dollar value http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12615/all en-US What Can You Buy for $1 These Days? http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-buy-for-1-these-days <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-can-you-buy-for-1-these-days" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_with_dollar.jpg" alt="Man recieving dollar" title="Man recieving dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in 1930, the humble dollar could get you a decent table lamp, a quality bathrobe, or roughly six gallons of regular gas. But these days, it&rsquo;s hard to find anything that costs $1 or less. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-healthy-foods-for-under-1-a-pound">50&nbsp;Healthy Foods for Under $1 a Pound</a>)</p> <p>Now, in a previous post I listed <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-things-to-do-with-a-1-bill">101 things you can do with a $1 bill</a>, but that was a long time ago, and a lot has changed. I decided to compile a new list and look at the problem with fresh eyes (I tried to avoid the usual fare in here, like $1 menu items from fast food joints, an iTunes song, or canned goods from the supermarket).</p> <p>So, here&rsquo;s what I found that can be bought today for $1. Now, how creative can you get? Leave your ideas in the comments.</p> <h3>1. A Phone Call</h3> <p>You can place a four-minute call from your cell phone to the Cayman Islands with AT&amp;T.</p> <h3>2. Quality Items</h3> <p>You can buy 100 different &ldquo;quality&rdquo; items from the <a href="http://www.onecentstore.com/homepage.html">One Cent Store</a>. All you have to pay is shipping (which on 100 items will run you about $800).</p> <h3>3. A CEO</h3> <p>Own the CEO of a large corporation! Yes, Steve Jobs takes only $1 per year salary from Apple. The CEOs of Google reportedly do the same.</p> <h3>4. Relaxation</h3> <p>Travel to the Philippines, and you can get a 30-minute foot massage.</p> <h3>5. A Place to Put Your Car</h3> <p>In downtown Denver, you get one hour of street parking.</p> <h3>6. E-Books</h3> <p>There are many out there for free, including the awesome book &ldquo;<a href="http://www.sethgodin.com/ideavirus/01-getit.html">Unleashing The IdeaVirus</a>,&rdquo; but if you want to blow a whole $1, try some of these <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/27368.Ebooks_for_a_1_or_less">e-book titles</a>.</p> <h3>7. Penny Stocks</h3> <p>Buy <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_stock">penny stocks</a>. Depending on which company you choose, you could get quite a chunk of them for $1, as many shares trade for just a fraction of a cent. Of course, they probably won&rsquo;t go anywhere, but hey, everyone starts somewhere.</p> <h3>8. Little Stuff From Amazon</h3> <p>Get crazy with<a href="http://www.filleritem.com/"> Amazon fillers</a>. There are a bunch of items on Amazon that cost less than $1, and if you&rsquo;re ordering something anyway, why not tag one of these on there? Often, they can bag you free Super Saver Shipping, so you spend a buck or less to save a lot more in postage.</p> <h3>9. Cell Phone Protection</h3> <p>Make 100 <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-1-cent-cell-phone-protector-and-other-hacks">cell phone screen protectors</a>.</p> <h3>10. 10 Memories</h3> <p>Stores like Walmart charge around 10 cents for a 4 x 6 photo print.</p> <h3>11. Crafty Plans</h3> <p>Some knitting and crochet patterns cost just 99 cents at <a href="https://www.ravelry.com/account/login">Ravelry.com</a>, and they are delivered as PDFs.</p> <h3>12. Almost Free Handmade Goods</h3> <p><a href="http://www.etsy.com">Etsy</a> artists often give away items for free. It's considered &ldquo;paying it forward,&rdquo; and shipping on some of these is $1 or less.</p> <h3>13. Books</h3> <p>Half.com, eBay, and Amazon all offer used books for less than $1. If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you'll get your book with free shipping.</p> <h3>14. Mobile Phone Apps</h3> <p>While many are free, there are also a lot that you can pay for. Some are as low as 99 cents, and they&rsquo;re great.</p> <h3>15. Lemonade</h3> <p>Buy a few glasses of lemonade from a child&rsquo;s lemonade stand. You get freshly made lemonade, and children learn a little about the value of hard work.</p> <h3>16. Hope</h3> <p>Dropping your $1 bill into the bucket of a charity collection tin may not seem like much, but it all adds up.</p> <h3>17. Pool</h3> <p>Well, not a swimming pool, but a game of pool in a bar will usually cost you four quarters. If you&rsquo;re really bad, that $1 could stretch for an hour of entertainment.</p> <h3>18. A House</h3> <p>Not a monopoly house either, but a real one. The current housing crash, coupled with some local economic factors, has produced some ridiculous deals. Of course, you may have to pay to move the house off some land that the government owns, or a small fortune in taxes and fees, but the actual deed could be yours for a buck. Read more about a <a href="http://www.therealestatebloggers.com/foreclosure/buy-a-house-for-only-1-dollar-only-in-detroit-baby/">home in Detroit that was on sale for just $1</a>.</p> <h3>19. A Second Date</h3> <p>Research shows bad breath is a real turn off for either sex, so invest in a pack of gum or a roll of mints. Both can usually be found for less than $1.