Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Comedian overcame $3 million IRS debt.

By Karen Datko Sep 26, 2009 3:13AM

Irreverent, hilarious, provocative and profane -- all were qualities of the great George Carlin, who died Sunday from heart failure. But who knew that Carlin was also a good source of financial advice?

What else would you expect from the comedian who so well understood our fascination with materialism, as demonstrated by his "A Place for My Stuff"? ("Bouncing Back" at Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy, one of many Carlin fans who mourned his passing online, provides a link to the "stuff" routine. Considering it's Carlin, the language is only slightly off-color.)


Metal credit card is only for big spenders.

By Karen Datko Sep 26, 2009 3:08AM

What's in our wallet? We can assure you it's not the American Express Black Card.

We hadn't even heard of this ultra-exclusive card -- known officially as the Centurion -- until we stumbled upon a personal Web site dedicated to unveiling its secrets.

Some guy not in the employ of Amex spends his time singing the praises of a piece of metal (it's not plastic)? We just had to read on, if only to see how the other half lives.


Credit crisis and record high gas prices are to blame.

By Karen Datko Sep 26, 2009 2:51AM

This post comes from Truman Lewis at partner blog

The credit crisis and record high gas prices have teamed up to drive the world's largest Chevrolet dealer out of business. Bill Heard Enterprises is closing all 13 of its stores today, the company told its local managers on Wednesday.

Insiders said the company notified the stores' general managers of the closing at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Automotive News reported. It closed a store in Arizona earlier this month.


Upselling, crouching next to tables, smiley faces on the check are all part of a smart server's arsenal.

By Karen Datko Sep 26, 2009 2:46AM

Do you feel warm and fuzzy -- and more generous -- when your waiter draws a smiley face on your check? Do you feel a bond when your server engages you in chitchat? According to Richard at Student Scrooge, these are devices waiters employ to pump up the tip.

When he researched them, Richard said, "I had a whole series of flashbacks to all of these moments at the end of a meal where I undoubtedly was influenced by some of these strategies. Is tipping some sort of game of psychological warfare?" 


Anti-meat group says processed meat poses serious health risk.

By Karen Datko Sep 26, 2009 2:40AM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site

Many modern-day baseball stadiums prohibit smoking, but cancer danger apparently still lurks around the corner: An anti-meat consumer group alleges in a class-action that hot dogs pose serious health risks and need to carry warning labels.

The lawsuit was filed in Essex County, N.J., by The Cancer Project on behalf of three New Jersey residents. Among the named defendants are Nathan's Famous; Kraft Foods, which manufactures Oscar Mayer wieners; Sara Lee; ConAgra, which makes Hebrew National franks; and Marathon, manufacturer of Sabrett, "the frankfurter New Yorker's [sic] relish."


Toys R Us is focused on lower-priced holiday toys

By Karen Datko Sep 25, 2009 6:48PM

Toys R Us released its list of prospective hot toys for the holidays, and guess what: Most retail for less than $100.


The toy getting the most media attention is the Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster, which retails for a very attractive $9.99. "With more than 40 different sound effects and artificial intelligence, these pets will dart around the house, play in hamster tubes, run on wheels and more," Toys R Us said. This sounds fun.


Among those on the higher end, The Associated Press reports, are "Mattel's Mindflex, about $90, which measures brain activity through a helmet and uses it to move a ball through an obstacle course." Great. We'll bring that one out whenever anyone questions our brain power.


Frugality shouldn't be trendy.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 25, 2009 2:58PM
Inside a neighborhood newspaper recently I found a coupon section with the headline, "Frugal is hip. It's OK to clip."

Hip? Suddenly I'm hip? For years people debated my sanity, sometimes openly, because I shopped thrift stores, used coupons, made soup stock from chicken bones. Turns out I was just a bit early to a party that others have finally deemed cool enough to attend.

At various times in recent history it has also been hip to wear shoulder pads, cook with oat bran and turn rocks into pets. I don't want frugality to be hip. I want it to last.  

Maybe it's not your employer's fault

By Teresa Mears Sep 25, 2009 2:05PM

Chalk up another casualty of the recession: workers' health.

A new study released this week found that, despite all the concern over health care costs, the health of people with jobs is declining.


"Workers are putting in longer hours, afraid of losing their jobs. With less time to exercise, more than a third of employees report that work drains them of energy, leaving nothing for their personal lives,'' writes Cindy Krischer Goodman, who does the Work/Life Balancing Act column and blog for The Miami Herald.



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.