Saving Money

Why Americans Aren’t Ready for an Emergency

Let’s talk about our saving skills for a minute, America. Because it seems that while we’re improving, we have yet to master the skill of setting aside appropriate amounts of money for a rainy day. Instead, we’re consumed with instant gratification and keeping up with the Joneses. We want the latest iPad, spring vacations every …

Categories: Banking, Money, Saving Money

Don’t Waste Your Tax Refund: Four Better Ways to Use It

According to the IRS, the average tax refund so far this year has reached a staggering $3,539. It’s still early, however. And as the tax agency notes, most of the big refunds are filed quickly since the people receiving them don’t want to wait for their payday. Still, last year’s refunds for tax year 2013 were averaging around …

Categories: Saving Money, Taxes

Best Credit Cards for Students in 2015

When used responsibly, the best credit cards for college students become valuable tools that can help accomplish two crucial financial tasks: They help teach money management, and they help students establish the credit they’ll soon need to rent an apartment, buy a car, or even get a rewards credit card. Unfortunately, college students and credit …

Best Tax Software for 2015: TaxACT vs TurboTax vs H&R Block

The countdown to April 15, 2015 is on and its time to get a head start looking at the best tax software options. Why? Because, according to IRS disclosures, it takes a person in the US an average of 13 hours to plan, prepare and file their federal taxes. For most of us, it can …

Three Simple Money Management Lessons for Teenagers

My most important goal for my children is that they grow up to be independent human beings. Although my twins are only a few weeks shy of being one year old, I fully plan to discuss money management tips with them from now (while they can’t talk back) until they’re teenagers and beyond. I had an unusually good …

Balancing Act: Pay Down Student Loans or Save More?

You’re finally there: You’ve graduated from college after many hard years, you’ve got a job in your field, and you’re actually able to balance your budget so you’re not only paying your bills, but you have a bit of extra money left over each month. Now the question is, what to do with that extra …

Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards for 2015

The best balance transfer credit cards will save you money on your current credit card debt. If getting out of debt is a top priority in 2015, you’ll want to make the move to one of the cards below. How can you cure your credit card debt with another credit card? Well, the main reason …

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

For a multitude of reasons, the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® is considered one of the best credit cards around. Still, there’s a lot of curiosity and confusion when it comes to deciding which is the more valuable of the two: the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® (with an $89 Annual Fee) or the Barclaycard …

Can Cash-Back Rewards Beat Your Savings Account?

Are you tired of earning less than 1% on your savings? You’re not alone. With interest rates hovering near record lows for the past few years, the average savings account in the U.S. is currently bringing in around 0.17% APY, according to GoBankingRate data. In other words, most people are earning next to nothing on their liquid savings. And you …

Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2015

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 are over 50 online …

How to Find the Best Free Checking Account in 2015

The Internet has made it easy for banks to offer a free checking account 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 debatable …

Categories: Banking, Saving Money

More Than One Kid? How to Save for College

A reader named Autumn asks a good question: “Hi, I need some advice… My sweet newborn was given a little over $1,000 from our family for his higher education. I thought about putting it into a 529 plan, but I don’t want this money to be only in his name since we plan to have …

Getting Rich on a Small Salary

Once every month or two, I’ll come across a story like this one that describes how someone on a small salary managed to slowly amass an impressive wealth. This particular story describes how a janitor managed to accumulate $8 million. From the article: Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant who worked in retail later …

Dealing With an Unexpected Financial Blow

It was the most bizarre sound I’ve ever heard. I was driving down the interstate with both of my babies strapped into their car seats. Jingle. Jangle. Metal-on-metal. Jingle again. There were so many sounds coming from my car that shouldn’t have been there. Luckily, by some miracle, I jangled all the way to the …

60 Simple Rules of Personal Finance

A while back, I was asked to give an hourlong presentation where I talked about my key principles of personal finance. I chose to give a presentation where each slide was available for about a minute with one simple rule on each slide, giving me a minute to discuss that rule. Thus, I ended up …

Six Big Financial Differences Between a Normal Job and Self-Employment

In 2008, I took the leap from a traditional white collar job into self-employment, mostly on the back of a small side gig I had built for myself that was mostly based around The Simple Dollar. It was a scary change, as I walked away from the stable salary and relative security of my previous …

Proposed Changes to 529 Plans Would Dampen Their Appeal

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama proposed changes to 529 college plans that may force the 7 million families using them to rethink their college financial game plan. Currently, you can make contributions to a 529 plan, invest those funds, and eventually withdraw the earnings tax-free as long as the money is used for …

Why Your Budget Needs a Buffer

When my husband and I discovered zero-sum budgeting several years ago, we knew we were onto something. Because of the way zero-sum budgeting works, it required us to account for every dollar we made on paper – to give each dollar a job. For us, that meant scrutinizing every cent of our spending and figuring …

Guide to Self-Directed IRAs

The history of retirement plans in the United States is neither as old nor as extensive as most people think. The first private pension fund was introduced by the American Express Co. in 1875 as a means of improving employee retention. By 1900, there were only 13 private pension funds in the entire country, and …

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