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Tools


  • A better way to calculate the value of your time (20 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. It’s both fascinating and useful to calculate the value of your time. Financial freedom gives you options and flexibility. But without time, that means nothing. Time is a precious resource that we should spend wisely. But you already know this – we’ve written about it quite a bit. Knowing the value of your time is helpful for a variety of reasons: If you’re a freelancer, it can help you…

  • The opportunity fund: How to be prepared for lucky breaks (32 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to retire early. The first step on the road to financial freedom is to eliminate debt. The second is to save for emergencies. Your emergency fund acts as self-insurance, cushioning you from small disasters. Life is full of unexpected surprises, many of which cost money…

  • What Are the Best Financial Accounts and Tools Available? (49 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. As a personal-finance blogger, it’s my responsibility to keep up-to-date on the latest in the financial industry. Whose advice is worth heeding? (And whose advice sucks?) What are the current tax rates? Where’s the best place to save…

  • Get Your Shit Together (11 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. As I return to writing at Get Rich Slowly, one of my resolutions is to share interesting apps and websites with you folks promptly instead of sitting on them while I wait for the ideal moment. In the…

  • How (and why) to create a financial plan (40 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. A few weeks ago, I celebrated another birthday. For whatever reason, birthdays always make me think about how many more birthdays I have to celebrate. And eventually, I think about how my husband would handle the finances in the event of my death. Happy birthday, huh? Although I am unlikely to die anytime soon, you never know. When thinking about my earthly exit, I am bothered most…

  • New recipes on the cheap: The Pinterest strategy (78 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. When I became a vegetarian 10+ years ago, I bought two cookbooks: a 20-minutes-or-less cookbook and a five-ingredients-or-less cookbook. I was trying to keep things simple. I got by on these two cookbooks for a long time, mostly because while I was cooking as a student I lived in places with antique gas stoves. I was afraid to use anything but the stovetop, my toaster oven or the microwave…

  • Investing in your investing education: A resource list (23 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. Investing isn’t new to me. I opened my first CD in high school back in the good old days of 5 percent interest, and I started contributing to my 401(k) as soon as I was eligible (at age 21). I did everything right according to the articles I read. I: Contributed enough to get the maximum employer match Saved/invested around 10 percent of my income Opened up…

  • Earning More vs. Spending Less, Round 2: It Takes Money to Make Money (121 comments)

    This is the second installment of a series. The first article can be found here. Last week I spent a thousand bucks on a phone.  I paid full price for it, in cash, no contract.  It’s not the phone I originally intended to buy though. I had first picked a little HTC phone that was cheap and had an old version of Android in it, and it was on sale for $180.  A modest, frugal smartphone.The…

  • Four-Week Financial Boot Camp (6 comments)

    Yesterday I wrote about three 30-day challenges that can help you start forming new habits, and I recently learned about one more. MyMoneyCircles is offering a four-week personal finance boot camp, starting on January 9. The site aims to combine expert money-management advice with social circles to make success quick and easy. Leading the boot camp is The Money Coach, nationally known personal finance expert and New York Times best-selling author Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, who teaches…

  • The Many Ways to Know and Control the Flow of Your Dough (57 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. How do you know what it costs to be you? That’s my question for the day, dear GRS reader. I’ve come a bit full-circle in what I think is most important when it comes…

  • Ask the Readers: Which Financial Products Do You Actually Use? (143 comments)

    The financial blogging conference last week was great. My colleagues and I had a lot of thought-provoking discussions, not only in the planned sessions but also late at night in the hotel lobby. One of these impromptu chats focused on the financial products we actually use. Financial bloggers do a lot of product reviews. (I do them too, but I think they’re tedious. Besides, I think there are some ethical grey areas with product reviews,…

  • A Quick and Easy Way to Check the Status of Your Tax Refund (17 comments)

    This morning I posted my annual review of the Consumer Reports auto issue. Now might be a good time to publish another annual reminder: It’s tax refund season! If you have a refund due this year and you’re getting antsy for it, you can check its status easily with this simple web-based tool from the IRS web site. You’ll need to provide your social security number, marital status, and exact refund amount in order for…

  • Back to the Stone Age: Low-Tech Expense Tracking (93 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. As many of you know, before I was a GRS staff writer, I was a GRS reader and active commenter. I’d say the bulk of my early personal-finance education came from this website, and it’s most definitely the resource I credit for spurring me to get serious about paying off debt and saving money. So last year when J.D. started talking about falling off the tracking-every-penny wagon,…

  • Ask the Readers: Best Non-U.S. Personal Finance Sites? (51 comments)

    People are the same all around the world. Everyone struggles with the same things — including money. Because of this, financial advice from one country is generally applicable to other countries, as well. Sort of. While general advice is easy to transfer from one culture to another, the specifics are often lost in translation. In the U.S., we have a Roth IRA. But in Canada, they have an RRSP. And in the U.K.? Well, I’m…

  • Cheap Travel: How To Get The Most For Your Travel Dollars (30 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Travel has always been a priority for me. I love seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, and just getting away from the routines of my daily life. Even more important, my family and close friends are a pretty far-flung crowd. I have loved ones spread from Boston to Buenos Aires. We buy…

  • Use FreeFile to File Your Tax Return for Free (32 comments)

    Tax season is in full swing, and again this year, the Internal Revenue Service is offering a program that allows many U.S. taxpayers to electronically file their tax returns for free: The Free File program provides free federal income tax preparation and electronic filing for eligible taxpayers through a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. Many companies offer free or paid…

  • Reader Story: How to Find Budgeting Nirvana with Mint.com (78 comments)

    This guest post from Geoff Lennon is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Though I’ve been a GRS reader since early 2007, I’ve largely been a quiet observer. I’ve often wanted to participate more actively in…

  • A Brief Intro to Peer-to-Peer Lending (62 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Lately, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about how peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is a great alternative for investors who feel burned by the stock market. Proponents of peer-to-peer lending say it’s a smart way to get a good return on your money without the risk of a failing economy. But before you…

  • How to Build Your Own Personal-Finance Manual (27 comments)

    When I started writing Your Money: The Missing Manual, I had problems finding a focus. I couldn’t figure out who my intended audience was. To get over this hump, I eventually hit upon a cunning plan: I would write the personal-finance book that I wish I’d had back when I started my personal-finance journey. I’d pack the book full of the info I’ve found most useful over the past five years, and include links to…

  • Three Posters About Personal Finance (16 comments)

    I’m a sucker for charts and graphs. I once attended an Edward Tufte course just for kicks. Though I don’t do much with charts and graphs around GRS, I always admire the work of others. For example, last year when I shared my guide to understanding the federal budget (and the follow up on the truth about taxes), I pointed to Jess Bachman’s annual Death and Taxes poster, which attempts to visualize the entire U.S….

  • Getting Started – Review of the Mint.com Signup Process (158 comments)

    On Tuesday, I wrote that I’ve decided to track my finances again. I’m doing fine financially, but after a few months of not watching my income and expenses closely, I feel a little lost. I miss the ability to know exactly where my money’s going. I had intended to install the new desktop version of Quicken, which is what I’ve been using for years. (Before that, I used Andrew Tobias’s Managing Your Money, but that…

  • Productivity Hack: Using the Web to Minimize Internet Distractions (55 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. There have been days when I’ve wasted an embarrassing amount of time mindlessly surfing the Internet. While I try to make that the exception rather than the rule, it’s a massive time suck that usually puts me behind on things I actually needed to do that day. Obviously the web makes life easier in many respects. We have virtually every type of media, every bit of information,…

  • How to Use a Commitment Contract to Change Your Habits (45 comments)

    This is a guest post from Pop at Pop Economics, a great new blog about investing, personal finance, economics, and more. It’s now 9pm on August 30th. I’ll finish this guest post by 11:59pm on August 31. I know this, because if I don’t, I’ll lose $1,000. Call it an incentive. I’ve written about behavioral economics over at Pop Economics for three-quarters of a year now. There are an infinite number of subjects to cover,…

  • How Much Should You Spend on a Car? (52 comments)

    There are all sorts of rules of thumb about how much you should spend on a home, but what about that other major expense in your life — your vehicle? Have you ever wondered how much to spend on a car? I’ve thought about this question before, but never really considered that there might be an answer. (Well, no answer other than “as little as possible”.) But the folks over at BeFrugal have put together…

  • When Will You Be Able to Retire? (52 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Permit me to introduce a new term into the financial planning lexicon: goals-based budgeting. (Well, a Google search turned up a few other instances of its use, but they’re on government websites, so no…

  • Free Microsoft Money Download Now Available (20 comments)

    As I pointed out over a year ago, Microsoft has decided to quit producing Money Plus, its personal-finance software. At that time, I suggested sixteen powerful alternatives to Microsoft Money, but GRS reader Lijacka dropped a line the other day to point out that Money Plus is still available. For free! What’s the catch? Well, the biggest drawback is that the free versions of Money Plus have no online features. Here’s the scoop from Microsoft:…

  • Should I Sell My Car On eBay? (43 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Follow Baker on Twitter @ManVsDebt or connect with him on Facebook. Over the last few months, I’ve spent countless hours researching the process of selling items online for a large project I’ve been compiling. It’s taught me that as much as I thought I knew about selling online, there’s so much more that I have no clue about! For example, a family member recently asked for my…

  • Free Money-Management Spreadsheet (21 comments)

    Whenever I write about personal-finance programs, there’s always a large contingent of GRS readers who chime in to say they prefer the do-it-yourself method. Rather than go with pre-packaged money-management software like Quicken or Mint, they prefer to track their accounts with a home-brewed spreadsheet. (In fact, my wife is one of these folks, too.) I’ve shared a variety of personal-finance spreadsheets in the past. Some of my favorites are produced by Jon Wittwer of…

  • How to Find Unclaimed Money (and Unclaimed Property) (72 comments)

    July 21st was the fifteenth anniversary of my father’s death. He died of cancer at age 49, just ten days shy of his fiftieth birthday. When Dad died, he left behind a meager estate. Aside from the custom box business (which, admittedly, was not “meager”), he managed to leave each family member with $5,000 in life insurance proceeds, and that’s about it. His personal finance skills had never been great, and that included estate planning….

