About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:
Kira Botkin
Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

Top 6 Free Black Friday Shopping Apps for Droid & iPhone

By Kira Botkin

Worried about losing track of the best deals and getting flustered as you shop during this Black Friday? Well, luckily for you, if you have a smartphone, there are some great phone apps to help you shop smarter and simpler this Black Friday. Organize your gift list, compare prices, and shop online with these free and low-cost apps for Apple and Droid devices:

Click to continue reading...

What is a SEP IRA Retirement Account for Small Business Owners – Rules & Contribution Limits

By Kira Botkin

Piggy bank and calculatorIn the past, we’ve talked about the traditional 401k, Roth 401k, Roth IRA, and traditional IRA. We must have hit them all by now, right? Well, if you’re a small business owner or you are self-employed, there’s another retirement fund option that you need to consider: the SEP-IRA.

When I started my own business, one of my goals was to save more for retirement, but the other plans’ costs were too excessive. After doing research, I quickly found that the best option was the SEP-IRA, which offered me a popular low-cost alternative.

Click to continue reading...

Best DVD Movie Formats to Buy? DVDs vs Blu-ray Discs, Full vs Wide Screen, and Special Editions

By Kira Botkin

DVD Shopping OptionsDVDs are a favorite shopping item – they’re great gifts, very portable, and frequently on deep discount. However, since many movies now come in multiple formats and editions, it’s become more and more confusing for the average shopper to know which type to buy.

To help reduce any buyer’s remorse you have the next time you go DVD shopping, here are 3 key things to consider when choosing what type of DVD is the best fit for your home or the person you’re buying for:

1. Standard DVD’s vs. Blu-ray vs. HD DVD

Click to continue reading...

7 Black Friday Tips For Safe Shopping

By Kira Botkin

Safe Shopping TipsWith the large numbers of shoppers expected to turn out at this year’s Black Friday sales, it’s easy to get separated from your group or end up in a sticky situation. Planning ahead will help keep everyone in your group safe while shopping. Here are some helpful tips to help you survive those crowds this year. Some are more obvious than others, but nevertheless, none of them should be overlooked!

Click to continue reading...

The 4 Best Cheap Online Grocery Shopping Stores

By Kira Botkin

Paper bag full of groceriesIf you’re too busy to get to the grocery store, there’s many ways for the grocery store to come to you! Online grocery shopping has been rapidly expanding over the past several years, with lots of different websites providing groceries shipped right to you. Online grocery shopping can save you time, stress, gas money, and expose you to new types of foods and brands you can’t get at your local grocery store.

To help you sort through the different online grocery shopping options out there, I’ve put a list together of my 4 favorite stores. To help you compare prices, I’ve also included the cost and shipping price of a 16oz package of regular Oreos to Ohio:

Click to continue reading...

Book Giveaway! Be Thrifty: How To Live Better With Less Book Review

By Kira Botkin

Cover of the book "Be Thrifty"Tightwads everywhere try to show each other up on how much their organic garden has grown, hipsters dress exclusively in charity-shop finds, and it’s practically “New York cool” to make your own pickles. But for most people, these frugal activities are just a small corner of their lives, with the rest of their lives displaying a significantly less disciplined financial lifestyle. So how does one begin to learn how to live a truly thrifty life?

Click to continue reading...

How to Spend Less When Buying An Engagement Ring

By Kira Botkin

Engagement ring on metallic hearts paperFellas, don’t believe everything you read. The maxim about spending two months’ salary on an engagement ring is absurd. You can get a beautiful piece of jewelry on a smaller budget! Besides, if you’re a regular Money Crashers reader, you probably know that it’s not smart to marry someone who actually believes you should spend the equivalent of a small car on a piece of jewelry unless you can amply afford it. However, there are lots of ways to get more value in an engagement ring purchase.

Click to continue reading...

8 Ways To Save Money By Keeping Produce Fresh

By Kira Botkin

Closeup of cherry tomatoesYou can take a big chunk out of your food budget by making your perishables last longer. Americans throw out about 40% of all the food they buy, so even a small dent can mean big savings.

