Smart SpendingSmart Spending

December has a reputation for being the best time, but statistics suggest you may get a better deal in August -- and you've already missed the second-best opportunity for low prices.

By Aug 12, 2014 11:24AM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyIf you're looking for a deal on a new car, August may be the time to hit the dealerships. An analysis of new-car sales data by TrueCar shows average August prices as the lowest available throughout the year: about $169 lower than the average prices of any other month.

Couple shopping for car © Don Mason, Blend Images, CorbisThe analysis looked at new car and truck prices each month over the past five years, and August emerged as the clear time for bargain hunting, with the average new vehicle costing $29,296. December is commonly perceived as the time to get a good deal on a new car, because it seems like fewer people would venture out to car lots in the winter, and it's the end of the year, but TrueCar's data showed December had the most expensive average price: $31,146. That's $1,850 more than new vehicle price tags in August, on average.


Major contact lens manufacturers are setting price minimums for some of their products, which critics say will eliminate consumers' ability to find discounted lenses.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 12:40PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyShopping around to find a good deal on contact lenses is a thing of the past, for some lenses anyway.

Woman putting in contact lens © Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images
Three of the top four contact manufacturers have set price minimums for some of their lenses, a controversial move that prevents discounts for consumers.

According to Consumer Reports:

We've noticed that three of the top four companies -- Alcon (aka CIBA), Bausch & Lomb, and Johnson & Johnson -- have already adopted resale-price maintenance policies for some of their products. And the fourth, CooperVision, might not be far behind. The four account for 97 percent of all contact lenses sold in the United States.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel recently met to discuss whether the contact manufacturers' new pricing methods amount to anti-competitive behavior.

"The only winners with this pricing strategy are manufacturers, high-priced retailers, and doctors, who would no longer have to compete with discounters," CR said.


Here are 10 scenarios where it's best to keep your credit cards tucked away.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 12:15PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyMany credit cards offer a slew of incentives to consumers to use them -- cash back and other rewards -- and many protect the cardholder with zero liability in case of fraud. But credit cards are not always your best form of payment, and it sometimes may be in your better interest to keep them tucked away.

Credit card © Fancy, Veer, Corbis,Here are 10 purchases you should probably avoid making with your magic plastic:

1. Household bills

There can be a major problem with this approach for many people: If you are already cutting it close for the month, you may be tempted to take care of the utility, cellphone or cable bill, just to name a few, with the card. But if you're not paying off your full balance each month, the interest you'll be charged will make those monthly bills even more expensive.

If you are indeed responsible with your credit cards and are attempting to rack up rewards, this should be done at your discretion, but only if you have cash on hand to fully cover the transactions each month.

2. Cars 

Car dealers often don't allow this, or may limit the amount of the purchase price you can put on your credit card. The 1 to 3 percent fee from the card company to process the transaction will cut into their profit.


You want your hair to look healthy and also shaped in a way that flatters your face. But that doesn't mean you have to spend big bucks.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 11, 2014 11:57AM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyUnless you desire waist-long tresses, you'll eventually need a haircut.

For some, this could mean spending anywhere from a handful dollars to more than $100, depending on the stylist and where you live. But you don't have to break the bank to maintain the appearance of your mane. In fact, there are many ways to remain stylish on a budget.


It's the dog days of summer and you're running around in flip-flops and t-shirts -- the perfect time to prepare for cold weather.

By Aug 11, 2014 11:55AM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyScoring deals and saving money can be some of the best parts about shopping. Summer is a great time to shop, because retailers know that consumers are using their money for vacations, retreats and weekend activities. Combine that with tons of end-of-season leftovers, and it can really be the perfect time to hit the stores.

Couple with home © doesn’t matter if you are shopping at thrift shops, websites with super deals and free shipping, or just taking advantage of the seasonal sales. If you are looking for deals, you will definitely find them -- you just have to know what to shop for. Don’t let the heat keep you from stocking up on winter goods.