  • Ask the Readers: Methods for Effective Money Management? (132 comments)

    On Monday I confessed that since I stopped tracking my spending, I’ve actually had some trouble paying my bills. It’s not that I don’t have the money — I have plenty! — but that I no longer have a system in place to remind myself to take care of routine financial tasks. Quicken was my system, and when I stopped using it, order vanished. In the comments on Monday’s post, Rob Bennett made an astute…

  • Living The Examined Life: Personal Data Collection is a Powerful Tool for Change (27 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. Machines are, in some respects, much smarter than we are. Specifically, their ability to collect data about us far outpaces our own ability to know who we are and what we do. Your computer can’t tell you why you eat, spend money, sleep, or watch TV. But it can tell you with…

  • Busting the Myths: Why Coupons Are a Valuable Part of Your Financial Arsenal (112 comments)

    J.D. is on vacation in Alaska. This is a guest post from Tara Kuczykowski, who is introducing the basics of couponing to a new generation of coupon clippers through her money-saving blog, Deal-Seeking Mom. Tara is teaching readers across the U.S. how to stretch their budgets in order to make room for occasional splurges. Living the good life while spending less is possible with just a little effort! I was a deal seeker long before…

  • Getting Paid to Lose Weight with HealthyWage (47 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently posted a transparent personal update entitled “When to Quit Traveling“. Today J.D. is very thankful to have staff writers, because his computers (plural!) are on the fritz, and he has no time to write about money… I struggle with weight. In fact, it’s a far more difficult issue for me than personal finance. Honestly, I’m not completely sure why, but it’s true. There are many…

  • Have a Financial Health Day…at Work (27 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Once a month, a small group of folks at The Motley Fool gather to discuss money-saving ideas and exchange tips and tricks. Last fall, we members of the Personal Finance Club (as we boringly…

  • 2011 Death and Taxes Poster Now Available (22 comments)

    In my posts last summer about understanding the federal budget and the truth about taxes, I pointed to Jess Bachman’s Death and Taxes poster. This monster 24-inch by 36-inch graph shows you just how the government spends your tax money. From the site: “Death and Taxes” is a large representational graph and poster of the federal budget. It contains over 500 programs and departments and almost every program that receives over 200 million dollars annually….

  • Poll: How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement? (54 comments)

    This post contains an excerpt from Chapter 13 of Your Money: The Missing Manual, my new book from O’Reilly Media. It’s also a part of National Financial Literacy Month. For the past several months, GRS has been running a new poll in the sidebar every two weeks. Mostly, these are curiosities to me. But the poll that just concluded produced an interesting tidbit of information. The most recent poll — which ran simultaneously at Money…

  • MyFinancialAdvice.com Helps the Average Person Find a Financial Advisor (13 comments)

    Many companies send me press releases and e-mail trying to get my attention. Some of these companies suck. Others are fine, but I don’t have the time to look at them. Every once in a while, though, I find what seems like a true gem, something I think would be of real use for Get Rich Slowly readers. Last week, I spent an hour chatting with the folks from MyFinancialAdvice.com. Based on what I’ve seen…

  • How To Check Your Federal IRS Tax Refund Status (44 comments)

    For years, I loved to get a tax refund. In fact, it seemed the only way I could save was by having extra withheld from my paycheck so that I’d get a big refund at the end of the year. Using this method, I was able to buy a new computer, a new bike, and all sorts of other toys. (But, of course, I was never smart enough to use the money to pay down…

  • Online Tools for Mindful Consumerism (29 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. For many people, mindful consumerism starts with questioning the desire to buy Stuff. The reason might be to save money or avoid clutter — maybe both. It’s the first part of a journey to differentiate needs from wants and make mindful decisions about where to spend our hard-earned money. But at some point, most of us will consume. We’ll buy food or clothing or household items….

  • A Fast, Free Way to File Your Federal Income Taxes (23 comments)

    Tax season is in full swing, and again this year, the Internal Revenue Service is offering a program that allows many U.S. taxpayers to electronically file their tax returns for free: The Free File program provides free federal income tax preparation and electronic filing for eligible taxpayers through a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. Many companies offer free or paid…

  • Where Your Money Goes: An Interactive Tax Calculator (28 comments)

    Last August, in the midst of a growing debate about taxes in the United States, I decided I’d had enough. I was sick and tired of the histrionics from both sides of the political fence, and I wanted to find the facts. I spent twelve hours researching the federal budget and the U.S. tax system, and in the end wrote two articles: Understanding the federal budget The truth about taxes I didn’t have any political…

  • Wallet Garden Helps Protect You from ID Theft (42 comments)

    I had lunch with my friend Matt last week. Matt runs the popular community blog Metafilter, where the seeds of Get Rich Slowly were sown. As we ate our pre-Christmas tamales, we chatted about our respective websites. I mentioned that Charlie Park, who runs PearBudget, is acting as a technical reviewer for Your Money: The Missing Manual. “You know,” I said. “Charlie and I both launched our projects at about the same time. And we…

  • Why I Broke Down and Joined Mint (111 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. I haven’t tracked our expenses since June. Not to appear completely incompetent, I do check our accounts on a regular basis to verify the charges and withdrawals. But I can’t tell you how much we spent on groceries in August or how much we spent on fuel in October without printing out some statements and manually doing the math. For a long time, I dutifully downloaded…

  • 5 Little-Known Websites That Will Save You Time and Money When Booking Airfare Online (34 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker recently reflected on just how much money affects our internal values. When booking airfare online, most people think of the popular online aggregation sites. You know the ones: They have the fancy commercials, catchy jingles, and washed-up celebrity pitchmen. While those sites aren’t inherently bad, there are a few well-documented problems with relying solely on these larger engines: Many of the aggregation sites neglect to include smaller,…

  • How to Get Your Free Credit Report Online: A Step-by-Step Guide (49 comments)

    This article is by GRS staff writer Adam Baker. The statistics on credit reports errors are staggering. A 2004 U.S. PIRG survey showed that 79% of credit reports contained either serious errors or other mistakes of some kind. 79%? Seriously? How can that be? I guess it doesn’t help that as of 2006, 27% of adults had never checked their report for errors. Not once. Ever. vslide_var1 = ‘vslide-free-credit-report-step’; Getting your hands on a free…

  • Your Credit Report Card (69 comments)

    Mark Frauenfelder is the co-founder of my favorite sites, Boing Boing (which is a “directory of wonderful things”). Mark’s also a GRS reader. He dropped me a line the other day to tell me about a new project he’s been following. Today, Credit.com is launching a free new online financial tool called Credit Report Card. This tool is designed to provide users with a quick snapshot of their credit reports. According to the site’s FAQ,…

  • Essential Personal Finance E-Books (19 comments)

    A few days ago, I released The Get Rich Slowly Guide to Roth IRAs as a free e-book. Readers who are interested in opening a retirement account can download this short book — which draws from a series of articles I wrote two years ago — and use it as a reference as they work through the process. Though this is my first e-book (it won’t be my last), there are a variety of other…

  • Should You Buy It? A Flowchart for Evaluating Potential Purchases (69 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. My husband and I are in the process of building a home on 4.5 acres in the Texas hill country. At the moment, we’re still in the planning phase — not quite ready for blueprints. Last month, our architect asked us to start thinking about the make and model of the kitchen appliances we want for our home. Visions of sleek, Thermador cooktops and double ovens danced…

  • Green Sherpa: An Online Cash-Flow Management Tool (21 comments)

    A couple of months ago, I posted a list of 16 alternatives to Microsoft Money. GRS readers left nearly 200 responses evaluating the various personal finance programs available on the web and for the desktop. One feature that many users crave is the ability to project their future cash flow. While it’s important to track where your money’s gone, some folks find it valuable to predict where money will go in the weeks or months…

  • The Best Ways to Boost Your Retirement (50 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. With the S&P 500 still down more than a third from its 2007 high, we’re all a little unsure about our retirement plans these days. So it’s time for some good old-fashioned elbow grease….

