Smart SpendingSmart Spending

New study shows that a surprising number of tanning booth frequenters have tried to cut back but can't.

By Karen Datko Apr 23, 2010 2:32PM

OK. I’m not addicted to tanning, but it seems that a surprising number of people are.


A new study featured in the Archives of Dermatology found that of 421 college students who were interviewed, 229 had used a tanning bed/booth -- on average, 23 times -- in the last year, and 31% to 39% of those students met criteria for addiction, depending on which addiction measure was used. Those students tanned on average 40 times in the last year, but some visited the salon 100 times.


“How in the world could someone be addicted to UV rays?” asked Lynn O'Shaughnessy, who wrote about the study for CBS MoneyWatch.


Just in time for Earth Day: A garbage strike and a garbage-stuffed whale.

By Donna_Freedman Apr 23, 2010 12:06PM
A gray whale found dead on a West Seattle beach had ingested “a surprising amount of human debris,” according to an Associated Press story. Among other things nestled in the cetacean’s innards: more than 20 plastic bags, a pair of sweatpants, small towels, surgical gloves, duct tape, pieces of plastic and a golf ball.

In other news: Union garbage haulers agreed to return to work after a two-day strike. There’s still no contract but at least the two sides are talking again. Or will be, come Monday.

I sure am glad those trucks are rolling once more.  The apartment building’s Dumpster is right under my window.

As for the whale’s stomach contents, all I can say is it doesn’t surprise me. We humans are a trashy bunch.  

Free ice cream and pretzels plus BOGO tickets to minor league baseball games.

By Teresa Mears Apr 23, 2010 11:45AM

Where did the week go? Here it is Friday again and time for Friday food deals and freebies, with a few inedible offers added just for fun.


This is the last weekend for free admission to all U.S. national parks, though some are always free.


Some of last week’s deals and coupons are still valid. Kelli

B. Grant from partner SmartMoney has some store coupons at the end of her post.


You’ve got three chances for free or cheap ice cream.


Tactfully pointing out sales to the bride; plus, valuable weekend coupons.

By Karen Datko Apr 23, 2010 10:44AM

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


Serving as a member of the bridal party on a friend’s special day may be a priceless experience, but it’s one that doesn’t come cheap.


In 2009, the average bridesmaid spent $1,009, including her dress, airfare and bridal shower, bachelorette party and wedding gifts, according to The Wedding Report, a market researcher. (Last year was the first year the group collected data on bridesmaid costs.) By 2014, that average is expected to creep up 2%, to $1,029.


Balancing an attendant’s budget is the responsibility of both that person and the bride and groom, says Alan Fields, author of “Bridal Bargains.”


It's now easier to track your minutes, evaluate your bill for potential savings and swap contracts.

By Karen Datko Apr 23, 2010 9:55AM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.


One of the all-time best ways to save money is to cut your cell phone bill. My cell phone bill goes through what I call scope creep. Scope creep is a term in the consulting business to describe a project that slowly grows out of control, and it can describe a cell phone bill as lines and features slowly get added over the years.

So we put together this list of tips and tricks to lower your cell phone bill. If you know of other ways to cut your cellular bill, leave a comment and let us know.

  • Stay under your minutes. Nothing drives me crazy like seeing a big, fat charge on my cell phone bill because we went over our minutes. If this is a habitual problem, you’ll want to either change cell phone plans or cut your talk time. One great tool to help monitor your usage is OverMyMinutes (hat tip: Lazy Man and Money), a free tool that sends you a text message or e-mail when you are about to run over your limit.

There's also less room between seats, so more passengers can fit on the planes.

By Karen Datko Apr 22, 2010 4:53PM

Ah, airline travel these days. You pay for the privileges of checking a bag, picking a seat, quenching your thirst and -- on Spirit Airlines -- bringing a carry-on bag on board starting in August.

One thing you won’t be able to buy on some of Spirit’s flights is a reclining seat. reports that Spirit has two new airplanes that come with nonreclining -- inappropriately called "prereclined" --  seats, and two more are on the way.


Sure, you should buy gently used cars, but at what point should you get rid of them?

By Karen Datko Apr 22, 2010 1:26PM

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


My basic advice on cars is that you should buy them mildly used, two to four years old, and drive them until they are inert heaps of rust. This is based on the commonplace observation that used cars are generally a better deal for buyers, that is that, relative to new ones, they are cheaper than really makes sense.


Whether this disconnect between new and used car prices is because consumers irrationally prefer new ones or irrationally fear used ones is a metaphysical question I am not going to answer. But the gap is there, and many personal-finance types will advise you to buy used rather than new because of it. I don’t disagree, but there is an equally important second principle to be drawn from the new/used price anomaly. Besides “never buy new” there is “never sell used.”


New guide provides tips for saving money while saving the environment.

By Teresa Mears Apr 22, 2010 1:24PM

Just in time for Earth Day, Coupon Sherpa has published a new guide on living a frugal eco-friendly life. And it’s free. (You can read it online or download a .pdf file, but “don’t you dare print it!” the site admonishes).


Coupon Sherpa’s “Eco Frugal Life Guide,” by Ashley Grimaldo and Luke Knowles, provides suggestions for living a frugal, green life in a variety of categories, from food to home to travel. They write:

It's a popular misconception that "going green" -- certainly a nice idea in theory -- is a lifestyle far too expensive for most regular folks to afford. Sure, if you want to install solar panels or geothermal heating in your house, you're going to have to spend some cash. But the core values of environmentally conscious living -- reusing, renewing, conserving, sustaining -- are as frugal as can be! Eco-frugal living isn't just a fad, it's a growing necessity for millions of people worldwide. Saving the green in your wallet, and the green outside your window really can, and should, go hand in hand.


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.