Here are some great tips to follow to help you keep your produce fresh and save a ton of money:

1. Berries. If you’re up for a few extra steps, Cook’s Illustrated says berries can be rinsed with a 3:1 water-vinegar solution to remove any bacteria or spores and then carefully dried to extend their lifespan. If you’re not up for the extra steps, keeping them dry until you’re ready to use them will keep them from going mushy and moldy. Make sure to take out any that are already going bad first to prevent the spread of any disease or mold.

Click to continue reading...

Credit Card Debt Reduction Story: How I Got My Minimums Reduced

By Kira Botkin

Scissors cutting up a credit cardFor those of you who are on the uphill road of getting out of debt and working towards the light at the end of the tunnel, paying off credit cards can feel like it eats up every penny you make. Several months ago, I was paying the minimum or close to it on multiple cards and trying to scrape up as much as I could to keep things together. As you can tell, I got myself into a bad debt situation. However, I was pretty lucky in that I have never actually missed a payment or otherwise given the credit card companies an excuse to exercise the universal default policy and jack up my interest rate.

Click to continue reading...

Why Do We Save?

By Kira Botkin

Coins dropping into a piggy bankWhy do we save our money and not spend everything we have the second we have the money? What is it we are accomplishing with our money when it sits in a bank account adding a tiny bit each month, instead of using it to buy delicious meals, beautiful clothes, fun experiences, or other equally desirous things? I want to use this post to take a philosophical approach on the topic and, more importantly, I want to get your feedback below.

Click to continue reading...

Is A College Degree Valuable Without Job Skills?

By Kira Botkin

Graduating girl with capWhen you’re entering college at 17 or 18, you’re often encouraged to broaden your horizons and pursue what interests you. But is that a good plan for long-term career success? Unfortunately, this type of advice can sometimes lead to students gaining skills and knowledge that may very likely be virtually useless upon graduation. I am not saying people should sacrifice their interests for the sake of a good-paying career, but they at least need to be made fully aware of how their decisions in college will affect their career opportunities down the road. In my own life, I can think of many people who graduated with fancy degrees and lots of knowledge, but had no actual work experience or valuable job skills, which put them behind the proverbial eight ball when it came time to look for a job.

Click to continue reading...

Are Outlet Malls Worth It?

By Kira Botkin

Pants on a rackWhen I was a kid, I remember going to the outlet mall, the promised land where I would actually be able to buy stuff with my own money because it was so cheap. I didn’t care if it was last season’s or it wasn’t the greatest piece of clothing, because the allure of low prices drew me in, as well as millions of other people across the country. Over time, however, outlet malls have changed, and not for the better.

Click to continue reading...

8 Great Songs about Personal Finance

By Kira Botkin

Steel guitarRock stars didn’t start out rich, and they often bring a certain mindset about money and finances to their songwriting. Believe it or not, some of their songs offer some really interesting perspectives that apply to our own lives.

I’ve taken some of my favorite lines from eight popular rock and pop songs that incorporate financial lessons we can all relate to. Check them out and feel free to add any other song lines that should be in this list!

1. “Fixing a Hole” by the Beatles

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in, to stop my mind from wandering…

Click to continue reading...

5 Tips To Get Your Friends To Be Frugal With You

By Kira Botkin

Two friends drinking coffeeMany studies have shown that we tend to do things based on the examples set by our friends. When our friends overeat, we overeat, and when our friends overspend, we feel like it’s more acceptable for us to overspend too. If your group of friends has gotten into a rut where you’re not comfortable with the amount you spend or the financial priorities of your group, you can help lead the way for others by making changes of your own. Making moves to change for the better can inspire your friends to take a look at their financial life and start making changes of their own. Here are 5 great tips to help spur some change:

Click to continue reading...

What Is Debt Addiction?

By Kira Botkin

Stack of credit cardsFor many people, our personal demons show up in many areas of our life, including ourĀ finances. Some of us try to make ourselves feel better by buying things we don’t need, ignoring our money problems, or wishing for magical solutions. A common end to this road is debt addiction.

Click to continue reading...

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.