Giving Back to Those Not Necessarily on Your Christmas List

By Tisha Tolar As we rush to find the "perfect gift" for friends and family, we tend to get tunnel vision about the holiday season. No matter how tight our budgets or shopping time may be, remember still there are some people who would be thrilled to be in our shoes, amongst the chaos of family, friends, and festivities. […]

Streamlining Our Netflix Subscription

Back in April, I wrote up a fairly detailed comparison of Netflix vs. Blockbuster. In a nutshell, we started out as Netflix subscribers, eventually migrated over to Blockbuster Total Access for the in-store exchanges, and then came back to Netflix when Blockbuster tightened up their exchange policy. Overall, we’ve been quite happy with this decision. […]

Reader Mailbag #90

Each Monday, The Simple Dollar opens up the reader mailbags and answers ten to twenty simple questions offered up by the readers on personal finance topics and many other things. Got a question? Ask it in the comments. […]

Way to Save #128: Use Calling Cards

If you travel, calling cards are important because they allow you to get the same rates from the road that you’re used to paying at home, at least theoretically. But the big three long distance carriers often have ridiculously high rates and fees for their cards. Before you enroll in any plan, be sure to [...] […]

Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on Saving

By Debbie Dragon When you’re in debt, it’s nearly impossible to save money. To motivate yourself for the mission of getting out of debt, ask yourself these two questions: How much money am I paying towards my debt monthly? How else would I like to use my money? The money you save while paying off debt is not likely to earn as much interest as the interest you pay towards your debt. […]

Avoiding Black Friday Online and Offline

Many retailers — those who have survived the rough economy — have struggled this past year. Companies are looking forward to the holiday season because they know consumers are in a tough position, too. Here is how it works: the economy is recovering, but unemployment is the last piece of the economy to improve in a recovery. […]

PerkStreet Financial Free $50 Promotion

I gotta tell you, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen any account opening bonus offers from banks — or at least, one that doesn’t require you to jump through numerous hoops.  PerkStreet Financial is now offering a $50 sign-up bonus for any new PerkStreet Financial checking account with a minimum deposit of $25.  Deposit $25 and get $50?  No hard credit inquiry? […]

Why Tipping Is The Best Investment Ever

I’ve always found that tipping, by far, is the best investment you can ever make in almost any situation. Anyone who has ever bellied up to a bar knows that a dollar a drink is all it takes to get the speediest of service on even the busiest of nights. Want a nicer hotel room? […]

Quicken Premier 2010 Review

With the arrival of free online personal finance tools (like Mint, Quicken Online, Wesabe, and many others), you might think that a desktop application like Quicken would be a hard sell. As it turns out, a lot of people out there are like me – a little uncomfortable giving out so much personal finance information to an online tool. […]

The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

This article is the ninth of a thirteen-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. You want the best — for yourself, for your spouse, for your family. You want the best car, the best house and mortgage, the best job, the best mutual funds, and the best savings account. You want things to be perfect. We all do. But perfection comes with a price. […]

Americans Still Not Ready for Retirement

Here's some information that's a good follow-up to our discussion about Americans not being ready for retirement. We'll start with a summary of how most people fund their retirement. Americans typically build retirement savings in three ways, says Laibson. For all of us, our required contributions to Social Security will provide a guaranteed monthly check. […]

Discount Gift Cards and Online Gift Certificates: Ideas For The Holiday Shopper

Gift cards? Particularly helpful as a last minute gift idea. Image from latimes.com The shopping season will soon be alighting upon us and the question is — how much are you going to be spending (or saving?) during your shopping trips? […]

Review: Killing Sacred Cows

Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. I quite enjoy reading personal finance books that offer different advice and ideas than the rest, even if I don’t agree with what they have to say. Killing Sacred Cows, by Garrett B. Gunderson, falls into this category. […]

Podcast 31: Peer-to-Peer Lending and Target Date Funds

On today’s Consumerism Commentary Podcast, Tom Dziubek speaks with Renaud LaPlanche, co-founder and CEO of LendingClub and Rob Garcia, senior director of product strategy for the same company. […]

5 Simple Ways to Save on Thanksgiving

By Stacy Johnson While the price of food hasn’t been escalating like it was last year, a trip to the grocery store can still be expensive. Especially when you start adding in feasts like Thanksgiving!  But it's remarkably easy to serve up savings along with that gravy. […]

Consumption Smoothing and Why It Doesn’t Work

When I was a young professional, my income was relatively low – substantially lower than it was even five years later. I knew that over time, my income would go up; my career path offered lots of opportunities for growing one’s wage and I was dedicated to my career. […]

Way to Save #126: Know The Phone Lingo

It’s hard to shop smart for something when you don’t know what questions to ask. In long-distance land, there are three major ones. First, “What is your cost per minute?” Second, “What is your billing increment?” Billing increment is crucial if you make lots of calls, and especially lots of short calls. Billing increments for [...] […]

My Advertising Crash Diet

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday, and in large part that’s because I spend it camping in Terlingua Ranch and hiking, backpacking, or kayaking in Big Bend National Park (about 15 minutes away from the ranch). I get mixed reactions when I tell people that’s how my family celebrates the holiday. […]

How Much is Too Much for a Church Building?

For those of you new to Free Money Finance, I post on The Bible and Money every Sunday. Here's why. Today we have a guest post from Money Help for Christians. […]