Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The fake ice rink is gone from a cruise ship after the Norwegian Cruise Line CEO had to put it together himself.

By Teresa Mears Jan 5, 2011 2:50PM

Want to improve conditions where you work?


Maybe you should get your boss on TV.


Norwegian Cruise Line is seeing some changes after CEO Kevin Sheehan did a stint working for his own company on CBS' "Undercover Boss."


He didn't give himself a very good performance evaluation. "Somebody said I did a good job vacuuming," he said in a webcast, as reported by Hannah Sampson of The Miami Herald. "Unfortunately, that didn't make it to the show."


What he did learn from the experience is that leading 1,000 people in a line dance and washing the outside of a ship is hard work. 


An error leads to brief excitement over coupon possibilities until the retailer clarifies its policy.

By Teresa Mears Jan 5, 2011 1:21PM

There was great joy in Couponville for a few minutes this week when shoppers saw in Wal-Mart's Sunday newspaper ad that the big-box retailer would accept competitors' coupons.


Oops. Not quite.


What the store meant to say, according to Kitty at Coupon Divas, was that the store would accept a competitor's coupon that mentions a specific price. That goes along with the company's price matching policy.


It's meant to be economic stimulus, but why not use it to bolster your personal finances?

By Karen Datko Jan 5, 2011 1:19PM

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


President Obama last month signed a bill that will lower your Social Security taxes from 6.2% to 4.2% for this year only. This tax holiday -- which, bizarrely enough, will cost the federal government $112 billion at a time when it's facing astronomical deficits and we're being told Social Security is headed for hell on a skateboard -- could save you as much as $2,136 this year. If you and your spouse both earn more than $106,800, you'll see a combined $4,272 tax break.

The theory behind it is that the increase people will see in their monthly or biweekly paychecks will be small enough to look like gravy and so they'll diddle it away on stuff and services, thereby supposedly stimulating the economy.


Could be. Could be voodoo works to cure warts, too.


How to be fit -- and frugal -- when the temperatures are plunging outside.

By Karen Datko Jan 5, 2011 10:25AM

This post comes from Janey Osterlind at partner blog Wise Bread.


While training for a marathon last winter, I quit my gym membership. Running 18 miles on a treadmill is simply not possible. (One could argue, successfully, that running 18 miles is simply insane altogether, but that's beside the point.)

What this experience taught me was that it's not only possible to stay fit in the frigid winter months, it's also possible to enjoy your workout without spending a lot on a new gym membership.


Here are some ideas to get you moving on your own exercise routine this winter:


What's not? Simple cell phones, and laptop and desktop computers.

By Karen Datko Jan 4, 2011 3:44PM

This post comes from Fred Yager at partner site


The times they are a-changin' when it comes to electronic devices.

A new survey predicts consumers will buy 39% fewer personal computers this year compared with 2010 and that sales of simple mobile phones (not smart phones) will drop by 56%.


The TLC show 'Extreme Couponing' has frugal bloggers debating when smart stockpiling becomes obsessive hoarding.

By Teresa Mears Jan 4, 2011 2:20PM

Like many people interested in saving money, we watched the new TLC show "Extreme Couponing."


We agree that the four people profiled are pretty extreme in their coupon practices, from spending six hours on one grocery trip, to dumpster diving for coupons, to filling multiple rooms of their homes with a stockpile of products.


We did like the retired nurse who walked seven miles each morning collecting coupons from her neighbors. (Her fitness may save her as much money as her coupons do.)


The question many people are asking after watching the show is, do these couponers go too far?


Sure, it's illegal, but it's also not very profitable.

By Karen Datko Jan 4, 2011 11:01AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


Have you ever been tempted to cheat on your taxes? asks a recent post on The New York Times' You're the Boss blog. Like almost everyone else, I've been tempted (everyone has been tempted or thought about it -- if you haven't, then you're a much better person than the majority) but I've never cheated on my taxes.


Here are just three reasons why:


The makeup industry is sitting pretty, raking in about $7 billion a year in sales.

By Stacy Johnson Jan 4, 2011 9:59AM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.


Everybody wants to look their best. But at what cost?


According to a 2008 study by the nonprofit YWCA, U.S. women spend $7 billion a year on cosmetics (.pdf file). Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (.pdf file) says Americans -- so this figure is averaged across men and women -- spent about $600 each in 2009 on "personal care."

For some people, money is no object. But if that's not you, maybe you should consider a makeup budget makeover. 


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.