Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Phone deal requires a contract. Get free music from 'The Social Network' or $25 in dining for $1.

By Teresa Mears Oct 1, 2010 12:31PM

Best Buy is celebrating Free Phone Friday in October, with four different mobile phone models from various carriers given away every Friday.

Yes, this freebie does indeed come with a catch: To get the free phone, you have to sign up for a two-year contract. So it's worth checking the phones Best Buy is offering against the phones your preferred carrier is offering free or cheap for new or renewed contracts.


MassMutual offers the working poor a $50k policy to educate their kids -- and pays the premiums for you.

By Donna_Freedman Oct 1, 2010 11:40AM

It sounds too good to be true: a free 10-year term life insurance policy that will pay $50,000 toward your children's education if you die before they finish school.

But the LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program is real, and it's accepting applications from parents and legal guardians. The $50k can be used for college, trade school, prep school and even preschool, or to pay off a dependent's current student loans.

You may qualify if you are:


Here's how to make the most of deals at the site, plus some interesting trivia.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2010 11:15AM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site USNews.


Erin Burke, a 23-year-old marketer for a nonprofit organization in Omaha, has saved $56 using Groupons so far this year. She paid $7 for a $20 gift certificate to a local pizza place, another $7 for a $15 gift certificate to a bakery, and $15 for a $50 gift certificate to the Gap (a $10 referral credit helped reduce her costs on that last one). "I feel like I got a good deal," she says.

Groupon's popularity has skyrocketed since it launched in 2008. The company reports that it now has 18 million subscribers in 29 countries. Total savings in North America alone add up to half a billion dollars.


Part of the appeal is how easy it is to use:


Obese women earn less than their slimmer sisters, while obese men earn about the same as men of normal weight.

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2010 10:17AM

It's no secret that it costs more to be fat -- higher health care costs, higher prices for plus-size clothing, the extra cost of double airline seats and larger caskets.

The news is that the extra annual cost of being obese is higher for women ($4,879) than for men ($2,646), according to a new study by George Washington University (.pdf file). For those who are merely overweight, the extra cost is $524 for women and $432 for their male counterparts, the new study says. ("Overweight" is defined as a body mass index between 25 and 30. "Obese" is 30 and above.)


The study considered factors like health care costs and wages, but didn't include higher prices for consumer goods -- the extra airplane seat and the rest.


That's a significant finding, considering that two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. The New York Times explains:


You'll have a bigger yard, but is that worth the tradeoffs of more noise, more grass, and more trash and other 'stuff' to pick up?

By Karen Datko Oct 1, 2010 8:33AM

This guest post comes from Len Penzo at Len Penzo dot Com.


For the six people left in America who are still looking to buy a home, I thought I'd pass on a little advice and save you a serious case of buyer's remorse.


Don't be fooled by real estate agents who try to tell you that  corner lots are highly desirable. They're not.

Oh, sure, you've got a bigger lot and neighbors on only two sides, but as a former corner-lot owner, trust me when I say the cons far outweigh the pros.


In fact, besides often being more expensive to buy, here are 21 additional reasons why corner lots just aren't worth it:

  1. Noise, noise, noise. Double street and sidewalk frontage means double the noise from pedestrian and car traffic. Pull up a chair and crack open a cold one; I'm just gettin' started.

Renting a car might be getting pricier soon, but you can still save money if you know where to look and what to say.

By Stacy Johnson Sep 30, 2010 3:53PM

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


Along with airfare and hotel, renting a car is one of the Big Three expenses when you travel. But while everyone talks about how to find cheap fares and cheap rooms, no one talks with the same fervor about how to find the best wheels deals.

And there's never been a better time to seek out car rental tips, because the landscape may soon get more challenging as Hertz and Avis fight to take over Dollar Thrifty.


Check company launches campaign to advocate the right to write checks. But can even YouTube sell 'checks appeal'?

By Teresa Mears Sep 30, 2010 2:43PM

What a retro idea: A new publicity campaign wants to defend our right to use paper checks.

Does anyone still use checks? Haven't they gone the way of green stamps?


Deluxe Corp., which sells paper checks, is organizing the campaign, complete with videos, a Facebook page and other modern social networking tools. The company is arguing that customers should have the right to pay by check if they want to.


Never heard of Squinkies and Zoobles? You'd better start looking for them now. Plus: Grab a Sing-a-ma-jig.

By Teresa Mears Sep 30, 2010 10:53AM

Wondering what the hot toys will be this holiday season?

Think cute and electronic, with maybe a hint of vampire, and you'll be on the right track. No, there is not a plush electronic vampire doll, but we don't rule it out for the future.


The editors of released their list of the Holiday 2010 Most Wanted Toys at the magazine's Holiday Showcase this week in New York.



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.