Financial Documents: Keep, Scan or Shred?

A few years ago, I had two banker’s boxes full of financial documents I just accumulated over time. Then, one day, I decided I would go through all those documents and actually decide whether I should keep, scan, or shred them. I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 to scan any important documents and then some random crosscut shredder from Staples to shred the non-essential documents. […]

How to Lend Money to Friends (Without Ruining the Relationship)

This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Lending money to friends and family is a generous act — one that could easily backfire and even ruin your relationship. Most of the time when someone is considering a loan to a family member, I think, “Don’t do it.” There can be other ways to help. […]

There is No Good Debt

In his newest book, Debt Free For Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom, author David Bach shares the following about how he responded when someone asked him about "good debt" versus "bad debt": Almost automatically, I started giving her the standard answer about how good debts are generally considered to be debts you incur to buy things that can go up in value—like a home or a colle […]

Firmly Standing On The Middle Ground

As I sat down tonight to work on our budget for February – using the awesome You Need A Budget – I noticed something:  I stand rather firmly on the middle ground.  Allow me to explain - There are some folks who choose to live without television.  There are some folks who pay for every possible channel. I have basic satellite service, with no premium channels. There are some folks who do just fine […]

Get Foreclosure Information & Options From Fannie Mae:

Living in a very high cost area, where property values are stratospheric and home ownership continues to be out of reach, I’ve gotten to know many homeowners who are biding their time with regards to making a new home purchase. […]

The Cost of Being Overweight

The following is reprinted with permission from Perigee books, a division of Penguin Group, USA from The Real Cost of Living: Making the Best Choices for You, Your Life, and Your Money by Carmen Wong Ulrich, 2010. Obesity is becoming the norm in this country—a very dangerous and expensive norm. […]

Career Moves and Decisions

This week, someone from my past reached into the present and dropped a job offer on my lap. If this job offer had appeared three years ago, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. It allows me to work from home. […]

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 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. […]