Getting Started

If I Could Do It All Over Again: Advising Myself At Age Eighteen

Ten years ago, I was in the midst of my freshman year in college. I had very little concept of money or what to do with it, but at that point I still had an overall positive net worth. If only I knew then what I know now, I sometimes think to myself, particularly when …

Setting and Meeting Daily Personal Financial Goals

Ever since I was young, I have had a number of daily goals for myself. Most of them seem rather mundane: commit a random act of kindness, read for at least half an hour, brush my teeth and use Listerine twice, and so on. Most of them have a clear metric for success. However, since …

Getting Started With Credit By Buying Textbooks

While I was reading a thread at The Consumerist on ways to get started with credit, I found myself repeatedly shaking my head at the number of extremely questionable ideas that people were coming up with.  Buying CDs and using them as loan collateral simply to improve your credit seems like financial suicide to me. …

Return to Thunderdome: Calculating the Value of the ING “Signing Bonus” Versus HSBC’s Higher Interest Rate

When I compared ING and HSBC, I discussed how HSBC’s annual percentage yield of 5.05% is significantly better than ING’s annual percentage yield of 4.4%, but I felt that ING’s service was significantly better. One of the comments, from Boston Gal, made the astute observation that ING’s current “signing bonus” of $25 did a good …

The Road to Financial Armageddon #9: The Road to Recovery

Yesterday, I described my financial meltdown, when I reached a point where there was more money going out each month than coming in with no real hope for redemption without a change from within. Then, thanks to some inspiration, I made that change. The first thing I did was I laid out every single expense …

Two Banks Enter, One Bank Leaves: ING vs. HSBC in … Direct Thunderdome

Over the past few months, I signed up with both ING Direct and HSBC Direct in order to try out their online savings offerings. I had heard many positive reviews of the service at ING, but I was also stunned at the 5.05% APY interest rate being offered at HSBC. To make up my mind, …

52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks

I’m constantly astounded by the huge number of personal finance books that are out there, and it seems like every week I discover a new one or two. How on earth does a person dig through this huge pile of books, many of which offer variations on the same old advice, to find the real …

The One Month Challenge

I used to waste tons of money on silly little things. I did it so often and so regularly that I didn’t even realize that it was adding up to a huge dent in my finances. A pack of Tic-Tacs here, a CD there, a DVD here, a new book there… it wasn’t long before …

14 Ways Your Computer Can Put Money In Your Pocket

If you’re reading this, you likely have ready access to a computer with an internet connection. Most people are aware of a few ways that a personal computer can save them money, but there really are a plethora of simple, ethical ways that anyone can use a computer to make a few dollars. Here is …

A One Day Commitment

The hardest part about changing your spending habits is simply getting started. For me, I was in a routine of eating out for breakfast and lunch every single weekday, plus I would stop all the time for frivolous purchases that I didn’t really need. I knew they were adding up to a lot of money, …

Turning Off The Financially Irresponsible Mindset

Since turning my financial life around, I’ve discovered that frivolous spending really is a psychologically addictive habit. That little rush of buying something enjoyable for yourself or someone else becomes a part of your life, and when you begin to turn things around, it is a very hard habit to break. Over time, though, I’ve …

The Power of the Pocket Change Jar

I have a little jar that sits on my dresser. Inside it is my pocket change from the last several days. It seems like such a simple idea, but it can be quite powerful if you keep up with it. Instead of dumping excess pocket change into a vending machine, I keep it in my …

I’m In Big Financial Trouble – Where Do I Start?

Several months ago, I sat down with my finances and took a good hard look at things. I was in approximately $10,000 of credit card debt spread out over three cards, and that’s not counting my student loans or vehicle loans. I also had no money in savings and – even scarier – I wanted …