The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Wesabe Discussions Edition

I usually don’t talk about groups that directly sponsor The Simple Dollar, usually because I feel indifference about their product or because it’s new to me and I haven’t made up my mind about them. After the experience of the last week or so, I feel compelled to make an exception.

Those of you who are observant and who visit The Simple Dollar website regularly have probably seen the new ad on the right hand side of the site near the top for individual discussions going on at Wesabe. For those unaware, Wesabe is a personal finance site that provides budgeting tools, personal finance tips, and a lot of discussion forums, plus compared to the competition, it has the most secure data policies as well – you don’t have to actually give them your account information.

When they first launched, I was fairly critical of them in two respects: their privacy policy wasn’t clear (even though I respected how they actually handled the data) and it was difficult to browse the other content on the site. The very first commenter on the post was Marc Hedlund, one of the cofounders of Wesabe, who explained what was going on and basically pledged to do exactly what I requested. Lo and behold, within just a few months, they had done exactly that.

Later on, when I compared Wesabe to Quicken Online and Mint a few months back, I gave the most positive nod to Wesabe (though I didn’t fully endorse any of the three). In fact, Wesabe was the only one of the three that continuously drew me back to poke around, even though I didn’t actively use their budgeting tools. I often poke around their discussion forums and other areas.

That’s why I was thrilled to be able to work out a deal with Wesabe where they became sponsors of The Simple Dollar. Rather than just being a typical ad, they wanted to highlight some of the aspects of the site that would be of interest to anyone, even if they weren’t interested in sharing their data – and that’s their very strong discussion forums. Since I already lurked there a fair amount (meaning I visited without commenting), I was perhaps more happy with that sponsorship than any sponsor that I’ve ever talked to.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to simply encourage you to check out the Wesabe discussions. They’ll be sponsoring the site for a while, so if you’re interested, give one of the discussions a click (they’ll rotate regularly). I’ve already been poking around in there and I found the ones about eating on a budget and the spending addiction of a spouse quite interesting (the second one actually spurred a discussion with my wife and in part led to my decision to abstain from book buying for a year). I hope you’ll give them a peek – they’re really worthwhile.

Now, for some personal finance articles.

How to Make Money Tutoring: I did this in college for some spare money for a while. Most of the time, I wound up “tutoring” people who wanted to pay me to write papers for them. Since I wouldn’t do that, I didn’t make nearly as much money as I could have. (@ free money finance)

Sales of SPAM on the Rise This is actally the mirror image of my recent post about spending more to eat healthier. (@ gather little by little)

15 Ways to Make $200 Quick An excellent “man on the street” question with a lot of interesting and varied answers. (@ christian pf)

The Garagenous Zone: Tips to Organize Your Garage Our garage often devolves into a disaster area over time, mostly because of our incessant need to hold onto boxes. One big problem with that is that it often results in a sense that we can’t find anything – which has actually caused us to do unnecessary things like borrow screwdrivers and, in one case, buy some paint. (@ unclutterer)

How Much Money Should a CEO Make? This is a difficult question, but I think it’s pretty fairly addressed here. (@ wise bread)

There Is NOTHING Unpatriotic About Retiring Early I heard someone try to feed me this line a few days ago. Not impressed. (@ mighty bargain hunter)

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  1. Jake says:

    I believe you had once said something to the effect that when personal finance writers begin to endorse products that are advertised on their website, it is time to take what they say with a large grain of salt given the very obvious conflict of interest.

    Given that Wesabe has a very prominent listing on your website and is going to be around for a while (as you state), you are doing exactly what you once heavily frowned upon. Just thought I should highlight the hypocrisy.

  2. I tutored in high school for a year or so in math, there was something very rewarding about teaching people to succeed in something they weren’t succeeding in. I remember helping a kid go from like a 40% in the Math Regents exam to getting a 75%. That kid was more excited about that than anything else he’d ever done.

    That and I tutored some cute girls. :)

  3. Erin says:

    I think it is great that you are totally upfront with who your sponsors are. I am delighted if the Simple Dollar is making you some dollar! The site is great and is helping a lot of us.

  4. Amanda B. says:

    Suggesting that it is unpatriotic to retire early is such a crock of poo. Heck, you can serve in the military (the definition of patriotism) for twenty years and retire at 38. So the logic is totally twisted.

  5. Marc Hedlund says:

    Thanks much for the post and the kind words about the site. I remember your original post about Wesabe and remember thinking, “I want to bring this around — we seem to be aiming where Trent wants us to go.” I’m glad that Wesabe has drawn you in over time.

    I definitely agree that one of the strongest parts of our site is the Groups tab — the stuff we don’t do, but our members do. I’m amazed at how often and how well people respond to others in need, and to others looking to share their experiences. I feel like we’re extremely lucky to have the members we have.

    Thanks again.

  6. ChristianPF says:

    Trent,
    that is good to hear… I could never get enough confidence in wesabe or mint to become a full-fledged user… But I love that you made the suggestion to Wesabe and Marc took it and ran with it. That speaks volumes to me and shows that the company is really looking to make the best product possible for it’s customers… I will check them out again. THanks

  7. Laura says:

    When I first read the article in MBH, I thought it was a joke. Who could even fathom that argument?

    I tutored for a while in school, but after I started my internship I didn’t really have time. Now I’m thinking of getting back into it.

  8. James says:

    Interesting because I just started using Wesabe this morning. My daughter in another country and I are using Wesabe to share our bookkeeping tasks. Hope it works, really too soon to say…

  9. Michael says:

    I’m glad to see you found a relevant sponsor that adds value to itself, TSD and your readers.

  10. gr8whyte says:

    My place of employment was privatized at the whim of Congress so I took early retirement. Want me to un-retire? No problem — if Yarrow can undo it and put everything back the way it was, I’ll go back to work. Otherwise Yarrow can go pound sand.

  11. Jan Gordon says:

    Concerning the idea that early retirement is unpatriotic…How about being forced into early retirement by the Federal Government when you really wanted to continue working? I was an Airline Pilot for 38 years and was forced to retire at age 60. This was a completely arbitary number put in place in 1958…not based on any studies…in fact subsequent studies showed a better safety record for pilots over 60 than some younger age groups. At the same time, many foreign countries had much higher retirement ages and those pilots who were well beyond 60 were allowed to operate in and out of the U.S. regularly carrying U.S. citizens.

    Finally in December, 2007, Congress raised the retirement age to 65, but part of the law was that you could only return to your previous airline as a “new hire”, thus forcing one to start over and placing you at the bottom of the seniority list.

  12. Matt says:

    I signed up for Wesabe under your recommendation. I originally had a Mint account, but after constant E-mails to them about bank additions, and changes, etc…. and them NEVER listening, I closed that account down. I hope I have better luck with Wesabe, because Mint’s idea was great, but their execution was very poor.

  13. allsubstance says:

    Thanks for recommending Wesabe. This is the fourth or fifth excellent link I’ve gotten from you. Great blog!

  14. hattie says:

    Trent…I went to Wesabe and started to sign up for cashcrate.com. But the registration just went on and on forever and they asked for my phone # a lot of times. I have only a cell phone and made the mistake of giving it out online once and was thereafter charged outrageous fees for incoming text messages from some company. So I never give it out online now. Is there any way to joint cashcrate.com or other sites like that without giving a phone # ? Thanks a lot.

  15. Linda says:

    Thanks for the review and also reader comments. I have considered Mint but was never comfortable with them enough to sign on —

    I’ll definitely take a look at this.

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