  • Where to Find Free Activities and Events in Your Area (65 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lynn, a long-time reader of personal-finance blogs. Lynn is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. She is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of her family, and is working hard to increase her financial health after years of many poor financial choices. Our family has been going through a transformation from a paycheck-to-paycheck family to a family that has money in the bank.  While I wouldn’t say we…

  • How to Use Couchsurfing to See the World (108 comments)

    This is a guest post from Baker, who writes about personal finance at Man vs. Debt. Baker is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. Along with his wife and 15-month-old daughter, Baker has recently moved overseas to New Zealand, where his young family is passionately continuing their own personal “war” on debt. What if I told you there was a different way to travel? A way to see the world outside of the…

  • KeePass and Dropbox: Two Tools for Managing Your Electronic Life (41 comments)

    Over the past few months, GRS readers been recommending two applications that I haven’t found time to mention — until today. These two utilities perform simple but important tasks. One is a password manager, and the other allows you to share your documents — including financial documents — across multiple computers. KeePass Here, for example, is an e-mail I received from a reader who asked to remain anonymous. He’s one of the many to sing…

  • The Big Book of Everything: A Free Life-Affairs Organizer (95 comments)

    Last summer, Mark Gavagan mailed me a copy of his It’s All Right Here life and affairs organizer. This three-ring binder is big and unwieldy, but is amazingly comprehensive. It not only offers pages for credit card and saving account information, but also includes space to record family medical history, business information, and more. There are even several pages of vinyl or plastic sleeves where you can store things like keys! The It’s All Right…

  • Free Financial Spreadsheets from Google Docs (24 comments)

    Last week, I shared a list of 16 alternatives to Microsoft Money. These applications offer a variety of solutions for managing your personal finances. But not everyone wants to use a specialized computer program to track their spending. Many Get Rich Slowly readers (including my wife) are content to manage their money with a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are easily customizable, and if you know what you’re doing, they can actually be a lot more powerful than…

  • Good-Bye, Microsoft Money! 16 Powerful Personal Finance Programs (288 comments)

    As of today, Microsoft Money is no longer available for purchase. Microsoft has essentially conceded that there’s no demand for the product. From the website: With banks, brokerage firms and Web sites now providing a range of options for managing personal finances, the consumer need for Microsoft Money Plus has changed. After suspending annual updates of Money Plus in 2008, Microsoft is announcing today that we will no longer offer Microsoft Money Plus for purchase…

  • My Sister’s Keeper: Sharing Financial Goals with an Accountability Partner (28 comments)

    “Don’t you have any tips for single folks?” I’m often asked. Like any writer, I tend to write from my own experience — that of a married man. Fortunately, there are plenty of single people in the GRS community who are willing to share the things they’ve learned. Here’s a guest post from Kinley Levack about how she and her sister hold each other financially accountable. Over Christmas 2007, my sister Michelle and I started…

  • Online Banking: 13 Choices for Higher Interest Rates and Increased Security (86 comments)

    In its July 2009 issue, Consumer Reports Money Adviser published a brief overview of the best online banking options according to their research. “Online banking, despite a rocky start, is becoming the rule rather than the exception,” the article says, noting that online banking can net savers better interest rates and increased security. I’d love to be able to point you to an online version of this article, but none exists. And I’m not about…

  • Using Fuelly to Track Your Gas Mileage (50 comments)

    With gas prices rising, people are beginning to talk about fuel economy again. This year, there’s an added wrinkle to my own concerns. In April, I ditched my 2000 Ford Focus for a 2004 Mini Cooper. The old car used regular unleaded, but the new one uses premium. This is the first vehicle I’ve owned to use premium gasoline, and the price difference came as a shock to me. But am I really paying more…

  • Credit Union Service Centers Provide Shared Branching (30 comments)

    Note: Oops. I accidentally had comments closed on this post. Not even sure how that happened. They’re on now. Chris M. sent me e-mail last week to share some thoughts on rewards checking and on credit unions. I’m a fan of both. In his message, Chris offered a handy tip for those of us who use credit unions instead of banks: In reviewing your past posts, I realized that you might not know about something…

  • The Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning (20 comments)

    Last week I shared Investing for Your Future, a fantastic 11-week home-study course for beginning investors with small dollar amounts to invest. This week I found a similar resource from UC Irvine, which offers a free online class in the fundamentals of personal financial planning. According to the course introduction: This course is not intended to replace the professional financial planner, but to help to make the general public better consumers of financial planning advice….

  • Investing for Your Future (8 comments)

    Sometimes you can find financial advice in the most unlikely of places. Recently, I was browsing the website of the Oregon State University extension service for gardening information. Kris and I have found that university extension offices often have fantastic resources for do-it-yourselfers. Our extension office has gardening calendars and how-to articles, for example. Apparently the extension office also offers a variety of financial resources. The front page of the OSU extension website promotes a…

  • How to Find Great Deals on Vacation and Travel (56 comments)

    My wife and I have begun to explore the idea of taking a trip later this year. We’re in the preliminary stages of our research and budgeting. Though we aren’t ready to book anything yet, it’s fun to look at what’s available, and to dream of where we might go. Over the weekend, I polled my followers on Twitter to ask their advice for finding great travel deals. Here are some of the tips and…

  • WhiteFence Helps You Find Deals on Utilities (37 comments)

    I’m a huge advocate of calling your utilities to ask for rate reductions. But some people are uncomfortable making these sorts of calls. It would be helpful if these folks had a way of using the internet to find better deals. WhiteFence is a web-based service that allows users to do just that. From the about page: WhiteFence is a free service that helps people who are moving or looking to find the best deals…

  • How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement? (104 comments)

    I’ve had several conversations in the past month with people who are wondering how much to save for retirement. They’re worried they won’t have enough. (And the recent market turmoil only makes matters worse.) The problem is that nobody seems to agree on what assumptions to make when planning for retirement. How much should you assume for inflation? For investment returns? For rising health-care costs? How long should you expect to live? Conventional wisdom Most…

  • My Financial Infrastructure (80 comments)

    While preparing for the first episode of The Personal Finance Hour yesterday, I was browsing Jim’s archives over at Bargaineering. I stumbled upon an old post about creating a financial network map: A map of Jim’s financial network Mapping your financial infrastructure is a mundane task. It’s not exciting. It’s not likely to save you big bucks. Instead, it’s the sort of Big Picture exercise that each of us ought to perform from time-to-time just…

  • Tip’d: A Community for Financial News, Ideas, and Tips (7 comments)

    Writing Get Rich Slowly is a lot of fun. I used to worry that I’d run out of ideas, but that’s never going to be a problem. It’s true that there’s only a finite number of personal anecdotes I can share (those are my favorite articles to write), but between the stories sent in by readers and those I find on my own, I could sustain ten personal-finance blogs for decades. No joke. For a…

  • Top 10 Tips for Preparing Your Tax Return (and Tax Software Giveaway!) (164 comments)

    Tax season is in full swing. Readers are peppering me with questions, and marketers are forwarding promotional material for their products. This seems like a good time to meld the two opposing forces into a single post! Tips for preparing your tax return First up, Roni Deutch, CEO of the nation’s largest tax-resolution law firm, sent me a copy of her new book, The Tax Lady’s Guide to Beating the IRS and Saving Big Bucks…

  • Want to See Your Credit Report for Free? FreeCreditReport.com vs. AnnualCreditReport.com (50 comments)

    Mark Frauenfelder (founder of the awesome Boing Boing) has a piece at PC.com that asks: When is a free credit report not a free credit report? The answer, of course, is: When it comes from FreeCreditReport.com. FreeCreditReport.com, which has raised the ire of many, does allow people to look at their credit reports free for seven days, but then automatically enrolls users into a $15/month credit monitoring service. This last fact is a problem. Frauenfelder…

  • Bankrate’s 2009 Tax Guide (42 comments)

    It’s tax season! I’m a little late getting around to my own taxes this year — I’ve had other things to worry about. One of my goals for this weekend is to begin rounding up all of the necessary documents. And, as usual, one of my first stops for information will be the Bankrate Tax Guide. Every year, they offer the following resources: Tax calendar — “April 15 isn’t the only important day for taxes….

  • Playing with Numbers: Using Spreadsheets to Learn About Money (112 comments)

    One of my favorite personal finance tools is the spreadsheet. Although I’m no Excel master, I’ve found that I can create a spreadsheet to find answers for many money questions that I have. If I run into problems, I ask Google…or my wife. (Kris took an Excel training course.) Here are some recent questions GRS readers have e-mailed me that could be answered in just a few minutes playing with formulas: “Won’t using multiple savings…

  • The Young Money Stock Market Game (31 comments)

    Several GRS readers have asked me to recommend a “stock market game” so that they can learn the basics of investing without risking actual money. Though I’m aware of such tools, I’ve never used one myself. During my recent interview with The Motley Fool’s David Gardner, I asked him if he could suggest one. He recommended CAPS, which is The Motley Fool’s stock evaluation tool. But that’s not really the same thing.  I was recently…

  • Save Money with The Scrooge Strategy (77 comments)

    Ramit Sethi from I Will Teach You to Be Rich introduced his new project today. The Scrooge Strategy is an extension of his recent 30-Day Challenge, during which he urged readers to make meaningful changes to their financial lives. “I hate most frugality tips,” Sethi writes. Instead, he wants to save big: Many frugality tips focus on things like saving $10 per month for a huge amount of effort. That’s just not worth it. If…

  • “Jumpstart Your Retirement Plan Days” Provides Free Financial Advice (8 comments)

    Mark your calendar! Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors are working together again to offer Jumpstart Your Retirement Plan Days. Here’s the low-down from the official press release: On Tuesday, January 13th and Friday, January 30th from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, NAPFA members across the country will be standing by to answer your financial questions. Normally these Fee-Only planners, well versed in investments, taxes, insurance, estate planning,…

  • Commitment Contracts and StickK.com (21 comments)

