Tag Archives: digitalfinance

Lending Club: First Impressions Part III

So it’s been a couple of days since I signed up for lending club, and put in my bid for two notes. The problem I’m having is that I can’t seem to find where those bids live in this stage prior to funding the loan. I can search for new notes, and I see that I still have $50 in my account that hasn’t been used – but I know I have two bids waiting to go through. I want to check the status on them, but can’t find them. Do any of you know where I can do this on LendingClub.com?

The Carnival of Wealth, Money and Life

Welcome to the (belated) January 25, 2009 edition of carnival of wealth, money and life.

First off, I wanted to apologize (again) for this carnival being delayed. My first priority has been my job (working my ass off so I don’t get layed off), so I’m only finding time now to go through the submissions and get this carnival up.

In this economic climate, for most of us we want to know how to make the most of the jobs we currently have, the money we’ve made in the past (esp around tax time), and what to do if we’re caught unemployed – like so many who are losing their jobs each day around the world during this “Great Recession.”

Your Job (or lack thereof)
and Ways to Make Money in Tough Times

To start off, I’ll point y’all to Matthew Paulson’s write-up Are You Getting the Most from Your Employee Benefits posted at American Consumer News. Here, Paulson details how to get the most out of a Flexible Spending Plan (FSA.) I don’t have one, but if you do, he’s got some good advice for you.

Here’s some more invaluable advice. Wenchypoo offers up tips on how to Fireproof Your Job over at Wisdom From Wenchypoo’s Mental Wastebasket. So the tips are fairly obvious, and directly quoted from CNN (do a lot and make the company money and remain positive), but Wenchypoo also links up to her related past posts on getting the most out of your job, and keeping it. Also check out her bullet-point post Bail YOURSELF Out in 2009 for more of that obvious wisdom we need to hear daily.

Knowing how to deal with stress is always important, but when bills are piling up and your next paycheck is looking more and more uncertain, you need to keep your stress in check. Can’t afford a therapist, or a treat-all pill? Joel Gray presents Healthy Stress Management Tips over at Health Tips 101.

If you’re working as a freelance copywriter, the economy is probably hitting you hard. I’m aware of that first hand – my freelance writing well has dried up. Steven Lohrenz links back to an older post about the Prediction On Copywriters During The Financial Mess (posted at Stephen Dean’s Copywriting And Internet Advertising Blog – Copywriter.)

Whether or not you’re employed, you still have to pay taxes. (Who said life was fair?) Check out Ben’s post on Tax Forms to Gather For Your Tax Return over at Money Smart Life to get a head start (or a late start, if you’re one of those do-everything-ahead-of-time type people.)

Whatever Happened to the West-Coast American Dream?

the baglady asks Is this the death of the California dream? over at xynny. Apparently there has been a “mass exodus” from Cali over the past four years. How ironic that I moved into the state around that time. She writes “It’s really not a surprise to me because I have seen the rapid rise in cost of living, taxes, and unemployment in the past few years.” For her, California may no longer be the best place to realize the “Californian dream.”

Enough of This Pessimism, Start Making $$$!

*FIRE Getters lists the Top Ten Paid Survey Sites to Make Extra Money over at FIRE Finance.

*Dave presents Extra Income Ideas I at Cheapo Groovo.

*Malcolm Clarke writes why You Should Start a Business Now! at Mal255 – Poker Strategy, saying, “Why everyone should start a business and take control of their future today.”

*Kevin writes you can be Making Money with Affiliate Programs at Trafficteria.com Blog Optimization.

*Praveen presents Making Passive Income With Minimal Niche Sites posted at My Simple Trading System.

Save Your Pennies

Savings Toolbox presents Stashing Cash at Home posted at Savings Toolbox.

MoneyNing presents 50 Ways to Budget Travel and Save Money on Vacations posted at Money Ning, saying, “Being a frugal traveler can save you so much money!

Deposit Accounts presents Understanding the Differences Between a Money Market Deposit Account and a Money Market Mutual Fund posted at Deposit Accounts.

Frugal Living Tips

Annette Berlin presents How To Cook A Restaurant Quality Meal For Fifty Cents posted at Craft Stew, saying, “I just made myself a meal that was so good, so fast and so cheap that I have to brag about it.”

Denis O’Leary presents Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling in Today?s Economy posted at LEAD Construction.

