Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Bank error showed nearly $89 billion in a Florida man's business account.

By Karen Datko Apr 2, 2010 2:08PM

The following would have been more appropriate on April 1: A Florida man found $88,888,888,888.88 in his business' SunTrust Bank account when he checked it online one night last week, The Wealth Report blog in The Wall Street Journal reports.

 

Paul Fischer quickly diagnosed a bank error, but he asked if he could transfer the ghost balance to an interest-bearing account until the problem was fixed and donate the earnings -- $7.3 million -- to charity.

 

My mom's family has known hardship, but you never heard these Tennessee women complain.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 2, 2010 1:53PM
My Aunt Dot is dying. She’s 87 years old and has been taken to a South Jersey hospital with pneumonia. Since she suffers from emphysema and has had serious heart problems for years, she is probably reaching the end of her life.

Of course, that’s what they said when her older sister, my Aunt Elna, was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in her 70s. She went through chemo and lived for a few more good years before developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Both of these women were older sisters to my mother. All three of them taught me a lot about frugality, and about life. A few important lessons:  

Paying no interest sounds inviting, but not every buyer qualifies.

By Karen Datko Apr 2, 2010 10:34AM

This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

If you've watched much television lately, you've likely seen back-to-back car commercials touting 0% financing. As carmakers compete to sell vehicles, nearly all are resorting to "no-cost" financing.

 

Zero percent financing offers often draw consumers to showrooms, but the results aren't always good for buyers.

 

Say 'birthday' or 'honeymoon' and the deals come rushing in.

By Karen Datko Apr 2, 2010 9:22AM

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

 

When it comes to discounts, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

 

Stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses are often willing to give you a discount or special service if you mention that you’re celebrating a special occasion that ties into your visit, says Steven Cohen, president of The Negotiation Skills Company, a consultancy based in Massachusetts that helps clients negotiate for better deals. “It’s not unreasonable to say to someone, ‘It’s my birthday, anniversary, what-have-you -- are there any extra deals you can offer me?’” he says.

 

A ladder lets you take advantage of higher interest rates while preserving liquidity.

By Karen Datko Apr 2, 2010 7:55AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

Creating a CD ladder is a great way to combine the high interest rates of long-term certificates of deposit with the liquidity of short-term CDs.

 

Years ago, laddering certificates of deposit was a lot of work. Not only did you have to go down to your bank to open up multiple CD accounts, but your options were very limited. Today, online saving banks make it easy by offering the best CD rates with terms ranging from three months to 10 years, no-penalty CDs, and even rising-rate CDs. And you can open a certificate of deposit online in minutes.

 

How does a CD ladder work?

 

San Francisco eatery revives offer of a free meal every day -- in exchange for some personal real estate.

By Karen Datko Apr 1, 2010 3:35PM

What would you sacrifice in exchange for a free meal a day for life at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant? How about 4 square inches of real estate on your biceps, calf, chest or … whatever?

 

San Francisco landmark Casa Sanchez has revived an offer that got lots of publicity back in 1999 -- free lunch every day if you get the restaurant logo tattooed somewhere  -- visible to the general public or not, The Wall Street Journal reported.

 

Play nice, do your part, and don't make fun of Bob's vegan macaroni and cheese.

By Karen Datko Apr 1, 2010 12:34PM

This guest post comes from Kris at Cheap Healthy Good.

 

Since freshman year of college, I’ve had approximately 15,000 roommates. Some are still my best friends, favorite people, and life partners. Others smoked crazy things too late at night. One remains the only unrelated adult I’ve ever yelled at. (Surprise! It was over the dishes.)

 

Whether you’re fresh out of university or shacking up with your significant other for the first time, living with other people has multitudinous benefits. It can save everyone involved a ton of cash. It can be a social opportunity, cultural experience, and culinary education. It can keep you from being plain lonely.

 

But if you’re not careful, it can also be a terrifying descent into a cohabitational hell, in which anger and discomfort become facts of everyday life. Living with the dishes guy? Was kind of like that.

 

This nonexistent device and numerous others submitted by fictitious companies were approved for Energy Star certification.

By Karen Datko Apr 1, 2010 11:21AM

This guest post comes from Frank Curmudgeon at Bad Money Advice.

 

You know those blue Energy Star labels you sometimes see on appliances in the store? Think hard. No, not the train that gets stuck in the Channel Tunnel when it gets cold. That’s EuroStar.

 

Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Americans “save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.” Their elaborate and cheerful Web site goes on to claim that:

Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars -- all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.

That’s a savings of about $150 per household last year. And you are only vaguely aware of the program? Ungrateful wretch.

 

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