Archive for July, 2009

Six Words That Saved Me $17,893 – And Can Save You Even More

The following guest post is from one of my favorite writers, Neal Frankle of Wealth Pilgrim. After reading the post, head over to Neal’s site and check out his free subscription options.

“What is the purpose of this?”
Those are the six words. There you have it.
Next time you want to spend money on anything, ask yourself [...]

Credit Scoring Variations: FICO vs Vantage Score

What’s the difference between your FICO credit score and all other scores?
Credit scores can be pretty confusing. It’s because when you go hunting around for your credit score, you’re bombarded with many options. What you think is a free credit score really isn’t (you only get a free trial) and the credit score [...]

Credit Scoring Variations: FICO vs Vantage Score

Credit Scoring Variations: FICO vs Vantage Score

ING Electric Orange $25 Bonus Promotion Code

Just got this email from ING Direct.
The online bank is currently running a promotion for its Electric Orange Checking Account. The promotion will give $25 bonus to each new customer when the following conditions are met:

Open an Electric Orange with promotion code EM298 by August 22, 2009;
Activate the Electric Orange MasterCard Debit Card;
Use the Electric [...]

Original Post on The Sun’s Financial Diary

Special bonus offers

ING Electric Orange $25 Bonus Promotion Code

Use Your Citi Card for $5 Concert Tickets to Blink 182, Nickelback, Depeche Mode

Since my near deadly accident last Friday , I’ve had Nickelback’s “What
if Today was Your Last Day” stuck in my head. Maybe it’s unrelated to that incident and more related to the fact that it’s played approximately 5 times an hour on any Top 40 radio station. Either way, even my trick of [...]

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Market Capitalization: An Overview

As you sit and watch the financial news, or read other financial articles, you will constantly hear about this large-cap company or that small-cap…etc. What do these terms mean? Which companies fall where? And most importantly, why does it matter?
The first thing we need to do when discussing this topic is define what market capitalization [...]

Paying off Debt: Lowest Balance or Highest Interest First?

When it comes to debt, which is better – paying off the highest interest debts first or the ones with the lowest balance? My answer may surprise you.
When I meet with someone as a financial coach, one of the first assignments I give is a debt list. This includes the amount owed, name [...]

Paying Off Mortgage With Inheritance

Lisa writes in with the following question regarding mortgages and inheritance:
My father-in-law passed away recently, and we would like to pay off our 2nd mortgage with some of the inheritance money that we will be receiving. We have been in our home for 15 years and took out the 2nd mortgage in 2006. While the [...]

Savings Account Rates: Where Are The High Returns?

We take a close look at high yield savings rates.
I’ve been wondering when this slump will end — I’m not just talking about the economy and the stock market; I’m actually referring to the low interest rates we’ve been experiencing. Not that it’s a bad thing…. it’s only tough if you’re a saver and [...]

Savings Account Rates: Where Are The High Returns?

Savings Account Rates: Where Are The High Returns?

What If There Was No Tomorrow

On Friday, I almost died. I failed at two very basic things that we all have great experience in: eating and breathing. I choked on a some pizza crust. I was around a lot of people at the day job I’ve been contracting for. If I had been working from home, [...]

Related posts:

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How to Brew Your Own Beer and Maybe Even Save Some Money – Equipment

Last week I introduced this mini-series that will cover brewing your own beer at home. I’ve been brewing for a while now, but I wanted to do a series of posts on this topic because the number one question I get from people is whether or not you can actually save money this way. It [...]

About the Author: Jeremy is a retirement planning specialist and founder of Generation X Finance and the guide to Financial Planning at About.com. To learn more, follow Jeremy on Twitter.

How to Brew Your Own Beer and Maybe Even Save Some Money – Equipment

How to Survive and Thrive During a Recession

This is a guest post by Jonathan. He’s a Australian twenty-something student with a Diploma in Financial Services.

The sky has fallen, and a lot of us are in over our heads in debt and worry. But the recession doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Just as a company can emerge from a bankruptcy as a more stable, more efficient business, you too can use this economic downturn as a time to reflect on your finances and lifestyle and reinvent yourself for the better. After all, what doesn’t kill us will ultimately make us stronger. These tips will help you survive the tough times and come out smarter and stronger and ready to tackle the next bump in the road.

Cut Costs

Survive: Eliminate Nonessentials. Cable TV, landlines, data plans on your cell phone, broadband Internet, movie theater tickets, fast food, takeout, top shelf liquor at the bar, soda pop and everything else you don’t need has got to go. Believe it or not, you can live without these things. It may feel like torture to go the whole day without your morning soy chai latte, but it’s better to sacrifice these mini-luxuries now than to have your heat shut off next December. Start living within your means now.

Thrive: Better Yourself. In addition to being expensive, much of our nonessential habits and expenditures happen to be mind-numbing and unhealthy to boot. Instead of spending hours in front of the TV, visit the library and get a book or plant vegetables in your own garden. Instead of grabbing a burger at the drive-thru, have a nice, healthy home-cooked meal with some friends. Instead of watching 30 second clips of cats watching TV on YouTube, go for a run, or a walk or do anything to get off your duff and on your feet. Replace the time-wasting money drains on your life with educational and inspirational activities that will make you feel better about yourself and keep your finances in the black.

