Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Some are better than others for teaching children about financial responsibility.

By Karen Datko May 7, 2010 9:05AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


One of the greatest gifts we can give a child is to teach financial responsibility at a young age. And a savings account for children can go a long way in this effort. As my wife and I raise our two kids, now both teenagers, we can see just how important it is that kids understand basic money-management skills.

The right type of online savings account for a child can help teach children several important financial lessons:


Consumer Reports also finds that add-on ticket fees really annoy airline passengers.

By Karen Datko May 6, 2010 5:28PM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


Travelers have a lot to gripe about, but what bugs them most are luggage charges and add-on airline ticket fees, according to a survey by Consumer Reports.

In a nationally representative survey conducted in late January, CR asked 2,000 consumers to score three lists of travel gripes covering rental cars, airlines and hotels for a total of 24 items on a 1-to-10 scale, 1 meaning an experience "does not annoy you at all" and 10 meaning it "annoys you tremendously."


An amendment to the banking reform bill would tie the fees to the actual cost of providing the service.

By Karen Datko May 6, 2010 4:13PM

What are you paying these days to use an ATM, particularly one that's outside your bank's network?


Guess what, folks. Banks are collecing an average of $2.66 per ATM transaction, according to the Federal Reserve. And, say our friends at MarketWatch, the cost can be $5 (and, we bet, even more) if you tap an ATM at the casino or airport.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, estimates that each transaction costs -- at most -- 36 cents. Harkin has introduced an amendment to the financial reform bill that would cap  ATM fees at 50 cents to keep them in line with actual costs. Banks, we imagine, are not amused.


Sure, go ahead and buy that $32,000 car because you think you can afford the monthly payments.

By Karen Datko May 6, 2010 1:55PM

This guest post comes from Jason at Frugal Dad.


It wasn't until I reached 30 that I started to turn my own financial life around. Unfortunately, by then, the damage was done. In retrospect, I often knew the decisions I was making were not so smart, but I made them anyway because I could always "pay it off later" or "just save more money when I'm older."


One of the cruel facts of life is that it gets more difficult the older you become. 


Hopefully, my sharing a few of these bad money moves will prevent others from doing the same. And don’t worry: If you are over 30 and still doing these things, it is never too late to start living frugally.

  • Take out three times as much in student loans as your first year's salary.

Perhaps we should stop being ashamed and acknowedge our financial reverses. Then we can focus on what really matters.

By Teresa Mears May 6, 2010 1:08PM

Laura Lee has a message for the world: Broke is beautiful.


It’s time for everyone who is living paycheck to paycheck (or temp job to temp job) to come out of the closet and embrace the things that really matter in their lives.


So you’re losing your home to foreclosure, your credit is shot, and you don’t have an eight-month emergency fund? So what?


You're not alone.


Don't base your plans on what might happen. See if you can swing the costs today. And, oh, can you fix a toilet?

By Karen Datko May 6, 2010 8:56AM

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


Most articles about homebuying focus on the financial nuts and bolts of the things you should have in order before you consider buying a home. You've got to have good credit. You've got to have a down payment. You've got to know the housing market. And so on.


Yet those aren't the only important things to think about. Here are four somewhat unorthodox things I would strongly suggest any prospective homeowner seriously tackle before buying a home.


At what price connectivity? AT&T and its iPhone customers are finding that out.

By Karen Datko May 5, 2010 7:16PM

AT&T launched a new product to address the problem of users who can’t get good 3G iPhone reception at home: Shell out $150 for your own personal mini cell phone tower, known as the MicroCell.


The New York Times explains: “Minitowers, the size of a couple of decks of cards, act and look like Wi-Fi hot spots at cafes and redirect cell phone calls from congested cell towers to home Web connections.” (A good post at Voxilla explains how it works.)


How’s that plan going so far? Here are some of the complaints we found:


Polling shows strategic defaults are winning converts. A question of morals or incentives?

By Karen Datko May 5, 2010 2:57PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


Almost a third of foreclosures these days are voluntary, say two Chicago professors who research Americans’ trust in the financial system.

Make that probably voluntary. How do these researchers figure? They polled 1,002 people in March about whether they’d default on their homes if the home value fell below the mortgage amount, even if they could afford the payments.


The poll, by Paolo Sapienza of the Kellogg School of Management, and Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago, finds 31% saying they’d bail on their home. "Strategic" defaults, these decisions are called.

The people polled weren’t all homeowners, much less homeowners in foreclosure. So it’s not a flawless way to peer into the mind of a bailing mortgage-holder. Still, it’s a peek.


What it reveals is that attitudes are changing --and fast -- about what’s right and what’s practical when you’re under economic pressure.



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.