Tag Archives: personal finance

Personal Finance Should Be Taught in High School

President Obama, watching over years of personal finance deterioration due to Americans largely not understanding how to manage their finances, has declared April Financial Literacy Month.

Americans’ ability to build a secure future for themselves and their families requires the navigation of an increasingly complex financial system.  As we recover from the worst economic crisis in generations, it is more important than ever to be knowledgeable about the consequences of our financial decisions.  During National Financial Literacy Month, we recommit to improving financial literacy and ensuring all Americans have access to trustworthy financial services and products. — President Obama

It’s all well and good that Obama has declared April Financial Literacy Month, but that isn’t going to go a long way in educating teens and 20 somethings about how to mange their money. Thank goodness for the Internet, and personal finance bloggers. While news articles on retirement investing are generally targeted at 40-60 somethings, the news content on the web teaching about personal finance to those of us in our 20s in slim. Without the personal finance blogs I found in my early 20s, I would have never opened up a Roth IRA, a separate investing account, or bothered to explore my investment options outside of CDs. Retirement hadn’t even crossed my mind. Continue reading

First-Ever Carnival of Female Personal Finance Bloggers

Welcome to the first-ever edition of the Carnival of Female Personal Finance Bloggers!
Thanks for all of your great submissions. Posts in this carnival must be written by female personal finance bloggers. That’s not to say guys don’t write great posts, but this carnival is specifically geared towards highlighting female PF bloggers.
That said… I don’t have time to go through the submissions this second, but I want to get this carnival up on time. If you could do me a HUGE favor and comment w/ any of the posts that are not written by female bloggers, I’d appreciate it — and will clean up the list when I have a free second to breathe. 🙂
For those of you who mentioned you were interested in hosting next month’s carnival, I will be in touch soon!
Topics…

debt

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Hapless Home Buyer?s Guide posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

Tiffani G Peterson presents Credit History Repair: What If It’s Beyond Repair? posted at Credit Repair Secrets.

KCLau presents Case Study: Consolidating Personal Loan, Mortgage and Credit Card Debt posted at KCLau’s Money Tips, saying, “Managing debts…”

Jacqueline Gharibian presents 5 Tips On Credit Repair posted at Debt Management Help,Get Debt Help, saying, “In today’s world, credit is essential. Most of us use credit almost every day without even thinking about it: credit cards, car payments, house payments, etc.

frugality

Lulu presents Why I Am Keeping My Budget The Same After A Salary Increase posted at How I Save Money.net, saying, “Even though I got a salary increase I am going to live on my previous budget.”

Kelly Whalen presents restaurant savings: coupons, books and sites to save your bread posted at the ¢entsible life, saying, “I cover ways you can save bread when eating out. This post also includes my appearance on a local morning show.”

Ornella “Nelly” Grosz presents SEXY MONEY posted at Moneylicious.

The Debtress presents Money-Saving Tips: No-Spend Days posted at – The Debtress Blog –, saying, “No-spend days are a great way to exercise your frugality muscles. Get some tips on no-spend days.”

Ken and Daria Dolan presents Simple Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bill From “Daily Money Dish”, A Blog by Cindy Butehorn, Ken Dolan, Daria Dolan: Dolans.com posted at Dolans.com – Daily Money Dish, saying, “With winter right around the corner and heating prices already heating up, here are simple ways to cut your utility costs!”

FIRE Getters presents The Witch of Wall Street – Henrietta “Hetty” Green posted at FIRE Finance.

money, savings & life

me in millions presents No spend? posted at me in millions, saying, “A post about questioning “No Spend Days” that some bloggers have. It generated some interesting comments.”

Jessie presents Clothing Fund posted at Jessie’s Money.

Khan Ben presents B-Schools Seek Boost By Targeting Women posted at Higher Education and Career Blog, saying, “Some of the nation’s top business schools are scrambling to break a glass ceiling on female enrollment. Here’s how they’re trying to reach out to prospective students.”

Braudis Lee Pegram presents New SBA Online Training For Women Entrepreneurs posted at The koH Resources Blog.

