Dollar Store Diaries: 5 Things NOT to Buy at the Discount Store

For anyone living a truly frugal life, the local dollar store is more than just a blip on the radar. For starters, they seem to carry every necessity imaginable. In fact, I recently heard of a dollar store in Texas that now sells beer and wine – a surprising addition for a store known for its off-brands and knickknacks. Still, it’s safe to say that the dollar store is a great place to shop and to save money.

Though I still frequent mine quite a bit, the excitement of thinking I could buy all of my essentials there eventually wore off, and I came to realize that there are, in fact, some things that you simply should not purchase at a discount store.

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6 Steps For How to Responsibly Use 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards to Get Out of Debt

balance transfer credit card handHave you seen the credit card offers yet? You know, the 0% introductory APR balance transfer offers? In late 2010, after a bit of a hiatus, credit card companies started sending out 0% balance transfer offers to potential customers with good credit again. You may have thought that the days of balance transfer arbitrage were over after the peak in the mid-2000s – but they’re now back.

Most people don’t have much use for a 0% APR balance transfer and if you don’t, that’s great. But on the other hand, if you’ve made a few small financial mistakes over the years but you’re truly careful and disciplined now, a 0% balance transfer offer can help you get ahead and on the right track.

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How to Get Out of an Upside Down Car Loan with Negative Equity

upside down car crashIn the housing industry, it’s called “negative equity.” In the automotive industry it’s called being “upside down.” In both cases, it means the same thing: You owe more money on an asset than the asset itself is worth.

When you’re upside down on a car loan, you can end up in big trouble because a car doesn’t grow in value like a house often does. You can list a car as an asset on your balance sheet if you want, but in reality, it’s not an asset or an investment. It’s an expense.

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Valentine’s Day Treats & Dessert Recipes – Oreo Cheesecake Balls & Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Valentine's Day Desserts and TreatsWhen my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together as a new couple, he was two hours late for our date. I was annoyed, until he finally showed up at my door with a homemade Oreo cheesecake – the same dessert we had shared on our first date together. I thought, “how sweet, original, and romantic!” while he thought “how inexpensive!”

If you want to show your sweetie you care, a little thoughtfulness, baking prowess – and chocolate – can go a lot farther than $300 roses or a fancy expensive dinner.  (Or if you don’t like to bake, check out these other fun Valentine’s Day activities.)

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Income vs. Wealth – What’s the Difference?

man walking up coins“Income” and “wealth” have incorrectly become synonymous in American culture. While the two concepts often go hand in hand, using the terms interchangeably is misleading. America’s most wealthy individuals don’t necessarily draw the highest levels of income.

For example, while professional athletes, top executives, doctors, and lawyers have reputations for high salaries, their obligations can make accumulating significant wealth very difficult. Many wealthy individuals, on the other hand, have never earned an exceptionally large paycheck.

Income vs. Wealth – Different Definitions

I like to think of income as the amount of money someone receives on a regular basis, while wealth is the length of time that person (or family) could maintain their current lifestyle without receiving compensation for performing additional work.

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How to Buy the Best Apple iPad Accessories for Cheap

ipad accessoriesIf you’re like me, the Apple iPad has completely changed your life. It was totally worth the $500 (for the 16GB WiFi; $829 if you got the 16GB WiFi + 3G).

But after forking over that much money, I’m a little hesitant to bling it out with expensive iPad accessories. That’s why I’ve researched ways to save money on the latest accoutrements without sacrificing quality.

To start, let’s look at the top 5 accessories you should buy, and then I’ll offer tips to get them at a lower cost.

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How to Defer Your Student Loans – 5 Options to Extend or Postpone Paying Back School Loans

books piggy paidWhen I was in college, every semester I received a check from the federal government for text books and living expenses (read: beer). I didn’t give much thought to how I was going to pay the student loans back until the day after graduation, when a bill for $12,000 landed in my mailbox.

In retrospect, I got off easy, as many college kids have more than $100,000 of student loans they need to repay. But whether you have a little or a lot, interest builds quickly, and it’s best to create a solid plan for paying back the debt that works with your financial situation.

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How to Invest in Alternative Investments in Your IRA Retirement Account

money investing trend upIf you’ve been chunking money into your retirement account for years, the last thing you want to do is watch it shrink to nothing when the stock market goes south. Just ask any 65-year-old, who is now having to work for 5, 10 or even 15 years longer than he expected thanks to the big hit his IRA took a few years ago.

Fortunately, there are now a few alternative options when it comes to investing your IRA, but like with any investment, they come with their own set of risks and rewards.

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SquareTrade Warranty Review – Extended Warranties and Insurance For Gadgets & Electronics

squaretrade logoI’m not the typical iPhone user. My phone isn’t wrapped in plastic with six inches of rubber encasing it. In fact, it was going completely “naked” until just recently, when I gave in and put a minimalist bumper around it. I’ve had butter fingers lately, and I don’t want to take any chances since it costs a fortune to replace an iPhone.

With all of the new gadgets out there, and the prices only getting steeper, it’s easier than ever to end up with a pricey accident on your hands.

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What is a Money Market Account and How to Choose the Best with High Yield Rates

bigger piggy banks savingsThe earlier you begin investing, the better your payoff will be, so begin investing as soon as you can afford to do so.

An important piece of advice along these lines is to “pay yourself first, and then invest.” If you contribute, even in small amounts, to a smart savings or investment plan, you’ll see the results add up quickly.

If you’re mired in debt, do your best to get out of debt before worrying about investing. But once you’ve paid off all of your loans, start investing some of your monthly income to build for your future.

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