    It is not difficult to change for a day. But it can seem almost impossible to change for a year — or a week. Though 2009 is only eight days old, I suspect that many folks are already struggling with their New Year’s resolutions. This problem is the driving force behind StickK.com. StickK helps users to set — and stick to — “commitment contracts”. Here’s how it works: After signing up with stickK, you will…

  • Cost To Drive: A Simple Web Tool for Budgeting Road Trips (29 comments)

    Are you making a long road trip for the holidays? Curious about how much it’s going to cost you? Cost To Drive can help. When Kris and I took our short vacation in early October, I did something a little different. Though I’ve never been a budget guy, I set a budget for the trip. I knew how much I wanted to spend before I left. As part of my planning, I needed to find…

  • Personal-Finance Sites from Around the World (2008 Edition) (41 comments)

    This is the second of three posts I’ll be sharing this weekend about personal finance in other countries. While my U.S. readers are spending their Thanksgiving holidays eating turkey, watching football, and visiting with family, it’s the perfect opportunity to perform my annual roundup of personal finance sites from around the world. As usual, if you have a favorite non-U.S. personal finance site, please let us know in the comments. Canada For additional Canadian financial…

  • Do the Tools of Personal Finance Actually Work? (23 comments)

    New visitors to Get Rich Slowly are sometimes skeptical. “Do the things you write about actually work?” they ask.  Absolutely they work.  They work financially, but many of them also work psychologically. That last bit may be the most important. I frequently say that money is “more about mind than it is about math”, and I mean it. We all know the basic arithmetic behind money management — it’s the psychological stuff that gets in…

  • Trick or Treat! Buy Restaurant.com Gift Certificates for 80% Off (TODAY ONLY!) (45 comments)

    Several people wrote to tell me about the Restaurant.com 80% off deal, but I sort of blew them off. It sounded too good to be true. I was wrong. Turns out this is very very real, but the offer ends today. Kris and I have used Restaurant.com once, but don’t know much about it. Here’s what I can tell you: The web site allows you to buy discounted gift certificates to restaurants. You might, for…

  • Confess Your Shopping Sins with Spendster (3 comments)

    Spendster is a new site that allows users to share video stories about impulse buying, over-spending, and wasting money on Stuff they don’t need. These video confessionals are fun to watch (I would never buy that) until you realize just how much junk you probably have in your own life. This embedded widget should show you one such story: Add Spendster to your page According to the site, “a spendster is someone who in a…

  • Consumer Reports Introduces Tightwad Tod (12 comments)

    Consumer Reports is the best money magazine in the U.S., but most of its web-based content is behind a paywall (even for magazine subscribers!). Fortunately, the site offers seven blogs that allow you to keep tabs on some of the organization’s findings for free. Today, one of those blogs — the CR Money & Shopping blog — is starting a new feature called Tightwad Tod. Tod Marks is a senior editor at Consumer Reports, where…

  • Despite Confusion, Quicken Online IS Free (26 comments)

    Quicken Online recently ditched its monthly subscription fee to become a completely free service. Over the weekend, however, GRS readers reported seeing alarming messages about possible charges. I contacted the folks at Intuit to find out what was going on. Here’s their response: Due to regularly scheduled maintenance of the Quicken Online connections to several financial institutions, the former paid subscription screen was inadvertently inserted prompting some customers with messages around a free trial or…

  • You Make HOW Much? Getting Paid What You’re Worth (34 comments)

    A little blurb in the 22 September 2008 issue of Newsweek caught my eye. Linda Stern writes that younger workers are becoming more comfortable about sharing their salary information with friends and co-workers. She points out that it’s also possible to make more generalized salary comparisons using web tools like: Glassdoor.com, which allows employees to share salaries and review employers. (You must register to see details, though.) Salary.com, which offers a wide range of employment…

  • Funding the Future with a Financial Savings Plan (21 comments)

    When do I want to retire? How much do I want to have saved? What sorts of things do I want to accomplish before then? I’ve begun to think seriously about these questions lately. Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity recently offered some tips on how to draft a basic financial savings plan, a tool that could help me craft a road map for my future. He says that failure to plan is one of…

  • The Budget Toolbox: 13 Tools for Building a Better Budget (55 comments)

    Sara’s been reading personal finance blogs for a while now, and she’s ready to set up a budget. She’s come to us for help. She writes: I would like to start listing my spending totals into a spreadsheet budget along with setting goals for ‘bigger things’ (trips, winter tires etc). Do you have a budget template that works for you, or could you please recommend a few tips on getting started? A budget can be…

  • Free Debt Snowball Spreadsheet (27 comments)

    Vertex42, a site devoted to Microsoft Excel templates, spreadsheets, and calendars, has posted a free debt snowball calculator. From the description: This spreadsheet allows you to choose different debt reduction strategies, including the debt snowball effect (paying the lowest balance first) and highest interest first. Just choose the strategy from a dropdown box after you enter your creditor information into the worksheet. This file contains two worksheets: A debt reduction calculator, which allows you to…

  • SmartyPig: A Goal-Oriented Savings Account (50 comments)

    Have you ever wanted to pool your money with friends or family to save toward a common goal? While it’s possible to do this with paper and pencil, it’d be easier if there were an online service to automagically track the savings for you. SmartyPig believes it is that service. SmartyPig is a special branded savings account from new type of savings account, with funds held at West Bank of Iowa. It’s specifically created to…

  • Use Fuelly to Track Your Fuel Economy (26 comments)

    How fuel efficient is your vehicle? Do you ever get the suspicion, as I do, that your car’s gas mileage is getting worse? Have you ever wondered how your mileage compares to other drivers? And what about the estimated mileage touted by the car companies? Does a Mini Cooper really get 37 miles per gallon? Matt Haughey and Paul Bausch have launched a new site called Fuelly, which allows users to track their vehicles’ fuel…

  • Simplify Your Investing: An Introduction to DRIPs (42 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sara, who writes about reaching for a life of greater simplicity and deeper meaning at On Simplicity. I’m a simple girl and I love simple solutions. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with DRIP investing — it’s about as simple as investing gets. If you’re an investor who likes to set it and forget it, DRIPs are a great weapon to have in your financial arsenal. What Is a…

  • Estimate Your Electricity Costs with a Web-Based Calculator (20 comments)

    It’s been a couple years since I mentioned Michael Bluejay’s fantastic Saving Electricity site. It’s a treasure trove of practical tips for household power management. Bluejay offers information on: The difference between natural gas and electric appliances How much electricity costs Electricity myths and much more While doing research for an upcoming post, I discovered Bluejay’s guide to how much electricity different devices use. This single page can answer most of your questions about power…

  • Subscribe to Craigslist Search Results to Grab Great Deals (26 comments)

    You’ve been watching Craigslist for a good deal on a hedge trimmer, but you just aren’t having any luck. By the time you find a good listing, it’s been up for an hour and the HedgeHog XR is long gone. You could sit and refresh the farm+garden category constantly, but that’s a waste of time. (Besides, what would your boss think?) Fortunately, there’s a better way. Did you know it’s also possible to watch Craigslist…

  • 2008 Consumer Action Handbook (11 comments)

    Every year, Kris and I place an order with the Federal Citizen Information Center in Pueblo, Colorado. The FCIC is a small department in the United States government with a mission to distribute free and low-cost Federal consumer publications. In other words, it’s a government office that offers lots of free (and cheap) pamphlets about all sorts of cool stuff. Many of these publications are freely availabe online in electronic format. Here are just a…

  • My Paperless Personal Finance System: A Work in Progress (128 comments)

    Last summer, as a part of my quest to get rid of clutter, I began to move toward paperless personal finance. I had planned to share my system only once I’d perfected it, but yesterday Daniel e-mailed to ask for a glimpse of its current state. To go paperless, you might need a scanner (or some other way to convert your documents to digital files). I also recommend using a shredder to dispose of paperwork….

  • Twelve Top Personal Finance Podcasts (38 comments)

    Update: I really have started my own podcast! I’ve joined Jim from Bargaineering to launch The Personal Finance Hour. Please stop by and give it a listen… Occasionally I toy with the idea of creating a Get Rich Slowly podcast. (A podcast is like a short internet-based radio program. Think of it as an “audio blog”.) I think it would be a great way to explore topics in greater depth, and in ways that print…

  • RescueTime: Free Time-Management Software (28 comments)

    “How much time do you spend blogging?” people often ask me. “I don’t know,” I say. “A lot. Probably forty to sixty hours a week.” I’ve always wished I could provide a better answer to that question. Now I can. During his recent “fireside chat” with Google, Tim Ferriss mentioned a new application he’s been using called RescueTime. He didn’t elaborate, only mentioning it in an off-hand sort of way, but I was intrigued. It…

  • Check the Status of Your Tax Refund (10 comments)

    It’s tax refund season! If you have a refund due this year and you’re getting antsy for it, you can check its status easily with this simple web-based tool from the IRS web site. You’ll need to provide your social security number, marital status, and exact refund amount in order for your request to be processed. If you are receiving a large refund, consider having your employer adjust your W-4 so that less is withheld…

  • Retirement Plan Rollover Chart (16 comments)

    After yesterday’s discussion of 401(k) rollovers, I did a little digging. While browsing the Internal Revenue Service site, I found this handy rollover chart [PDF]: Click image to open full-size PDF chart in new window. Notice that anything can roll into a Roth IRA (though sometimes with conditions), but a Roth IRA cannot roll into anything else. Obviously, this chart doesn’t provide details for each situation, but it can answer some quick questions. For more…

  • How to Stop Junk Mail in Its Tracks (59 comments)

