Credit Cards Can Really Rock and Here’s Why!

One of the warnings that personal finance gurus often give is “be very careful with your use of credit cards”! I’ve said it myself and the reason why is that so many of us are just so damned cavalier when it comes to credit card spending. We lack self control, overuse our credit cards, fail to track our spending, buy impulsively, and either can’t or won’t be able to pay for that overspending. When all of that occurs, it causes a spiral into high interest payments, growing debt, damaged credit ratings, and eventually a possible financial disaster! Danger, Will Robinson, danger!

Credit cards offer lots of benefits if you know how to manage them, but credit card bonus offers may be the best benefit of all.

But, hold on a second, please. To be fair (and smart), credit cards are not evil in concept. In fact, credit cards can really rock and let me tell you exactly why! Continue reading

9 Steps to Get Your Finances Back on Track

For today’s guest post on getting your finances back on track, please welcome fellow personal finance blogger Marc from Vital Dollar.

Many of us find, at least at some point in our lives, that our financial situation isn’t as strong as we’d like. For most people, that means debt and maybe even poor spending habits.

When you need to get your finances back on track, here's a step-by-step process to making things work, including how to achieve your goals in the future.

It could be student loans, car loans, credit cards, medical bills, or some other type of debt. Regardless, if you want to take control of your money and get your finances back on track there are some steps that you should take. Continue reading

How to Save $25,000/Year Just By Retiring!

One of the things that always worried me before I retired was that I couldn’t honestly figure out what I would actually need to live on after I stopped getting my weekly paycheck. In other words, what would my retirement expenses be?

When planning your retirement expenses, don't forget that there may be some savings too. Here are 10 expenses that will disappear or shrink in retirement.

Almost all of us dream of the day we can stop working for good, but we all still worry about our finances and that can cloud even the sunniest visions of retirement. What will be and how will you cover everyday expenses when you no longer can count on a payday? Fortunately, there are some costs that actually do go down or simply disappear once you quit the daily rat race. That really helps you add some bucks to your new budget and keeps your standard of living from crashing down on your head when you start depending on your retirement savings and Social Security for most of your spendable funds. Continue reading

Why Did God Make Our Heads Full of Red Wires?

Hello out there. Yes, I’m talking to you. You, the totally responsible adult in the room, right? You, the guy or gal who has a real household budget and tracks all expenses you have to the penny every month. You, the responsible person that has an up-to-date will and all of your insurance policies are completely in order. Oh, and since you are that responsible person, you also have been maxing out your 401(k) contributions at work since you first became eligible and saving diligently for your retirement too. Yeah, right.

Our heads are full of red wiresL psychological traits that make it difficult to be financially responsible. Knowing what we face makes it easier to succeed.

Most of us know what we ought, should, must, and are required to do that makes perfect sense to ensure our financial success, stability, and security now and in our future lives. The problem is that few of us actually follow through and do it all.

It’s kind of like trying to assemble something electrical or diffusing the wiring in a bomb and seeing that all the wires are the same color, no blues, or whites, or greens, only red wires. The instructions clearly warn you to avoid those red wires, but there you are staring at them and they’re all red! Why did God do that to us? Continue reading

5 Dangerous Terms That Make You Spend Your Hard-Earned Money!

I sometimes have said that you can blame Ralph Nader for all the mistrust people have in big business today. Those seeds were sewn a long time ago when Mr. Nader was a major factor in protecting consumer rights (you can check it out here if you’re too young to remember!). But whether you recall his consumer activism days or not, there were and still are some very good reasons to have mistrust even today. Advertisers often use misleading ads to separate you from your hard-earned cash.

Retailers use dangerous terms and misleading ads to separate you from your hard-earned money. Learn their tricks to keep your guard up and your money safe.

 

We’ve all heard and seen those retail ads on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines, or in our e-mail inboxes that make unbelievable claims and promises. Think phrases such as “it’s totally risk-free” or “thousands already saved on this amazing offer”. You know what I am talking about here. That too-good-to-be-true ad copy that frequently grabs your attention and makes claims that fundamentally and even deliberately mislead you! Continue reading

Supermarket Savings with Shop at Home Services

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A few years back, I wrote about a growing phenomenon sweeping the nation when shopping from home for food and groceries was starting to boom. It has done nothing but continue to grow and there are no signs of it going away anytime soon. In fact, you would be hard pressed now to find a major grocer who isn’t building their shop at home business. Until store pick-up and home delivery is replaced by the ability to “teleport” groceries from stores right to your kitchen table, it’s going to continue to be a popular option for all of us!