Give and Receive Free Stuff

Survive: Make Do Without New. With an eye towards conservation as well as thriftiness, now is the most critical time to be resourceful and innovative. New clothes, new cars, new TVs and anything else shiny and expensive are luxuries that few can afford, and, in reality, luxuries that few should afford. Furniture, computers, textbooks and numerous other essentials can be obtained on the cheap if you buy them used. And because others are eager to turn their possessions into cash, you can often find excellent deals when shopping around on Craigslist or eBay. You can also get items for free from services such as FreeCycle.

Thrive: Do it Yourself. Leaky faucet? Creaky door? Smelly carpet? Instead of paying a professional to come fix it, do it yourself. You’ll learn a new skill and save a substantial amount of money. If you are unsure where to begin, ask a friend to help or give you some pointers. You can also visit your library for books on home improvement and simple repairs. You can often rent any special tools needed or borrow them from a neighbor. Once you fix one thing in your house, you’ll likely be inspired to check off more of those items on the “Honey-Do” list. Maybe you’ll even increase the value of your home while you’re at it.

Clean Up Your Balance Sheet

Survive: Tackle Your Debt. Interest payments, late fees and dings to your credit rating are a vampire on your present and future finances. A solid debt reduction plan is a stake to the heart of the forces that are systematically draining your capital. Depending on your situation, you may need to consider debt counseling or debt consolidation. If you aren’t in too awfully deep, though, you can begin chipping away at your debt with a solid plan of action (consider the debt snowball method) and a newfound resolve. Pay down high interest debt first, don’t let any payments go delinquent and don’t rack up any more debt along the way.

Thrive: Build Your Emergency Fund. If you have your debt under control, the next step is to create a backup plan so you can avoid going into debt again. In these times, a bit of extra money to squirrel away seems like a vast luxury. But by cutting back on some of your discretionary spending – a coffee a day, a night out at the movies, a new electronic gadget – you can begin building up a solid cushion. Of course, don’t even think about stashing money in a savings account until you’ve paid down all your high interest debt. As long as the interest rate on your loans is higher than the interest rate on your savings account, CD or bonds, then you’re wasting your time.

Take This Job and Shove It Thank Your Lucky Stars

Survive: Keep Your Job, or At Least Keep In Touch. Now’s not the time to be picky. Bankruptcy looms everywhere. With the economic stress worldwide, your job may become especially taxing and your superiors may become increasingly irksome. But now’s not the time to complain or drag your feet. Be a team player and pitch in a little extra to help the company get through these rough times, even if there are no immediate rewards. Because in the end, the grand prize may ultimately be your job. If you do get the pink slip, don’t make yourself a victim. Being laid off is better than being fired – take the termination with class, thank your employer for the opportunity and stay in touch. Ask if there is anything you can do to help in the meantime, even though you won’t be employed and when things turn around, you’ll be at the top of their list to call back.

Thrive: Rise Above the Chaff. If you were lucky enough to survive the last round of layoffs, now’s the time to shine. Your company’s workforce is now much leaner and with so many vital positions cut, there will be ample opportunity for you to rise to the occasion. Pick up the slack where your fallen colleagues have left off and make your boss glad that he chose to keep you around. Your willingness to tackle extra responsibility will make you indispensable if the ax falls again, and will make you a shining star when it comes time for promotions.

Hedge Your Bets with a Paying Hobby

Survive: Hone a New Marketable Skill. You never know when your main source of income will disappear. Take the time now to expand your marketable skills in case you have to start updating your resume. To make it relevant, take a class or a pickup a book that can apply to your current job or hobby. That way you can justify the time commitment in the near term as well as appreciate the skills you’ve gained in the long run.

Thrive: Start a Side Business. Turn your hobby into cash by starting a side business. You’ll find it fulfilling as well as fiscally rewarding and you’ll have some extra income to fall back on if things go south with your main gig. Enjoy writing? Start freelancing for web and print publications or start a blog. Into crafts and collectibles? Start an eBay business. Good with computers? Start a computer consulting business. By monetizing something you enjoy, you may also be launching the career of your dreams in the process.

Keep Your Head Up

Lastly, it’s important to keep your head up. Count your blessings if you have them (and you most certainly do) and don’t despair. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, talk to someone. You may discover that you’re not alone and you may find inspiration and ideas where you never thought to look for them. An economic downturn – whether global or personal – will be the end of rampant spending and living beyond your means. But it isn’t the end of the world. Stay strong, stay diligent, and you’ll emerge as a savvier consumer and a happier person.

Written by Guest Author


Click here to leave a comment on this article.

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Financial Advisor Websites With Blogs

Financial advisor websites are often little more than an online brochure explaining the qualifications and services of the financial planners that run them.  Of course these advisors are busy watching over the personal finances of their clients so it makes sense that they don’t have a lot of extra time to write articles for their website [...]

