Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Could you do it? Bloggers chronicle experiment in creativity, minimalism, less shopping -- and more laundry.

By Teresa Mears Jul 26, 2010 8:47AM

Last month, about 100 people embarked upon a "clothing diet": They would choose six items from their wardrobes and wear only those six items for a month.


The rules weren't rigid. Items like socks, underwear, swimsuits, workout clothes, jackets and accessories weren't included and, if you wanted, you could make your own rules.


"Our whole thing was not to put a philosophy behind it, and not be too preachy," Heidi Hackemer, 31, one of the organizers, told The New York Times. They called the project Six Items or Less, referred to themselves as "sixers" and chronicled their experiences on a blog. The Times has photos and video.


They include French vanilla, one of the Original 31, and its demise at the end of the month has prompted complaints.

By Karen Datko Jul 23, 2010 3:23PM

Say it ain't so: Baskin-Robbins, in celebration of its 65th year, is eliminating five ice cream flavors from the menu, including French vanilla, causing great angst among that flavor's many fans. What kind of celebration is that?

Change is inevitable, but so is resistance to change. And those who love French vanilla are very vocal. "B/R should be ashamed of even considering this. Vanilla (French or otherwise) is the best to put things on, in my opinion," wrote one protester on the Save Baskin-Robbins' French Vanilla from the Deep Freeze page at Facebook. Another fan called the move "evil."


Fruits and veggies go to waste every year. Tap into this source of healthy sustenance.

By Donna_Freedman Jul 23, 2010 1:48PM
If I were in Seattle right now, I'd be picking free blackberries, which run wild anywhere there's a patch of dirt. Each year I pick a lot of berries to freeze and also to use in making jam (a very frugal gift). Since I'm spending much of the summer in Anchorage, all I can do is hope that berry season isn't over when I get home.

There's more than one way to get gratis berries, fruits and vegetables, though. It's called "gleaning," the harvesting of unwanted crops, and there are several ways to go about it.  

Celebrate lasagna, cheesecake, sweet tea and guys named Dave with deals from restaurants.

By Teresa Mears Jul 23, 2010 12:19PM

This is a good weekend to go to the movies, especially if you're expecting Tropical Storm Bonnie to dump rain on you all weekend -- or if it's just too hot to go outside.


At AMC Theatres, you can get any size popcorn or any size drink for $1 on Sunday, July 25, with this coupon. Or get both. You have to provide your e-mail address to get the coupon.

If you have a Visa Signature card, you can get two tickets for the price of one to see the new movie "Salt," starring Angelina Jolie, which opens today, July 23. The deal is good through Aug. 18.


Don't forget that you can take your kids to free and cheap movies all summer.


Am I the only dummy in the room who had no idea kids with cell phones love to text so much?

By Karen Datko Jul 23, 2010 11:24AM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


We held out for as long as we could. We really did.


Despite an intense and relentless lobbying effort from my son, the Honeybee and I stayed strong and denied his repeated requests for a cell phone.


And, boy, were there a lot of requests.

I can't remember the exact day he first requested his own cell phone, but I am quite certain the first letters he learned in school weren't A-B-C. They were A-T-(T).


When Matthew turned 12 last year, we decided it was finally time to grant his wish. 


The textbook business, which ought to be an altruistic endeavor, has turned into industrial exploitation of a captive audience.

By Karen Datko Jul 23, 2010 10:30AM

This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.


One of next fall's English 101 students e-mailed the other day. This is a kid who was in one of my other courses and decided to take the upcoming class because she liked my style (read: she got a good grade). She asked how much we will be using the textbook and then said she went to the bookstore and found it was selling for $150.


She's not eligible for financial aid this semester and says she doesn't think she can afford that much. She's doing the best she can, she adds, to stay out of debt.


A hundred and fifty bucks. For a freshman comp book. That, my friends, is a $30 paperback.


The benefit estimates in your statement can help you plan for retirement.

By Karen Datko Jul 23, 2010 8:08AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


I just received my Social Security statement in the mail and thought it would be a good time to write about this important document. Mailed once a year to workers and former workers 25 and older, a Social Security statement provides information that can help you plan for retirement.


It also provides information about disability and death benefits that many don't realize they have through Social Security.


A quick tour

The Social Security statement provides two important pieces of information.


Websites connect lenders and borrowers of clothes, tools and more.

By Karen Datko Jul 22, 2010 6:27PM

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


Borrowing a cup of sugar -- or anything else, for that matter -- from a neighbor has gone high-tech.


Consumer confidence this month hit its lowest point in nearly a year, and people are still spending cautiously. June retail sales were 0.5% lower than May, but 3.3% higher than last year, according to the National Retail Federation. A growing number of free websites are capitalizing on that spending reluctance by encouraging people to borrow what they need instead of buy it.



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.