• How to Find the Best Free Checking Account in 2014

    The Internet has equipped banks with the ability to offer a free checking account online to almost anyone who qualifies. Fortunately, the government mandates that a checking account can’t be marketed as “free” if the consumer could potentially be charged a maintenance or activity fee. So what does “free” actually entail? The term “free” is …

  • How to Find the Best Savings Account in 2014

    Looking for places to grow your money without much risk is difficult these days, but finding the best savings account might be a good place to start. Although your money will be safe there, the average American is hardly capitalizing on any gains. According to CNN Money, the average savings account last year had only a …

  • Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2014

    Finding the best prepaid debit card was once a task traditionally reserved for people who had trouble opening a bank account. Today, prepaid debit cards are becoming much more versatile. Many families and college students are regularly using them to manage their finances. If you have poor credit and can’t get a credit card, for …

  • Best Travel Credit Card for 2014

    Updated: April 3, 2014 As my wife and I were looking at our schedules and budgeting for our 2014 vacations, I thought about what might be the best travel credit card to open. If you’re like us, with two young children, your budget might be stretched so thin it’s hard to figure out how you’ll …

  • Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards of 2014

    Updated: April 10, 2014 Changing credit cards can be a challenge, but finding the best balance transfer credit cards for your situation can be the key to transitioning effectively. I wanted a credit card ever since I got my first job. I saw credit cards as a great way to manage cash flow and build …

  • Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2014

    Updated: April 11, 2014 I’ve had an online stock trading account since I was 13 years old and I’ve used at least a dozen of the best online stock trading platforms. I’ve gained a few “learning experiences” from managing my own account and working as a proprietary day trader in Chicago for several years. There …

  • Best Credit Cards for Students in 2014

    Updated: March 31, 2014 The best credit cards for college students hold one major advantage over the other sources of funding that can be used to pay for college expenses: Student credit cards help students establish credit while other methods of funding do not. Sure, you can give your kid a prepaid debit card and …

  • The 5 Best Free Tax Software for 2014

    The first thing to know about free tax preparation software is that every legitimate online tax software offers a free version. If you’re new to tax software, check out my post on the best tax software to see what products rank the highest overall and to learn more about how the software works. Remember, you …

  • Best Tax Software for 2014: TaxACT vs TurboTax vs H&R Block

    Updated March 24, 2014 All the best tax preparation software companies have released their 2014 versions. After reviewing 15 online tax software programs and using the top products, I found three products worth recommending this year. The three best tax software products for 2014 are: 1. TurboTax 2. H&R Block 3. TaxACT Quick Update: I just filed my …

  • Barclaycard Review: Arrival™ World MasterCard® Annual Fee vs. No Annual Fee

    Updated: Feb 21, 2014 The Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is hands-down one of the best credit cards around, but there’s a lot of curiosity and confusion around which is the more valuable of the two: the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases (with an $89 Annual Fee) vs. the Barclaycard Arrival™ …

  • File Taxes Online and Fire Your Accountant: 6 Reasons Why You Should Do It This Tax Season

    Updated: January 21, 2014 I Saved an Extra $1,000 Using Online Tax Software I’ve been doing my taxes online for the past seven years. During those years, I’ve lived in Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, and Washington. I was employed by three different companies. I started and closed three different businesses. I was an independent contractor for …

  • The Best Hotel Credit Cards of 2014

    Part 4 of 4 from the best rewards credit cards series Updated: March 27, 2014 In Part 4 of this series, I’m writing about the best hotel credit cards. If you missed the other parts, I already covered the best all-around rewards credit cards, airline credit cards, and the top cash back credit cards. Part …

  • The Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2014

    Part 3 of 4 from the best rewards credit cards series Updated: April 3, 2014 In Part 3 of this series of posts on the best rewards credit cards, I’m covering the best cash back credit cards. I already covered the best all-around rewards credit cards in Part 1 and the best airline credit cards …

  • The Best Airline Credit Cards of 2014

    Part 2 of 4 from the best rewards credit cards series Updated: March 27, 2014 In Part 2 of this series covering the top rewards credit cards, I focus on the best airline credit cards. I already covered the best all-around rewards credit cards in Part 1, and I analyze the best cash back cards …

  • Best Rewards Credit Cards of 2014

    Part 1 of 4 – The Simple Dollar 2014 Rewards Credit Card Series Updated: April 3, 2014 This is the first part in a series of four posts on rewards credit cards. In the other posts, I focus on the more specific types of rewards cards, like cash back, hotel, and airline credit cards. I …

  • Why Are Savings Account Rates So Low?

    When I first started The Simple Dollar in late 2006, it was pretty easy to find a savings account that offered a 4% annual return on your deposits. Some banks, such as HSBC Direct, were offering introductory rates as high as 6% annually. In other words, if you deposited $1,000 into an account at HSBC …

  • The Two-Account System for Automatic Savings

    Millie writes in, describing her interesting system of making herself save: I have my paycheck direct deposited into ING Direct. It comes in like clockwork on the first and third Friday of each month. Then, on the 10th and the 24th of each month, ING automatically transfers about 60% of that paycheck amount directly into …

  • Insights into Saving Psychology from The Economist

    Recently, while digging through the magazines in our magazine rack, I came across the May 16, 2009 issue of The Economist. The Economist is my primary print source for news and it almost always gives me quite a bit of food for thought. Anyway, on page 82, I found a really interesting article entitled “Smooth …

  • The Paradox of Thrift: Is Saving Money Bad for the Economy?

    Two years ago (in those economic halcyon days before the so-called “Great Recession”), I wrote a short article entitled Is Not Spending Money Bad for the Economy? In it, I largely concluded (by my own logic) that not spending money – in other words, saving it – isn’t necessarily bad for the economy at at …