Recession Journal Part IV: The Double-Dip Trip

By Jabulani Leffall Have you ever been broke as Jack's magic beans?  You know, broke as when said beans dropped on the floor because he brought home magic beans instead of food? Have you ever been that hard up for cash but anticipating a reprieve? Oh you have. Okay, well, do you remember how you felt when that direct deposit finally hit or you heard that the check really was in the mail? […]

Friday Finance Findings for September 11th

September sure does seem to be flying by, but it’s probably just because I’ve been so busy lately. There is a lot going on as we prepare to close on our new house and move next week. […]

Help a Reader: Time to Change Jobs?

Here's an email I recently received from a reader: I graduated in 2006. It's now 2009; I have been at my current job for three years. This was my first job out of college, and I started at $33K. As for the job, I love it. I have incredible benefits -- I work at a ski resort. I get plenty of vacation time. Last year I got a 12% raise, bringing me up to $40,000 per year. […]

Rule #13: Improve Yourself Every Chance You Get.

A reader asked me if I could break down my ideas into a handful of principles. After some careful thought, I came up with a list of fourteen basic “rules” that summarize my money and life philosophy. I’ll be presenting these as a weekly series. Throughout my life, I’ve found that there are two kinds of people. […]

The Lowdown on Spending Less for Your Food but Getting More

By Sarah Winfrey The last several years have brought wave after wave of new information about the food we put in our mouths and how it gets there. From Fast Food Nation to The Omnivore's Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, it can seem like there's more bad news every time we turn around. We eat too much. We eat the wrong things. […]

Should You Buy It? A Flowchart for Evaluating Potential Purchases

This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. My husband and I are in the process of building a home on 4.5 acres in the Texas hill country. At the moment, we’re still in the planning phase — not quite ready for blueprints. Last month, our architect asked us to start thinking about the make and model of the kitchen appliances we want for our home. […]

Paying Off a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage in 15 Years

This is a guest article by Laura, a twenty-something woman working to improve her finances and reduce debt. She writes about personal finance for college students and grads at Green Panda Treehouse. We’re buying a town house and it has a been a huge learning process. We have been running the numbers and making sure everything works budget wise. […]

Your Take: Your First Job?

You never forget your first job, right? At the age of 15, you can’t legally work in New York yet unless you jumped through all these hoops to get a work permit. It was this stupid little green card that said you would only work during certain hours of the day, the total number of hours per week couldn’t exceed some number, and was a really big pain in the butt to get. […]

The Dark Side of Debit Cards

If you’ve followed this site for any length of time, you’re likely aware that I’m not a huge fan of debit cards. While I recognize that they can be quite convenient at times, debit cards simply have too many disadvantages for me to use one instead of a credit card. In the past, my biggest concern has been fraud. […]

How to Save 20% on Your Heating and Cooling Costs

In their October issue, Consumer Reports quotes the following: 20% -- That's how much you can cut your heating and cooling bills per year simply by adjusting thermostat temperatures 5 to 10 degrees at night and when you're out. This is why you'll almost always see "get a programmable thermostat" as a suggestion in any piece on how to save money heating and cooling. […]

Carnivals for the Week of Sept 7

For weekday updates of what I find to be some of the most interesting personal finance articles on the web, follow me on Twitter. For now, here are some of the carnivals Free Money Finance was in this week and my posts that were included: EDITOR'S CHOICE! Best of Money Carnival - Consider All Options When Trying to Save Money EDITOR'S CHOICE! […]

Four out of five people want to save money on their car insurance

And the fifth person is really thinking hard about it.  He’ll come around eventually. No, seriously: Who doesn’t want to save money on their car insurance? I don’t know of any good reason why you wouldn’t, so here are some tips for knocking that expense down as much as possible.  Hopefully at least a couple of them are new to you: Buy a car that doesn’t cost that much to insure. […]

Poll: Saving $50 Beats Diets, Love & Time

If you had a choice between saving an extra $50 a week or gaining an extra hour daily, what would you do? I vote for the extra hour, (seven hours a week). But more money beat out diet, time and sex, according to this recent survey from Here is a snippet from the full survey results:- Over half (57%) of those surveyed would rather save $50 an extra week- vs. […]

When Your Investment Portfolio Returns To New Highs

Six months ago, the Dow Jones closed at 6,700. Look at it now! So far, my earlier prognostications and expectations about the stock market possibly revisiting its lows somewhere at the 6,000 level for the DJIA, have been proven “wrong” (I owe some of these prognostications to the influence of my other half who still can’t feel the love for our economy). […]

Daily Links: Bringing the Bling Edition

An Australian credit card site has compiled a list of the top 25 most badass personal finance bloggers. What does it take to be a badass personal finance blogger? I have no idea. “Badass” is not a term I would ever use to describe myself, but I’m there — and so is new GRS staff writer Adam Baker. Several folks on the list — including Baker and me — got our very own “badass” caricatures. […]

12 Clever Substitutions That Save Money (Nearly) Effortlessly

One of my favorite ways to trim money from my spending is to find simple little substitutes for my regular expenses. If I can trim a few bucks from the cost of household supplies, routine purchases, and other things like that, over the long run, that can add up to a lot of money with virtually no change in my life. […]

The Problems with Rebates

Consumer Reports details how many people send in rebates as follows: 47% always/often 23% sometimes 25% never 5% N/A Of the 25% that never send them in, the top reasons are: 52% - too many steps 46% - amount too small 42% - missed deadline 32% - feared placement on mailing list 30% - lost receipt 26% - doubted they'd get the money I have a love-hate relationship with rebates -- […]

Five Lowest Paying College Majors

Earlier this week, we talked about the value of a “high end” college degree. Today, I wanted to follow that up by highlighting this list of the five lowest paying college majors… Lowest paying college majors Social work Special education Elementary education Home economics Music and dance Rounding out the top (bottom?) ten are: drama, leisure studies, philosophy, art, and audiology. […]

Ramp Up Your Business by Specializing

By Nora Dunn As an entrepreneur, you would think that precluding certain types of customers in favor of a smaller – but specialized – market would be akin to shooting yourself in the foot. […]

How to Close an HSBC Online Savings Account

In another move to simplify my personal finances, I closed my HSBC online savings account today. At the current interest rate of 1.45% APY, it was in the bottom half of the online banks listed on my high yield savings account rates table; simply not worth keeping around anymore. HSBC Account Closing Process Closing the HSBC online savings account was simple. […]