Smart SpendingSmart Spending

I sometimes feel ashamed that I can afford things that others can't.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 10:39AM

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


Recently I shared a guest post from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. His guide to minimalist money was a sort of overview of good financial skills, useful information for those in the first stage of personal finance. But some longtime GRS readers couldn’t relate to Leo's post.


Today's post goes in the opposite direction. It's a meditation for those in the third stage of personal finance (or beyond), and it's probably going to seem foreign to those who are still struggling to get debt under control.


The evolution of spending
Before I developed smart money skills, I spent without thinking. I accumulated debt because I had no self-control. I bought what I wanted, even when I couldn't afford it.


Candor the best option, blogger says.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 2:44AM

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

I received a heart-wrenching e-mail from a reader I'm going to call "Peggy." 

This e-mail (which I edited to protect the family's privacy) was the most painful I've read since I started writing The Simple Dollar. I look at my almost 3-year-old son and I can't imagine having to explain to him in a few years why we have to move out of the house he's grown up in.

Here are a few excerpts from that e-mail:


Retirees cite fear that the public safety net won't last.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 2:31AM

Although it's a questionable decision for many, almost half of 61-year-olds surveyed recently said they'll begin collecting Social Security when they reach 62, the earliest people can apply.

The survey by Fidelity Investments shows that surprising result -- as well as a widespread lack of understanding of how Social Security works. For instance, "56% do not know when they will be eligible for full Social Security benefits (age 66 for those born 1943-54)," Fidelity said. About a third wrongly think that all benefits are exempt from taxes.

Applying at age 62 locks you in at a lower benefit for life (with one exception we'll describe below.) Is it really worth settling for a lower standard of living just to increase the chances that you'll collect Social Security for a few extra years?


If you landed an interview, you did better than most.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 2:13AM

This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

When I first graduated, the job market was bleak. It was so bleak, I opted to start attending graduate school even before I was accepted. (I graduated early in December and wanted to take classes immediately, so I attended while applying.) In the few months I did look for a job, I received rejection letters from all types of companies. The worst ones were from the companies I didn't even want to work for, but would accept just to have a job.

It wasn't a pleasant time for me or my graduating friends, but it taught me a lot about dealing with rejection.


If you need to feed a family, no work is beneath you.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 2:04AM

This post comes from Jim at partner blog Bargaineering (formerly Blueprint for Financial Prosperity).

Mrs. Micah recently tackled the topic of whether it's a good idea to take a low-paying job (she phrased it differently -- whether certain kinds of work are beneath you).

She gave three arguments for why it's a bad idea: It takes up valuable time while draining the energy you should be using to apply for jobs, it isn't a true solution and could cause complacency, and a less-skilled job doesn't look good on a resume.


It's something everyone's finances can benefit from.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 1:43AM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

April is Financial Literacy Month and, as part of this month of financial education, I thought I'd go back to the basics with this edition of the Foundation Series. This post explains something I think everyone should integrate into their personal-finance routine -- budgeting.

Budgeting is one of those activities that sound like a hassle, even if you're a numbers person. But I guarantee that you will benefit tremendously from learning how and implementing your own budget.


Student debt a national disgrace, blogger says.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 1:34AM

He's no stranger to controversy, that "Mr. ToughMoneyLove." Whether it's help for homeowners in default -- he called that post "Homeowner bailouts destined to fail" -- or sympathy for a particular 54-year-old GM retiree -- "It's second-career time, my friend, and quit the whining," he said -- he's never shy with his opinions.

Recently, he blamed free-spending universities for teaching impressionable minds that it's OK to carry huge debt.

Try this quote on for size, from his post "The college student debt machine: A national disgrace" at Tough Money Love.


You might have to use a little subterfuge.

By Karen Datko Oct 19, 2009 12:25AM

We know that can help you reach a real person at a corporation that has an unyielding phone tree. But there are actually many ways -- about 50, in fact -- to get the attention of the right customer-service rep.

Tip o' the hat to "vh" at Funny about Money for directing her readers to "PBX hell: 50-plus hacks and tips to get a real person at any corporation in 10 seconds or less" at VoIP-News.

For those who've been hopelessly lost in the phone-tree maze, this list could restore your blood pressure to normal.



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.