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Treat Your Emergency Fund Like an Insurance Policy

By Erik Folgate

Now that many of my friends and family know that I write for a personal finance blog, they tend to ask me more questions about personal finance. I always tell them that I’m not an expert at this point. I don’t have enough experience to call myself an expert. But, writing this blog and my passion for helping people learn what I have learned is what distinguishes me from the average individual. I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge from doing research for this blog, reading books, and thinking beyond the box about personal finance. My philosophy about personal finance is that there is an emotional element and a mathematical element to it. Some personal finance bloggers focus more on the mathematical side and others focus on the emotional side. I think that a healthy balance of these two elements is essential to winning with your money.

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Money Lessons Learned From Our Founding Fathers

By Erik Folgate

I meant to do this post yesterday during the designated President’s Day, but I didn’t get to it, so I thought I would share it with you a day late. I think one of the biggest tragedies of our modern culture is that we do not follow the guidance and wisdom laid out by the people that shaped this country into the greatest nation the world has ever seen. We are the hallmark for freedom and liberty. People flock here every year to have the opportunity to change their financial lives. We learn that George Washington and Abraham were great Presidents, but we seldom go beyond that. We seldom analyze their philosophy for the direction of the country. Here are some quotes from Washington and Lincoln that we can learn from about personal and financial development.

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Update to Economic Stimulus Calculator

By Erik Folgate

I updated the economic stimulus calculator from this post, to reflect the most accurate calculator to estimate your rebate based on the actual bill signed into law this past week.

If you have not subscribed for the Money Crasher RSS Feed, please do so now!

Finally, stay tuned for the first ever Money Crasher’s podcast! It will be launched within the next 2 weeks. Comment on what topics you would like me to cover. The podcast will probably last somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes and it will cover recent financial news, a personal finance topic, and a fun top ten list. I’d love to hear what you want to hear about most, though!

Three Ways To Know If You Are In Love With Money

By Erik Folgate

Ahh, love is in the air, isn’t it? I can just hear cash registers around the country being overworked on this day that is loved by retailers more than it is loved by consumers. Call me Scrooge, but do we really need an unofficial holiday of love? If the government would recognize it and declare it a national holiday, then I’d start to like it more, because at least I would get the day off. Anyway, I’ll stop the Valentine’s negativity, and get on with my dark “love” post for Valentine’s day.

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Financial Question #11: Bush Signs Economic Stimulus Plan Into Law

By Erik Folgate

Today, President Bush signed the economic stimulus plan into law today. So, it’s a done deal. He praised Congress for coming together in a bipartisan way to get the bill passed quickly so the American people will get the money as fast as possible. I still have my reservations about whether this is the solution for actually stimulating our economy, but at least they are trying to do something, and putting more of our earned income back into our pockets is always a good thing.

Here’s the question for today. It’s a two part question:

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One Big Way to Save Money On Valentine’s Day

By Erik Folgate

Men, listen up for a minute. I know we’re lazy, and when it comes to making our girls happy, we’ll go with convenience over anything else, even if it’s at a premium price. But, if you want to win with money in your lifetime, you need to start learning how to save money when it’s staring you in the face. So, here’s my number one way to save money on valentine’s day for your woman:

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How To Put Together A Budget With Irregular Income

By Erik Folgate

One big mistake that personal financial gurus tend to make is assuming that we all live on a steady monthly income. When in fact, very many of us are salespeople that earn an income based 100% on commissions. One month you might make $10,000, but the next two months you might not make a dime. This can pose a problem for those people who want to stick to a written budget, but they don’t know how to budget their monthly expenses and savings when they cannot predict their income for that month. This is a tutorial to help all of the salespeople out there stick to a written budget without pulling your hair out.

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Suze Orman Gets It Right About Why Our Economy is Faultering

By Erik Folgate

Sometimes, I don’t agree with the advice that Suze Orman gives, but she definitely gets it right in this article about what to do with the mini windfall that you’ll be receiving from the government this summer.

Here is a quote from her article that I liked:

I don’t agree with that approach on any level. The economy isn’t floundering because we aren’t spending enough; it’s floundering because we’re spending too much, largely on credit. So do the opposite of what the government is hoping for — it’s far more important for people to boost their savings, not their spending.