</p> <h3>20. Gold</h3> <p>But not much. With the prize of gold being $1516.99 an ounce, your $1 will get you 0.00066006601 ounces.</p> <h3>21. Gas</h3> <p>And finally, we&rsquo;ll end with an easy one. At the time of publication, you can buy around 1/4 of a gallon of gas (the national average right now is $3.91 for regular). Depending on the fuel efficiency of your car, that&rsquo;s enough for a round trip of 6&ndash;8 miles. More if you drive a hybrid.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-can-you-buy-for-1-these-days">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-things-to-do-with-a-1-bill">101 things to do with a $1 bill.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-today-to-start-living-frugally">One Simple Thing You Can Do Today to Start Living Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-pride-is-keeping-you-poor">7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Turn Your Spouse Into a Money Saver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-and-delicious-meals-to-make-with-your-kids">10 Frugal and Delicious Meals to Make With Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living cheap stuff dollar bill dollar value Wed, 25 May 2011 10:36:22 +0000 Paul Michael 549642 at http://www.wisebread.com U.S. Banks and the Tokyo Drift http://www.wisebread.com/us-banks-and-the-tokyo-drift <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/us-banks-and-the-tokyo-drift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3134995846_f6b734b24c.jpg" alt="yen" title="yen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You already know the story, but perhaps it may happen again. It's <em>that</em> familiar.</p> <p>A nation reeling from popped real estate and financial collapse mopes through a recession and struggles with a crisis of confidence, its president making pledges that everything will be okay.</p> <p>It sounds like a broken record, doesn't it?</p> <p>Well, except I'm talking about Japan and the president in question is not Barack Obama but Junichiro Koizumi, and the year in question was 2001, not 2010.</p> <p>But it <em>is</em> 2010, and parallels to <a href="http://www.aei.org/outlook/27568">Japanese banking</a> in the 1990s and our banks in the &quot;oughts&quot; now abound.</p> <p>Four words: bad loans and deflation risk.</p> <p>That's five words, but it's important to note that recently, U.S. banks such as BB&amp;T and Sun Trust both set up special panels to explore potential exposure to <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE69B2AU20101012">deflation</a>.</p> <p>Deflation is the general decrease in the price level of goods and services across the board, usually due to a systemic downturn and the resulting desperate effort to cut prices to compete. Deflation also sometimes results from monetary policy that overdoes it in an effort to avoid inflation. Ironic, isn't it?</p> <p>According to <em>Reuters:</em></p> <blockquote><p>BB&amp;T ran its books through a stress test to gauge the bank's performance in a scenario in which there is deflation for the next 10 years, as part of the bank's own internal projections of various economic scenarios, Chief Financial Officer Daryl Bible said.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <h3>Why does Japan in the 1990s keeps coming up?</h3> <p>At the outset of the U.S. crisis in early 2008, the American Enterprise Institute examined Japan's lost decade, about which the think tank says that an &quot;economic cycle driven by a collapse in the market for an asset &mdash; such as land or housing &mdash; to which the banking system is heavily exposed is a dangerous beast.&quot;</p> <p>That &quot;dangerous beast&quot; was Japan 20 years ago and it ended just 10 years ago. That dangerous beast could also loom here in the U.S. today. The common denominator: bad bank loans were, by and large, the culprit.</p> <p>As the Reuters piece points out, Japanese banks discovered what is now known as the &quot;lost decade&quot;; deflation means that loan collateral values decline, exacerbating already under-performing loans.</p> <p>The article goes on to say:</p> <blockquote><p>Loans may become more likely to fail, as borrowers tire of paying high rates of interest to finance assets that are worth much less than they had been previously. A second credit crisis could emerge.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>If regional powerhouse U.S. banks such as Sun Trust and BB&amp;T &mdash; both of which received TARP money and both of which are present in areas hit by rising foreclosures &mdash; are either thinking about or hedging against deflation, then it's only a matter of time before cheap money and sluggish economic growth increases the possibility of making widespread deflation an actual reality.</p> <p>Indeed, the risk of continued deterioration of already bad loans continue to scare U.S. banks, which have a danger of falling further into hock on outstanding loans to say nothing of the continued &quot;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/10/07/130408926/quantitative-easing-explained">quantitative easing</a>&quot; at the U.S. Federal Reserve and currently low Treasury yield curves.</p> <p>Who better to explain what might happen than Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan's largest bank and &quot;lost decade&ndash;bad loan&quot; poster child?