    This article is part of Financial Literacy Month. Most Americans receive a daily flood of junk mail. Some savvy citizens take a stand against the torrent. My friend Pam gets great delight from calling the sender of every catalog she receives in order to be removed from their mailing lists. This works well, but there are easier ways to deal with the problem. Here’s a list of four tools you can use to keep the…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Manage Your Money? (193 comments)

    Tomorrow I’ll be participating in a brainstorming session about online personal finance tools. The people behind this workshop want to know what the average person is looking for when she chooses a tool to manage her money. I promised to poll GRS readers for suggestions. How I manage my money For years, I’ve used Quicken to manage my money, both on Mac and PC. I’m using the Mac version now, and it’s way behind its…

  • Suze Orman’s Ultimate Protection Portfolio (and a Do-It-Yourself Alternative) (60 comments)

    For the past few months, I’ve been pursuing a paperless personal finance system. I’ve scheduled electronic transactions with my bank, and I scan important documents when I receive them. My method is still very much in “beta”, but I hope to write about it later this year. My sister-in-law, Tiffany, isn’t a computer geek, but she’s been trying to get her financial documents organized, too. So when she saw an advertisement for Suze Orman’s Ultimate…

  • Which is Better: a Roth IRA or a Traditional IRA? (50 comments)

    Every week, I receive more questions about Individual Retirement Accounts (which are more correctly known as “Individual Retirement Arrangements”, or IRAs). These are great tools to help the average American save for retirement. Most of the time I’m able to route people to one of my previous articles on the subject: The GRS Introduction to Roth IRAs series Part 0: How compound returns favor the young Part 1: What is a Roth IRA and why…

  • An Introduction to Time-Banking (75 comments)

    In this guest post, Loretta B. describes a unique way to build social capital and to save money. Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I enjoyed a rare night out on the town. We dressed up in our best clothes, had dinner at a special restaurant, and headed off to the symphony. This was my first time at a symphony, and we had a fantastic time. Our tickets were worth $75 a piece. Make no…

  • Calculate Your Economic Stimulus Tax Rebate (62 comments)

    President Bush has signed the economic stimulus package into law. This plan provides tax breaks to businesses that invest in capital equipment, temporarily allows larger mortgages through the Federal Housing Administration (and related entities), and provides a personal income tax cut for 2008. Instead of passing this on when we file taxes next year, the IRS will mail a tax rebate check to most Americans this summer. This is an advance on the reduced taxes…

  • Word2Word: Free Online Language Tools (7 comments)

    Browsing through a collection of old bookmarks recently, I stumbled upon Word2Word Language Resources. Word2Word is a collection of links to free language tools around the web: This site is dedicated to breaking down of language barriers and assisting the users who have the desire to learn a language, a need to communicate between languages, and for those who work with languages as a profession. Don’t let the interface fool you — there’s a lot…

  • A Free and Simple Budget Planner (49 comments)

    During past discussions of on-line money-tracking tools and desktop software, many Get Rich Slowly readers have sung the praises of home-brew budget planners built using Microsoft Excel. In this guest post from Jeff M., he shares a spreadsheet he created and describes his own budgeting system in detail. J.D. doesn’t talk a lot about budgeting at Get Rich Slowly — he uses a spending plan — but I want to share a personal budget planner…

  • Bankrate’s 2008 Tax Guide (0 comment)

    Tax season is upon us. Get Rich Slowly still doesn’t have a body of tax articles, but Bankrate does. Every year, they offer the following resources: Tax calendar — “April 15 isn’t the only important day for taxes. Our tax calendar provides you with many others to circle.” Daily tax tip — “The daily tax tip plus an array of tax tools, terms and training will help you through filing and beyond.” Filing and refunds…

  • 21 Money-Saving Sites from Around the Web (55 comments)

    Marshall Loeb at MarketWatch recently shared some tips for online coupon clipping: A recent study by comScore, an Internet information provider that tracks consumer behavior, found that 53% of consumers say they regularly visit brand Web sites to find promotions. Visiting a manufacturer’s web site is a great way to find coupons (or other promotions) for products you plan to purchase. But, as Loeb notes, there are many web sites that amalgamate deals into one…

  • Missing Money: Finding Unclaimed Property (42 comments)

    On Monday, I received a strange letter in the mail. It was addressed to my father, but sent to my home. My father has been dead for twelve years, and he never saw the house we live in now. The letter purports to be a settlement of some sort of $400 annuity. (I’m unclear on the details and don’t have it with me right now.) Though I’m deeply skeptical that this is anything but a…

  • Free Professional Financial Checkup Tomorrow (23 comments)

    It’s the start of a new year, and many people have resolved to improve their financial situation. Meanwhile, another tax season is close upon us. Personal finance questions abound! Sure, money forums and blogs can help you with some of your problems, but sometimes you need a trained professional. Tomorrow — Tuesday, January 15th — Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the National Association of Personal Finance Advisors (NAPFA) are teaming up to provide free retirement planning…

  • Parents.com Stay-at-Home Calculator (44 comments)

    When a new baby arrives, young couples face a decision. If both parents work, who should stay home with the child? The mother? The person with the smallest salary? Or should both parents continue to work? Often this decision is about more than money — personal values may determine the best course of action. But sometimes both parents continue to work because they believe they need the income. In her book Miserly Moms [my review],…

  • An Introduction to Quicken Online (71 comments)

    Intuit releases a new product today: Quicken Online, a web-based version of its popular personal finance software. I’m a long-time Quicken user, so when Jodi and Jim from Intuit offered to give me a preview of this product’s features, I jumped at the chance. Please note: I haven’t actually used Quicken Online myself yet, and I am not being compensated for this preview. (15 Feb 2008: I have joined a Quicken Online affiliate program —…

  • Charity Navigator: Your Guide to Intelligent Giving (28 comments)

    I wasn’t raised in a culture of giving. My parents tithed to their church — irregularly — but I can’t recall that they ever made contributions to charity. This was probably because we were poor; we barely had enough money for our own needs! As an adult, I have a more comfortable lifestyle than my parents did, yet my track record with charitable contributions is poor. Every year I give a little more than the…

  • Paycheck and Withholding Calculators for Year-End Money Moves (14 comments)

    Ah, winter. It’s the time of year that a young man’s thoughts turn to taxes. It used to be that I would rough out our tax situation as soon as the forms became available. Because I insisted on having too much withheld from my paycheck, I was anxious to know how large my tax refund would be. (This was the only way I could make myself save.) Paycheck calculator Next year my financial situation will…

  • Track Shared Bills and Expenses with Buxfer (18 comments)

    Do you have a roommate? A partner? A friend to whom you’ve loaned money? Buxfer is a fantastic web-based tool for anyone in a situation with shared expenses. The site’s programmers write: As graduate students, having food almost always meant eating out with a bunch of fellow sufferers somewhere on Craig Street. With such a high rate of accumulating bills, our memories and scraps of paper were just not enough. So we wrote a small…

  • The USDA Food Stamp Nutrition Connection (21 comments)

    The United States government has a host of useful web sites. Even the IRS site is informational. I’ve written about various government resources in the past, such as: The U.S. Department of Labor’s statistics on minimum wage workers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s information on the cost of food. Today I discovered another USDA site: The Food Stamp Nutrition Connection. Though ostensibly designed for low-income audiences, this site is probably worth visiting for others interested…

  • The Pros and Cons of Sharebuilder (80 comments)

    Bill wrote the other day looking for my opinion on Sharebuilder. Sharebuilder is an online discount brokerage that encourages automatic scheduled purchases of stocks and exchange-traded funds. In plain English, the company makes it easy to start investing. Here’s what Bill had to say: I was wondering what you thought about Sharebuilder. I am considering signing up for an Individual Retirement Account. I am not sure if Sharebuilder is a good place to start, or…

  • Track Price Drops with Price Protectr (14 comments)

    Alan wrote to tell me about a new site he discovered. Price Protectr is a smart little web app that helps consumers save money after they’ve purchased big-ticket items. There are lots of stores out there that offer price protection policies — when the price drops on an item you’ve purchased, they’ll refund you the difference. But there’s a catch…it’s up to you to watch prices. Price Protectr makes it simple to keep track of…

  • Personal Finance Sites from Around the World (2007 Edition) (43 comments)

    While my U.S. readers are spending their Thanksgiving holidays eating turkey, watching football, and visiting with family, it’s the perfect time to perform another roundup of personal finance sites from around the world. It’s been ten months since I last updated this list. As usual, if you know of a non-U.S. personal finance site, please let me know. Some of these are of higher quality than others. I haven’t screened the wheat from the chaff….

  • Turning the Tables on Telemarketers (102 comments)

    It’s been an annoying day here at the box factory. November 15th must be some sort of telemarketing celebration day. I’ve been handling three or four calls an hour from these bozos all day long. It drives me nuts. I have little patience for spammers of any sort. Telemarketers are the worst. I have filters that can handle most of the e-mail and blog spam I receive. But there’s no way to filter the telemarketers….

