Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Medical-related debt can submarine your budget.

By Credit.com 23 hours ago

This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site Credit.com.


Credit.com on MSN MoneyWhen police came to John Albers' door one night in June, he could not have been more surprised.


Insurance Money © Comstock Images/JupiterimagesWhen they told him that they were taking him to a nearby psychiatric facility because they had been told he was in danger of hurting himself, he was irritated and said he was fine, but they insisted he go with them.


When he got there, he explained again that he was not in any sort of danger or crisis, and that he did not need any assistance. He was admitted anyway.


The next morning, he was seen by a staff psychiatrist who approved his discharge.


Albers was at the facility for a total of seven hours, objecting at every turn. And now the facility wants him to pay $2,007.75 for that care. Should he have to?

 

CardRatings.com's annual survey of people's credit-worthiness show that residents of states that were least affected by the recession are faring the best still.

By QuinStreet Fri 2:14 PM

This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site CardRatings.com.


CardRatings.com on MSN MoneyHow is the economy doing? It depends on where you look.


In some states, people are practically choking on credit problems, while in others, serious financial difficulties are relatively rare.


Credit card © Fancy, Veer, Corbis

For example, more than one out of every 500 homes in Florida is in foreclosure, while foreclosures are virtually unheard of in North Dakota. Similar differences exist for credit ratings, bankruptcies, unemployment rates and credit card delinquencies.


To factor all this in and determine the best and worst states for credit conditions, CardRatings.com looked at the following:

  • Average credit scores from Equifax
  • Foreclosure rates from RealtyTrac
  • Credit card delinquency rates from TransUnion
  • Unemployment rates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Bankruptcy rates from the American Bankruptcy Institute

Based on a combination of all these factors, the following are the best and worst states for credit conditions.

 

Markets are signaling that more relief at the pump may be on the way.

By Money Staff Fri 1:23 PM

This post comes from Nicole Friedman at partner site The Wall Street Journal.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyGasoline prices have tumbled from highs hit in June. And markets are signaling that consumers will get even more relief at the pump.


Oil drilling platform © Scott Gibson/CorbisA global glut of crude oil is the main driver behind the decline in gasoline. Relatively cheap oil has made it more profitable for refiners to produce gasoline and other fuels, and they have ramped up production to record levels.


This boom in supplies has sent gasoline prices tumbling. Traders and other market observers expect the flow of both crude oil and gasoline to keep rising, likely exerting more downward pressure on prices.


The average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.42 on Thursday, down 3.8 percent from the same period in 2013, according to motor club AAA. For this time of year, gasoline prices are at their lowest level in four years.

 

Hundreds of readers have shared how they live well while spending less than $5,000 a month. Now it's time to hear from those who feel they're falling behind despite having a much larger income.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:57 PM

This post comes from Bob Sullivan at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyDo you struggle to live on $60,000 per year? Or $80,000? Or even $100,000? Well, I know a lot of people who can't understand how that's possible.


Measuring Finances © CorbisAs part of my Restless Project, I've been talking about what it costs to live a "normal" life in America today. Last week, I asked folks who spend less than $60,000 per year, $5,000 per month, how they do it. Many of them had already written to me about my initial $100,000 budget, saying I was off my rocker.


Generous with both their time, their personal financial snapshots, and their opinions, I've heard from nearly 1,000 people so far. Hundreds of them broke down for me how they live well by spending less than $5,000 per month. While many of them are lucky enough to live in our nation's less-expensive haunts, like Texas, or live without the expenses of raising children, I heard from some families in expensive places, too.


I will share their stories in the near future.


But now, I want to hear from the other half of this equation.

 

Flashing your plastic safely and wisely can earn you valuable rewards in the long run.

By Credit.com Fri 12:46 PM
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyWe all know the dumb ways to use a credit card, such as getting into debt and racking up fees by missing payments. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of smart ways to use a credit card.


Used wisely, credit cards can be a secure and convenient method of payment that offers valuable rewards. Here are five of the best ways to use a credit card.


Shopping online © Creatas, SuperStock1. As a method of payment

When you pay your statement balance in full and on time, you will avoid interest charges. When used in this way, the credit card becomes simply a method of payment, not a means of finance. That allows cardholders to enjoy several benefits at no cost. For example, customers receive what amounts to a free loan when they make purchases that are paid off 25 to 55 days later. In addition, cardholders are afforded the protections against fraud that are guaranteed by the Fair Credit Billing Act. 

 

New data show that girls aren't getting the financial education boys are. Find out what they both should know.

By QuinStreet Fri 12:36 PM

This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site MoneyRates.com.


MoneyRates.com on MSN MoneyWomen are not as good with financial matters as men.


 Family © CorbisIt's a stubborn stereotype, and if there is any truth to that statement, it may be because it has been made into a self-fulfilling prophecy by differences in how boys and girls are raised. A recent survey by T. Rowe Price found that parents are more likely to discuss financial goals with their sons than with their daughters, and that boys are twice as likely to have their own credit cards as girls.


This comes on the heels of a MoneyRates.com survey that found that boys are more likely than girls to receive financial education in school. So, both at home and at school, girls are being shortchanged when it comes to financial lessons.


Money wisdom for all children

Given that men and women alike have to manage their personal finances, it is equally important to teach boys and girls some fundamental money skills. Here are six financial lessons you should teach each of your kids before they leave the nest:

 

The golden years probably had more gold for your parents than they will for you. Here’s why and what you can do.

By MSN Money Partner Fri 12:33 PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyRegardless how old you are now, it's likely you'll have a harder time pulling off a financially secure retirement than your parents did.


Many of us haven’t planned and saved well, it's true. But, also, fundamental changes in American life make it harder for today's generations to achieve a comfortable life after work.

 

Business travelers can save on lodging by booking outside the city center.

By Cheapism.com Fri 11:56 AM
This post comes from Louis DeNicola at partner site Cheapism.com.

Cheapism.com on MSN MoneySmall business owners know the value of saving a buck. Cutting costs here and there means more funds to invest in the business. Travel expenses, whether for a conference or an important meeting, provide fertile ground for cost reductions. Going beyond the obvious "enroll in a frequent flyer program," we focused on lodging as an underappreciated source of savings for small business travelers.

Las Vegas © Ocean/CorbisFinding a safe and inexpensive place to spend the night can be a challenge. Business is often conducted in major metropolitan areas, drawing hordes of out-of-town businesspeople in need of a hotel. The law of supply and demand typically leads to hefty hotel and motel rates, especially mid-week. Moreover, small business owners compete for space with tourists and with employees of big companies that have negotiated good deals with hotel chains.

For the business owner who wants to travel on the cheap, some general tips always apply: Split the cost of a room with a colleague. Don't rent a car unless absolutely necessary. Choose a hotel with free breakfast and parking (in case the car is a must). Following these simple rules can trim hundreds of dollars from your budget.

But there are more savings to pluck.
 

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