Buying used

If you are shopping for kids, remember some things are OK (and even best) bought used. A winter coat can be one of those things. Since kids can grow quickly, a coat may last only one season. This means a used coat can be almost like new. It also means you might be buying a new coat again next year so you likely don’t want to spend too much. Knowing kids grow so quickly can make buying a winter coat now a little trickier. It’s a good idea to err on the side of caution -- going too big rather than too small.


You don't have to empty out your bank account to buy organic groceries.

By Aug 11, 2014 11:06AM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyPlenty of people will tell you how important eating properly can be and how organic foods will positively impact your health and life.

Understanding organic is a great place to start. Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without conventional pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, while organic meat and dairy products are cultivated without antibiotics or growth hormones. After shopping around the grocery store, you may find that the cost of an organic lifestyle is intimidating.

Groceries © Tetra Images/CorbisIf you are willing to do some research, along with some creative shopping and cooking, it is possible to experience the health benefits of organic foods without breaking the bank. Here are some tips for eating well and spending wisely.

1. Do the research

Going to your usual grocery store and stocking up on only the organic products may not be the best way to go organic. It’s a good idea to try some lower-end stores or budget chains that offer green brands for less. Investigate some organic associations and organizations in your community by typing the name of your state and “organic” into a search engine -- farmers' markets and other great options may reveal themselves. Consider checking over and re-working your food budget. If you want to prioritize eating organic, you may have to cut back in other ways -- such as trying a meatless Monday or dining out less. Then use that savings toward buying the organic foods.


A former underdog nabs the top spot.

By Money Staff Aug 8, 2014 2:55PM

This post comes from Catey Hill at partner site MarketWatch.

MarketWatch on MSN MoneyBetter pick your airline carefully, or you’ll be at a higher risk of getting bumped off flights, losing your luggage or having your flights delayed or canceled, a new survey reveals.

According to a report released Thursday by, some domestic airlines perform better than others when it comes to canceled flights, on-time arrivals, mishandled bags, denied boardings, and customer satisfaction. This year Delta, which typically ends up toward the bottom of the performance list, ranked No. 1 in overall performance, thanks to more on-time arrivals, fewer canceled flights and mishandled bags and better customer service. “Delta is this year’s unsung hero,” the report revealed. It was followed by Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and Frontier, in that order.

747 plane landed, Miami airport, Florida © Juan Silva, PhotographerOn the not-so-good side of this list are Southwest, Airtran (now part of Southwest), American, US Airways (now part of American Airlines), and United, which ranked dead last.

United’s abysmal ranking may be due to the fact that it had the highest number of boarding denials (nearly 246 per one million passengers, compared with just 3.58 per one million for JetBlue, which ranked highest in this category) of all the airlines examined as well as the lowest overall customer satisfaction score (it ranked 60 out of 100, compared with 79 out of 100 for JetBlue, which had the best customer satisfaction score).


Teens' top priority for back-to-school tech spending isn't necessarily related to enhancing their educational experience.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 8, 2014 1:39PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyWith summer vacation winding down, back-to-school shopping is in full swing. Are you and your teen on the same page about how your hard-earned money will be spent?

Maybe not. According to a new survey done for, a coupon and cash-back site, parents and their teenage children don't always agree on priorities for back-to-school spending, particularly when it comes to tech.

Student in library © Sigrid Olsson, PhotoAlto Agency, JupiterimagesHere's the teens' list of back-to-school tech must-haves, from the survey:

  • Headphones, mentioned by 52 percent.
  • Smartphone, 43 percent.
  • Laptop, 36 percent.
  • Apps, 26 percent.
  • Tablet, 24 percent.

Now, let's compare that with what the parents said:

  • Laptop, mentioned by 33 percent.
  • Headphones, 29 percent.
  • Tablet, 29 percent.
  • Smartphone, 20 percent.
  • Apps, 17 percent.

Luckily, all agree that traditional items like notebooks, pens and pencils should be a priority. Ebates said:



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.