Update Your Home Inventory

If you watched any television during the holidays, chances are you saw (and fast forwarded through) a lot of jewelry commercials. I learned what ever kiss begins with, where “he” went to, and how long a diamond is “for.” If you bought anything sparkly this winter, chances are you’ll want to make sure it’s protected in the event it’s lost or stolen. […]

5 Things Tax Preparers Should Tell You

Brought to you by TurboTax Federal Free Edition — Free to prepare, Free to print, Free to efile. With tax season upon us soon, it's helpful to go into the tax preparation process with reasonable expectations and knowledge of how the process will work, what the roles and responsibilities are, and what you should anticipate as an output from […]

My New Credit Card Strategy

In my credit card report for 2010 I noted that I had earned over $800 using two cash back credit cards: the Schwab (now FIA Services) 2% cash back Visa and the American Express Blue Cash card. For many years, I've employed a two-card system for one main reason: convenience. […]

Ask the Readers: What's the Biggest Item in Your Budget?

As Linsey pointed out recently, some people just don't believe in skipping the latte. Sure, it makes sense to keep track of all spending, even when buying a cup of coffee. […]

Is Frugality Still Here?

Yesterday, American Express reported its fourth quarter income, and the company had much to cheer about. The company’s net income during the last three months of 2010 was an impressive $1.1 billion, up 48 percent over the fourth quarter of 2009. It gets better than that. If you isolate just American Express’s card business in the United States, the increase from 2009 to 2010 was 70 percent. […]

Looking Into 529 Plans for College Savings

Last week, I announced that we’re having our first child, and I talked about some of the financial impacts and decisions that we’ll face. We received an incredible amount of valuable feedback and advice, for which my husband and I are both thankful. In a followup comment, Investor Junkie got us thinking about saving for college in a 529 plan. […]

6 Things to Keep You Sane on a Plane

Airlines are facing thinner and thinner profit margins, and in their attempts to stay in the black, they make us see red. Air travel has devolved into a series of indignities that begin when we book online and end only as we stumble towards freedom at our final destinations. […]

Some Thoughts on Jigsaw Puzzles

One feature you’ll find in our home, particularly during the winter months, is a card table in the family room which features an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. […]

Win a Free Copy of CompleteTax’s Premium MVP!

I am giving away a copy of CompleteTax’s Premium MVP product! Here's how the giveaway will work: 1. All you need to do to enter is to leave any comment on this post. Be sure to leave your email address (no one else will be able to see it) when you leave the comment. 2. Within a few days, I'll select the winner at random and announce the winner on this post. 3. […]

Perform a Credit Card Rewards Annual Review

In my mail this week I received a “Rewards Guide” from two of my credit card companies. These guides are brightly colored, well-laid out catalogs explaining all of the rewards available to me. I’ve never received such a fancy-looking piece of mail from a credit card company before. […]

Review Your Insurance Policies

With many aspects of your financial life, there’s a certain amount of “set it and forget it.” In some cases it works out well, such as setting a contribution to a retirement account or establishing a savings plan that auto-transfers money from your checking account to a savings account. […]

When To Walk Away From A Bad Mortgage

This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Since the housing bubble burst, many Americans have found their finances underwater. They’re paying on homes that are worth much less than the mortgages against them. […]

A Reminder: Networking is Important to Your Career

In talking about job searches, MSNBC says the following about networking: Just posting stuff on Facebook is not serious networking. Sorry. If you want to find a gig you have to put yourself out there and meet people face to face. Stefanie Smith, an executive consultant-coach, suggested you commit to inviting five people out to lunch or dinner this year. […]

Organizing for taxes and beyond, Part 2: Painting the broad strokes

In Part 1 of this series, I explained the motivation for cracking out Quicken to get a handle on our family’s finances for this year’s tax season and beyond.  I began by entering  our primary checking account’s transactions for 2010.  Along the way, I created accounts in Quicken for the other financial vehicles we have as they came up in our checking account transactions, but didn’t stop to enter […]

Series: Life After Salary

In December 2010, I left the day job where I had worked since 2002. My intent was to focus on Consumerism Commentary, the blog I started in 2003, and other related projects, without distraction from a nine-to-five day job. […]

Achieving Financial Goals – The Process Remains The Same

I do not like distractions.  When I am working on an article, I don’t want to listen to music.  When I am watching television, I do not want to hear the noise of the dish washer.  My mind is of the proverbial “one-track” variety.  Multitasking is not for me. When it comes to the management of our finances, I find things work best when I’m focused – intensely focused – on either one goal – or a fe […]

Leasing vs Buying A Car: Things To Consider

Getting a new vehicle involves a lot of decisions, such as what type of vehicle to buy and where to shop. In addition, it’s a good idea to compare the pros and cons of buying versus leasing a car. We’re actually ready to embark on replacing our older model Honda Odyssey van. […]

Check Your Federal Tax Refund With Your Phone

Although the tax code is mired with decades-old rules, fixed up with temporary bandages every year, and convoluted, the IRS is still able to produce something fresh, modern, and simple. Today, the government agency released its free application for iPhone and Android phones, IRS2Go. […]

Do You Get a Gas Receipt?

Here's an interesting question for today: When you get gas and pay by credit card, you usually have the option to get a receipt or not. Do you get one? Why or why not? Personally, I get a receipt because I like to know where my credit card charges stand at all times. […]