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 […]

Money Bloggers: Get Your Posts in Now

I have 10 slots left in my March Money Madness tournament. If you are a money blogger and want to be part of this year's event, you need to sign up NOW!!!! Details on the event can be found here. […]

Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees

Earlier this fall, I went on a work-related trip to Canada. It wasn’t until I was in the taxicab from the airport to my hotel that I realized that I wasn’t sure of the fees associated with using my credit card outside the United States. I actually carry a Chase Visa, Citibank MasterCard, and an American Express card, so I had my choice. […]

Reader Mailbag: The Longest Night

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Joint expenses and loans 2. Buying a house right now 3. Keepsake distribution 4. Savings or student loans? 5. Homebuyer’s tax credit repayment 6. Emergency fund size 7. Investing baby steps 8. Underwater questions 9. […]

3 Reasons to Make Your New Year's Resolutions Today

One more cookie? OK, January 1st is when you’ll start your diet. Spend another $25 on a gift? Why not, you’ll turn things around next year. It’s the end of the year, and we all tend to compromise with ourselves at this point in the game. Why? […]

What QE2 Could Mean for Ordinary Americans

The words “quantitative easing” tend to make the eyes glaze over. But this pending economic maneuver could have a real and significant impact on households nationwide. The Federal Reserve announced in early November its plan to purchase $600 billion in Treasuries in an attempt to stimulate growth and job creation. […]

First Credit Card, Getting Fired, and Presumptuous Gifts

Saying goodbye to my salary and employer-sponsored benefits should mean that I should be looking to cut back my expenses for a little while as I work on making up for that loss through increased income. This weekend I had my last hurrah, spending money for a new professional-grade digital camera. […]