Month: May 2014

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 2: Monthly Compound Interest, APRs, and APYs

Previously, we discussed how compound interest works on a year-by-year basis, but in the real world, interest is usually compounded more often than that. For many purposes, monthly compounding is used, so let’s look at monthly compounding. Fire up your spreadsheet and enter a few labels: In A1, enter Monthly Compound Interest Example In A3, …

An Introduction To Compound Interest With Spreadsheets, Part 1: Getting Started And Defining Compound Interest

Several readers have written me excitedly asking how exactly I do some of the calculations on this site and how compound interest works. Usually, I point them at various online calculators, but the truth of the matter is that a basic understanding of how a spreadsheet works and how compound interest works makes it possible …

Review: The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

Student Loan Consolidation 101

If you have more than one student loan after college, chances are you’ve been approached by more than one group seeking to consolidate your student loans (if you haven’t graduated yet and have multiple loans… just wait). These groups promise all sorts of things, from a percent reduction in your balance to a low interest …

Use Your Credit Card Responsibly On Hobbies

As I mentioned recently, earlier this week I found an old credit card statement and spent some time evaluating what sorts of stupid things I spent my money on just a year ago. I decided to circle everything on the list that was directly related to a hobby and total each hobby up to see …

Categories: Entertainment

Five Minute Finances #3: Make A Grocery List

Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. Ever had to face down a $150 grocery bill? I have, and the reason was usually that I entered the …

Categories: Meals, Money, Shopping

A Fresh Look At Auto Leases: Does A Savings Account Help?

Recently, a reader left this comment on an earlier post about the auto lease trap: What if you lease a car like a jetta that can be leased for $248 a month and take the difference between what you would be paying if you bought it and put that in a savings account? In other …

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, And Broke: Buy or Don’t Buy?

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

Dave Ramsey vs. Suze Orman: Which Plan For Dealing With Debts Is Best?

Recently, AllFinancialMatters posed the following question: which method of getting out of debt works better, Suze Orman‘s or Dave Ramsey‘s? Here are the compared plans: Here’s Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Method for paying off credit cards: Step 1 – Make a list of all your credit cards, ranked in order from the highest balance to the …

How My ATM Card Directly Cost Me $30.28 In One Month – And How I Avoid Such Mistakes Today

While doing some calculations for my income taxes, I stumbled across the statement from my checking account for February 2006, just before my financial meltdown. Amused, I spent some time really looking at the staement when I noticed that there were several ATM fees on the bill and a few sales tax dings on those …

Categories: Banking

Stay At Home Parenting: Is It Worth It?

Now that my wife and I are on firm financial footing (and it took much less time than we thought it would take), we are re-evaluating the question of whether or not one of us should be a stay at home parent until our child goes to school. From a developmental standpoint, our ideal would …

Categories: Family

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, And Broke: Chapters 7 – 10

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

How My Grandfather Did It: Living Off The Land With Very Little Income

Recently, I wrote about my grandfather, the interesting life he led, and what lessons that life taught me. Mostly, I wrote about his past – things he did long ago during Prohibition and the like. I didn’t have the opportunity to know him until he was much older, a quiet old man living alone in …

Categories: Frugality

Five Minute Finances #2: Call Your Credit Card Company

Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. Tip #2: Call your credit card company According to CardWeb, the average American household has approximately $9,200 in credit card …

Categories: Credit Cards, Money

The Value of Etiquette

Recently, I wrote an article about little things that immigrants to America might be surprised to know about money, consumerism, and human relations in the United States. It kicked up some interesting controversy in the comments, in which some immigrants basically stated that I shouldn’t be offering advice to them because I don’t understand their …

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, And Broke: Chapters 4 – 6

The Money Book For The Young, Fabulous, and Broke is an attempt by Suze Orman to take personal finance ideas that traditionally appeal to older generations and make them palatable to Generation Y. The back states clearly that this isn’t your parents’ personal finance book, but is there anything really interesting or different about the …

Categories: Books and Reading

What Do A Child’s Earliest Interactions With Money Mean?

I have a fifteen month old son, and in the past I’ve discussed in great detail some plans for providing a strong financial education for a child. In almost every case, I’ve basically started looking at solutions for when he is older, usually at least four years old. However, in the last few weeks, my …

Categories: Family

The Freedom Of Frugality

Thank God for poverty That makes and keeps us free, And lets us go our unobtrusive way, Glad of the sun and rain, Upright, serene, humane, Contented with the fortune of a day. – William Bliss Carman, The Word at Saint Kavin’s Every time I don’t buy something I don’t need, I buy something else …

Categories: Frugality

Is It Unamerican To Do International Investments?

Recently, I was criticized by a friend of mine when I mentioned offhand that I had a significant amount of my retirement portfolio invested in international stocks. He claimed that by having international investments, I was being distinctly un-American and that I was helping out our international competitors by investing in their stocks. On the …

Categories: Investing