The Smarter Wallet presents A Look At Costco, Sam’s Club and Other Wholesale Shopping Clubs posted at The Smarter Wallet, saying, “Thank you!”

Z.Petals presents Frugality and the Environment posted at zpetals.

Invest Now or Forever Hold Your Pense

Jeff Williamson
presents Best Way To Invest Money posted at PE Financial Services.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Lending Club Review: A Leading Peer To Peer Lending Network posted at The Digerati Life, saying, “With tighter credit these days, here is one option for obtaining liquidity in the financial system — through social lending.”

Pinyo Bhulipongsanon presents Five Reasons Lending Club Beats Credit Cards When Funding a Small Business posted at Moolanomy.

Investing School presents Bid Ask Spread posted at Investing School, saying, “Learn everything there is to know about bid, ask spreads”

Jed Norwood presents Volatility And Wider Spreads posted at Forex Strategy, saying, “This article is about the forex market, it helps explain why the market is the way it is. Fore ix a unique way to invest so if you haven’t already considered it I would look into it.”

The Shark Investor presents It’s Not Hard To Be Good posted at The Shark Investor.

Banks and the Housing Market

Dividends4Life presents Bank of America Headed Back to the TARP ATM posted at Dividends Value, saying, “Someone once said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. I think Bank of America (BAC) would take exception to that statement. BAC has been in the news all week and it has not been flattering. This once proud dividend aristocrat continues to struggle even after slashing its dividend.”

Tristan presents How Long Does It Take To Remortgage? posted at Find Financial Freedom, saying, “How long does it take to remortgage if you don’t have adequate income? A long time, same problem if you are in negative equity, or have bad credit. It’s a brave new world out there thanks to the credit crunch, the mortgage market is a much different place now than it used to be.”

Chris
presents Home, Mortgage, Landlords and Renters Insurance explained posted at Home I Own, saying, “How to choose the right type of insurance that will save you money.”

David presents How Much Home Can You Afford To Buy? posted at Personal Finance Ology, saying, “Calculating how much home you can afford is an important precursor to house hunting. Do your homework before investing your time and money!”


Keep Your Credit In Check

Finance Tips 101 presents Identity Theft Prevention Tips posted at Finance Tips 101.

Woman Tribune presents Living Off of Your Credit Cards posted at Woman Tribune.

The Investor presents The really obvious thing we all forget when borrowing money posted at Monevator.com, saying, “Have you ever wondered who you’re borrowing money off when you go into debt? If you think you’re being given money by a bank or credit card company, think again.”

The Dough Roller presents Business Credit Cards Guide posted at The Dough Roller, saying, “A complete guide to some of the best business credit cards.”

Debt Freedom Fighter presents Why Reading a Credit Card Review is Important posted at Discover Debt Freedom!. CreditCardAssist.com presents How to Travel With Credit Cards posted at Credit Cards Blog | CreditCardAssist.com. apply4-credit presents And the Credit Fraud Continues posted at Credit Card Applications Expert | Apply4-Credit.com. Mr Credit Card presents Fraud Alert vs. Freezing Your Credit Report posted at Ask Mr Credit Card. Credit Shout presents 0% Introductory APR: Golden Opportunity or Quicksand Trap? posted at CreditShout. David presents Citi PremierPass Elite Review posted at Credit Card Offers IQ, saying, “The Citi PremierPass Elite offers industry leading points rewards, including 20,000 bonus points.”

Finance Philosophy and Life Musings

Broderick Allen presents Persistence posted at Broderick Allen – Personal Growth and Enjoying Life’s Journey.

KCLau
presents Procrastinator, plucker, plotter, and prober posted at KCLau’s Money Tips, saying, “Recently I was reading the book titled “The Number: What do you need for the rest of your life and what will it cost?” A rundown on what the book has to offer”

Isaac Yassar presents How To Realize Happiness posted at Isaac Yassar’s Overture, saying, “People seek happiness. That is the reason of their studying and working, improving their personal quality to achieve success. The question is what will happen after we reach success. Probably the answer is getting piles of money and massive personal consciousness, the mediums to reach happiness. At least that is what most people think. Is that true?”

Ariel Bravy presents What Is Abundance? | You Are Truly Loved posted at You Are Truly Loved, saying, “Let’s better define “abundance” and notice how much it can positively affect our lives.”

