David Bakke David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.
Recently, I took a good hard look at the website Equifax, which is devoted to products regarding monitoring your credit and protecting your identity. The site has some built-in credibility to it as it is one of the three main credit reporting companies, along with TransUnion and Experian. This means a lot in my opinion, because the number of websites and companies out there in this field are numerous, and some are much more trustworthy than others.
The term “start your own business” used to be one of the most intimidating concepts on the planet for me. The phrase “You can never get rich by working for someone else” has always been very appealing. I just had no idea how to do it and I was scared to death to even try. I thought it involved thousands of dollars in startup costs, making no money at first, and possibly losing everything I have. I feared failure, I feared the unknown, and I feared financial risk.
I have been living what you would call a “frugal” lifestyle for a little over a year now. I try to save wherever I can, whenever I can. But at some point in time you will have to draw a line. That is, a line that marks where frugality ends and where unethical behavior begins. You probably know what I’m talking about. You come across ways that could save you money, but may not necessarily be ethical or even legal. So where do you draw the line? Let’s define the line that I have drawn for myself. Because when it comes down to it, if you have no morals or ethics, you could probably save a lot more money than you are right now.
I don’t know what’s worse–getting my electric bill in the summer or my gas bill in the winter. The Simple Dollar has The Real Reason Your Summer Energy Bills Are So High. The cost of cooling my home just seems to skyrocket in the summer months. Find out some great and not-so-obvious tips on staying cool and still keeping your utility bill in check from The Simple Dollar. The Internet is filled with talented writers who are always coming up with great new topics for personal finance articles. As we do once a week, we’d like to share with you the best of what we’ve found out there in terms of great posts from our friends in the personal finance world:
I was recently able to spend a good bit of time going through the myFICO site. Here you can get your most up to date FICO score for only $15.95. But the site offers much more than just your score. They have several other “tabs” on their home page that provide you with everything from a variety of products related to monitoring and protecting your FICO score to the latest in low interest credit cards.
I spend every possible spare minute that I can with my three year old son. And it never ceases to amaze me the amount of special treatment that he gets. Sure, it is probably standard treatment for all children, but he just always seems to get all the freebies and extras that life has to offer at his age. An extra scoop of ice cream for his ice cream cone, extra sprinkles on that cone, free stickers and suckers from the bank and the post office, balloons from the grocery store, and the list seems to go on forever. Sometimes after a day of errand running, you’d think it had been his birthday or something. So I began to compare his life of virtual bliss and excess to the stark reality of my financial life. Boy, what a difference there is. I soon came to the conclusion that regarding all things financial, you’re just not a kid anymore…
One thing that I have recently learned regarding online shopping for airfares, car rentals, and hotel reservations, is that no longer do the “heavy-hitters” always give you the best rates. There are a lot of newer, lesser-known sites that a lot of times will have better pricing. I just finished researching the online booking website CheapOair. In addition to airfares, they offer great travel information and rates on cars, cruises, hotels and packages.
This is the first installment of a continuing series on fast and easy ways to impact your personal economy. The process of getting out of debt can certainly be overwhelming depending on how far into debt you are. One very important thing that I learned is that taking “baby” steps is just as important as big money-saving changes in your life. What I found to be most helpful are the things that I can change in my daily routine that only take a few minutes. If you can come up with a variety of these, the savings will slowly add up.
Numerous times in the recent past, I have come to learn things about my employer-based health insurance policy that I wish I would have known before. I recently found out the hard way that the deductibles on my policy are tracked separately for each covered member, that my prescription drug plan leaves a lot to be desired, and that there are a lot of procedures that are not covered that I assumed would have been. Put simply, I have recently been hit with a lot of sobering news about the health plan that I signed up for. After calming down a bit, and after getting over feeling like an idiot, I began to examine the problem.
Up until a few years ago, vacations in my life were always a non-budgeted expense for me. Sometimes I had the money for them and sometimes I did not. I never made any plans for them and never saved up for any of them. I decided to change that in my life for a few reasons. And for the past few years, I have been able to take vacations seemingly without spending any money out of my wallet.
The oil currently gushing out of the Earth into the Gulf of Mexico is a tragedy of epic proportions. While I was watching the updates on television, I began to think if my finances and my family could survive such a catastrophe. What I mean by that is, If I died tomorrow, or were suddenly unable to work for an extended period of time, how would my wife and son be able to get along without my income? The thoughts were many and sobering to say the least. If I were not married and had a small son, I guess a lot of these points would be moot. But in my situation, I realized that there are a lot of things that I can do now, or look into now, that would make that time more tenable for my loved ones.
Back when I was in debt, I was hopelessly in debt to the tune of about $30K. And I was unemployed and living with my parents. When the topic comes up in conversation now, the first thing that people ask me is “How did you do it?” For anyone who’s been there, obviously, the answer is complex. For me, it was a lot of things. But, at the end of the day, the question most people ask is:“What is the most important thing you need to do to get out of debt?”
I’d like to consider myself a connoisseur when it comes to credit cards. Since I have learned how to use credit responsibly in my life, I have found that I have had differing needs at differing points in my life. I have also learned that more often than not, there is a credit card out there specifically tailored to those needs. It is important to do research each and every time you are looking for a new card. Many times you can find the card you need from one of the “heavy hitters” (Chase, Citi, Discover) without much research at all. Other times, you have to dig a little deeper. One thing I have learned, it’s not the size of the bank that matters or how “big” their name is. A lot of times, you can find great credit card deals from some of the smaller players.
I’ll get right to the point. I hate waste. I absolutely despise it. Specifically, food waste. So many of us do our best each week to save as much as we can at the grocery store, yet when it comes to what we actually do with this food once we buy it, we drop the ball completely. That, my friends, is why we should all have a “refrigerator conscience.”
There is this phrase from long ago that you can’t fight city hall and win. Well, I am in the process of finding out if this is still true. Normally, my posts are geared towards providing you with some little “pearl of wisdom” that you can incorporate into your everyday lives in order to either save money, spend less, or generate extra income in some way.
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