Smart SpendingSmart Spending

You'll be doing them a favor, blogger says

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:53PM

RacerX remembers the college experience: You get a credit card and "probably then only use the card for emergencies -- no pizza or beer left in the house! Taking our girlfriend out! Maybe even rent once or twice," he writes. Since you know nothing about finances, you get a second credit card to make payments on the first, and so the cycle goes.

His kids won't be like that, he says. Why? Because he and Mrs. X have decided they're not paying for their kids' college education. Why not? you ask. Because every kid they know who went to college "on the parent express" left school unprepared for life -- and sometimes didn't even graduate.


Items might be cheaper, but you still need to set a budget.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:45PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

If the national media is any indication, more people are embracing the notion of buying used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops. Recently, USA Today ran a story describing how secondhand stores are reaping the benefits of recession:

"As Americans look for ways to cut spending, they are scooping up bargain clothes, accessories, toys and furniture once owned by someone else.

"'We're sorry about the economic situation, ... but it is a good time for our industry,' says Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. Three-fourths of resale stores said they had higher sales in September and October, compared with the same period last year, according to the trade group. The average sales increase was about 35%."


It's not easy, but nicotine addicts can save some big bucks.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:37PM

Among the lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans, a new crop has sprung up in the gardens of inveterate smokers. They're growing tobacco, The Associated Press reports. This gives new meaning to "roll your own."

The substantial federal tax increase on tobacco products on April 1 apparently sparked this avocation. And, it turns out, do-it-yourselfers can save serious dough (although not nearly as much as they would if they'd quit).

"Cigarettes cost an average of $4.35 a pack; home growers can make that amount for about 30 cents," the AP says.


You need to figure out your total cost first.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:27PM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

If you've ever tried to buy a car or a house, you've probably faced the monthly payment math trick. It's a psychological trick salespeople use to get you to buy something you couldn't afford or to pay an amount you weren't originally comfortable with.

A salesperson will try to convince you to purchase something based on the monthly payment you'll have to make. It frames the purchase in a way that lets you begin integrating the purchase into your life, before you've actually made it, and may even make it more likely you'll make the purchase.


Does your family really need multiple cell phones?

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:13PM

Here's a concept we can wrap our mind around: A Bankrate article talks about 12 "new necessities" of modern living that are actually "entitlements" we can do without.

The article quotes psychotherapist Olivia Mellan by way of explanation:

A lot of us in wealthy, overspending America are either born or raised with a tremendous sense of entitlement. We say to ourselves,"I work hard or, I work at a job I hate -- at least I should be able to have a Starbucks coffee every day or eat out for lunch." But of course, those are not needs, they're wants. They're pleasures.

Here's a partial list and why we agree with the article's conclusions:


If you're looking to get hired, you need to stay connected.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 5:05PM

What's the best way to use the Internet when you're looking for a new job?

The answer these days is different than it was just a few years ago, observes Steve at bripblap, who's been in the job market recently. Sites like Monster and CareerBuilder list lots of jobs, but he's having better success with LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

He said in a post called "Internet job boards -- wasted effort?": "The future of work will be connectivity -- networking, in person and online -- and not the traditional advertise-submit-review pattern. It's another one of those culture shifts that's happened slowly enough that we won't notice  it -- but it will happen."


Maintaining a shared financial vision is key.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:39PM

This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

My wife and I never fight about money. I used to claim this was because we keep separate finances, but now I know it's because we share similar financial goals and dreams. Even during those years I was deep in debt, I never did anything that might jeopardize our financial future.

Our shared vision has helped us to maintain a successful marriage. We're not alone, however. Writing recently in The New York Times, Tara Siegel Bernard says that the key to wedded bliss just might be marrying someone who shares your attitudes about money.


Trying to 'wing it' is not the best strategy for getting hired.

By Karen Datko Oct 18, 2009 4:33PM

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

I have conducted a substantial number of job interviews. Although the jobs I usually hire for are technical in nature, most of the truly telling -- and thus truly valuable -- questions I've asked are nontechnical questions. A great interview question reveals the nature of the person you're hiring -- honesty, reliability, ability to communicate intelligently and quickly.

Over time, I've collected a pretty good pile of questions I use in almost every interview. Here are 25 of the most reliable ones, along with a tip or two about what makes a good answer -- and what makes a bad one. If you can easily answer these questions, you shouldn't have much to worry about in an interview.



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.


Can you trust Carfax?

If you're thinking about buying a car and the Carfax report comes back clean, you're good to go, right? Um, maybe not. Here are four other ways you can avoid buying a clunker.