Finding a Charity to Support in 2011

One of our goals in 2011 is to increase our charitable contributions throughout the year. We’ve been getting a better handle of our finances and our monthly budget has enough room to accomodate increased charitable giving. Have you thought about which charities you’d like to support during the coming year? […]

Homemade Gift Series: Wrap-Up (Both Literally and Otherwise)

Throughout the fall, I ran a series of posts on homemade gifts with enough lead time so that interested parties could make some of the gifts on their own if they so chose. […]

How Will the Obama Tax-Cut Deal Affect You?

On December 17th, 2010, President Obama signed a $858-billion tax-cut package into law. […]

8 Job-Getting Tips from a Guy Who's Hired 500 People in the Past 5 Years

August Nielsen has hired about 300 people in the last 20 months. Seriously. He's the Human Resources manager for one of the nation's fast-growing private companies. In the spirit of full disclosure, let me say upfront that I work for the same company (VA Mortgage Center, which happens to be the country's largest dedicated VA lender). […]

5 Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

The American philosopher and psychologist William James said “Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.” Since thinking or deciding is the first step in launching a new behavior, I began wondering what the primary methods of success are as we all run headlong in our New Year’s resolutions and new habits. […]

Why You Shouldn’t Cheat On Your Taxes

Have you ever been tempted to cheat on your taxes? asks a recent article in the NYT’s You’re the Boss column. […]

Readers Gave $8,000 to Charity Since Thanksgiving

For the second year in a row, I offered to match Consumerism Commentary readers’ charitable contributions donated during the two weeks following Thanksgiving, up to $5,000. After extending the matching period a third week, and with MoneyCrush‘s offer to match the contributions made between $5,000 and $6,000, we surpassed all goals. […]

Getting Paid to Tell Lies: Mystery Shopping as a Frugal Hack

This post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Two persistent rumors about mystery shopping: It’s a scam. It’s not a scam — and you can get rich doing it! Allow me to set these rumors to rest: Mystery shopping is not a scam. […]

12 Rules for Money-Saving Negotiation Success

The book The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means lists 12 rules for negotiation success as follows: #1 Nice guys finish first.#2 Speak to the right person.#3 Be honest, but don't be shy.#4 "I can't afford it."#5 Cheaper by the dozen.#6 Watch for sales before and after you buy.#7 Show them the money.#8 Don't sell yourself short by naming a p […]

My favorite kind of holiday party

I attended a wonderful holiday party this weekend.  It was in a beautifully-decorated house.  The food was abundant and delicious.  The desserts were scrumptious.  The family hosting the party was kind and gracious. I had never met them before that night.  Nor any of the guests. The only person I knew there was another musician.  We played for two hours: him on trumpet, and me on keyboard.  We wer […]

Stretch Your Food Budget! How To Make Your Meals Go Further

Can you eat well for less money? When you go to the grocery store to do some major food shopping, how long is it before you find yourself having to go back to do it all again? It’s tough when you can’t seem to make stuff last as long as you would like. But I’ve found some great ways of stretching our groceries so that I can make the next shopping trip go a little bit further into the future. […]

Ask the Readers: What's Your Favorite Discovery of 2010

Thanks to the recommendations of many good friends and readers, I discovered a lot of awesome things this year. I fell in love with NBC's Community, LastPass, Radiolab, Kim Palmer's Generation Earn, and Youtube Music Channels (hipster versions of Lady Gaga? Yes please!) What is your favorite discovery of 2010? […]

Big Savings for Small Businesses and Shops on Swipe Fees

Last week, the Federal Reserve Board announced two proposals for limiting the fees paid to transaction processing companies. MasterCard and Visa would be the most affected if either of these new proposals, set into motion by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, are put into effect. […]

5 Easy Ways to Ruin Your Retirement

Yahoo lists five easy ways to ruin your retirement as follows: 1. Not Running the Numbers. Anybody over the age of, say, 40 should have at least a rough notion of how much money he or she will need for retirement. 2. Having Only One Plan. Even if you retire right on schedule, the economy, stock market, or any number of other forces beyond your control might disrupt your plans. […]

Citi® Platinum Select® Card 24 Month 0% Balance Transfer

Last month I wrote about Citibank’s increased 0% balance transfer opportunity provided by the company’s Citi® Platinum Select® Card. That article is now out-of-date because Citi has once again increased the balance transfer offer by three months, bringing the total amount of time consumers will have to pay their balance transfer in full without interest to two full years. […]

Out With The Old, In With The New: Prepare for the Inevitable

Throughout the month of December, The Simple Dollar is posting a daily series focusing on specific activities you can do right now to set the stage for a great 2011. Out with the old, in with the new. 20. Prepare your will and your master information document. If you have no dependents, no descendents, and no one who would value having any of the items you possess, you can skip this one. […]

The 2011 Stimulus Check: 2% Payroll Tax Holiday

When Congress passed an extension on the Bush tax cuts, it also passed a new one year tax “holiday” on your payroll taxes. I’m calling it the 2011 version of an old friend to many Americans, the stimulus check. Back in 2008, after the passage of the 2008 stimulus package, many Americans received $300 in the form of a stimulus check. […]

Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits

You have more time than you might think to contribute to your 2012 traditional and Roth IRAs. Rather than an end-of-year deadline, you have until you file your 2012 taxes to make that contribution. Federal taxes for 2012 will be due on April 15, 2013, so this is the deadline for establishing and contributing to your 2012 IRA. […]

What the Tax Cut Extension Bill Means for You

If you pay attention to any news you’re probably aware of all the tax bill talk that’s been going on for the last few weeks. At one time it looked like it was going to pass without issue, then Democrats were upset about some of the features and vowed to block it. […]

Nine Guiding Financial Principles

The book Financial Jiu-Jitsu: A Fighter's Guide to Conquering Your Finances lists nine core principles to financial success as follows: Give back -- Help others and you will always receive more than you give. Pay yourself first -- Build for tomorrow by taking action today. Automate -- Don't think, don't decide -- automate! Maintain a cash safety net -- Even if a rainy day never […]