Smart SpendingSmart Spending

According to a new survey, most Americans think doctors are more loyal to big drug companies than to individual patients.

By Stacy Johnson Aug 26, 2010 11:34AM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


When their doctor writes them a prescription, more than two-thirds of Americans feel a bit queasy. Or so implies a new Consumer Reports survey that shows 69% of those currently taking prescription medications think doctors are in cahoots with big drug companies.


The survey of 1,150 adults makes some bold claims:


Visiting coupon sites for the sole purpose of saving money will cost you money.

By Karen Datko Aug 26, 2010 9:58AM

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


I've long been an advocate of using coupons at the grocery store. I often clip coupons for toiletries and household products and, when there are opportunities, for some food items like organic milk. I've used coupons for bigger purchases as well.

Because of this, I hear almost every day from people who have great coupons or great coupon-offering websites. "You should try this!" they'll say, or they'll suggest that I feature the site on The Simple Dollar. A very recent example of this is Groupon; other examples include Coupon Sherpa and Woot -- and I won't even touch on the plethora of "coupon blogs" out there.


I don't link to these things. In fact, I usually don't visit them beyond simply adding them as a bookmark to a "coupon" folder in my browser.


Some of you are probably surprised by that (others might already know why). After all, on a site interested in saving money, why wouldn't I hunt down coupons?


With inControl, your card can be declined when you exceed your own preset spending limit. Why is this a good thing?

By Karen Datko Aug 25, 2010 4:34PM

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


It has been months since I last shared confusion over the way everybody else uses credit cards. Today I am back at it.


Recently The New York Times had a report about a new feature being rolled out by MasterCard and Citibank.

The service, called inControl and already in use by some Barclaycard holders in Britain, is a sort of financial chastity belt that offers the potential to prevent a variety of budget sins and other money traps.
Worried about your restaurant habit? If your bank adopts MasterCard's service, you could tell it to have your debit or credit card reject any restaurant purchase above whatever monthly cap you set.

I must admit I do like the name of the product. "InControl" neatly implies that without it you would be "outofControl," and I think that if this service appeals to you that is likely true.


If you find an enticing place that's priced like a car, it may make sense to negotiate just as you would in the dealer's showroom.

By Karen Datko Aug 25, 2010 2:37PM

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


Right now, you can buy a one-bedroom, one-bath condo in Las Vegas for $29,000 -- or, for around the same price at a Las Vegas Buick dealership, a brand-new 2010 GMC Sierra pickup truck, fully loaded.

That's right. A place to live can now cost you less than a car to drive -- even some used cars -- and not just in Vegas. Around the country, you can find homes that cost less than the sticker prices at nearby car dealers. Fact is, the recession has devastated home prices much more than auto prices.


AARP finds costs up 41.5% in 5 years -- 3 times the rate of inflation. The industry faults the report for excluding generics.

By Teresa Mears Aug 25, 2010 12:56PM

This won't be a surprise to anyone who regularly fills a prescription: The price of name-brand drugs has risen 8.3% in the past year, far faster than the rate of inflation.


In a report (.pdf file) that looked at prices over five years, AARP found that prices for 207 name-brand drugs commonly taken by Medicare beneficiaries had increased 41.5% since 2004, compared with an inflation rate of 13.3%.


For people who take more than one prescription drug to treat chronic conditions, the impact can be substantial. A patient who regularly takes three name-brand drugs would have paid nearly $1,900 a year more in 2009 than in 2004. The report looked at retail prices of drugs, and many patients with insurance pay less.


New services make connecting on the go cheaper, but finding the right option isn't easy.

By Karen Datko Aug 25, 2010 12:14PM

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


New competition in mobile broadband -- high-speed Internet access for laptops and other devices over a cellular network -- could lead to better deals for consumers, provided they can figure out what they need.


Companies are eagerly crowding the field to take advantage of consumers' desire to stay connected away from home, says Mike Jude, program manager for market research firm Frost & Sullivan.


Think etiquette doesn't count? Here's a refresher course for those who want to impress during client meetings or job interviews.

By Karen Datko Aug 25, 2010 11:29AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


We live in a society that values speed and multitasking. Dining has devolved into something that needs to be checked off our to-do list, rather than an event with its own unique process and traditions.

Eating from a Styrofoam tray may be fine on our own time, but uber-casual dining habits can sometimes leave us at a disadvantage during a client meeting, formal event, or lunch interview. In this tight job market, here are a few quick and easy lessons on dining etiquette that can help young professionals stand out from the crowd.


You know how much to tip the pizza delivery guy, right? But how about the fishing guide, tour guide or tattoo artist?

By Karen Datko Aug 25, 2010 7:51AM

This guest post comes from Coupon Sherpa.


How much do you tip a salmon fishing guide? Do you have to tip the coffee shop guy who takes your money after you've served yourself? How much do you tip a private yacht charter captain, particularly if he owns the boat?

It's not hard to guess how much to tip hairdressers, but do you tip the gal who washes your hair? How about if she gives you a head and neck massage as well?

Everyone seems to have their hand out these days, so we've put together the following general guidelines to help you make sense out of when to tip dollars or cents.



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.