Sarah Eliza presents Wallet-Friendly Ways to Make a Difference TODAY, aka “Broke” and “Charitable” can still go hand-in-hand! ;P posted at Devastate Boredom, saying, “Thank you for your time and consideration! :)”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of female personal finance blog
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
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Do you want to be included in The Personal Finance Reader?

If you haven’t seen, I added a link to my “Personal Finance Reader” up top (yup, up there, to your left right (i am so dyslexic)) a while back. This is basically an updated blogroll including my favorite personal finance blogs.

If you want to be included in the list (which will update with a link to your blog whenever you update your blog), leave a comment here or e-mail me at hereverycentcounts@yahoo.com

Want to keep up to date on the best of the personal finance blogosphere?

Bookmark:
http://personalfinancereader.blogspot.com/

***Please leave your blog address in your comment so I can add it.***

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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Cue the Trump Theme Song

I didn’t expect this blog to bring in any extra pay, but I put up some Google Ads to see if I could make some extra cash off of those. Income from the Google Ads turns out to be really random. Some days I’ll get a lot of clicks and other days they’ll be worthless. I think a lot of people are just so numb to Adsense ads these days. I don’t blame them. Then again, if I see an in site ad that is interesting to me on someone else’s site, I often click the ad. Rarely does it amount to me making a purchase on whatever it is the advertiser is selling, but I’ve visited sites that I found through advertising before.

Anyway, I’ve been contacted by a few advertisers lately who want to put ads on my page. I’m flattered, really. It’s certainly encouragement to keep up on this blog, as apparently there is some value to write all there is to know about my oh-so-exciting personal finances. Thus far one ad has gone up, and I’m currently in talks with a few other advertisers that may or may not work out.

This post, though, is to note that as of today, I’ve made my first successful ad sale for this site. I’m amazed, because I wasn’t even fishing for advertisers yet. I mean, I planned to later down the line when I had the site actually looking good and more content that would be useful to people. Right now, this blog has kind of turned into my quasi-anonymous bitch fest with a few useful entries splattered about. I really want to change that and make this site more about looking at what I’ve learned about personal finance and job hunting, and help others with what I know.

I’m not really sure how many readers I have right now. I get a decent amount of traffic, but according to my feed reader button only 13 people have signed up for my feed. I say “only,” but really I think it’s pretty cool that 13 ‘strangers’ are reading my blog on a fairly regular basis. My public blog, which is now mostly friends only, has tons of readers… but it’s over on livejournal and any money made from adsense ads there goes directly to LJ. I do like how Blogger seems to be pretty open to advertising, or at least splitting ad revenue with bloggers. What have they got to lose? Google makes most of the money from Adsense anyway. But I don’t mind that. At least I feel like I have the opportunity to control whether I want ads on my site, and if I do, make some money from them. I mean, enough to buy a few cups of Starbucks per month.

Well, Don’t I Feel Important?

This week I was interviewed for a Newsweek.com article on online personal finance sites like Mint, Wesabe, Geezeo, Yodlee and all the rest. I didn’t expect for my quote to end up in the lede. Ok, so here goes my anonymity, but I think it’s worth pointing to a personal finance article where I was quoted on my personal finance blog.

The thing is, my quote on there isn’t exactly right. It’s not wrong either, it’s just that I didn’t say “I’ll stick with that” when I was talking about Yodlee. I basically was saying that for now, I’m sticking with Yodlee because they have all the features I want. As soon as Mint ads the ability to track my mutual funds and such, I’ll go back to using that site. Actually, I still use that site, but I use Yodlee to keep track of my net worth since it’s interesting to see how my overall savings goes up or down depending on how the market is doing.

The funny thing is, Mint is powered by Yodlee’s back-end software, so they’re both very similar sites. It’s just that for one reason or another, Mint has yet to add Yodlee’s full functionality to its site. But I have a feeling they will at some point, and the day they do is the day I stop logging into Yodlee.

I wouldn’t mind so much that my quote says I’m going to stick with Yodlee, except I recently wrote this glowing review of Mint for a technology blog I used to work for — and I didn’t just change my mind. But if anyone read both articles, I’ll sound like a hypocrite. And no one likes a hypocrite.