Chris presents If You’re so Smart, Why Aren’t You Rich? posted at financial reflections, saying, “A few ideas on how to be smart with your money and end up rich.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of wealth, money and life using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Blogger Interview Tuesday w/ Mrs. Micah

I’m inspired by so many personal finance bloggers out there in cyberspace. That’s why I’m starting this interview series. Every other Tuesday I’ll (try to) post an interview with a top personal finance blogger. A special thanks to Mrs. Micah of Finance for a Freelance Life for agreeing to be my guinea pig. 🙂

Q: Mrs. Micah, what’s your blog about?

A: It’s hard for me to define my blog. It’s a personal finance blog, crossed with a freelance blog, crossed with a personal blog. I don’t write a lot about financial products or investing, I prefer to look at how our attitudes impact our finances or write abot practical financial steps people can take.

Q: Most people who write personal finance blogs have written about other topics before, and fell into PF blogging. Why did you start your blog Finance for a Freelance Life?
A: I started the blog just after getting married, when the reality of my husband’s student loans registered with me. He’d been open enough with a general amount, so I knew what I was getting into, but I hadn’t thought too much about how it would affect the next 10 years of my life.

Q: Did you write blogs before this?
A: I’ve been blogging for years, actually, I started at least 8 years ago. I’m not a financial professional, I write abot what interests me and I don’t want it to be taken as professional advice. I try to do good research and offer helpful suggestions/tools on the blog so that it can provide useful financial information.


Q: If you could tell yourself something 10 years ago relating to your financial habits that you know now, what would it be?
A: I think the younger me was pretty financially disiciplined. But I would tell her to make use of high-interest savings accounts, CDs, and even start saving a bit for retirement. I saved a good bit, but I was only earning 0.2% interest on my savings! I’m not sure when high-interest savings came into vogue, but I know CDs were available.

Q: What’s the one biggest mistake you’ve made in your financial life?
A: I used to think that all I had to do was save money, I was scared of investing or using higher-reward banking tools. As I said above, I’d tell my younger self to get more on the ball about this. Because I’m still quite young, I don’t feel like this has caused a major financial problem in my life but I do wish I could change it. Or you could say that the biggest financial life mistake was marrying someone with $100k in student loans. But the rest of my life doesn’t think it was a mistake, so I’d do it over. 🙂

Q: What financial advice do you have for people in their 20s?
A: It’s not too early to start saving for retirement. And you don’t have to have it all right away. Just because you got married or had another life event doesn’t mean that you now need a house, etc, if you can’t afford one. Don’t let your finances get you down, there are plenty of ways to enjoy life without spending much.

Q: What of your financial goals were the most rewarding to reach in the past?
A: When I was 16, I set the goal of buying a new violin. Saved like crazy and was able to find one I still enjoy playing. Then when I was 17, I went to Europe to visit my aunt and uncle. They paid for a good portion of the trip, but I covered a lot of it.

Q: Do you have any financial goals for 2009?
I’d like to pay off the car in 2009, get that out of the way. We’ll do this by using my blog income, my consulting income, and Micah’s teaching income while living off my library job. It should be doable. My goal is to put at least $1k/month towards it. I’m going to have to figure out whether or not that’s realistic. I’ll be writing about it on my blog once I get logistics figured out. I plan to have that done by mid-January, when I get my 2nd paycheck.

Q: It’s great that your blog is profitable, congrats! Do you have any tips or tricks to share on how to earn more revenue on a blog?

A: My blog does earn quite a bit more than the average one. I think it’s important to make sure your blog is at least somewhat search engine optimized, at least using plugins like All In One SEO or Headspace2. That shouldn’t be done at the expense of content, but it’s important to make your content available. Good search engine traffic will affect both PPC ads and CPM ads. And give it time. I made no money for almost 6 months at the beginning and then things took off.

Q: You write a lot about the challenges of a freelance lifestyle. What are the biggest challenges of being a freelancer and how have you dealt with them?

A: I think the biggest challenge is having faith that you’ll be able to find work. Otherwise the freelance life is terrifying. And sometimes I was truly terrified. It wasn’t rational, I knew I’d look for work and had found work in the past, but it was still frightening.

Other challenges include taxes, for which I’m hiring an accountant, and handling rates with clients. The latter can be quite difficult, depending on the client. It’s partially a matter of not wanting the client to get upset and partially how the client interacts. Some have a great sense of boundaries and others aren’t sure. I expect some of that comes from how I’ve communicated with them about what I’ll be doing. Financially, you can’t be doing 10 hours of work priced at only 5 hours.