Have you tried to shop at home (SAH) for your groceries? Most retailers offer this option for home delivery or store pick-up and it can even save you money.

The Process of Shop at Home (SAH)

The ability to “shop at home” (SAH), to order your groceries online or through mobile apps, has been an incredible time saver and in many cases a cost saver, too! It’s generally the same prices you pay in the store, including all of the weekly sales and special pricing (although some stores do have different pricing). It may even be more advantageous on the SAH listings depending on which items you buy. You still use your savings/loyalty card to obtain the best deals, and you can use all applicable manufacturer’s or store coupons to maximize your savings. Continue reading

Can You Ever Really Beat the System?

Boy, there’s a real question for the ages, isn‘t it? It seems that a lot of us find ourselves scratching our heads frequently trying to figure out “how to beat the system” and no matter how hard we try, we just can’t ever seem to do it. As we sometimes say, the emphasis is on “we” because when you really think about it, some people actually do seem to beat the system and usually that doesn’t seem to include us. Is that time well spent?

Some of us ask if we can ever really beat the system and get ahead, but I've found a different approach to be successful. Here are my recommendations.

It certainly ruins most of your day when you sit and moan about how you “just can’t win” or you don’t have any luck. When you do that, you are probably dooming yourself to even more failures and future frustrations. Wouldn’t your time be better spent on trying to learn and educate yourself more every day so you have a better chance to succeed in your job or hell, everything in life! Trying to learn more and improve yourself will always improve your chances to beat the system. Continue reading

Series I Savings Bonds: Save Money and Guard Against Inflation

Often flying under the radar these days and almost forgotten about in the 21st century is a really good old friend that I grew up with as a child: the U.S. Savings Bond. Originally developed as encouragement to save (called the “baby bonds”) in 1935 during FDR’s first term during the Great Depression, they eventually evolved into the E bonds that helped finance and pay for World War II back in the 1940’s (War Bonds).

Considering the low interest rates on most savings vehicles, Series I Savings Bonds are a great way to save money while guarding against inflation.

Like many things, it has changed since those days. As a kid in the 1950’s, I recall when I used to buy bond stamps and paste them into my bond folder. Eventually it grew and when held to a maturity date, it was worth $25. I used it then for some huge event in my life, like a new bike or some other big deal!

Years later, the E bonds became the alphabet soup letters of bonds such as F, G, J, K, H, and even HH bonds (which ceased being issued in 2004). Remember those? You would go down to your local bank branch and buy them at “half” face value, hold onto them until they matured, and eventually cashed them in doubling your money. The good old days, right? Continue reading

Where the F Did All My Money Go?

Sometimes, I find myself to be a little bit bored. Retirement can do that to you, and so a few days ago I got out some paper and started to jot down some numbers. I tried to figure out how much money I have earned and spent over the last 50 years or so. Where does the money go? It’s kind of amazing and also kind of scary too that I can actually remember all of this crap. What does that say about me, my money, and my life? For one, I may be a freaking money savant…or am I just a mentally ill moron? Um, let’s go with savant, ok?

At some point, most of us wonder "where does the money go?". Make sure you're spending money one what you truly value...most of the time.

A Rainy Wednesday and This is What I Choose to Do?

So I sat down and began to put numbers on paper to try to figure it all out. I thought hard about how much money I have earned over the course of my lifetime and wondered how and where I have spent it all, leading me to this fundamental question: Where the fu¢k did all the money go?

Continue reading

Upcoming Improvements to Medicare Benefits for 2019

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that happy time again for those who have Medicare benefits and use Medicare Advantage plans when the open enrollment period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th 2018 for 2019. You’ll get the hint I am certain when you begin seeing the massive advertising, mail, and phone calls about it starting any second, but this time around there is something to actually celebrate.

Usually the news about Medicare coverage has to do with increasing costs, but surprise, there are some improvements coming to Medicare benefits in 2019!

The good news just ahead for Medicare recipients are some potentially big savings. The over 60 million people who currently participate in the program (which has been around for over 50 years now) benefit from lower administration costs than private insurers have and that is despite the losses from fraud which it suffers from. But for 2019, things are about to get even better.

It’s rare that I can report to you that there’s such good news, but with very little fanfare and parades, this is the case thanks to the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law last February. The bill covers a lot of important and even controversial spending changes as it always does, but when it comes to changes that are lowering the cost to our healthcare and affect Medicare then bravo and thank you are in order! Continue reading