The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Next Project Edition

Now that my book is finished, I’ve decided to embark on another big time-consuming project, but this one is a little different.

I’m a big fan of online banks. I think they’re an incredibly powerful tool for helping you with your personal savings. For a long time, I’ve wanted to talk about a slew of online banks, just to review all of the different options out there.

There’s been a problem with this, though. I don’t like to talk about products that I don’t actually use myself. I won’t review a book unless I’ve read it and thought about it. I won’t review a financial tool unless I’ve used it extensively myself. And I won’t talk about a bank unless I’ve used it myself.

I use ING Direct as my primary bank. I talk about it often. But I don’t mention other banks for the reason above, and I want that to change. There is a huge diversity in online banks, offering different features, different interest rates, different offerings, and different tools for managing your money.

Here’s my solution. Over the next several months, I’m going to open accounts at a bevy of online banks. I’m going to try them out, see in detail what services they offer, transfer some money in out, test their customer service, and close the accounts (if I don’t intend to replace an account I’m already using).

Then, once a week, I’m going to post a detailed review of that bank in an effort to outline clearly what distinguishes it from other banks. What do they do differently? Who is this bank most appropriate for?

So I’m going to open this up to you a little bit. What would you like to see in a review of an online bank? What features really matter to you and would cause you to make the move to switch to a new bank?

While you chew on that, here are some interesting personal finance articles that might interest you.

“Natural Inclinations…Are Hardly Ever Altered or Overcome.” Over the last few days, I’ve been enormously inspired by this little quote. (@ the happiness project)

Do you do your most important work first? I used to have a very organized morning routine, where I would do most of my “routine” tasks before starting the day. What I found is that I got my “routine” tasks done, but most of the real meat of my work – the creative tasks – didn’t go nearly as well. (@ unclutterer)

How to Change Your Motor Oil Changing one’s own motor oil is a tremendous way to save money – when you pay someone else to do it, you’re essentially paying someone $20 so you can sit in a waiting room while some guy unscrews a nut, collects some oil in a bucket, screws the nut back in place, then dumps some clean oil in the top. Why not do that at home where you can do something worthwhile while the oil drains and save yourself $20? (@ art of manliness)

What To Do With A Financial Windfall This is a great step-by-step guide to handling a windfall. If you don’t have a plan, windfalls can actually be a large negative disruption in your life, as we talked about a bit last week. (@ moolanomy)

Results of a Week Without Spending Can you go an entire week without spending any money? As an experiment, this family attempted to have a week without any spending and managed to get by only spending $3. Fairly insightful stuff. (@ pt money)

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