Smart SpendingSmart Spending

A server's actions suggest she was trying to get a $5 or $10 tip for a $9.83 meal.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 6:16PM

This guest post comes from Squirrelers.

 

Most stories in the Squirreling Gone Wild series have centered on interesting measures people take to save money. Usually, the stories have been about people I know or strangers I've seen trying to save a few dollars or even pennies on food, gas and other purchases.

This story is a little bit different because it discusses how someone apparently tried to keep a few dollars at my expense.

 

For this story, let's rewind a few years, when I was doing more business travel. I recall eating a meal at a hotel restaurant by myself. Actually, the restaurant was a bar and grill, and I had been there on a previous trip. Decent atmosphere, several TVs with sports on and quick service -- about all you can hope for at a midrange airport hotel.

 

I don't remember exactly what I ordered that day, but it was probably a small order, since it came out to just under $10.

 

Figuring out how much insurance you can afford is a good place to start.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 4:18PM

This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.

 

When my wife and I first had children, one of the big questions I asked was a familiar one: How much life insurance do I need?

While nobody likes to think of his or her own demise, it's prudent to consider what financial ramifications your death could have on those you leave behind. It gives me tremendous peace of mind to know that if I die, my wife will have enough to pay off all our debts and take care of our family. But while it's hard to dispute the sensibility of life insurance in general, many people disagree on how much life insurance you should have.

 

If you're wondering how much life insurance you should buy, here are some things to consider:

 

You don't need a financial fright to have fun with Halloween. Watch our reporter try out some costumes while you pick up some savings tips.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 18, 2010 3:24PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger and Jim Robinson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

The most frightening part of Halloween is how much money we spend on the holiday: almost $6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. That works out to about $66 per American for costumes, candy and decorations.

 

A woman pays for a stranger's groceries and spawns the 93 Dollar Club, which has raised more than $110,000 for food banks.

By Teresa Mears Oct 18, 2010 2:42PM

You've been there, standing at the grocery checkout and ready to pay the bill, except you forgot your wallet, which contains your checkbook, cash and credit cards. You have no way to pay.

When this happened to Jenni Ware at a Trader Joe's in Menlo Park, Calif., something unusual happened: The woman behind her in line, Carolee Hazard, offered to pay the $207.29 bill with her credit card and asked Ware, a stranger, to mail her a check.

 

Grateful for the help, Ware sent Hazard $300 and told her to use the extra $93 for a massage. Instead, Hazard polled her Facebook friends. And social media met random acts of kindness.

 

The result became a national movement that has raised more than $110,000 for charities that fight hunger. The 93 Dollar Club on Facebook had 3,497 fans as of noon PT Oct. 18, and it has been written about in USA Today and People magazine.

 

Want to lose your wallet or your laptop? Assume everyone's as nice as you are.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 18, 2010 1:17PM

Earlier this year I bought my first laptop. However, I could have gotten one or more for free at the University of Washington

During my three years as a "nontraditional" student (that's the college euphemism for "old"), I was regularly asked by library patrons if I'd watch their stuff while they went to the bathroom.


For intelligent people, they're pretty dumb. Or maybe the world hasn't kicked them in the teeth yet.

 

The average teen sends and receives more than 3,000 texts per month.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 10:26AM

This post comes from Sara Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Who says teens don't communicate?

 

They do. They just don't do it out loud.

 

Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 send and receive an average of 3,339 texts a month, according to research by the Nielsen Co. That's about six for every hour they're awake.

If your head is spinning, you may want to sit down. Teen boys apparently send and receive an impressive 2,539 texts a month, but the report reveals teen girls are almost twice as busy, sending and receiving an average of 4,050 texts per month.

 

More than 4,000 texts. PER MONTH.

 

Scholarships paid for most of the cost of attending a very expensive university. Here's how she found them and successfully applied.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2010 9:23AM

This guest post from Alison is part of the reader stories feature at Get Rich Slowly.

 

I'm a graduate of the George Washington University, a school now known as the most expensive in the country. But when I graduated, my $160,000 education cost me about $4,000.

I walked away with about $9,000 in student loans and a check for more than $5,000 from surplus tuition payments from my senior year. Plus, I'd earned enough scholarship money to pay for graduate school. Twice.

 

How'd I do it? Let me tell you about how to make the most of scholarships for fun and profit.

 

Will we all be burned out by the time stores open their doors Nov. 26?

By Karen Datko Oct 15, 2010 2:45PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.

 

More than two weeks before Halloween, the first Black Friday ad of the season has tiptoed in -- from Dallas discount book retailer Half Price Books.

 

"Leaked" unceremoniously on the retailer's Facebook page, the ad promises early-bird shoppers 20% off and a free calendar with $30 purchase, plus coupons with gift card purchases. It's not exactly exciting -- and it's similar to what this retailer has done in the past -- but then the books are already heavily discounted to begin with.

Even if the books are $3.98, says Kathy Doyle Thomas, HPB's executive vice president, people still expect a big discount on Black Friday, especially after a couple of years of nonstop clearance sales and "Friends and Family" offers. "As retailers we have trained our customers to only come in when we have a big discount," she says.

 

And increasingly those big discounts are coming both before and after Black Friday, making those early morning runs less of a must-do for some consumers.

 

DATA PROVIDERS

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.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More