Q: Do you have any tax advice for other independent contractors?

A: Save all expense receipts, log them in a spreadsheet as well as keeping hard copies, and turn them over to your accountant to help you figure out which can count as unreimbursed business expenses. Also keep detailed spreadsheets of your earnings (along with dates and client names, I also include the nature of the work). And reserve some of your income for taxes so you won’t have to come up with anything you owe at the last minute.

Q: Who are your favorite bloggers/writers?

A: One of the bloggers I’ve been enjoying the most recently is Vered at MomGrind. I’ve been reading her blog off and on for a while now, but I really started appreciating her voice this fall. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t feel like she has any kind of agenda. She just writes, she’s a good writer, and it’s always interesting or funny.

Q: What free/low-cost thing or activity makes you happiest?
A: Reading. I love stories, I love learning about new subjects. And I like mixing it up with mysteries, thrillers, classics, paperback romances, and then non-fiction. One of my favorite things to do is sit down with a good story and have an hour to lose myself in it.

Using Mint.com to Teach My Mom About Personal Finance

My mom has a habit of… spending. And spending. And spending some more.

With my dad’s current state of health, it is more important than ever for her to learn about where the money goes and where it comes from. Living across the country from my mom, it’s really hard to teach her the ins and outs of personal finance.

With Mint.com, however, the distance education is possible.

My mom doesn’t get bills, but she does get the trend charts that break down her spending in pie graph form. She’s starting to get into seeing where her money is going, and that’s a huge leap for her. She’s not at the point yet where she’ll stop spending, but knowing that she’ll have to see her transactions appear in a pie chart make her think twice before spending.

She’s having some trouble adding all her accounts to the site and long distance debugging w/ my technically illiterate mother is difficult. But Mint’s UI is quality — even my mom can figure out how to use it, and that says a lot.

Have you gotten your parents or older friends/family to sign up for Mint (or another personal finance online site)?

Today I’m Thankful For… Twitter!

Today I’m thankful for…

Twitter. Ok, so it’s not exactly free because I need the internet to access it, but it’s close enough to free that it counts.

I’ve been on Twitter for a while, but used it as nothing more than a place to write silly little answers to the “What are you doing?” question. Only this week did I realize that I have been a fool for not using it for the tool it is — one that helps me connect with other personal finance bloggers, and anyone interested in the subject.

Since getting more involved in Twitter, I’ve started following a bunch of interesting people. It’s a little overwhelming, but for the time being I’m enjoying reading as much as I can in my free time.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, add @everycentcounts

Mint Launches iPhone App!


When I see an iPhone, I think about that time when I was 4 and I craved a Nintendo game system. I didn’t need it, but I wanted it. I got it for my birthday at some point, but the big difference was that it didn’t require a $70 per month data fee.

Mint – my favorite online finance site – just announced the launch of their brand new iPhone app . So if you have already splurged on an iPhone (or plan to in the near future), the good news is that at least now you can use it to budget for those high data fees.

Their screenshoots look pretty, and pretty much like their website in mini form, so I’m sure the user experience is just at top-notch as the one found at Mint.com.

If you refuse to pay such high data fees and don’t have an iPhone, Mint also lets you text “Balance” to MYMINT to find out what your balances are on the go. I haven’t used that functionality yet, but I’ll have to try it sometime since I’m one of those kids w/ out an iPhone.

They’ve come a long way since their private beta. There are lots of copycat companies these days trying to make a buck in the personal finance website and mobile space. A few new ones on my radar are Rudder (the first actual Mint competitor I’ve seen that’s in the same ballpark), Thrive, and Greensherpa. I haven’t had the time to review any of these fully yet, but I hope too do a detailed update on the personal finance startup space sometime soon.

Updated PF Reader

In addition to redesigning my site, I’ve taken some time to update the Personal Finance Reader.

For those of you who haven’t checked out my PF Reader before – it’s basically a feed of the top personal finance blogs on the web. I admit, it used to be kind of crappy, but with the update it looks much better. It’s basically my Google Reader feed of all the PF blogs I track. If I’m missing your blog and you think it’s good enough to be on it, let me know and I’ll gladly add it.

Check out the Updated PF Reader here. In the future you can get to it by clicking on the “PF Blogs” tab on the top of this page.

