Smart SpendingSmart Spending

It's not easy to boil down 2,300 pages of new legislation into 1,000 words, but here's the down and dirty of what you need to know.

By Stacy Johnson Jul 15, 2010 3:00PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (.pdf file), otherwise known as financial regulatory reform, will soon be signed into law by President Barack Obama now that Congress has passed it. There's no single article that can fully explain every way in which this sweeping legislation -- all 2,319 pages of it -- will ultimately impact your life. But it's important to understand at least the basics.


Let's have a look inside this new reform measure.


Some brides are making deals for pre-ceremony resales, hoping to recoup part of the cost of designer gowns.

By Teresa Mears Jul 15, 2010 2:07PM

We all can see the economic benefit of buying a used wedding dress or selling your wedding dress after the big day.


But Jennifer Saranow Schultz of The New York Times' Bucks blog informs us of another frugal trend: selling the dress BEFORE the ceremony.


New policies will eliminate co-pays or deductibles for some services.

By Karen Datko Jul 15, 2010 1:01PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


Starting Sept. 23, a range of preventive health care procedures, including colonoscopies and mammograms, must be provided to consumers at no out-of-pocket expense under any new health insurance policy.


The White House said Wednesday that under the health care law passed earlier this year, insurance companies must cover preventive services without the policyholder paying a deductible or co-payment.


Cut the cost of visits to animal attractions year-round.

By Karen Datko Jul 15, 2010 11:34AM

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


Consumers visiting animal attractions this summer can count on encountering lions and tigers and -- bargains.


While most of the leisure attraction industry, including amusement parks and museums, struggled to draw consumers during the recession, many zoos and aquariums reported record attendance. The North Carolina Zoo, for example, saw its highest attendance in 13 years during its last fiscal year, which ended June 30. In total, 749,627 people visited -- 20,210 more than during the previous year.


The combination of low entry fees at zoos and aquariums and their proximity to home is a draw for people on a budget, says John Gerner, managing director of Leisure Business Advisors LLC, a Richmond, Va.-based consulting group.


Here's how to save:


They clearly have a significant value conflict. Can they reach a compromise?

By Karen Datko Jul 15, 2010 9:54AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


Recently, I posted an article about setting goals with your partner. In the comments, Brittany left a wonderful question that I felt deserved a post all its own:

What if you have your shared goals, but one partner doesn't have the financial gumption to see it through? I'm not married, not even engaged, but I'm in a relationship that looks like it might be heading for the long term. But my partner is awful with money and even worse with savings. We have a few shared long/medium-term goals (and one is a life goal of his, so I'm positive it's not my goal; I'm just calling "ours"), but my partner isn't making any progress toward the goal. He's far more likely to make a bunch of little frivolous purchases now. ("Eh, it's just $10 … it's just $20 … I'll save when I have a reasonable amount to save.")

U.S. Tax Court rules that nonprofit status would not be appropriate.

By Karen Datko Jul 14, 2010 8:29PM

How thoughtful is this? A California sperm bank is willing to donate its product to wannabe moms, who would otherwise have to pay if they can't find their own supplier. Sperm can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars a vial, and you generally need more than one. That's pricey.

So why couldn't that sperm bank obtain nonprofit, tax-exempt status from the IRS? The U.S. Tax Court recently ruled against the Free Fertility Foundation, settling a six-year dispute.


The court cited a couple of reasons, Kathy Kristof reports at CBS MoneyWatch. Most important seems to be that the sperm bank has only one donor -- the foundation's founder and director, Donor fwcn02453.


Frustrated by your carrier's waiting list? Here are some options.

By Karen Datko Jul 14, 2010 3:43PM

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


Buying most cell phones takes minutes, but getting one of the must-have new smart-phone handsets is an endeavor that could last weeks.


Apple's iPhone 4, which sold out of pre-orders for its June 24 launch, currently has a three-week wait through the company and AT&T. The HTC Droid Incredible, launched in April on Verizon Wireless' network, ships within a month of ordering, and Sprint's Evo 4G (another HTC phone) is backordered indefinitely -- the company's site isn't taking orders, and refers customers to check back later.


Cities are using special toll lanes for drivers who are willing to pay for the privilege. Are "Lexus lanes" fair?

By Teresa Mears Jul 14, 2010 2:07PM

Would you pay more to drive faster through high-traffic areas?


Highway officials in a number of cities are deciding that many drivers would be willing to pay to escape highway congestion.  


They're installing what are known as HOT (high-occupancy toll) or express toll lanes, where you pay a toll to be able to drive in what used to be the carpool lane or, in some cases, newly constructed lanes. In some cities, vehicles with more than a certain number of occupants get a free ride.



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.