Oh well.

Got into the Mint beta!

However, I’m sworn to secrecy about its inner workings. But I will say – extremely vaguely – that I’m very excited to see what the Mint team has done. There’s a few kinks that still need to be worked out, of course – that’s to be expected in private beta, but I have a feeling Mint will end up winning me over amongst all the PF sites out there (I’ve also used Wesabe and Geezeo thus far.)

If you want your own invite, go over to http://www.mint.com and ask for one yourself. 🙂

Attempting to learn how to Budget with Beehive

Thanks to an anonymous poster for reminding me how I really need to start budgeting. After my little shopping trip to the local mall the other day, I realized just how little control I have over my spending. One of my biggest problems (and I know I’m fortunate to even have this problem) is that I have $20k+ in savings, so often I feel like even though I shouldn’t be spending that money (I should be SAVING it for grad school or a house) – but it just feels like those bigger ticket items are so unreachable that I might as well just spend my money now. And I get such a rush buying clothes. Especially ones that I feel good about buying… when I feel like I’ve bought items that I’ll wear again and again. It makes the endorphins kick in. Shopping is my drug. But it’s an expensive habit. And I need to quit it.

In any case, I’ve decided to try to make a budget and to… hopefully… stick to it. There’s no reason I can’t get through a month on a monthly salary of about $3000. It’s pathetic that I’m still losing money. Ok, so I haven’t actually gotten through my first “full” month of work, so last month was just a mess financially anyway, with my time off between jobs and everything. In any case, I looked online to find some budgeting tools, and of course, I found a zillion. I picked one out at random…

Beehive basically helps you make your budget. I’m going through right now and filling in all of my income and expense information. This should help me see exactly how much money I have to use to budget per month.

I’m trying to estimate low for non-fixed income, since I’d rather end up with more money at the end of the year than less. When they asked how much I make per year in investments, I put down $200. I think my CDs probably take in about $300 per year, but the way my other investments… Roth IRA and Mutual Fund are doing, I’ll be lucky if I break even this year.

Meanwhile, I’m estimating high on most expenses. I’m really confused on how to budget, but I guess ultimately if I put in $100 a month for clothing I NEED to stick to that.

Here’s what I’m budgeting for non-fixed expenses…

(per month)

Clothing: $100 (um, can I really just spend $100 a month on clothing?) $200: I don’t have to spend all $200, but I’d rather save some money for clothing each month and then go on a massive shopping spree, as opposed to only having $100 to spend.
Gasoline: $250 (it’s been that high in the past few months because of all of my commuting for various reasons. In september, my gas costs should come down quite drastically, but it can’t hurt to estimate high, right?
Entertainment
: $200. Should include alcohol costs. Because that’s what adds up.
Beauty: $100. I figure between eyebrow/face waxing, and my occasional hair cut, beauty costs average out to about a hundred a month. Maybe I should estimate higher. Hmm.
Alcohol: $50. Here, I’ll through in an extra $50 for those rare months when I actually have a social life.
Travel: $100. That’d get me to Hawaii in a year.

Anyway…

Now I’m entering in “Assets”

I’m confused as to how I should record my assets for my investments. Should I note how much I put into the funds, or how much currently exists in the funds? It doesn’t look like there is a spot to track the funds, or to note how much its average earnings (or losses) are per year. Hmm.

I guess I’ll put in what they’re currently worth. It will make me less sad to start off with a smaller amount in my budget anyway. And I can kind of (try to) forget that thus far my investments have lost $400.

15 minutes later.

Ok, so I’ve decided “Beehive” sucks as a budget tool. I really wish there were an easy way to make a budget and track my finances.

One thing I don’t like about Beehive is that when you’re inputing your expenses for the month, it lumps all your “personal expenses” together. That includes everything from clothing to gasoline. What I really need is a breakdown of my “personal expenses” spending. I guess it’s not a terrible idea to start thinking of it as a lump sum, because then I might be motivated to spend less on eating out in order to support my shopping addiction. But, still, I think it’s important for me to break down my spending via category, and see where the money goes each month.

