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This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

You have probably heard it before: At the end of yet another melancholy rant about how bad things are in America, someone inevitably adds “… and then the dollar is so weak, too.” Well, lament no longer because the dollar recently reached a seven-year high. How is the dollar measured? The U.S. dollar is used to measure so many things. The gold price is quoted around…


This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

Want to start a fight? Announce that you’ll be shopping on Thanksgiving Day. A whole bunch of folks will likely sigh and mourn the once-was-sacred Thanksgiving dinner with family. Why, they’ll ask, would anyone want to shop on this day? Why would anyone force retail clerks into manning their posts even though they’d rather be home melting marshmallows atop sweet-potato casseroles? One such…


This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

Looking for a new job is a multi-faceted process. Many of the aspects of career-building that I have been discussing recently are applicable even if you are just trying to keep a job you already have. But laying the groundwork for a successful job search is about more than just your reputation. A job search can take months — in some cases, up to a year…


This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

When you think about getting extra money for the holidays, your first thought may be to get a job at your local mall. Retail is certainly one of the easier industries to break into to find a holiday job, and this year’s retail numbers are expected to be much better than in recent years. But your next thought may be that we are right on the cusp…


This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

As I mentioned in my last article, I experimented with paying cash only for my October groceries. I had only one goal in mind: Spend less on groceries so I could save more money each month. Well, my little experiment opened a whole can of worms. The Experiment Basically, I always try to keep my grocery spending in check, but I usually don’t limit quantity or variety…


This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

My husband and I got married in December of 2005 and spent the first few years of our marriage enjoying each other without the responsibility of children. Then, after a few years, I found myself longing for a child of our own. Unfortunately, a giant roadblock stood in our way — our health insurance plan did not cover maternity. Those were the days before the new…


This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

At another site, I recently wrote about a tool that shows you online prices in terms of hours worked. I used a random item — a fancy coffee maker that costs $116 — as an example. It would take someone who earned $38 an hour approximately three hours of work to pay for that item. A reader replied that, if they made $38 an hour, they…


This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

At the beginning of October, I slipped five crisp Benjamins into my purse. I don’t usually carry any cash at all, so I was feeling flush with $500 in my pocket. It was all part of a simple experiment: Could I save on my grocery budget if I only paid in cash? While I will share more in the future about what I specifically learned about groceries…


This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

Nearly two thirds of Americans are planning to travel at least once between Thanksgiving Day and New Years Day this year, according to the Orbitz Holiday Travel Insider Index. The survey is based off the popular site’s consumer research and booking data, which also indicates that 60 percent of travelers are willing to spend as much as $2,500 on their getaway. Most travelers (68 percent) plan to…


This article is by staff writer Robert Brokamp.

A discussion about personal finances can be a polite, congenial affair. Few people come to blows over insurance or budgeting. But some topics inflame financial passions, and one of them is investing. Fellow GRS e-scribe William Cowie encountered this a couple weeks ago when he advocated for investing in individual stocks in certain situations. I thought I would pass along a few thoughts of my own, given…


This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

I have never had much patience for dwelling. Time is a limited resource and I want to use it in the best possible way. Dwelling is a waste. I also have little patience for sweeping things under the rug and pretending to be happy when I’m not. Ignoring a problem is a great way to ensure it will come back to haunt you later. Plus, in…


This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

Exchange-traded funds (commonly known as ETFs) are a relative newcomer to the American investment scene, having been approved to be publicly traded by the New York Stock Exchange just over 20 years ago. However, in that time, they have managed to capture about $1.7 trillion in investor money. Why are they so popular, and should you consider investing in them? Over the past 40 years we…


This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle.

Though our family has already had one sneak peek, cold and flu season is about ready to really get started. Because I would like avoid as many sick visits to the doctor as I possibly can, I decided to check out our medicine cabinet and make sure it is ready for this winter — and beyond. What you should include in your medicine cabinet Obviously, what…


This article is by editor Linda Vergon. A 2006 study from The William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan showed how media coverage of the 2004 tsunami influenced charitable donations. For their analysis, they had to isolate the effect media coverage had on donations, so they controlled for tax incentives, agency-specific effects, and “donor fatigue” (meaning that more exposure to an event caused people to be less willing to donate). What they found was…


This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Recently, I’ve been posting on job-related topics like networking strategies and job tenure. Because my current position entails working with college students, I’ve been asked on numerous occasions to talk to various undergraduate groups about getting into graduate school. In fact, I’m giving one such presentation next week. Many of the things I cover in such presentations are also broadly applicable to any situation where you are competing…


This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I get frustrated when people don’t understand what it means to be frugal. A few criticisms of frugality I’ve come across: Frugality is a waste of time. Frugality distracts you from earning more money. Frugal people deny themselves of any enjoyment. I’ve already written in detail about how these arguments are silly. They might apply to being cheap, but they don’t apply to being frugal. The point…


This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Americans might be more responsible now than they were in the early 2000s when it comes to the use of credit. At least, that’s what the evidence from a Gallup poll taken earlier this year seems to suggest. The Gallup poll, which was based on random telephone interviews with 1,026 adults, shows that a full 48 percent claim to pay their credit card balances in full when…


This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. While it wasn’t a dark and stormy night yet, an ice storm was coming. The last time we’d had an ice storm, we were kidless, and we lost power for five days. The romance of sleeping in front of the fireplace quickly cooled off along with the temperature in the house. If we lost power again, 39 degrees just wasn’t going to be acceptable with two kids. That’s…


This article is a guest post by Maggie O’Neill. Thanks to my big brother — and by that I mean my oldest brother — I’ve always had an interest in savings and retirement planning, although I haven’t been able to do much more than think about it until lately. That oldest brother, Pete, is the person responsible for opening my eyes to investing and, in fact, made the first financial stake for me when I was…


This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp. Would you like to know how much your friends or relatives have in their 401(k)s? Of course you would! And once you found out, you’d compare their balances to yours. After all, most of us want to know how we’re doing compared to everyone else — so we can endeavor to keep up or even do better. Call it “beating the Joneses.” Perhaps it’s a vestige…


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