Buying a Car from the U.S – The Pros/Cons and Process

My last post on the car research that I’m doing spurred a great deal of interest with some readers requesting more information on purchasing a car across the border.
If you didn’t know already cars in the U.S, for the most part, have a much lower price tag than the exact same vehicle sold in Canada.  [...]

9 Back To School Shopping Tips

Can you feel the excitement in the air? It is almost time for many kids to head back to school. Okay, so maybe it is us parents who are most excited! As a kid I remember feeling equal parts excitement and dread about the upcoming school year. One of my least favorite parts of this [...]

Federal Minimum Wage Through History, Plus Sundry Thoughts

Your thoughts on the new federal minimum wage?
A few days ago, the minimum wage went up from $6.55 to $7.25 according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The measure affects 29 states while other states already have an equal or superior minimum wage (note that employers are required to pay whichever is the highest: Federal [...]

Federal Minimum Wage Through History, Plus Sundry Thoughts

Federal Minimum Wage Through History, Plus Sundry Thoughts

Weekend Linkage – July 26, 2009

I spent most of the time last night and another two hours this morning shredding our documents as we are getting closer to moving to Virginia. Believe me, it isn’t any easy job because we have accumulate more then ten years of bank statements, credit card bills, investment records, and pay stubs. Even though [...]

Original Post on The Sun’s Financial Diary

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Weekend Linkage – July 26, 2009

the art of the business trip

I just returned from my first business trip in almost four years. I thought I might rediscover the art of the business trip. But the art is gone.  It changed a lot post-9/11.  I was around to see that transformation – the relaxed and woefully security free trips became long and painful waits in endless [...]

the art of the business trip

Personal Finance Links (I Almost Died Edition)

I’m gong to keep think intentionally short. On Friday, you almost read the last post in Lazy Man and Money history. I literally almost died. I’ll go into it in more detail for tomorrow’s post. It might even be a whole weeks’ worth of writing. I don’t want to overshadow [...]

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How to Get a Cheap Massage

Getting a professional massage isn’t cheap.  I’ve bought a few massage gift certificates for my wife over the last few years and the cost of the massage around here usually runs about a dollar a minute. 
I could never bring myself to spend that much money on a massage for myself but I’m glad to spend [...]

use Your Citi Card for $5 tickets to blink-182 and some other cool music

I don’t know if I’ve ever made it very obvious, but I’m a big fan of the goth-rock group The Cure (yes, I was, and yes, I am, stop judging me!) and more specifically of the lead singer, Robert Smith. I’ve also always liked blink-182’s music, and when I heard the blink-182 duet with [...]

use Your Citi Card for $5 tickets to blink-182 and some other cool music

trade MONSTER Offers Investors Great Trading Experience

trade MONSTER is another online discount broker that generates quite some interests recently.
I first noticed trade MONSTER when I compiled the list of discount brokers with the lowest commissions for online stock trading. Actually, if you look at the list, trade MONSTER isn’t really attractive from the point of view of costs. The broker charges [...]

Original Post on The Sun’s Financial Diary

Special bonus offers

trade MONSTER Offers Investors Great Trading Experience

trade MONSTER Offers Investors Great Trading Experience

Zecco Review: Want Free Online Trading?

While I’ve made it a mission to orient myself with the best online brokers around the web, I’ve come to know quite a few of them well enough to favor some over others. As far as Zecco is concerned, I look upon this company as a popular but “misunderstood” entity in the online broker [...]

Zecco Review: Want Free Online Trading?

Zecco Review: Want Free Online Trading?

Federal Minimum Wage at $7.25/Hour – Chart of the Day

In case you forgot, today, July 24, 2009, the Federal minimum wage goes up to $7.25/hour from last year’s $6.55/hour.
Following is a plot of historical Federal minimum wages from 1939 to 2009 (the blue line). In 1939, the minimum wage was only 30 cents. The next adjustment didn’t come until 1945 when the minimum wage [...]

Original Post on The Sun’s Financial Diary

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Federal Minimum Wage at $7.25/Hour – Chart of the Day

Federal Minimum Wage at $7.25/Hour – Chart of the Day

Stress Testing Your Budget: How to Stay Strong in Tough Times

Money can be stressful. From earning to managing to spending, money consumes a large part of our lives and can even define how we feel about ourselves and how others view us, and that is during good economic times.
When times turn tough, any little cracks in our money handling run the risk of becoming giant, [...]

Original Post on The Sun’s Financial Diary

Special bonus offers

Stress Testing Your Budget: How to Stay Strong in Tough Times

Stress Testing Your Budget: How to Stay Strong in Tough Times

Friday Finance Findings for July 24th

I got a new phone. That might not seem like big news to most of you, but I’ve never had a decent cell phone. Since about 1997 I’ve only ever had the very basic phone available. Typically it only made calls, didn’t have a camera or even internet access. Whatever the phone company was willing [...]

About the Author: Jeremy is a retirement planning specialist and founder of Generation X Finance and the guide to Financial Planning at About.com. To learn more, follow Jeremy on Twitter.

Friday Finance Findings for July 24th

Friday Finance Findings for July 24th

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