Meanwhile, I find it’s really difficult to keep track of expenses that I am supposed to get reimbursed for at work. I feel like they should be counted separately, but I need to make sure to note that any future income that’s actually reimbursement needs to cancel out.

Does anyone out there know of a good way to make (and keep) a budget? Help!

15 Ideas for a Better Personal Finance Site: My Big Hopes for Geezeo, Wesabe, Mint

I’m still going back and forth between Wesabe and Geezeo. I’m curious to see what Mint has up its sleeves. For the time being, the sites don’t offer exactly what I want. Since I don’t have the time or skills to code my own perfect PF site, I figured I’d write out what the site would be like…

1. Sign In – would auto save my name, securely, on my computer.

2. Accounts – site would automatically update all of my accounts, including checking, savings, CD’s, and mutual fund accounts.

3. Graphs: Home Page would display relevant graphs/charts regarding my monthly spending versus income. Detailed graphs would be available to customize. For instance, I could place a graph on my homepage that would chart my monthly gas spending.

4. Tagging: each item would auto tag accurately as close as possible.

5. Tagging, part two: Retagging (or adding more tags) to items on a statement should be easy, and not require any additional drop down windows. Each item should include an entry text box where tags can be added. Each tag would autosave after a space is inserted. Double word tags would not require quotation marks. Tags would be separated by commas.

6. There would be a way to alter the date posted for income/spending since often I deposit my checks late or pay bills late. I still want to track these payments/income based on the month they should be posted for.

7. Graphics: Have little images for each basic tag.

8. Have separate tag/box to mark as “to be reimbursed” and a reminder to check that reimbursement has gone through

9. Optional income breakdown chart, for those of us who earn money from a variety of sources

10. Comparison on mutual fund income/losses versus other user’s investments.

11. Easy mobile access to my accounts.

12. Ability for all the accounts to “understand” each other. So if I transfer a certain amount of money from checking to an investment, it is not posted as spending for the month (it can be counted in separate investment category)

13. Budget tools: Ability to create charts w/ predetermined expenses, to know how much extra cash to spend/save per month is available.

14. Ability to pay bills directly through site, including cell phone bill and cable bill (I know this is a long shot, but It’d be nice)

15. Widgets and graphic saves that include graphs of above information that can be easily pasted in my blog.

Personal Finance Online: Geezeo versus Wesabe

I was Googling “personal finance widgets” when I found myself stumbling on two personal finance network startups. I found Geezeo first, and then through minimal research found out about its competitor Wesabe. The process to sign up for Geezeo was much easier, so for the time being I plan on using that site to explore the world of online personal finance social networking.

While I haven’t had a chance to surf around the site yet, thus far I easily imported my checking and credit card account information to my main page. I’m a little nervous about throwing my banking passwords at any web startup, as I’m sure while 99 percent of them have the best intentions, any little error in security could equate to a depletion of my bank accounts. And that would be so not cool.

In any case, I’m really tired of dealing with Bank of America’s “My Portfolio” tools — which have so many bugs they’re actually discontinuing the feature. Now that I’m attempting to move some funds over to a Roth IRA and Vanguard Index Fund again (the first attempt fell through, I guess I didn’t enter my checking account in correctly) it would be nice to track everything in one spot.

My biggest qualm with Geezeo at the moment is that they don’t support brokerage accounts yet… so for now, I can’t actually access my Vanguard or CD accounts. They’re obviously working to enable this feature soon, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and be patient. At some point my patience will run thing and I’ll check out Wesabe.

On another note, what’s up with the names of these sites? Maybe they have some deeper meaning, but I’m confused. “Geezeo,” what’s that about? It makes me think of some old geezer. If anything, I do get a general idea of being a poor old geezer, and wanting to save for retirement. Meanwhile “Wesabe,” which likely means something in another language, just brings to mind the hot green sauce that comes alongside Sushi. And what does that have to do with personal finance? Is it because Sushi is so gosh darn expensive? 🙂