Help a Reader: Paying Down an Underwater Condo

Here's an email I received from a reader: I have a condo with an 86K mortgage balance.  I bought it three years ago in October and I put 10K down on it.  Since the market is down, similar condos are selling for 20K-40K in my complex.  I want to start paying down on my mortgage.  I have no other debts and put away 15% to retirement accounts and 5% to a rainy day fund every month.  My question is […]

Free Money Finance March Money Madness, Round 2, Posts 13-16

Here we go with the second round of Free Money Finance March Money Madness (to follow all the action click on my March Money Madness category link and scroll down to read all the posts involved in this subject.) I've listed each "game" (one post versus another) in segments along with the wording provided by the author when the post was submitted. […]

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Politics Edition

Because some aspects of personal finance overlap with politics, I’m often asked what my political views are, particularly on specific issues. I usually don’t feel comfortable doing that, for several reasons. First, I usually see benefits on both sides of the issue. Often, my feelings on a specific issue have more to do with me than it has to do with the merits of an issue. […]

The Home Office Tax Deduction

Do you have a home office? If so, have you ever considered taking the home office tax deduction? One common concern with taking this deduction is that it might trigger an income tax audit. But is that really the case? Well… The general consensus seems to be that concerns over audits related to the home office tax deduction are a bit overblown. […]

Saving Face for Buy-and-Hold Investing

Two years ago, Michael Brush from MSN said, like many other financial columnists, that the buy-and-hold investment strategy, or the long-term efficacy of that approach, is a lie. This echoed a lot of the prevailing popular thinking at the time. The stock market was at an all-time low. […]

Why Women Don't Negotiate

Back in 2007, I wrote an article on Wise Bread about how women simply need to demand more money when negotiating a salary, either at a new job or an existing one. It's not that I have a long history of excellent salary negotiating skills or anything. […]

The 4 Most Common Unnecessary "Needs"

Whenever I work with people on cutting their expenses, the easiest part is always at the beginning when we start slashing all their unnecessary spending habits. The need to cut those out of the budget is obvious. […]

529 Plan Benefits Are Not Just for Kids

Thanks to the Pension Protection Act, the 529 looks like it is here to stay. These plans were initially slated to end in 2010, but that’s no longer the case and they are here to stay. A 529 plan is clearly recognized as a college education savings plan, but the benefits don’t stop there. […]

Four Expenses You Must Negotiate

When it comes to saving money, one of the most important things you can do is ask for a discount. Many of us have been conditioned to just accept costs as they are. Haggling is not really part of the American psyche right now. (Although some point out that bargaining has been on the rise since the recession.) There is no reason to just accept the first number offered. […]

What a New Baby Really Needs

Babies are big business. Nobody wants to be a bad parent, so there is great pressure to be sure you have not just the essentials, but the best essentials for your new baby. If you're a first-time parent, you have no experience to guide you. […]

Gaming Without Breaking the Bank

Though J.D.’s back on the blog, he’s still a bit behind — so much e-mail! — so here’s a guest-post from Tim Ellis, who writes Seattle Bubble when he isn’t glued to a screen, zoned out on video games. You can find him playing as “TH3 T1M” on Xbox Live and on PSN. I’ve been an avid gamer ever since I bought my first Nintendo Entertainment System when I was ten. […]

Did The Google Content Farm Update Snare Your Site?

Well, well, well. It’s been an eventful week here in the online world as Google did a rather major overhaul of the web. And there’s been quite a hullabaloo over this matter as many long-standing web pages were pulled out of their usual rankings and banished into the deep recesses of the Internet where no [...]Did The Google Content Farm Update Snare Your Site? […]

Instant Gratification Killing Retirements

In Market Watch's post on savers’ impatience hindering retirement goals, they make the following comment: "Impatience or present-bias might explain suboptimal financial decisions. That is, some people persistently choose immediate gratification instead of taking advantage of larger long-term payoffs.” Some people? Some people? […]

Measure What Matters

The following is reprinted with permission from Cracking The Hidden Job Market: How to Find Opportunity in Any Economy. Copyright © 2011 by Donald Asher, Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. […]

Downgrading Your Job Without Downgrading Your Life

In March 2008, I walked away from a great job into a writing career path that, at the time, paid me about 50% of what I was making at my previous job. To a lot of people in my life, this seemed like an amazingly difficult step. That move reduced our monthly household income (at the time) by about 30% and seemingly did away with a great deal of job security. […]

We Can’t All Be Slash: 6 Ways to Sell Your Stuff Online

Famed Guns N’ Roses (and Velvet Revolver) rock guitarist Slash is auctioning off a ton of personal items in March. He is using Julien’s Auctions to sell his stuff, and it is possible to bid online. The sale doesn’t start until March 26, but you can still look through the items owned by this electric guitar virtuoso. […]

Paying Your Income Taxes? There’s an App for That!

As a followup to yesterday’s poll about your preferred method for preparing your taxes, I wanted to point out a cool little app that allows you to quickly complete and file your taxes using your iPhone or Android smartphone… It’s called SnapTax, and it’s limited to those who file a 1040EZ. […]