It may seem like there is a lot to personal finance. And in one sense there is. There are thousands of different approaches to personal finance. And this can get overwhelming. It may seem so overwhelming that you feel paralyzed at square one. But it doesn't have to be. There are a handful of things that are critical in personal finance. All the rest is splitting hairs. So go through each of these items one at a time and make an improvement in each area. . . .
Back in the day before smart phones (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth), I signed up for my first cell phone. I was pretty sure I needed 1000 minutes a month. And of course, I needed to add on the free nights and weekends. And a bunch of extras that I don't even remember. Anyway, the plan I walked out with was going to run me $75 a month! For a single phone line! Granted, cell phone plans may . . .
Thank you for supporting Pennies and Dollars by taking time to read this sponsored post. Although each person's finances are unique, most share a common feature: Debt. Despite the negative connotations the word sometimes conjures-up, debt is a natural part of even the healthiest family finances. It is not until the cost of credit obligations becomes oppressive or balances become unmanageable . . .
P2P (Person to Person) loans are quickly becoming the popular new kid on the investing block. P2P lending sites such as Lending Club and Prosper allow you to loan your money directly to other people. The theory is that by cutting out the banks, both the investor and the borrower win, with lower rates for the borrower and higher rates for the lender. Lately P2P loans have gained attention with . . .
When I first dipped my toes into investing, I decided to invest in individual stocks. I don't think I necessarily thought I could outperform index funds or other mutual funds. I just wasn't fully aware they were even there. Sure, I had heard the phrase 'mutual fund' mentioned, but it sounded like it was for people with a lot more money than me. I just figured that individual stocks were the way to . . .
In past posts, I've suggested self-insuring to save money. Insurance companies have figured out the odds of you filing a claim and have set the premiums accordingly. They probably won't make money on you every year, and likely will lose money on you some years. Over time, however, they will collect more in premiums than payouts. The less insurance you carry, the more you will save. Learning how to . . .
There's a recent blog post by Abandoned Cubicle detailing how he's lost a million dollars over the last 20 years in unnecessary spending. It's a very insightful article, and I strongly encourage reading it. He highlights how much little money drains can cost you over the course of many years. He also highlights our collective unnecessary spending as consumers. His conclusion is that had he not . . .
Spending within our means, or more specifically, keeping our expenses below our earnings is what makes personal finance work. Accomplishing this requires self-discipline and budgeting, but becomes much easier when you learn contentment. What Is Contentment? Contentment is learning to be happy in whatever situation you find yourself. Contentment is a mindset change. It involves . . .
When you hear 'budgeting' and 'fun' in the same sentence, you probably start shaking your head, sure that something's wrong. Budgeting and fun should never go together, right? Budgeting surely isn't fun, and budgeting for fun definitely ruins all the fun. Or not. While you may not think budgeting itself is fun, budgeting for fun definitely leads to less stress and more satisfaction. Budgeting . . .
Much of the United States depends on car loans to finance their vehicle purchases. According to credit rating agency Experian, over 80% of new cars and roughly 55% of used car purchases are financed. So if everybody's doing it, it must be smart, right? Taking out a Loan The obvious advantage of financing a car purchase is being able to get a nicer, newer car than you would have been able to . . .
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are relatively new to the health insurance field. An HSA is a tax friendly savings account that is available to anyone who signs up for a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which must meet certain IRS requirements. Income Tax Benefits Unlike most retirement accounts, HSAs are double tax advantaged. Both your contributions and withdrawals to the HSA are tax exempt, . . .