Save money on your bike commute

This year, my husband decided to commute to work again — on his bicycle. He's not alone. The number of people commuting by bike has increased every year since 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Back then, it was just over 687,000 Americans that biked to work. By 2014, the figure had climbed to more than 832,000.

What's surprising is that the number of active commuters has never even reached 1 percent of the commuting public given how difficult it's been to make a living during the same period.

Female bicycle commuter

Surprising Numbers

In our case, Terry's commute is 35 miles round trip. So using the IRS standard mileage rate for business miles driven (down to $.54 cents in 2016), taking the car to work for 240 days of the year would cost $4,536. Add to that the parking fees of $26 a day. That's another $4,320 annually if we opt for the $360 monthly rate. It's hard to swallow $8,856 for annual transportation costs when the League of American Bicyclists estimates that commuting by bike costs a mere $308. Really. Continue reading...

More about...Transportation, Frugality

What’s your best personal finance tip?

We started a project on our Facebook page a couple days ago. We asked the scrimpers and savers to give us their best personal finance tip -- and, so far, a few people have offered their advice:

  • The early bird gets the worm.
  • Stop eating out.
  • Buy what you need, not what you want and never what society tells you you want!
  • Ditch cable/satellite, make meal plans, and only buy what's on the ingredients list, pay cash, use a no-fee bank.

It's a great start. It's also interesting how even just putting something like this together works. I started reading the comments, and for some reason one of them just hit me in the face: "stop eating out."


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How do you decide what to spend on a computer?

Decide to buy a computer these days and immediately you're confronted with a complex decision process wherein you pit features against price. The choice is intensely personal and a total reflection of your tastes, priorities, and pocketbook. I know how I've gone about it in the past, but I was curious to see how other people approach the problem.

It wasn't hard to get people to talk. (People are passionate about their computers!) But as they did, I identified three basic methods to decide on price:

  1. The features route
  2. The cheap route
  3. The set-price route

Now that I think about it, this may be true for a lot of purchases!

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More about...Budgeting

IRS Tax Changes for 2016

couple getting investing advice

Staying on top of IRS tax changes is a challenge. Don't you feel sometimes like income tax is the hardest subject in the world to understand? Well, it's really nothing to be embarrassed about. Here's what Albert Einstein said way back when:

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes." - Albert Einstein Continue reading...

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I just organized my files, and here’s what I did

I don't like clutter at all, but it's oh so easy for stuff to build up and get out of control — especially when it comes to paper. If you really like everything to be neat and tidy — but you don't want to spend your life managing the mess — read on.

The Problem With Paper

I dream about going paperless. But the fact is that there are still occasions when I need actual documents to prove my existence, prove what I've earned, or prove that I spent my hard-earned cash on whatever.

The problem with paper records is that they come in one at a time, from different sources. That means that they could end up in my car, my wallet, my jacket pocket, or my desk at home. Making sure they all end up in a central location that keeps them safe and still accessible whenever I need them is a bit of a chore.

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More about...Taxes, Home & Garden

Are you planning to retire to another job?

People are living longer, healthier lives. Consequently, they need more income to cover a longer life span than initially expected. That may be what's fueling an interest among boomers to continue working after retirement instead of pursuing a life of leisure. But it could also be that boomers just like to work.

A recent AARP survey determined that 37 percent of nearly 5,000 workers age 50 to 64 plan to continue working for pay in some capacity after retirement. Their parents were more likely to volunteer, spend more time with family, or get involved at their place of worship in retirement. Clearly, maintaining a sense of purpose is important for any retiree, and working may fulfill that need as well as help people stay active and connected to others in their community.

What Kind of Work?

The survey indicated that, of those who plan to continue working post retirement, 44 percent say they want to try something new, 23 percent expect to stay in the same field, and 33 percent don't know what their work life will entail.

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More about...Career, Planning, Retirement

What you need to succeed against the odds

It's the end of summer and some of us are going back to school, trying to learn more, become more. Others are already established in their professions, working to build the life of their dreams. Maybe you're someone that got knocked down and have to build your dreams over again. Maybe you started out the year with a resolution, a goal, or a purpose to achieve. Where are you in your pursuit? Have you reached it yet? Is there more ground to cover?

It doesn't matter what you set out to accomplish. There's one thing you'll need if you are to succeed, and that is discipline.

What is discipline?

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What is the most difficult part of running your own business?

If you have the opportunity to go into business for yourself, I would recommend you do it. It's an experience marked by creativity, ingenuity, and extreme growth. It is one of the most challenging, exciting, rewarding, creative, and scary things you can do in life. At least that was my experience.

If you've never started your own company, your perspective might be colored by some of the romantic notions people have about what it's like. They latch onto the benefits like:

  • You can call the shots as to when and where you work.
  • You won't have to work for The Man.
  • You can pursue your passion.

If you have done it, your perspective might be, shall we say, more precise. For example, I used to describe the freedom over your hours by saying… Continue reading...

More about...Side Hustles

Act fast for double cash back rewards from Discover

This article is by Curtis Arnold, editor-in-chief.

It's not often that a credit card company offers to double its usual rewards on a range of its plastic for an entire year -- but that's precisely what Discover is doing for new customers with its current limited-time offer.

How the offer works

Discover's eye-catching offer applies to cash-back cards including:

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