Care to Prosper? P2P Lending Update

I’m rather risk adverse when it comes to my finances, but the idea of person-to-person lending has enough reward behind the risk for me to take some chance on the newly-minted credit market.

My Prosper plan is to handpick one listing per month to fund. I transfer $50 from my paycheck to Prosper and decide on a listing that I think is worthy. Most often I chose folks in the A or AA category (though I recently went as low as C) and I pick people who are trying to get a lower rate on their credit debt or who need smaller amounts of money for important things like house repairs, doctors bills, etc. I try to stay away from business loans.

Here’s an update on how my Prosper accounts are doing (none have defaulted yet, knock on wood.)

Total Account Value: $357.43
Amount Invested: $350

Average Interest Rate: 14.76%

[[6 loans out, $50 each]]


Loan Title $ Interest
Rate
Credit
Grade
Principal
balance
Paying off/ Consolidating Credit Cards $50.00 16.00% C $0.00 Current
Let me pay you instead $50.00 17.00% B $1.06 Current
Termites have destroyed my home, $50.00 15.55% A $2.21 Current
Paying off Adoption Credit Debt $50.00 19.33% B $2.11 Current
Help Me Study Abroad ** Relist #2** $50.00 13.00% B $4.66 Current
Emergency Home Repairs – Winter $50.00 7.00% AA $5.06 Current

Business & Personal Loans. Great Rates. Prosper.

Introducing The Wealth, Money & Life Network (WML-Net)

I’m thrilled to announce the debut of The Wealth, Money & Life Network (WML-Net). Composed of a select group of kick-ass personal finance bloggers, The Wealth, Money & Life Network will provide information on saving, smart spending, and how major finance topics effect different locations and age groups.

The WML-Net is made up of a diverse group of individuals. Our ages span across the 20s, 30s and into the 40s (I’m the youngest at 24!). We are located in different parts of the U.S.; ranging from the east coast to the west coast, from the midwest to the southwest to the deep-south. Our backgrounds are varied and include careers, education, income streams and lifestyles. Some of us have debt, while others do not. There are those who are married, with and without children, while others are single. Some of us have a college degree, some us are prospering without one.

We are excited about this opportunity to share with you what we have to offer. Realizing that no two situations are alike, our diverse group will provide multiple perspectives and insights which will allow you to identify the one that most closely aligns to your circumstances.

Each month we will present a topic and approach it based on our own unique experiences. This month, we are going to discuss Emergency Funds. I certainly look forward to hearing about each member’s approach to establishing and maintaining an emergency fund. If you would like to share your thoughts on an emergency fund, feel free to contact any of us to add it to the network post at The Wealth, Money & Life Network site.

Be sure to pay a visit the other The Wealth, Money & Life Network member sites and subscribe to their feed, and my feed, if you haven’t done so already. The links below will get you there quickly!

Also, be sure to visit The Wealth, Money & Life Network site. If you would like to participate in our first Carnival of Wealth, Money and Life, click here.

We look forward to sharing our financial and life experiences with you in the future!

A Moment Like This

I’ve always dreamed of being the Suze Orman for Generation Y. Unfortunately my somewhat limited knowledge of finance makes me ill suited to be the queen bee of twentysomething spending and saving.

However, this blog and my “persona” in the personal finance community has been getting a decent amount of attention. The latest has been an e-mail from a producer at a local news station that is doing a story about money – and she wants me in the story.

I have a lot to say about personal finance, especially when it comes to educating people my age about saving and smart spending. But I’m nervous that I’ll just come off sounding the fool.

It’s also quite scary, given that I started this blog to have a place to write anonymously about personal finance and now I’m going to be somewhat “outed.” Not that everyone and their mother will be watching this particular broadcast at the specific time the story airs, but someone will see it.

There is a blessing and a curse to writing so honestly. More people want to read when you’re letting your thoughts out raw. It can also get you into more trouble.

I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written in this blog. But they are things I wouldn’t talk about in public, or with my actual identity attached to them. I kind of like having this anonymous space to rant about all things money and career related.

But… the big but.. is if I ever want to build a name for myself in personal finance, maybe gain enough cred to one day write a book about the subject (which is my goal at this point) then I’m going to have to “out” myself one day.

I’m just amazed at how this little blog has gotten so much attention in such little time. I guess that just attests to how interested people are in money and saving. But looking at the personal finance section in the local Borders could have told me that…