  • Mint: A Fresh New On-Line Personal Finance Tool (115 comments)

    In this guest post, SC takes a look at Mint, one of the recent batch of on-line financial management tools. I haven’t had a chance to use the site, so SC volunteered to write about his experiences. Mint is a new website that claims it will help you organize your finances, automate your financial life, and help you save money at every turn. I have a credit card with Capital One, two bank accounts with…

  • The New York Times Rent vs. Buy Calculator (43 comments)

    Is it better to buy or rent? It’s one of the eternal personal finance questions, and one that each person has to decide for herself. There are lots of non-financial factors that affect this decision, of course, including your hobbies, lifestyle, and personal psychology. Despite these non-financial considerations, often the choice comes down to money. What makes the most financial sense? In July, guest-author Tim Ellis shared his thoughts on the rent vs. buy debate…

  • A Brief Overview of Estate Planning Software (21 comments)

    It’s that spooky haunted time of year — my annual post about estate planning! Last year I shared a brief guide to creating a will. Today I’m going to look at a recent New York Times article by Christine Larson that provides an overview of will preparation software. Larson writes, “Recently, the increasing sophistication of software and services for estate planning, combined with growing consumer comfort with online financial management, has led to a boom…

  • House Math 2.0: A Real-Estate Analysis Tool (19 comments)

    Earlier today, Justin asked for feedback about whether he should buy a condo or continue to save for his retirement. GRS reader Andrew forwarded a tool that may help Justin make his decision. HouseMath 2.0 is a web-based app designed to help users explore the costs of purchasing a new home. You enter the numbers for the proposed transaction, and HouseMath runs the numbers to let you know the financial implications. Rather than bombard the…

  • Accelerated Mortgage Payments (and the GRS Amortization Calculator) (48 comments)

    What if you’ve reviewed the compromises required to pay your mortgage early and the idea still appeals to you? You might pay a bank to set up a bi-weekly payment plan or a money merge account. But you can do just as well by taking mortgage acceleration into your own hands. Here are three options I’ve considered: Rather than pay my mortgage, I could deposit my money into a high-yield savings account earning roughly 5%…

  • RetailMeNot: A Smart Source for Online Coupon Codes (30 comments)

    Coupon codes are a great way to save money while shopping online. But how can you find the best deals for the sites you frequent? Googling isn’t reliable — search results yield too many spammy sites and too many outdated codes. Matt Haughey writes that there’s a better way: [While searching for coupon codes,] I remembered the BugMeNot people did a coupon site last year, so I went to bugmenot to find it and found…

  • How to Use the Amazon Marketplace for Fun and Profit (58 comments)

    This is a guest post from Cady. You can read more from Cady in her fiscal fitness journal in the Get Rich Slowly discussion forums. While rearranging my music collection recently, I decided to pull out anything I hadn’t listened to in a year. I had quite a stack. I looked at some of my titles and decided to sell them. I’d never really considered it before, but since I buy most of my new-to-me…

  • Classic Cat – The Free Classical Music Directory (6 comments)

    When I was a boy, my father liked two types of music: Neil Diamond and classical. Unsurprisingly, as an adult I’ve come to love both. Classical music can be expensive, though, especially if you don’t know what you like. During the 1990s, I spent a small fortune acquiring a library of Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. The latest issue of Newsweek notes that the classical music industry is at the forefront of online distribution. This is…

  • The Grocery Game (70 comments)

    For years, Kris and I have used coupons as one tool to get lower prices when shopping for groceries. Some people are opposed to coupons, but we’ve found that they help us to save money. (Number one tip: don’t use a coupon to buy something you wouldn’t normally purchase.) In the Get Rich Slowly forums, we’ve been discussing how much the average family spends on food. MITBeta wrote: Our budget (two adults and a seven-month-old)…

  • Free Crash Test Videos from Consumer Reports (5 comments)

    On the morning of December 1st, 2000, as I was driving to work, a tractor-trailer rig sideswiped my car on the freeway. The lugnuts of the truck’s wheel gripped the side of my car, lifted it, and threw it off, casting the 1992 Geo Storm headlong into the guard rail at 50 miles per hour. Without proper safety equipment, I’d be dead right now. Instead, the airbag and seatbelt did their jobs; I escaped with…

  • Are Personal Finance Magazines Worth the Cost? (42 comments)

    Readers sometimes ask me, “Which personal finance magazine do you recommend?” This isn’t an easy question to answer. None of the Big Three — Money, Smart Money, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance — are exceptional, though each is good in its own way. Which is best for you depends on your financial objectives. Here are my impressions after subscribing to each for the past year. Money ($10/year) The most popular personal finance magazine in the U.S. —…

  • Free Professional Financial Checkup on August 17th (4 comments)

    I write often about the need to save for retirement — it’s one of the most important steps you can take to assure financial success. The best time to start planning your future is now. But how can you be sure you’re making the right choices? Here’s a great opportunity for readers in the United States. Next Friday, August 17th, you can receive free, professional retirement advice by phone courtesy of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Whether…

  • A Quick Trick for Tracking Credit Card Expenses in Quicken (29 comments)

    Some readers are worried about my change in stance regarding credit cards. Misuse of best rewards credit card was the chief reason I came to be buried in debt. For years after coming to my senses, the only way for me to cope with credit cards was not to have one. I still believe that this is the proper course of action for anyone who hasn’t gained control of her finances, and I would never…

  • How to Find Great Deals on eBay (29 comments)

    My friend Lisa is something of an eBay addict. I’ll be at her house admiring something or other and she’ll smile confidentially and whisper, “I got it off eBay.” She recently showed up at a dinner party wearing a smart cocktail dress. When the other women admired it she smiled confidentially and whispered, “I got it off eBay.” At Christmas she made some crafty little things that amazed and delighted the recipients. When we asked…

  • Edmunds True Cost-to-Own Calculator (15 comments)

    During our ongoing discussion of buying a car, somebody pointed to a handy little tool at Edmunds.com. (Edmunds is an excellent resource, sort of like Bankrate, but for cars.) Here’s how their site describes this tool: You’ve narrowed your choices to two new cars, but you can’t seem to decide which one is really the better deal. The purchase price of each car is nearly the same. The features are similar, and you like the…

  • Three Ways to Be Sure You’re Paid What You’re Worth (32 comments)

    A reader contacted me via IM this week to ask for help with his job search. GRS reader: hey JD J.D.: Hey, David. GRS reader: i am in talks with a company to go work in the us, arizona to be precise, and they asked what are my salary expectations GRS reader: i have no clue what they are… I am 23 years old, and I just want to live confortably for the period I…

  • A Working Woman’s Guide to Financial Security (10 comments)

    Sometimes you can find personal finance tools in the most unlikely places. The University of Illinois Extension Service offers a collection of consumer money resources, including tips for thrifty living, credit card smarts fact sheets, and a guide to consumer and family economics. I was most impressed with A Working Woman’s Guide to Financial Security. This series of planning guides has been designed to help women of all ages develop skills they need in order…

  • PAYjr: A Web-Based Chores and Allowance Tool (13 comments)

    Last week I highlighted the Money Savvy Pig, a savings bank “for the twenty-first century”. But really, what 21st-cenury kid wants a plastic pig? Today’s youth are all about web 2.0. PAYjr wants to be your web-based solution for chores and allowances. According to the site: The PAYjr Chore & Allowance System provides free financial education and an online chore and allowance system for your kids to be able to track their chores and be…

  • The Money Savvy Pig: A Piggy Bank for the 21st Century (28 comments)

    One of the best things parents can do to prepare their children for the Real World™ is to teach them basic financial skills. A kid who knows how to save is a kid who has a jump-start on life. Money Savvy Generation is a company designed to “help kids get smart about money”. Founder Susan Beacham writes: I am the mother of two girls. I was also a private banker, who repeatedly saw in my…

  • How Class Works (31 comments)

    Are you upper-class or lower-class? Someplace in between? The New York Times has an interactive graphic that explains how class works. While there are many characteristics that could be used to describe a person’s class, among the most influential are the person’s occupation, education, income, and wealth. Below are different ways of looking at class using these factors, as well as an examination of how mobility has changed in recent decades. The fourth tab presents…

  • Quicken Hacks: 25 Hints, Tips, and Tricks (32 comments)

    I use Quicken to track my personal finances. Back in the olden days, I used Andrew Tobias’ Managing Your Money, but that hasn’t worked on my Macs for nearly a decade. I’d still use it if I could. Quicken on the Mac is a pale comparison to the Quicken on the PC. I feel like I should be able to get more out of the program, so I went on a scavenger hunt, scouring the…

  • Five Money-Saving Blogs from Consumer Reports (2 comments)

    Consumer Reports — my favorite personal finance magazine — is publishing a series of blogs devoted to various consumer topics. Since most of the Consumer Reports web site is behind a paywall — even for magazine subscribers (lame!) — these blogs are a handy way to keep tabs on some of the organization’s recommendations. The CR Shopping Blog “enables us to zero in on the latest product information, news, trends, and sales figures, and reveal…

  • The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (1 comment)

    The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer information and advocacy organization, has a collection of freely-downloadable consumer form letters and opt-out information. (What a mouthful!) Here’s how they suggest these letters be used: Send your letter by Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested. If possible, fax the letter first. Make a copy of your letter for your records before sending. To locate the proper party to send this letter to, check for a mailing address included on…

  • Visual Personal Finance Calculators (3 comments)

    I see a lot of financial calculators while researching money stories. Most of them are the same: fill in some boxes, get a result. Last week, I stumbled on a “visual calculator” that adds a nice twist to the formula. Mainstay Investments offers a “Saving for a goal” tool that uses the traditional text boxes for data input, but also allows users to make changes by adjusting sliders. It’s subtle but, for me at least,…

  • Use a Grocery Price Book to Slash Your Food Spending (61 comments)

