The Ask MetaFilter “Money” Tag: A Great Place To Read Lots Of Different Perspectives On Money Issues

Recently, I’ve been enjoying Ask MetaFilter, a site that’s much like a more mature version of Yahoo! Answers. Users ask questions and receive sensible, well-written answers from the community. It costs a small fee to ask questions (and also to be able to answer questions), which is how they keep out some of the less desirable community elements.

Anyway, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed many of the money-related questions on Ask MetaFilter. I strongly encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing through these, but I thought I would also share ten of my favorite recent questions (and answers) along with my thoughts on them.Advice on trading credit card debt for other forms of debt If a high interest credit card is eating you alive, there are a lot of options.

Why would I need $80K in credit? The short answer is that you don’t need $80,000 in unsecured credit. Credit companies are willing to provide this much in the hopes of making a lot of money in finance charges.

I’m poor; how can I have an affordable wedding and honeymoon? Lots of good ideas here. For our wedding, we had a lot of family pitch in to help us make a great day.

What’s the best credit option for buying a new computer? Pay cash? That’s what I did; I did pay for it with a credit card, but I paid off the balance the day after the card was charged and racked up a whole lot of bonus points on my card.

How do I spend gift money responsibly? Pay off debts before anything else; if that’s taken care of, invest it in stocks for the future.

My debt is making me depressed. I wrote a bit about money and depression a while back, but in an extreme case like this one, some radical lifestyle changes are in order.

How do I clean up my credit quickly? There’s no quick way to clean up your credit. The best thing you can do is pay down any outstanding credit card debt that you have.

How do I own up to the IRS for a mistake? Admit it and pay the penalty, basically. The nicer you are about it, the easier it will be for you.

What do I do with $1,200 more a month? My advice? Build up an emergency fund, then pay off your debts, then start investing until the gravy runs out.

What’s the best way to start learning about investing? Read The Simple Dollar, of course! Actually, the key is just reading; stop by your local library and start going through the investment books.

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  1. Terry says:

    I can’t get a credit card, how can I get bonus points and other rewards?

  2. Margaret says:

    RE: IRS mistake.

    In Canada, if you read the beginning of the book you get with your tax forms, it says that if you owe taxes (e.g. you haven’t filed when you should have, or have otherwise skipped on your taxes), there are both penalties for being late and punative penalties. If YOU contact them, the punative penalties will be waived. The key is that you have to contact them before they find out about it. If you wait until Revenue Canada finds out and starts after you, too late.

    Personally, I would write the “I’m so sorry” letter, and I would say “I respectfully request that you waive the penalites”. I did this once when filing T4s (my husband and I are self employed and our company is incorporated). Our ex accountant had our books (she used to take MONTHS to get things done), so I couldn’t issue our T4s and file our summary. By the time we got our books back from her, it was almost 2 months past the deadline. When I looked up the penalties, it was something like $25 PER DAY PER T4!!! However, I did them up and sent them with a letter stating why they were late, pointing out that there were no other employees except the two of us, who were the owners, and asked that the penalties be waived. It worked. Another time we owed an amount that we couldn’t immediately pay, so I sent in my partial payment and proposed to pay the remaining amount over 3 months. I got called about it, and the guy said I owed money, when would we pay it. I said I was proposing such and such a schedule. He said, great, let’s put it as month X (one month later than the month I said I would have it paid off by), and although we paid interest on the money, we did not pay any penalties. I think they are really nice if it seems like you have made an honest mistake or you are genuinely trying to correct the error. I think they save their “mean” tactics for someone who is trying to not have to pay at all.

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