</p> <p>According to a <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-07-22/treasury-curve-to-flatten-on-economic-lost-decade-mitsubishi-ufj-says.html">Bloomberg</a> piece earlier this summer, the bank's proprietary trading chief <a target="_blank" title="Search News" href="http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Kenichi%20Imai&amp;site=wnews&amp;client=wnews&amp;proxystylesheet=wnews&amp;output=xml_no_dtd&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;oe=UTF-8&amp;filter=p&amp;getfields=wnnis&amp;sort=date:D:S:d1&amp;partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&amp;lr=-lang_ja">Kenichi Imai</a> had this to say:</p> <blockquote><p>With the effect of government stimulus measures wearing off, the U.S. economy may face a prolonged soft patch, rather than a double bottom.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Soft Patch? Opposite of a hard patch? Flaccid? Sounds maybe a little bit, I don't know...deflated, even.</p> <p>Let's hope not.</p> <p>As Bill Isaac, chairman of LECG Global Financial Services and a former FDIC chairman, points out, deflation is not good given that U.S. banks are still assessing non-performing and under-performing loans and testing their balance sheets against deflationary scenarios.</p> <p>Think you've heard this already? Just wait.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/us-banks-and-the-tokyo-drift">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bank-based-small-dollar-loans-an-alternative-to-payday-loans">Bank-Based Small-Dollar Loans: An Alternative to Payday Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-countries-where-banks-pay-crazy-interest-rates">10 Countries Where Banks Pay Crazy Interest Rates</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-housing-market-is-finally-rebounding">The Housing Market Is Finally Rebounding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-options-if-youre-underwater-on-your-mortgage">6 Options if You&#039;re Underwater on Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-whats-the-difference">Credit Unions vs. Banks: What&#039;s the Difference?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Financial News bank loans banking strategies currency rates deflation dollar value housing market international japan yen Thu, 21 Oct 2010 12:00:10 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 266327 at http://www.wisebread.com Sinking Dollar: This Time on Purpose http://www.wisebread.com/sinking-dollar-this-time-on-purpose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sinking-dollar-this-time-on-purpose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dollar-2005-2010.png" alt="Graph of dollar value versus major currencies" title="Dollar Versus Major Currencies" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="154" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Fed wants to keep the inflation rate up around 2%, simply because their efforts to boost the economy only get traction when they can push interest rates well below the inflation rate &mdash; something that's tough to do when the inflation rate is as low as it's been.</p> <p>Normally, it's no problem to produce inflation: The Fed just creates some additional bank reserves. The banks respond by lending more money to businesses and consumers &mdash; who spend the money. That extra money out in the economy buying stuff <strong>is inflation</strong>. Rising prices follow directly (unless production is growing even faster than the money supply).</p> <p>Just lately, though, the Fed has been stuck. A lot of businesses and consumers can't borrow, because they can barely service their existing debt. The ones who could borrow don't want to. And many banks have a balance sheet that's too shaky to support much lending, even if they can find a customer who's both willing to borrow and able to pay the debt back. The extra bank reserves just sit there.</p> <p>But it's looking like the Fed has found a channel to produce the effect it wants: the exchange rate.</p> <p>You can see in the graph above the two recent dollar lows &mdash; one in the early days of the recession and then another in the early days of the recovery. Just lately the dollar has been plummeting again. That's inflation too. In fact it is the very definition of inflation, which is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-little-inflation-be-good">the money becoming less valuable</a>. (Rising prices are merely the symptom.)</p> <h2>Weakening the Dollar</h2> <p>Normally, the Fed (and the Treasury) like a strong dollar. It's good for consumers &mdash; a strong dollar means that imports are cheap. It's also good for most businesses. Exporters don't like it, because a strong dollar makes their goods less competitive overseas. But because the US imports so much of its fuel, a strong dollar is a win even for many businesses that export a lot of what they produce.</p> <p>At the moment, though, the stars have aligned such that there's a lot of support for a lower dollar. That gives the Fed the opportunity to produce the inflation it wants &mdash; by weakening the dollar overseas.