PM

This post comes from Nora Dunn at partner blog Wise Bread.


Saving money is made all the sweeter when you also rest assured that you did your part to save power and energy. And although using the oven is not nearly as efficient as sticking to the stove-top, sometimes you just have to bake that casserole or cake.

So take a look at these 19 tips to help you maximize your oven's energy-efficiency, as well as to cut your cooking costs.


Wal-Mart making big changes to prevent rampaging crowds on Black Friday.

By Kim Peterson Nov 11, 2009 2:15PM
Shopping for deals © CorbisRetailers don't like it when Black Friday leads to mayhem, fisticuffs and dead employees. Kinda puts a damper on things, no?

And this year, shoppers' desperation to get in on a good deal might be ratcheted up a notch. Blame the economy. Blame the pressure we put on ourselves to still shower friends and family with gifts even if we can't afford it.
So now retailers, worried about potential calamity in their future (not to mention lawsuits), are taking steps to make Black Friday less chaotic.  

You'll need something many jobless folks lack: A lot of cash.

By MSN Money producer Nov 10, 2009 9:11PM
If you're one of the millions of Americans stuck on the unemployment treadmill, unable to find a job, you're left with three choices:
  • Continue to look for a work, competing with hundreds of folks in similar situations for each opening.
  • Go back to school and find a new career with the hope you'll find a gig after you're retrained.
  • Relocate to a part of the country where jobs aren't scarce.
For most people, the third option is the hardest and scariest choice, but it may be the only option. If your job prospects look slim and are considering moving, blogger Frugal Dad has listed 10 things you should consider before you pack up your U-Haul. 

Who needs a $276,000 dinosaur skull? Apparently, budget-impaired Nicolas Cage did.

By MSN Money producer Nov 10, 2009 4:05PM

Celebrity gossip is not a regular feature of this blog, but an US Magazine story about Nicolas Cage's spendthrift ways was too juicy to pass up.

The actor, whose films have grossed more than $3.9 billion worldwide, is in financial ruin. He owes $6 million in back taxes, is suing his former money manager for $20 million, his mansions are in foreclosure and many of his belongings are on the auction block (anyone want to buy a shrunken head?).

What lessons can be gleaned from Cage's free-spending ways? How about:


With some exceptions, asking someone how much they make is a big no-no.

By MSN Money producer Nov 10, 2009 2:43PM

This guest post comes from J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy.

Are you my friend? Family? Are we helping each other out with our finances? If not, you're probably just making me angry. Unfortunately, I can't even say that with a straight face because I'm naturally happy.

Seriously though, I'm all for open discussions on money, but you can't be a jerk and ask someone how much they make just because you feel like it.


Lenders are likely to issue fewer credit cards and charge more.

By Teresa Mears Nov 10, 2009 2:27PM

As interest rates and fees rise, Americans’ love affair with credit cards appears to be waning. Credit cards may be ready for a break-up, too.


Constrained by both Congress and the economy from some of their most profitable practices, banks are trying to figure out how to make money under the new conditions. Already, it seems, one result is going to be that fewer people will be able to get credit cards, and even those with good credit may find using those cards more expensive, The New York Times reports.


On a per-minute basis, you might find a cheaper option.

By MSN Money producer Nov 10, 2009 1:59PM

This post comes from our partner blog Bargaineering.

When you think of prepaid cell phones, what do you think of? If you’ve watched "The Wire" on HBO, a gritty drama about life in Baltimore, you associate them with drug dealers. If you were a fan of "The Sopranos," you knew they were good for avoiding wiretaps. If you haven't seen either, chances are you don’t associate them with anything.

Most people don't use prepaid cell phones because we naturally think to a nice buffet-type minute plan with a major carrier.

For our vacation to Europe, we used a pay as you go phone. We couldn't use our own phones since we didn’t have compatible technology but our friend lent us her old phone. We went to a local Orange store (a pay-as-you-go service company), bought a SIM card and loaded it up with some minutes.

The cost of the chip? Zero.


Recession-battered retailers have reduced inventories, making many must-haves hard to find.

By MSN Money producer Nov 9, 2009 11:52PM

Zhu Zhu Hamster © Mark Lennihan / AP

If toys are on your Christmas shopping list, you might want to hit the stores now as many of the season's hottest items are already in short supply, The Associated Press reports.

Don't blame overeager parents and collectors. Retailers stung by the recession have cut inventories in anticipation of a repeat of last year's dismal shopping season.


The hot toys this year, according to the AP:



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