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My local store is offering a 10% bonus. I'm in, even though I haven't used up last year's card yet.

By Donna_Freedman Mar 19, 2010 12:06PM
Want a guaranteed 10% return on a short-term $300 investment? I do. That's why I'm going take advantage of the "Refund Rewards" program at Albertsons. If I buy a $300 supermarket gift card, Albertsons will tack on an extra $30. (I could also get a $250 store gift card, but it carries only a $20 bonus.)

The idea is that you'd use some or all of your income tax refund on these cards. Families or individuals who spend more than $300 a month on food might want to get more than one. Myself, I don't buy too much at a time; in fact, the $330 card I bought last April still has $154.87 left on it.

So why get another one?  

The scammers are out. But the good news is the Census Bureau is hiring.

By Karen Datko Mar 19, 2010 11:34AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


This week you should find the 2010 census survey in your mailbox. The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as required by the Constitution. The Constitution mandates that a census be taken every decade to apportion the number of members of the House of Representatives among the states. But the census is also used to apportion federal funding among the states, so completing the census survey is extremely important.


And that's where scam artists enter the picture.


What to do if the cashier gives you too much change back.

By Karen Datko Mar 19, 2010 8:08AM

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


Discovering that $20 has been knocked off a store receipt or deposited in your checking account isn’t quite the same as finding a crumpled $20 bill tucked in the pocket of last year’s spring jacket.


For starters, you do have an ethical obligation to point out the “found money,” says Margaret McLean, associate director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in California. “You learn counting out change as a little kid -- if [the cashier] gives you a quarter too much, you give them back a quarter,” she says. “We have an ethical obligation to play fair and be honest.” You’d be quick enough to point out an error that cost you money, and the store or bank deserves that same consideration.


There could even be financial or legal repercussions for not doing your due diligence.


6 reasons why you won't go to personal-finance hell if the IRS owes you money.

By Karen Datko Mar 18, 2010 5:17PM

This guest post comes from Darwin at Darwin's Finance.


With tax time approaching, you’re going to see writers and television talking heads chastise you for the “free loan” you gave the U.S. government last year if you’re receiving a tax refund. With the average tax refund estimated at $2,700 or so for the 2009 tax year, that’s roughly $50 per week you could have had in your account instead of in the government’s coffers, right?


Let’s consider the realistic reasons you won’t go to finance hell if you get a tax refund. Not the hypothetical, but the pragmatic.


Interest rates are a joke.


Economic woes have accelerated a trend toward multigenerational households that began in 1980.

By Teresa Mears Mar 18, 2010 3:37PM

It’s certainly not surprising to hear that the United States has more multigenerational households than it did a decade ago -- 30% more, as more young adult children move back home. More elderly people also are moving back in with family.


What is interesting is that the trend toward multiple generations sharing a home has been going on since 1980, and only part of it is economically motivated. Think of it as "The Waltons 2.0."


Bundle: Couples with kids spend 14% more than couples without.

By Janet Paskin Mar 18, 2010 1:56PM

Kids are expensive. They outgrow their clothes every year and drink milk by the cow-full. Add extras like braces, summer camp and piano lessons, and more than one parent will testify to the financial drain -- worth every penny! -- of raising a kid. Which raises the question: Would you be better off, financially speaking, if you skipped the procreation?


If you believe that carrying a balance is good for your credit score or that bankruptcy will eliminate student loans, keep reading.

By Karen Datko Mar 18, 2010 12:21PM

This guest post comes from Ron Haynes at The Wisdom Journal.


What if much of what you think you know is wrong?


Just because a belief is widespread and pervasive doesn’t mean that it’s true. If you read or hear something about personal finance or money, take a few moments to think it through. Do some independent research to see if there could be another side to the coin. And never let a financial myth stand in the way of achieving your financial goals. The only way one of these money myths can stop you is if you believe it.


I assembled some pervasive money myths after listening to unsuccessful people over the years. This is a big list, but I’ll bet you have a few you could add to it. Which of these have you heard?


How much are you paying for the convenience of someone else washing your lettuce?

By Karen Datko Mar 18, 2010 10:35AM

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


Every time I visit the grocery store, I’m amazed to see how much of the produce section is taken up with prepackaged fresh foods. You know what I’m talking about -- bags of prewashed lettuce, precut apples, precut celery, precut pineapple.


I understand why such items are for sale: They’re convenient. It’s easier to just grab a bag of prewashed romaine lettuce than it is to grab a head of romaine and deal with it when you get home.


Yet, when you look at the prices, you’re actually paying a significant markup.



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