Smart SpendingSmart Spending

The feds haven't banned irritating 'free' credit report commercials, but they are making it tougher for consumers to be misled.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 8:38PM

How many people, we wonder, have been burned by ordering a “free” credit report, only to find out they’ve unwittingly signed up for paid credit monitoring?

 

There is only one official site for free credit reports -- AnnualCreditReport.com -- and thanks to new action by the Federal Trade Commission, you’ll have a better chance of landing there if you want a free report.

 

Recession brings out the deals in hopes of bringing out the diners.

By Teresa Mears Feb 24, 2010 3:54PM

Have you noticed more advertising for happy hours?

 

That could be because there are more happy hours, as restaurants seek new ways to compete for your dollars in the recession.

 

The latest casual-dining chain to roll out a happy hour is the Cheesecake Factory, which expects to have happy hour in all its restaurants by March 18. From 4 to 6 p.m. at the bar in most locations, drinks will be $5 and appetizers that normally cost $7.50 to $10.95 will be $5. The Orange County Register’s Fast Food Maven Nancy Luna has all the details.

 

Ways to jazz up a boring meal if you're brown-bagging your lunch.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 3:42PM

This post comes from Myscha Theriault at partner blog Wise Bread.

 

Brown-bag boredom got you down? Work-at-home lunch breaks bringing you the blues? If you need sandwich ideas to bust out of the boring box and keep you on track for healthy affordable eating this year, read on.

 

Sandwich ingredients

I’ve chosen to list my favorites here and place them into simple categories. Feel free to add your suggestions below.

 

The Lincoln Cent has been redesigned again. But not everyone is celebrating.

By Money Staff Feb 24, 2010 1:18PM

This post comes from Anna Vander Broek of MSN Money.

 

Those of you who still use the penny as currency (rather than as a screwdriver or for scratching off lottery tickets) may soon notice America’s 1-cent coin has gotten a facelift. 

 

The U.S. Mint has changed the design for the reverse -- or “tails” -- side of the 2010 Lincoln Cent, which entered circulation on Feb. 11 (everywhere but Puerto Rico, which received the new penny in late January). Michael White from the U.S. Mint says penny inventory is very high, however, so you may not see a new penny right away. 

 

More designers are producing lower-priced lines. Where the best deals are.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 12:21PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Diana Ransom at partner site SmartMoney.

 

What’s new in high-end fashion? Even more designers are going after the low end.

 

On Saturday, French knitwear queen Sonia Rykiel released a new collection for H&M that offers women’s and girls’ pieces for anywhere from $5.95 to $69. The week before, Narciso Rodriguez -- he designed the dress Michelle Obama wore in Chicago for Barack Obama’s first appearance as president-elect -- introduced a collection specifically for sale on eBay.

 

For many, clothes are more than an expense. They're an expression, which can make overspending easy.

By Stacy Johnson Feb 24, 2010 9:55AM

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

 

The three basic necessities of human life are food, clothing and shelter. In a previous post, I offered 28 ways to save on food. Today I've got 18 actionable tips you can use to slash your clothing costs. 

 

I should start by admitting that when it comes to shopping for clothes, I'm no authority. I tend to go years without clothes shopping at all. Pretty much everything I wear was given to me as a birthday or Christmas gift, and I tend to wear things until they either literally dissolve or become stained and/or torn to the extent that whomever I'm with won't let me out of the house while wearing them. 

 

In other words, I'm your typical guy.

 

Happily, however, I've gotten help with this story from a person who holds clothing in much higher regard:

 

Banks are using a hard sell to get people to stay with overpriced overdraft protection. You don't need it. Here's why.

By Karen Datko Feb 24, 2010 9:08AM

You should expect a pitch like this in the mail from your bank: Opt in for overdraft protection for your debit or ATM card -- or you may be sorry. When your account contains too little or no money, your card could be denied!

 

People resoundingly said they didn’t like this “courtesy” overdraft protection when banks could foist it on them without asking. In a poll, they said they’d rather have their card declined than have an overdraft go through, costing them a big fat fee each time it did -- $35 or so.

 

So, now that it’s finally up to you, why would you choose to opt in to that type of protection? Hopefully you won’t. Here’s why:

 

Law student is using free passes and persuasion to exercise gratis for a year. Savvy shopping or dishonest?

By Teresa Mears Feb 23, 2010 3:26PM

Julia Neyman has embarked on a thrifty crusade: The 24-year-old law student wants to work out in New York gyms free for a year without spending a cent.

 

She plans to do this through a combination of persuasion (she is in law school) and the free trials anyone can get from most gyms.

 

DATA PROVIDERS

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.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

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.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More