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When gas gets near the $4 mark, more people try to run their vehicles on fumes.

By MSN Money Partner May 9, 2011 4:33PM

This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.

 

Every time a gallon of gasoline approaches or breaks the $4 mark, you see a deluge of news stories about people running out of gas. They're stories about people trying to "stretch their dollar" at the gas pump by fueling up less frequently, which is an absurd idea in the first place (running closer to empty doesn't stretch anything except the timebetweenfuel-ups).

 

I can understand why people do it -- they don't like paying the bill when they fuel up -- but the reality is that running out of gas hurts more than paying at the pump. Here's why:

 

Your conflicts with big cable companies are often battles of attrition, so hang in there.

By doubleace May 9, 2011 1:58PM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

 

You're reading a blog post on a site called Smart Spending, so, in theory at least, you're looking for advice.

 

Here's mine: Never let the (…) wear you down.

We all have horror stories, but for me, Comcast has more recurring roles than Freddy Krueger in the nine-movie "Nightmare on Elm Street" series. The cable giant appeared as No. 3 on MSN Money's first Customer Service Hall of Shame in 2007, with only 10% of those surveyed rating its service "excellent" and 30% rating it "poor." Four surveys later, Comcast was still No. 3, but the excellents had dropped to 7.2% and the poors risen to 34%. 

 

The term is misused to get you to feel OK about spending a lot of money on shoes or a dress or a car.

By MSN Money Partner May 9, 2011 1:26PM

This post comes from April Dykman at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.

 

It never fails. Whenever I venture into a store, especially a clothing store, I inevitably hear the phrase that makes me want to stage an impromptu personal-finance intervention: "It's an investment piece."

 

As in, "This jacket is a little pricey, but it's a classic -- an investment piece." Or, "I need to invest in a pair of versatile black dress shoes."

 

I hear it in stores, I read it in magazines, and it makes me cringe.

 

Planning a Memorial Day weekend trip, or summer travel? You need these.

By Donna_Freedman May 9, 2011 10:30AM

When I got off the Megabus from Cardiff to London, I was weary from a couple of days of hard walking. Fortunately there are markets in Victoria Station, so I picked up a bread "baton" -- larger than a hoagie roll, smaller than a baguette -- some sliced ham and a single carrot.


Back at the hostel I pulled a Rubbermaid container from my suitcase and took out packets of butter and spicy brown mustard to garnish a simple ham sandwich. The carrot provided a bit of crunch. I finished up with an apple and a small container of Devon custard I'd bought in Cardiff.


Sure, I could have made the sandwich without mustard and butter, but it wouldn't have tasted nearly as good. And eating Devon custard with my fingers would have been the stickiest of wickets.


When I go to Alaska, I travel with mayonnaise. On all of my trips I pack a number of small, light, extremely practical things worth many times their weight in frequent-flier miles. They don't take up much room, but they pack a mighty impact.

 

It's still the king of the mountain, but delayed and remote viewing are eroding its flanks.

By doubleace May 9, 2011 7:35AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

 

My mom's parents were born in the 1880s and died in the late 1960s, a period that saw life-changing technological advances: telephones, movies, automobiles, indoor plumbing (they didn't get it until the 1930s at their home in rural Oregon), radio, refrigerators, airplanes, jet planes, clothes washers, space flights, nuclear weapons …

A couple of years before their deaths, I asked them separately what was the most amazing invention of their lifetime. Neither hesitated a moment before answering: "Television."


So, it was with a bit of nostalgic sadness that I read that fewer and fewer people are watching TV live. 

 

MyHabit offers limited-time discounts on designer apparel, and doesn't look anything like the parent site.

By MSN Money Partner May 6, 2011 2:59PM

This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.

 

Amazon may be a go-to destination online for everything from books to kitchenware to electronics, but designer clothing? Not so much. Now, the popular e-commerce site is looking to change that perception, just in time for Mother's Day.

 

Though Amazon has long sold clothing, the company has launched a separate shopping portal this week called MyHabit.com to promote flash sales for designer clothes and apparel that last for up to 72 hours.

 

Airfares are up, up, and away! It's getting tougher to find a bargain, but here are some steps that might help.

By Stacy Johnson May 6, 2011 1:40PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

 

On the ground, $4-a-gallon gas is a clear sign travel isn't getting any cheaper heading into summer. And the cost of flying is headed sky high too: Airfares have gone up seven times this year already.

 

On top of that, Southwest just completed its purchase of AirTran. Less competition usually means higher prices, although The Washington Post argues that fares may eventually drop because of it. We'll see.

 

Meanwhile, the best way to save isn't to log on to Orbitz and jump on the best deal you see. Not anymore. The rules have changed because airlines have been fighting with the big deal sites.

 

How do you find the best deal these days?

 

According to the government's lawsuit, the phony claims -- apparently processed by a single tax preparer -- were spread over some 300 accounts in several different banks.

By MSN Money Partner May 6, 2011 11:28AM

This post comes from Janet Novack at partner site Forbes.com.

 

Forbes.com on MSN MoneyOver the course of a year, the Internal Revenue Service processed and paid out $12.1 million in fraudulent tax refund claims submitted using the stolen names and Social Security numbers of 5,108 dead people.

 

Incredibly, the claims were all processed under the "Electronic Filing Identification Number" assigned to just one tax preparer, without, apparently, being blocked by any of the computerized screening programs used by the IRS to catch refund fraud.

 

That surprising disclosure is contained in a "Complaint for Forfeiture" lawsuit the government filed late last month in the Southern District of Florida. The suit seeks to keep $851,832 federal agents seized in March from 10 Bank of America accounts and $760,035 they seized from three JP Morgan Chase Bank accounts -- all the cash allegedly proceeds of the post-mortem identity theft scam.

 

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