Your Take: Plans for Your Tax Refund?

Last year, the average tax refund was a cool three thousand bucks. While we don’t know what the average tax refund will be for the 2010 tax year, chances are it’ll be pretty sizable as a result of all the different stimulus and tax credits of the last year. While I’ve long talked about adjusting your tax withholding (and reasons why you wouldn’t want to adjust), most people don’t do it. […]

Receiving Your Tax Refund in Savings Bonds

As you prepare your tax return this year, you have an interesting option. You can opt to receive part of your tax refund as U.S. Savings Bonds. The process is relatively simple. Form 8888 (PDF) from the IRS allows you to allocate how you will receive your refund. […]

Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Spend on Self Improvement?

Ah, it’s good to be home and finally getting back into something of a routine. As part of that routine, I’ve been reading hundreds of e-mails, including quite a few reader questions — like this one from Annie. Annie writes: I’m 25, and starting to take personal finance seriously. I’m in graduate school, and am very fortunate to have an educational trust that allows me to do this without loans. […]

And Yet Another Example

It's almost become a hobby of mine to "collect" stories of people who spend more than they make (or close to it) even though they have high incomes. For some examples, see Now $1 Million is Not Enough to Live On, Seven Costly Pro Athlete Screw-ups, and Stars Who Have Lost Fortunes. […]

Star Money Articles and Carnivals for the Week of Feb 28

Here are some pieces I found especially worthwhile and some of the carnivals Free Money Finance was in this week and my posts that were included: Carnival of Wealth - How to Test-Drive Retirement   Carnival of Personal Finance - Finances of the Average American   Carnival of Passive Investing - Not All Index Funds Are the Same   Carnival of Money Stories - Embarrassing Work Sto […]

“Remember the fish!”

When we moved from our old house to the new one, we left a house with a septic tank and went to one that was served by our county’s sewer service.  Having one over the other isn’t that much different, I suppose.  They both do the job.  Having a septic system requires maintenance (regular pumping) and very occasional replacement.  Being on county sewer involves less maintenance, but our fee from th […]

Will Mac OS X Lion Kill Quicken 2007?

It’s no secret that I love Quicken. While it’s not perfect, it’s what I’ve come to depend on since I first started tracking our finances in January 1997. As such, I’ve accumulated a treasure trove of personal financial data, and I can’t stand the thought of losing it. It’s also no secret that I’m a diehard Mac user, which means that I’ve been stuck with Quicken 2007 for quite some time. […]

Getting Started with Estate Planning

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Over the past few years, I’ve done a reasonable job getting on top of my personal finances. I’ve paid off credit cards. I’ve put systems in place to track and analyze my spending each month. My files are in order. […]

H&R Block's At Home Premium Federal Tax Product Review #2

In January I selected several readers to receive free copies of various income tax software programs. In exchange, they agreed to use the software to do their taxes and write an unbiased review. The summary below was written by FMF reader TB and contains his thoughts about H&R Block's At Home Premium Federal product. […]

Is This Moving You Towards Your Goals?

Whenever I consider whether or not I should be doing something, I ask myself a very simple question. Is this moving me towards my goals? The outcome of that question casts a strong light on the activity at hand. Sometimes, it’s a positive light and it encourages me to move forward. […]

Personal Balance Sheet, February 2011 ($620,556, +6.3%)

My life without salary is continuing to move myself forward financially. Even considering overall income, I earned more in January than I’ve earned in any month prior to that point. February, though I’m waiting for some final details, was a very good month in terms of income, but still about average when compared to the past few months. […]

Will Mac OS X Lion Kill Quicken 2007?

It’s no secret that I love Quicken. While it’s not perfect, it’s what I’ve come to depend on since I first started tracking our finances in January 1997. As such, I’ve accumulated a treasure trove of personal financial data, and I can’t stand the thought of losing it. It’s also no secret that I’m a diehard Mac user, which means that I’ve been stuck with Quicken 2007 for quite some time. […]

Some Americans Plan Fun for Tax Refund

The National Retail Federal did a survey recently that asked Americans what they were going to do with their tax refund this year. 13.2% said they would be buying a big ticket item like a new television or some furniture, up from 12.5% last year. 11.9% plan on taking a vacation, which is more than the 10% who planned on taking a vacation with it last year. […]

Secrets of a Former Credit Card Thief

Here's a scary piece from Yahoo titled Secrets of a Former Credit Card Thief. I'll share some highlights from this interview with a convicted credit card and ID thief/expert. Let's start with this one: I always recommend against [debit cards]. With debit cards, it's your real money in your bank account you're playing with. […]

TradeKing Review: $4.95 Stock Trades and Bonuses

TradeKing is One of the Top Discount Brokers for Good Reason When it comes to choosing a broker, you have plenty of choices. With those choices come a variety of pricing structures, fees, trading platforms, and features. Choices are good, and the competition drives innovation and pricing, so as investors we are rewarded. I think that’s why TradeKing has done so well over the past few years. […]

Reader Mailbag: Communication

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. Converting to Roth IRA 2. Going part time 3. Short sell our home? 4. Going back to school 5. Pushy in-laws 6. Healthy but tasty lunches 7. Which debt to repay first? 8. Should we refinance? 9. Underwater loan 10. […]

17 Uses for Stale Bread

Stale bread is a given in most households; even the best-intentioned foodies will occasionally find themselves staring down a rapidly drying loaf of white bread with no idea how to cope. Throwing away food isn't just a waste of money — it's a downright shame. […]

Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (Updated March 2011)

If you thought the offers from last month were juicy, this month is going to surprise you as some issuers are really pulling out all the stops. I’ve been watching balance transfer offers for years and it’s been quite some time since someone offered a $100 in cashback as part of a new account promotion and tied it to a card with a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchases offer. […]

8 Ways to Save Big on Appliances

I've had the dubious distinction of saving some big bucks on multiple types of appliances this year. […]

Best Money Tips: Tips for a Successful Yard Sale

Welcome to Wise Bread's Best Money Tips Roundup! Today we found some great articles on how to have a successful yard sale, uses for plastic grocery bags, and making money online doing simple tasks. Top 5 Articles Turning Trash Into Cash: 5 Tips For a Successful Yard Sale — Make your yard sale a success by promoting it before it happens. […]