</p> <p>Fed officials have been talking about &quot;additional accommodation&quot; and &quot;further purchases of longer-term Treasury securities&quot; for some time, and the <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20101012a.htm">minutes of the most recent Fed meeting</a> show that they've been thinking about it for weeks. Judging from the hints so far, it looks like the Fed is going to buy a few hundred billion dollars of longer-term Treasury securities over the next few months. That will produce some inflation in the usual way (even though, as described above, that channel is mostly blocked). It will also push down longer-term rates, which has the knock-on effect of making the dollar less attractive to investors who want to hold bonds. That may make a few businesses and consumers a little more able and willing to borrow and spend. It also makes it less attractive for foreign holders of bonds to hold bonds in US dollars. (That's why the dollar has been dropping so fast just lately.)</p> <p>And it's that falling dollar that's the real channel for this effort to have its effect. A less-valuable dollar is exactly what the Fed is trying to produce. That will lead to rising prices (initially for imports, but very soon for everything). Normally, its most immediate effect &mdash; rising prices for oil and other commodities &mdash; would make any effort to push down the dollar too unpopular to consider. But, just at the moment, there's something of a political consensus that we need to to push the dollar down. (Mainly, there's a general sense that we need to push the dollar down against the Chinese yuan, but that's very hard to do directly. However, it's very easy to push the dollar down in general. Then it will be somebody else's problem to get the details right as far as relative changes versus the yen and the euro and the Canadian dollar.)</p> <h2>What it Means, What to Do</h2> <p>It's pretty tough for Americans to protect themselves against a falling dollar.</p> <p>Shifting some of your savings into some foreign currency is an option, but that's fraught for several reasons.</p> <ol> <li>It negates the one big advantage of holding cash, which is that you can always use it to pay your bills. (I know exactly how many dollars I need to pay my rent from now until my lease runs out. I can only guess how many euros I'd need.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It exposes you to exchange-rate risk. (If the dollar recovers sharply, you could lose a lot of money.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It exposes you to other risks that you're probably not adequately familiar with &mdash; foreign institutions that might be credit risks and foreign legal systems that might or might not protect your interests &mdash; and to costs that might be significant compared to your investment return.</li> </ol> <p>For most people, though, the loss of value in your savings is insignificant compared to the lost of value in your income (which is probably almost entirely in dollars). The only real way to fix that is to get some additional income in euros or yen or yuan &mdash; but that's not practical for most Americans.</p> <p>If you're not an American, you're stuck facing the flip-side of this. Your currency is strengthening, which is great to the extent that imports will be cheaper, but bad to the extent that your (and your neighbor's) livelihoods depend on selling things to Americans.</p> <p>There are two bright sides to this.</p> <p>First, a falling exchange rate usually translates into rising prices only gradually. That's not true of commodities like oil, but for other goods, the manufacturers, importers, and retailers usually take most of the loss, at least for a while &mdash; in order to keep their market share and maintain good relations with their own suppliers and customers. So, expect the price of consumer goods to lag changes in exchange rates.</p> <p>Second, for the reasons described above, the Fed isn't completely insane for wanting this. Rising inflation will let the Fed's policy moves gain some traction. A weaker dollar will boost U.S. manufactures. A recovery in the U.S. economy will yield benefits to everyone.</p> <p>I don't think those benefits will exceed our losses, but they do exist.</p> <p>After diversifying your income internationally (always hard to do, but worth attempting), your next best move (for Americans) is to find ways to reduce purchases of imported goods. Just using less is always a good idea &mdash; the less fuel you burn, the less you have to buy with your weaker dollars. Where you can't (or don't want to) reduce your consumption, source as much of what you buy locally as possible.</p> <p>And, since those are all good things to do anyway, you can understand why producing a falling dollar isn't a mistake this time. They're doing it on purpose.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sinking-dollar-this-time-on-purpose">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/us-banks-and-the-tokyo-drift">U.S. Banks and the Tokyo Drift</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-unveiled">New $100 Bill Unveiled</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weird-money-facts-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-counterfeit-money">Weird Money Facts: 10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Counterfeit Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cities-you-never-knew-went-bankrupt">9 Cities You Never Knew Went Bankrupt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet">6 Ways a Donald Trump Presidency Could Impact Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News currency dollar value exchange rates Fri, 15 Oct 2010 13:00:05 +0000 Philip Brewer 262299 at http://www.wisebread.com