Personal Finance

Personal Finance

When to Choose Urgent Care

Male Doctor Examining Female Patient In Emergency Room

Here’s how it ought to work: If you’re sick, you make an appointment to visit your primary care physician, the one you’ve spent years developing a relationship with. If it’s a true emergency, something involving blood or trouble breathing or a gypsy curse, you visit the ER. Unfortunately, it’s not always so simple. Millions of […]

Personal Finance

You Should Bank With Charles Schwab

Photo by Mike Mozart, via Flickr.
Photo by Mike Mozart, via Flickr.

My bank is better than your bank. Let me explain. Several years ago a friend recommended I close my Wells Fargo account and instead use Charles Schwab for my primary checking account. I said, “Please stop referring to yourself as my friend, and is this the same Charles Schwab who threw sand in my eyes […]

Personal Finance

Get The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Democracy Scratch

Scorpions and Centaurs
via Creative Commons Flickr user Scorpions and Centaurs

It’s an election year, albeit a midterm one. But with the presidential race looming in 2016, and campaigns starting earlier than ever, it is imperative that you start thinking about how to get the most political bang for your buck. You don’t want to be one of those chumps blindly donating to your preferred candidate with no assurance that anything will come from it, do you? Of course not. You want to make sure your actual “change” translates into political “change”! (Feel free to use that around the water cooler. That’s where I heard it.) So let’s jump in. I’ll take you through the various ways in which you can insert your money into the political process, and determine the relative strengths and weaknesses of each choice.

1. Donate to someone running for office. This is a direct way to put your money into the coffers of your preferred candidate. You might think that would be a good thing, but it isn’t. According to federal law, individuals can only donate a paltry $2,600 to a candidate’s campaign. That contribution isn’t going to amount to much in a presidential election when television ad buys cost millions of dollars. Not to mention the fact that such campaign war chests are so huge, the influence your $2,600 is going to be extremely minimal. For this reason, if you do insist on taking this route, it’s best to donate to campaigns closer to home. Forgo presidential and even senate campaigns for a congressional race. Or magnify your donation further by only donating to state, county or municipal candidates. Your local dog catcher may not be able to make pot legal, but you’ll at least have one politician in your pocket.

Personal Finance

Better Leftovers, Better Savings


Stretching your food budget is as easy as learning to take those leftovers that usually get pushed to the back of the fridge and using them to create a new and exciting dish. The key to doing this successfully is planning your meals to take full advantage of everything in your kitchen. Following a few simple rules will ensure that you don’t end up with a refrigerator full of plastic leftover containers.

Plan Ahead

There are literally thousands of ways to take main course leftovers and turn them into something dramatically different. One of the easiest ideas is making tacos, which can be done with shredded beef, chicken or even turkey. Soups are another easy transformation for a former main course meat. The tried and true pot pie is also a great choice.

Personal Finance

Billeater: Dealing with Big Spender Friends without Becoming Frenemies


Everyone has a friend who likes to go out and blow cash on a big night or the latest electronic gadget. It’s fun to be around someone who feels comfortable spending money, especially if you’re always working to keep within your more limited budget. That fun can turn to frustration if you start to feel pressured to match your friend’s spending habits, though.

Here are some ways to keep your free-spending friends without blowing through your own bank account.

Personal Finance

Bank Transfer Day: A Roundup of Credit Union Alternatives


Photo courtesy of Mark Strozier, via Flickr

Since I posted my Credit Union 101 primer a couple weeks ago, all this talk of switching from major banks to credit unions seems to have had an effect: first Bank of America backed out of its plan to charge debit card users a $5 monthly fee, then Chase and a handful of other banks followed suit.

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Betterment Combines Online Banking with Investment Management


Betterment is the website that prides itself in offering low cost investment choices to individual investors. It’s an online broker that helps to make investing easier for novices that may not know exactly what assets to invest in. The company’s website does all of the work for you.

Here’s how it works:

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Tips for Successful Investment Management


Investors in the stock market have a tale of some missed investment opportunity that could have made them lots of cash. It might have been missing out on Walmart in its early days or failing to buy shares of Apple when Steve Jobs returned to the company. Everybody has regrets when it comes to investing. The important thing is to learn from the investing mistakes that you have made and not to do them again.

Let’s take a look at a few things that investors can do to improve their investing experience.

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Holiday Shopping Tips to Make the Season More Affordable


The holiday seasons are rapidly approaching as the year 2011 is nearing an end. This means making sure that you have your Christmas shopping list in order. Lots of consumers will be running to the stores in order to get their gifts for their family members and loved ones. It is always a winning proposition when you can bring a smile to someone’s face and save some money in the process.

Here are a few tips that you can use to make holiday shopping easier on your wallet.

Personal Finance

Credit Unions 101: Get Away from Increasing Debit Card and Bank Fees


Photo courtesy of redspotted, via Flickr

We all heard the news late last month that Bank of America would introduce new fees to those who use their debit cards. Well, now it appears the fees-for-debit trend is spreading. In light of all this, record numbers are switching from traditional banks to local credit unions.

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Saving Money on the New Debit Card Fees and Other Finance Charges


Saving money today is now as important as ever. Difficult economic times call for greater financial discipline. This can be hard to do since customers are being forced to pay more for services. Even banking customers are seeing increased fees on their financial accounts as their income dwindles. Debit and credit card account holders are now in the crosshairs of financial institutions.

There are, however, some strategies that you can undertake to save money on card products.

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Smart Shopping One Key to Better Financial Planning


This poor economy is making it difficult to get ahead financially. Most households are going to need to place an emphasis on making every single dollar last longer. The best way to do this is by becoming a smart money manager when it comes to your finances. You should do all that you can to increase your overall net worth while keeping your expenses in check.

Here are a few tips that will help you do this.

Personal Finance

Billeater: Strategies for Talking to Your Kids About Money


When it comes to teaching kids about money, parents often don’t know what kinds of information to share. Money management is, after all, a complex topic that many adults feel they still haven’t mastered themselves. Just because the subject is difficult, however, does not mean you should withhold information and ideas about money from your children. Keeping quiet about some financial matters can actually be more damaging to your children than opening your mouth and discussing them.

Here are three hypothetical scenarios to get you thinking about how you should handle future financial discussions with your children.

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Getting Around Bank Fees


Maintenance fees are a big problem for many people since they deplete the amount of available funds in your checking account. These fees can be as low as $4 or as high as $20 a month just for the privilege of having a commercial bank account. These monthly maintenance fees can result in you having to pay hundreds of dollars a years in fees alone.

You can use a few of these tips to keep your account balance from dropping into the red.

Personal Finance

Buy Like Buffett: Implementing Your Own Personal Budget Control Act


A lot of people have trouble trying to live within their means on a monthly basis. These individuals would like to save money but have a hard time trying to spend less than they make. They find themselves frustrated month after month because of their inability to make any progress at saving money. In order to reach your savings goal, you should enact the following tactics to make your plan a reality.

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