    While reading Amy Dacyczyn’s The Complete Tightwad Gazette this afternoon, I learned a great new money hack. Dacyczyn (pronounced “decision”) advocates using a grocery price book to save big bucks at the supermarket. A grocery price book is an ongoing list of the items you most commonly purchase and how much you paid for them. This list allows you to detect price cycles, spot bargains, and plan your shopping trips for maximum savings. Dacyczyn explains:…

  • Understanding Money (5 comments)

    The Australian Government provides a money-management site that is useful to people around the world. Understanding Money encourages readers to adopt a three-point approach to their finances: Prepare a budget plan - work out how much you earn and what you spend it on, to help you see where you could make changes. Set some financial goals - they don’t have to be big, but they’ll help you see what you could gain by being better with…

  • The Get Rich Slowly Budget Workbook (Version 2.0) (37 comments)

    Last month Stephen Popick shared his home-grown budget spreadsheet with GRS readers. He listened to your suggestions and went back to the drawing board. Here is with an updated version.   Growing up, I was taught the importance of having a budget.  It wasn’t until I finished college that I understood it.  I started reading and listening to financial experts such as John Bogle, Clarke Howard, and a lot of folks in between.  Their recurring…

  • The ThriftShopper.Com (7 comments)

    Thrift stores are an excellent source for inexpensive books, furniture, and clothing. I visit the local Goodwill about once a month to browse my favorite sections for bargains. (I’m wearing a $3 sweater as I type this. My personal finance library is built around books purchased at thrift stores.) Some people are wary of thrift shops — they think they’re dirty and cheap. Others don’t know where to begin. If you’re in the latter camp,…

  • The Rentometer: How Does YOUR Rent Compare? (10 comments)

    Do you rent a home or apartment? Have you ever wondered if you’re getting a fair shake? Flexo at Consumerism Commentary discovered a handy tool called the Rentometer. Enter your street address and your monthly rent, then the Rentometer tells how your rent compares to others nearby. (Wow! You folks in California are paying a lot in rent. California dominates the Rentometer top 10 list.)

  • A Simple Budget Spreadsheet (15 comments)

    Wanting to start a budget? Intimidated by all the choices? Just want something simple to get you going? Stephen P. created his own budget spreadsheet, and he’s offered to share it with Get Rich Slowly readers. He writes: I have something for Money Hacks. It’s a simple budget spreadsheet that I made in Excel when I was making $30,000/year and struggling to live paycheck-to-paycheck. It helped me to keep things in perspective. Things you can…

  • BBC’s Financial Healthcheck (4 comments)

    Most financial calculators require you to enter a lot of numbers, after which they spit out more numbers in return. What if you’re not a numbers person? The BBC offers a financial healthcheck tool that uses plain English to help evaluate your money situation. Our financial healthcheck will give you some tips for a healthier financial lifestyle — now and in the future. It will only take a few minutes. There’s no need to dig…

  • Save or Spend? The Tax Refund Dilemma (1 comment)

    Chris at Money Management International — the largest non-profit credit counseling and debt management organization in the U.S. — dropped a line yesterday. He saw my story about tax refunds and wanted to remind me of a new MMI site devoted to the subject: We just released a new tax-themed site, SaveorSpend.com. While it has several cool interactive elements (savings calculator, a mind reading game, blog, etc.) the coolest thing is the ability for visitors…

  • The Prioritizer: A Unique Personal Finance Calculator (5 comments)

    CNNMoney has a series of articles entitled Money 101 — a step-by-step guide to gaining control of your financial life. There are some good lessons here, including controlling debt, hiring financial help, and buying a home. Each lesson contains several pages of information, links to other resources, a glossary, and a self-test. Many of the lessons also include a financial calculator related to the subject. My favorite lesson is actually the first one, setting priorities,…

  • The Bargainist (3 comments)

    Via the always-wonderful Parent Hacks (which you should be reading if you have small children) comes word of The Bargainist, yet another “web deals” site. From the About page: The Bargainist finds the best deals around on just about everything. From gadgets to home furnishings, you’ll always read about the hottest bargains, sales, coupons, and freebies right here. The Bargainist updates multiple times per day, so stop by often to check out the latest deals….

  • Loan.com: A New Site for Home Loan Info (8 comments)

    Chuck Hoover wrote to pitch a new web site, Loan.com: Here’s something that may be of interest to your readers — a new website, Loan.com, that provides consumers with the first tool to find home loans from a pre-qualified list of “ethical” lenders.  With all the recent revelations and regulatory actions against predatory lenders and other brokers who employ unscrupulous business practices, the lenders on Loan.com must agree to a Borrower’s Bill of Rights — a set of…

  • 24 Craigslist Tips, Tricks, and Resources (41 comments)

    Yesterday The Consumerist pointed to a couple of Curbly posts about how to buy stuff on Craigslist [one, two]. These articles have some good tips, but I think there’s more to say. My Craigslist experience Cragislist is one of the seven wonders of the internet. You can use it to find a job, buy a car, get a date for Saturday night, and sell that old couch. The site is free to use for almost…

  • Personal Finance Sites from Around the World (41 comments)

    A couple months ago a reader solicited recommendations for good non-U.S. personal finance sites. We couldn’t come up with many. Since then I’ve watched for personal finance sites from around the world. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of posts collecting such places. I’ll continue to collect links, and every few months I’ll post the revised list here. (Or perhaps I’ll create a separate page for this list.) If…

  • Free Professional Financial Checkup This Friday (2 comments)

    Whether you’re twenty or sixty, saving for retirement is one of the most important financial steps you can take. The best time to start planning for your future is now. But how can you be sure you’re making the right choices? Here’s an amazing opportunity for readers in the United States. This Friday, January 26th, you can receive free, professional retirement advice by phone courtesy of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance: Get free, personalized answers to your…

  • Morningstar’s Investing Classroom (7 comments)

    Marty wrote with an awesome tip for those interested in learning how to invest: Lifehacker has a great link to free online investing classes at Morningstar. I signed up and have taken a couple. They are not bad at all — I wish my college had offered courses like this. They are not overviews, but get into the nitty gritty. The Morningstar classes include information on: Stocks — “Get in on the ground floor of…

  • Ask the Readers: Best Tools for Tracking Resolutions? (19 comments)

    Kathy W. writes: Do you know of any websites to help track progress on financial (and other) New Year’s Resolutions? These sites would be excellent for tracking goals in 2007: General Joe’s Goals is an east-to-use goal-tracking app. It lets you track positive and negative goals, and keeps a daily record of your progress. It’s free! 43 Things is a social-networking site where users can create lists of goals and dreams and share them with…

  • Review: Kill-a-Watt Electricity Usage Monitor (67 comments)

    In June I shared some tips for reducing home energy costs. Most of the information came from Michael Bluejay’s excellent guide to saving electricity. I was curious how much electricity invidual appliances use, so I ordered a gadget that Bluejay recommends: the Kill-a-Watt electricity meter. The official web site declares: Connect your appliances into the Kill A Watt™, and assess how efficient they are. A large LCD display counts consumption by the Kilowatt-hour just like…

  • Wesabe: a Web-Based Personal Finance Tool (26 comments)

    There’s a fantastic new tool available for those who want to track their spending. Wesabe went public yesterday. Our site is live and available for everyone to use. We set out to build a tool to help people gain control over their money, and we believe we have accomplished our goal. It isn’t perfect and we have a ton of features we want to add, but this product helps people right now. Wesabe is a…

  • Track Your Spending with a Cash Notebook (25 comments)

    I had dinner with my friend TJ tonight. He paid for his meal with cash. After we’d settled the check, he pulled out a small spiral notebook and jotted down some numbers. “What’s that?” I asked. “I’ve started using a notebook to keep track of what I spend,” he told me. “Whenever I pay in cash, I write it down. Otherwise I don’t have any idea where it goes.” “That’s a great idea,” I said….

  • My 3 Cents: Consumer Reviews (3 comments)

    People love to complain about lousy products and crummy customer service. Last week, I complained in this very space about my Ford Focus. My3cents.com bills itself as “the leading source of real consumer advice.” It’s a place to share your experiences with others. Visitors come to learn, interact and voice opinions regarding companies, products and services in our open community. Learn from other consumer experiences, and help others learn from your own personal consumer experiences….

  • Online Grocery Flyers from MyGroceryDeals.com (8 comments)

    I recently received e-mail from mygrocerydeals.com pitching their site: We are a free service that allows consumers to go online, do their grocery pre-shopping based on advertised grocery flyer specials, look at nutritional information, create their shopping list, and then head out to their selected store(s) with list in hand. We have recently mapped 50,900 zip codes into our database and then lined up the grocery markets and local stores along 4,400 county lines to…

  • 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy (4 comments)

    Via the latest issue of Newsweek: Benjamin is the star spokespig of a new national public service campaign from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and The Advertising Council. The goal of the campaign is to encourage the 40 million Americans age 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances. The campaign, Feed the Pig, is a new component of the 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy effort which aims to educate…

  • DailyLit: Books Delivered to Your Inbox (15 comments)

    There are few perfect sites on the internet. DailyLit is one of them. If you are like us, you spend hours each day reading email but don’t find the time to read books. DailyLit brings books right into your inbox in convenient small messages that take less than 5 minutes to read. This works incredibly well not just on your computer but also on a Treo, Blackberry, Sidekick or whatever the PDA of your choice….

