Smart SpendingSmart Spending

No. But the holidays can be a great time to adopt one -- responsibly.

By Karen Datko Dec 16, 2009 5:49PM

The interwebs are filled with stories of happy pet adoptions. (Heck, we’ve even written one, reprinted here.) Disastrous tales also can be found. Here’s one, via AP, that got our attention:

Chihuahuas make up 30% or more of the dog populations at many California shelters. And experts say pop culture is to blame, with fans imitating Chihuahua-toting celebrities like Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus, then abandoning the dogs.
 

Don't take out thousands in student loans if you want to be a poet.

By Teresa Mears Dec 16, 2009 4:23PM

During a recession, with college tuition rising, some young people are questioning whether a college degree is worth the money.

 

No matter which article you read, the answer is usually: It depends. What are you going to study and what is your earning potential with or without the degree?

 

Perhaps the best question to ask is not whether a degree is worth it, but whether the degree you hope to attain at your college of choice is worth what it will cost you, especially if it means going deeply into debt to pay for your education.

 

Millions of shades and blinds are being recalled. Here's what you should know.

By Karen Datko Dec 16, 2009 3:25PM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

The potential hazard of strangulation to young children has prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Window Covering Safety Council to announce an industrywide recall involving millions of Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds.

 

The recall involves window coverings that can form a loop and cause strangulation. Here's what you can do if you have these shades or blinds in your home.

 

Take advantage of last-minute travel deals for popular New Year's destinations.

By Karen Datko Dec 16, 2009 1:43PM

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

 

In Decembers past, a New Year’s resolution to travel more stood in conflict with a resolution to save more money. This month, consumers can resolve to do both at once -- before the new year even begins.

This year, drop-offs in regional tourism along with the usual year-end push by the travel industry to meet its financial goals are yielding more last-minute deals on trips to popular destinations for New Year’s Eve.

 

6 ways to avoid becoming the stereotypical starving student.

By Karen Datko Dec 16, 2009 12:01PM

This post comes from Linsey Knerl at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Back in 1996, I was a partial-scholarship private-college student with the “gold” meal plan. Despite having access to food almost anytime I wanted, I often went hungry. Why? I was a horrible planner, a bit bad with my time, and I really had no knowledge of food savings strategies.

Here are six things I finally learned about how to get more from your very limited college food budget.

 

British think tank calculates relative worth of six professions.

By Teresa Mears Dec 15, 2009 5:04PM

A British study has now confirmed what many of us have long suspected: Hospital janitors are worth more to society than bankers.

 

Perhaps the janitors should get the bonuses. The study, “A Bit Rich: Calculating the Real Value to Society of Different Professionals,” wasn’t directly tied to the huge bankers’ bonuses that have raised ire in the U.K. (and the U.S., for that matter) or the 50% tax Britain has slapped on those bonuses. (A “whack the banker” game is all the rage in Britain these days, according to the BBC.)

 

Would a proposed federal program prompt you to weatherize your house?

By Karen Datko Dec 15, 2009 4:51PM

Regular readers here know that budgets are sexy. Now insulation is, too -- according to the president.

 

President Obama held a roundtable at a Home Depot to push "cash for caulkers," then addressed a larger crowd at the store that included Home Depot CEO Frank Blake, union members and other folks. According to The Los Angeles Times, he said:

We were at the roundtable and somebody said, "Insulation's not sexy." I disagree. Here's what's sexy about it: saving money.

That is sexy, and so is the thought of being toasty warm when it’s beyond frigid outside -- without a budget-busting power bill. (The high here is supposed to be 15 degrees today -- a vast improvement over the previous 24 hours.) Congress would have to approve the cash for caulkers program, officially called Home Star, but here’s how it might work.

 

Jobless lack health care, have trouble sleeping.

By Teresa Mears Dec 15, 2009 2:12PM

Tammy Linville of Louisville, Ky., lost her clerical job a year and a half ago. Her boyfriend is still working, but his hours have been cut and he’s earning less. Her car broke down, and she can’t afford to fix it. The couple are struggling to support themselves and their two small children.

 

 “Every time I think about money, I shut down because there is none,” Linville told The New York Times. “I get major panic attacks. I just don’t know what we’re going to do.”

 

The 29-year-old woman was interviewed for a Times story about a new Times/CBS News poll demonstrating the emotional and financial toll that losing their jobs is taking on the unemployed.

 

DATA PROVIDERS

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.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More