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Clearing Up The Confusion About The Economic Stimulus Plan Refund Checks

By Erik Folgate

Do you like the information on this blog? Be sure to subscribe to our feed to receive updates on new articles.

CNN really needs to verify the information that people spew forth when the quote someone in an article before publishing it, even if it is just an online article.CNN posted this article on Friday about the potential passing of the economic stimulus plan that would put tax money back into the hands of the Americans. This quote was originally posted in the article:

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Watch Out For Economic Stimulus Rebate Scams

By Erik Folgate

According to the AP, via CNN Money, there’s already scammers out there trying to trick you into giving out personal information, claiming to be the IRS. They are telling people that they need to verify their personal information in order for them to receive the economic stimulus plan rebate. These people are the scum of the earth, aren’t they? And you can bet that they are targeting the elderly and college students. College students are usually naive, and they feel that the elderly are more vulnerable and gullible to give out personal information. Someone could be stealing your grandmother’s identity and wiping out her life savings as we speak.

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Four Tips On the Issue of Money and Family

By Erik Folgate

Brothers Don't Shake Hands, Brothers Gotta Hug!When I was in college, my first car had finally broken down. I needed another car, but I didn’t have any money to get another one. I didn’t want to go to a bank to get a loan for a car, because I was didn’t want to pay all of the interest and I didn’t want the possibility of it getting repossessed if I could not make the payment. After several discussions with my dad, he agreed to pay for the car and I would pay him a set amount each month until the loan was either paid off, or he felt that I had paid enough towards it for him to give me the title. I didn’t have to pay any interest, and if I was a few days late, I wouldn’t be penalized. It seemed like a sweet deal at the time, but once I started driving that car and paying payments to my dad, it just didn’t seem right. He wasn’t a jerk about it, and he didn’t hold it over my head, but I didn’t like the idea of owing my dad money. I thought to myself, “My family shouldn’t feel like my bank.” At some point in your life, your money and your family will mix together. You may not want it to, but it will. However, you can choose how you deal with money when it comes to you and your immediate and extended family. Borrowing money, lending money, and starting business from family can be very alluring, because you are close to that person and you feel like you can trust them. I understand why families borrow money from each and start businesses together, but I am going to give you a few reasons why you should not do it and how to avoid it.

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Save Money By Buying Second Hand Clothes

By Erik Folgate

No, I’m not talking about buying from the Salvation Army or the Goodwill. Although, you can do that, too. But many of us are snobs when it comes to clothes. We want “new” clothes. We like the smell of new clothes, we like the thrill of buying new clothing at the store. We usually wear that outfit the next day after we buy it. But, is everything always best when it’s new?

Here are five articles of clothing that I think are best as used or just as good when they are used:

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  1. Jeans
  2. Boots

Hillary Clinton Will Garnish Your Wages If You Choose Not to Buy Health Insurance

By Erik Folgate

Haha, I just took money from your paycheck!This article from USA Today summarizes what Hillary Clinton spoke about on an ABC Sunday Morning show. She described her plan for funding her universal health care program, but the most revealing detail of her plan was that she would garnish the wages of those workers who could afford health care coverage, but chose not to buy it or participate in a universal health care plan.

Clinton Said, “I think you can automatically enroll people, and you will then say, ‘You’ve got to be part of this.’”

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Financial Question Of The Day #10

By Erik Folgate

Is getting out of debt or investing for retirement more important to you?

This is an interesting debate. Many young people leaving undergraduate and postgraduate studies aren’t too concerned with getting out of debt right away. Many of my wife’s friends who will be leaving with considerable student loan debt from medical related degrees say that they would rather invest their big paychecks rather than use it to pay off the debt.

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Is Leasing With The Option to Buy A House A Good Idea?

By Erik Folgate

A Money Crasher’s reader sent me an email the other day with this question, so I thought that I would share my opinion with all of you.

Are lease-purchase homes a good idea? I recently heard of them, and I am wondering if that would be a good option for us.

It all depends on the situation, how committed you are to actually purchasing the house, and the terms of the agreement. I wish that I could just say a simple “yes” or “no” to the question of whether leases with the option to buy are a good idea, but like everything else in life, it’s complicated. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to leasing a house with the option to buy.

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