Saving Money

18 Ways to Slash Your Utility Consumption in Half

When you tear open your utility bill each month, are you annoyed with the outstanding balance listed on the statement? If so, you aren’t alone. I was having a chat with my hairstylist the other day and she expressed how disgruntled she was about having to fork over $300 or more per month on her utility …

Is This the Perfect Investment for Your Kid’s College Fund?

How’s this for a sweet investment: Anyone can buy it, with no fees or commissions. Its value has gone up by about 130% since 2000 — an 8.6% annualized gain. It’s tax advantaged, so those gains were tax-free. And in that time, investors had virtually no chance of losing their money at any point, even …

Saving Money While Traveling, Part 1

I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in Jerusalem, less than a week into a month-long trip to the Middle East. This trip is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, ever since my last visit here in back in 2004. There was always a hitch, though — too much work and not enough time, or too much time and not …

Categories: Saving Money, Travel

12 Surprising Ways to Save on Groceries

If you’ve been trying to cut costs to stop living from paycheck to paycheck, the food category was probably one of the first to take a hit. You may have tried slashing your grocery budget to an unrealistic amount and clipping coupons to make ends meet. If this approach is working, kudos to you. But …

Betterment Review

As I explained last week, I’m on a quest to find the best retirement plan to roll over my old 401(k). I’m going to conduct the most thorough research I can — publicly — and then put my money where my mouth is, literally rolling over my old 401(k), worth approximately $85,000, into the best …

Confronting Your Worst Money Fears

A tornado sweeps through your town and leaves nothing but death and destruction in its wake. An electrical fire burns your house and everything in it to the ground. A hacker steals your identity and runs up tens of thousands of dollars in debt before you realize what’s happened. Or, a distracted driver gets into a severe, life-changing accident …

Nine Debt-Forming Habits and How to Break Them

The average American household with a credit card carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt, according to debt.org. Add to that $1.2 trillion (and growing) in student loan debt, sprinkle in car loans, a mortgage, personal loans, and medical debt, and we’ve got ourselves an issue. How did we get here? The reasons we’re …

How and Why to Use a Zero-Sum Budget

Sometime around 2010, my husband and I realized that we weren’t making the most of our income. We knew we were wasting boatloads of money, yet we weren’t sure why it was happening or how to make it stop. In an effort to figure things out once and for all, we began tracking our spending to see where all of …

How to Use Technology to Start Saving More

The numbers on who is saving money in America — or more commonly, who isn’t — may shock you. According to a survey by Bankrate, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. The survey unfortunately reports that 50% of Americans have less than a 3-month cushion in their savings account and 27% have no savings account …

15 Ways to Reduce Your Loans While You’re Still in College

Stories of college graduates struggling to deal with their student loans are enough to scare away any bright-eyed college hopeful. If you’re thinking about college or in school right now, there are plenty of steps you can take to help reduce the amount of student loan debt you’ll be saddled with after graduation. Here are 15 ways to reduce your …

Best Money Market Account for 2014

Money market accounts (MMAs) can be a great low-risk investment if you have a substantial chunk of cash. They offer better interest rates than personal savings accounts but are more liquid than certificates of deposit (CDs). Unfortunately, MMAs haven’t been immune to sinking interest rates. According to Bankrate, the average MMA interest rate has sunk …

Categories: Banking, Money, Saving Money

The Best Retirement Plans and 401k Rollovers are Online

I’m on a quest to find the best retirement plan to roll over my old 401(k). Since millions of other people are in this same boat, and don’t know where to turn for sound advice, I figured I would conduct the most thorough research I could — publicly — then put my money where my …

Saving Money in Your Startup

We get it. You’re starting a new businesses and you’re strapped for cash. There are a million questions going through your head. We empathize with bootstrapping entrepreneurs and small-business owners everywhere, and today we explore meaningful ways (that add up) where your business can save money in the early phases. That said, every small-business owner …

Emergency Funds on the Path to Financial Independence

One of the first things that’s recommended for people as they start on their journey toward financial recovery is to build an emergency fund. The reason is simple. An emergency fund is simply cash held in a savings account that you can tap when a life emergency happens – like an unexpected death in the …

Choosing a Budgeting System That’s Right for You

Over the last several years, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a number of different budgeting systems, both for personal use and because readers have asked me to try them out. All of these options have the same goal: get control over your money. Where they vary is in their execution. Some allow you …

Categories: Saving Money

Nine Strategies for Fixing Common Budget Problems

Budgets are an amazing tool for getting a clear picture of your financial situation and for planning for the future. They make it possible to see, in one overall place, the exact state of your monthly spending. You know where every dime is going. You know why every dime is going there. You can also …

Categories: Saving Money

The Dangers of Heroic Budgeting

There have been at least two periods in my life where I lived in an extremely cheap fashion. The first was during a period in college in which I lived in off-campus apartments with roommates. I lived off of ramen noodles and whatever was on sale at the grocery store (I lived on lots of …

Categories: Saving Money

A Deeper Look at Proportional Budgeting

To people who don’t actively budget, budgeting can seem like a complicated mess involving spreadsheet programs, notebooks, and other materials. To others, it can seem like a restrictive nightmare, keeping your different types of spending in a tight box and holding back your freedom of choice to an unpleasant degree. (I actually don’t find either …

Personal Finance 101: Comparing Saving and Investing

Just the other day, I was sitting at my favorite local library (if you happen to go there at the right time, you’ll probably find me sitting at a table with a notebook open in front of me with several personal finance, career, time management, and self-improvement books piled around me). I was browsing through …