Smart SpendingSmart Spending

And why it's dumb to just be 'happy to have a job.'

By Karen Datko Aug 11, 2010 9:00AM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


Standing still is not a career plan. Here's how to turn the final months of the Great Recession into an opportunity to bolster your salary by 10% or more.

Oh, yes, the job market is bad. You probably know someone who's looking for a job right now. I know several, and many of these professionals have started to apply for temporary jobs in retail -- folding clothes and working registers -- and still haven't gotten a bite. That's enough to make anyone want to hunker down and just pray that the suits on the top floor don't look your way.


That's a big mistake.


Can you really eat more cheaply by going out? Let's rethink this.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2010 5:20PM

This guest post comes from Lauren at Richly Reasonable.


When poking around for some information on the costs of eating out, I discovered this article from the Mayo Clinic. According to the Mayoans, or the Mayoites, if you prefer, McDonald's can make me a burger for the same cost, if not cheaper, as I can make myself. This means I don't have to cook, clean, or even eat with my husband if I don't want to. Research done. 


But then I realized that I really only like McDonald's every now and then (aside from Diet Coke), I actually do like cooking, and Husband is good people.


A lot of people are choosing to eat at McD's just a little too frequently for their health. This isn't news. But they aren't just eating there; try Chili's (.pdf file), Applebee's, or CPK (.pdf file). You can see that their calorie counts are about par with McD's and their prices are always higher (unless you order the 50 McNugget meal).

Money money money ... mo-ney!

Let's do a little math. 


Rising cost of education has students and parents rethinking how much it makes sense to borrow.

By Teresa Mears Aug 10, 2010 3:42PM

Here's a statistic that should make us sit up and take notice:


Americans now owe more in student loans than they owe in credit card debt.

This is the result of two factors: people paying down credit cards and incurring more student loan debt, Mary Pilon reports in The Wall Street Journal's Real Economics blog.


Plus 10 tips to use those apps most effectively.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2010 1:55PM

This guest post comes from Kathryn Vercillo at Financial Highway.


Phone apps that allow you to save money are one of the best tools your mobile phone offers you. Whether you're using a barcode scanner to find a better deal at a nearby store or you're taking advantage of a mobile coupon, these apps reduce your daily expenses.


First, here are 10 tips for properly using mobile phone apps to save money. Below you'll find 75 different money-saving apps that may be worth checking out.


Mexicana Airlines has suspended sales, but Mexican travel bargains abound.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2010 11:42AM

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


Fliers may see Mexicana Airlines' latest woes as another reason to hesitate on traveling there. Bargain hunters, however, may still be tempted by cheap hotel rates and packages through the winter holidays.

Compañía Mexicana de Aviación (Mexicana Airlines) filed for bankruptcy protection in Mexico and the United States in late July and has since suspended sales. It also has suspended flights on more than a third of its 41 routes, but says it will continue operations, with priority given to homebound passengers.


Separately, the Federal Aviation Administration in late July downgraded Mexico's air safety rating, citing a deficiency in its civil aviation authority and a lack of regulations necessary to oversee air carriers.


Want to reduce the cost of U.S. health care? A whole bunch of us need to eat less and exercise more.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2010 10:41AM

A new federal report says more than 72 million Americans were obese in 2009 -- a 2.4 million increase in just two years. That excess poundage adds an estimated $147 billion to U.S. health care costs each year.

How fat are the folks in your home state, and what's the extra health care cost there? 24/7 Wall St. calculated the Obesity Index based on information in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.


But first, some background (post continues after video):


Americans recently lost more than $10 million to bogus credit card charges from a single ring of scam artists.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 10, 2010 9:49AM

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


You open your credit card statement and give the charges a glance. There's one charge you don't remember making, but the amount is only $5.95, and the company name looks vaguely familiar. 


Since your bill doesn't include the merchant's phone number or website address, further investigation would take more time than it's worth. So you pay the bill and get on with your day.


That's exactly what the scam artists were counting on.


They work pretty well in money matters, unless you need absolute certainty.

By Karen Datko Aug 10, 2010 8:50AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.


The other day, I was explaining the Rule of 72 to my lovely wife. It's a simple little mathematical trick that almost epitomizes the advantages and disadvantages of rules of thumb. If you want to know how long it takes to double a sum of money, divide 72 by the interest rate.

At 10% a year, the rule says a balance doubles every 7.2 years. It's really slightly less than 7.275 years. At 5% a year, the rule says a balance doubles every 14.4 years. It's closer to 14.21.


It's a pretty good rule of thumb and good when you have nothing on the line.



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