Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Being able to cook, farm and otherwise be self-reliant equals a better life with less money, they say. But would a job be easier?

By Teresa Mears Jul 21, 2010 4:52PM

We write often about people who reject consumer culture, either out of conviction or necessity. We advocate cooking from scratch because it's cheaper and healthier (and maybe just a little bit creative), having a backyard garden and knowing basic life skills like sewing on a button.


We write about people who sew their own clothes and make their own laundry detergent, though we probably would never do either. We like public libraries, bicycles as transportation, and ways to say goodbye to cable TV. We do NOT like cleaning our own house, but it seems a good financial choice, and we probably should start mowing our own yard.


Some Americans are taking self-reliance a step further, advocating "radical homemaking" as a way to opt out of consumer culture, live sustainably, spend their time on what matters and overall give money less power in their lives.


Google loses luster, Bing debuts big, and wins best-in-show among online news sources.

By Karen Datko Jul 21, 2010 1:49PM

This post comes from James Limbach at partner site


Even though it's the most popular website in America, consumers don't like Facebook, according to the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report.

The social-networking site scored 64 on the ACSI's 100-point scale -- a satisfaction level even lower than that of IRS e-filers. This puts Facebook in the bottom 5% of all measured private-sector companies and in the same range as airlines and cable companies -- two perennially low-scoring industries with terrible customer satisfaction.


Promotion is good until midnight on 61 shows from California to New Jersey.

By Teresa Mears Jul 21, 2010 10:47AM

Here's a deal that's good today only: $10 for concert tickets.

The Live Nation promotion is good for 61 concerts around the country this summer and fall, including performances by the Goo Goo Dolls, Maroon 5 and the Jonas Brothers with Demi Lovato.


The past few years of economic upheaval should sound an alarm that the old ways of earn and spend demand a critical review.

By Karen Datko Jul 21, 2010 9:45AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


The financial meltdown of the past three years begs for a new approach to money management and a reinvention of personal employment.


The forces and broader systems that affect our economic lives are unpredictable and, to large extent, not fully understood. How can average folks survive and thrive in the midst of what appears to be a sea change in our economic reality? How do we move away from a reactive duck-and-cover response toward true empowerment?


The five principles I embrace are old ones, slightly modified for the realities of an unstable job market and tightly interwoven national economies. They hearken back to other times when the future was clouded by uncertainty and life demanded a more active and nimble financial response.


After two years and 14 trades on Craigslist's barter section, the 17-year-old is driving a Boxster.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 8:01PM

Steven Ortiz enjoys driving his 2000 Porsche Boxster S to and from school. But, put off by the $150 oil changes and other maintenance costs, the 17-year-old from Glendora, Calif., is looking to trade it for yet another ride -- once again via the bartering section at Craigslist.

Ortiz started out with an old cell phone and eventually traded up to that sweet convertible, according to a story by Rebecca Kimitch in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. It took two years and 14 swaps at Craigslist to reach this point. She wrote:


Nervous lenders are taking an more severe view of mortgage applications when one borrower is out on new-baby leave.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 6:00PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


Take your pick: Stay home with the new baby, by all means. Or buy a home. But get ready for trouble if you do them at the same time -- while applying for a home loan, that is.

Tara Siegel Bernard reports in The New York Times that increasingly conservative lenders are rejecting or questioning borrowers who are home on maternity leave: "Expectant parents shopping for a home are not the only ones concerned about the date of the baby's arrival."


Free sandwich offered to employees of other fast-food chains who go to KFC in their work uniforms.

By Karen Datko Jul 20, 2010 2:19PM

KFC's latest promotion is sure to be less controversial than the free grilled-chicken meal deal that landed the company in court. Today only, employees of competing fast-food joints who come to KFC in a work uniform can get a free Doublicious sandwich, Original Recipe or grilled. 

Before you think about borrowing your cousin's or kid's (or mom's) McDonald's work attire and heading out the door, keep in mind that the offer is good only for the first 10 uniform-garbed diners who show up at participating stores. A maximum of 50,000 total will be handed out. correctly labeled this a "stunt."


Agency suggests states enact reforms to give consumers more protection in court proceedings brought by debt buyers.

By Teresa Mears Jul 20, 2010 2:04PM

To anyone who has read the stories about consumers harassed, taken to court and even jailed over debts they may not even owe, the latest Federal Trade Commission report on debt collection comes as no surprise.


The system is broken, the FTC concludes, and consumers don't have adequate protection against abuses. "The current situation is untenable," FTC Commissioner Julie Brill wrote.



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.