  • Free Web-Based Home Energy Analyzer (0 comment)

    Andrew W. wrote in to share this free home-energy analyzer. This [site] is well done. It walks you through a set of questions about the kind of home you have, your appliances, and your sources of energy/fuel. It’s more helpful for people who live in houses rather than apartments — the level of detail for house-specific questions is impressive, such as whether or not you have a finished basement — but overall it does a…

  • Plan a Weekend of Bargain-Hunting with GarageMaps (2 comments)

    Garage sales are a fun way to exercise your frugal impulses. Instead of heading to the mall on a weekend, take some time to cruise the sales in your city, looking for deals. To make it easier to plan your outing, Get Rich Slowly reader Fraser is building garagemaps.com, a web-based garage-sale mapping tool. He writes: My wife and I are garage sale junkies, heading out to search for bargains every Saturday morning. She used…

  • Put Yourself on a Debt Diet (2 comments)

    Lifehacker points to Oprah’s Debt Diet, which is a sensible approach to debt elimination and sound personal finance. The “diet” is divided into two phases of four steps each. Short-Term Within a month, you should be able to complete each of these four short-term goals, perhaps pursuing one task per week. These are steps that can be taken now to stop the bleeding and to begin the financial healing process. How much debt do you…

  • Cool Tool: The AIM BudgetBot (4 comments)

    Get Rich Slowly-reader David points to the AIM BudgetBot, posted yesterday at Lifehacker. Adam Pash writes: I used to save all of my receipts with a half-assed intention to reconcile them when I got around to it, which usually meant two weeks worth of crumpled, illegible receipts went straight from my pockets to the trash. Not very Lifehacker-y, huh? [...] I set out to create my own BudgetBot that I could SMS from my cell…

  • Personal Finance Resources from the U.S. Government (0 comment)

    Did you know that the U.S. government has a web site devoted to helping citizens with sound personal finance? MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are planning to buy a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401k, the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you do it better. Throughout the site, you will find important information from 20 federal agencies government wide….

  • How to Obtain Your Free Credit Report (10 comments)

    Ralph writes: I’d like to know how to get a free copy of my credit report from the agencies. A recent federal law gives consumers access to their credit reports; however, it costs extra to obtain your credit score. Your credit score is not an actual component of your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with…

  • Frugal Recipes for Miserly Moms (1 comment)

    The Miserly Moms web site offers 87 frugal recipes submitted by the site’s readers. They’re all down-home meals made with cheap ingredients. Here’s a typical recipe: Grandma’s Pot Roast 3-5# beef roast (cheapest cut under $2/lb — watch for sales as low as $1.20/lb) 1 package store brand onion soup mix ($.50) 1 small onion, cut any way you like ($.50) 2 Tbsp. Worstershire sauce 1 can cream of mushroom soup ($.50) Put in a…

  • National Credit Score Index (1 comment)

    The National Score Index is a handy little web app that displays U.S. average credit scores by state (683 in Oregon) and for the entire country (677). Based on the most current data available in the industry, the Experian National Score Index provides the most up-to-date look at U.S. consumers’ credit and is a powerful indicator of the country’s overall financial health. The Experian National Score Index monitors several components of consumer credit behavior to…

  • Ticker: Stock-Tracking Software (1 comment)

    Ticker is a simple (and free) stock-tracking tool for the Macintosh. It’s a little software gem. Because Ticker doesn’t try to dazzle with a wide array of features, it’s very easy to use. To add a new stock, click new and enter the data. The stock is added to the list of securities. You can change the sort order of the list by clicking on a different column heading. If you double-click on a stock,…

  • How to Opt-Out of Credit Card Offers FOREVER (25 comments)

    Get Rich Slowly reader Eric H. forwarded a link to optoutprescreen.com. He writes: This website lets you opt-out for either five years or forever from annoying credit card solicitations by adding your name to the do-not-call/mail lists at the three major Credit Bureaus. This will reduce your junk mail and keep your credit report and social security number from the companies you don’t want to have it. Visit https://www.optoutprescreen.com/ or call 1-888-5-OPTOUT. As an added…

  • Absurdly Cool Freebie Finder (3 comments)

    The absurdly cool freebie finder is: …an automated free stuff aggregator. I’ve designed it to collect free stuff offers from top freebie sites, while filtering out most scams and referral pyramids. This site is in beta, and so your suggestions are always welcome. Listed below are the most recent offers found, with their sources to the right. Remember to bookmark the site, it updates every few hours! Please only request freebies you actually need and…

  • Housing: Rent vs. Buy Calculator (6 comments)

    Should you buy or rent? That’s a question we each face at some point. It doesn’t always make sense to buy. Depending on your location, your marital status, your income level, how long you intend to live in a particular location, and a handful of other variables, renting may actually make more sense than purchasing a home. Here’s a web-based rent vs. buy calculator that can help you play with different scenarios. I used the…

  • Handy Personal Finance Spreadsheets (29 comments)

    Good personal finance spreadsheets are hard to find on the web because sploggers monopolize the search results. Still, I’ve managed to collect links to a stack of them that I’d like to share. Spreadsheets more useful than web-based calculators because: You can modify the fields and formats to meet your own needs, You can create “what-if” scenarios by making copies of a sheet, and You can save the data for later use. The following links…

  • How Compound Returns Favor the Young (41 comments)

    In an earlier entry about the cost of waiting one year to begin investing for retirement, I posted a chart from AllFinancialMatters that demonstrated the power of compound returns. Vintek posted a math exercise related to the subject. I got this from a book called The Random Walk Guide to Investing by Burton Malkiel. It’s a book I recommend, and I’ll eventually talk about it in the forum. Here’s the exercise: William and James are…

  • The Cost of Waiting One Year (2 comments)

    AllFinancialMatters has posted a couple of shocking charts illustrating the cost of waiting to invest in your retirement. I keep closing the page, but then opening it again to look at them. After messing around with the retirement savings calculator I built, I started thinking about the cost of waiting just one year to start saving for retirement. The impact is huge! Take a look at the chart below: I assumed the following: A person…

  • Women’s Institute of Financial Education (1 comment)

    If you liked the yesterday’s post about 12 Financial Tips for Women, check out WIFE — the Women’s Institute of Financial Education. Women face tremendous challenges as they move through life’s transitions, from childhood to adult, from college to career, from single to married, to widowhood or divorce, and into the retirement years. And women are concerned about the financial well-being of their families as well as themselves, making sure that those they love are…

  • Cost-of-Living Comparison Calculator (2 comments)

    How much would it cost you to live in New York? In L.A.? CNN offers a cost-of-living comparison calculator. Use this calculator to compare the cost of living between U.S. cities. Select the city you’re in and the city you’re moving to. Enter your present income and click “Refresh listing.” The income required to maintain your current standard of living will appear in the box below, along with the percentage difference between the two cities….

  • Can One of You Afford to Quit? (2 comments)

    Most of my friends are having children. For some couples, the new financial realities are shocking. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance offers a financial calculator to answer the question: Can one of you afford to quit? This tool is for more than just new parents, though. What if one of you wants to start a new business? Go back to school? Simply retire? Before deciding to live on only one income — to take care of children,…

  • NetWorthIQ (0 comment)

    NetWorthIQ is: …all about your net worth and keeping track of your overall financial health. No one wants a physical, but we all need one now and then, just to keep tabs on our well being. Your finances deserve nothing less, and determining your net worth is a good first step. NetworthIQ is a social personal finance manager designed to make monitoring your net worth easy and, dare we say it, maybe even fun. Heck,…

  • Free User Manuals For Electronic Equipment (1 comment)

    Users Manual Guide is an on-line database of hundreds of user manuals for electronic devices: Panasonic air conditioners, Sharp microwave ovens, CASIO calculators, Motorola phones and more. The next time you have a problem with an electronic device, check here first for a downloadable PDF of the user manual.

  • GasBuddy (2 comments)

    Gas prices are rising, and there’s no end in sight. Thankfully, you can find the cheapest gas prices in your neighborhood with GasBuddy. Gasoline prices change frequently and may vary by as much as twenty percent within only a few blocks it is important to be able locate the service station with the lowest priced fuel. GasBuddy web sites allow motorists to share information about low priced fuel with others as well as target the…

  • Tax Refund Status (3 comments)

    Check your tax refund status easily with this simple web-based tool from the IRS. You’ll need to provide your social security number, marital status, and exact refund amount in order for your request to be processed.

  • PearBudget (6 comments)

    “Track everything you spend” is one of the key steps to getting rich slowly. It’s easy to do this after the fact using a personal ledger or software such as Quicken. But how do you plan for expenses? A budget is the best way to see where your money needs to go. Some people keep detailed budgets, and adhere to them religiously. Others — such as myself — keep loose budgets, and use them simply…

  • Financial Calculators (0 comment)

    The IRS Withholding Calculator “help[s] employees to ensure that they do not have too much or too little income tax withheld from their pay. It is not a replacement for Form W-4, but most people will find it more accurate and easier to use than the worksheets that accompany Form W-4. You may use the results of this program to help you complete a new Form W-4, which you will submit to your employer.” The…

  • Missing Money (0 comment)

    Missing Money is a database of state unclaimed property records. Common types of unclaimed property include: Bank accounts and safe deposit box contents Stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and dividends Uncashed checks and wages Insurance policies, CD’s, trust funds Utility deposits, escrow accounts Unclaimed property does not include real estate property There are other tools to find unclaimed real estate property.