Monday, July 29, 2013

Messages From Readers: More On Credit Cards

I don't know why but I thought this was hysterical.
photo credit: JoelJohnson via photopin cc

Sometimes I get nice comments from readers that teach me more about something that I wrote about on my blog. Here is a credit card related comment I'd like to share!


"In addition to being able to negotiate over fees, if your account is in good standing, you often can negotiate interest rates charged on a credit card. It is best to request this when you have no revolving balance- certainly not when you are maxed out. If you have a balance transfer offer from another credit card, it doesn't hurt to mention that when speaking with a representative. 

Interest charged over time on a revolving balance can be considerable, as can shaving a few points off the interest rate. It pays to maintain a clean credit history!

- Larry S. 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

It's like a fairy tail...about personal finance.
Photo credit:

"You're taxed when you earn. You're taxed when you spend. You're taxed when you save. You're taxed when you die." 

-Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not! (p.25) 
Robert T. Kiyosaki 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mishaps In Money: Vacuum Seal Bags

How cool are these!!!!!
Photo credit:

I have an unhealthy obsession with things that are practical. I like office supplies, nifty kitchen gadgets, and vacuum seal bags. (For those you who don't know, this is how they work: you put a bunch of stuff in a plastic bag, seal it, and then vacuum the air out of it, which helps you save space when storing stuff). I loved the idea of vacuum seal bags so much that I bought forty (two packs) of them because I was so excited to start vacuuming stuff in these vacuum seal bags. Yay, vacuum seal bags! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Credit Unions vs. "Real" Banks

photo credit: London Permaculture via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You don't know what a credit union is. 
2) You want to know which one (bank vs. credit union) you should put money in. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Messages From Readers: Saving is NOT Boring

If you save, you will NOT look bored like these kids. 

Something I like to do is share the comments I get. I particularly liked this one because the commenter gave me a great real-life example to share with my readers. :) Also, it was a response to another commenter, who said that saving was kind of boring - it was better to spend while young, instead of saving until retirement to have fun.   


"...I've been saving for as long as I remember. In fact, I started saving the day my father gave me a check book when I was 12 and started giving me my monthly allowance. Except he never gave it to me in cash, instead, he would sit me down, have me write down the amount every month under "Debit" and whenever I wanted to spend money I would sit himdown, write the amount under "Credit" and he would give me cash from his wallet.

It's been almost ten years since, and three years ago we opened my first bank account together, and ever since I've done nearly the same thing: Instead of a monthly allowance, I earned paychecks on a biweekly basis. I put at least 60% of that amount into my savings, and I put the rest in my checking account to do as I please. I basically started saving from the get-go, and it's a habit that is just normal to me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Worried about losing all the money you invested?

It's a lot more difficult to find a good picture for SIPC insurance than you would think.
photo credit: Brett Jordan via photopin cc

A while ago, I wrote a post on FDIC insurance, which protects your deposits. For example, your savings and checking deposit accounts are insured up to $250,000 (last I checked, this could change, as it has in the past). FDIC insurance does NOT cover things like mutual funds or stocks, but there is something that does: SIPC insurance. 

Read this if: 

1) You are worried that you will lose all your money if a company you invest with goes down. I know you worry about that all the time. But don't worry. 

(Note the keyword "with." Not "in." If you lose money because a stock or mutual fund you invested IN loses value, there's nothing you can do. SIPC deals specifically with brokerage firms, which are companies you invest through, or invest with.) 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Money Models

Batman isn't one of my money models, but I can appreciate his wealth just the same.

I want to talk about some of the people in my life who have really distinct money personalities - some good, some sort of not so good, but overall, they have all taught me something really important about money matters. 

The Coin Detector

My best friend sees coins on the ground from, like, ten feet away, and lets out a squeal of excitement every time she finds one. Then she kind of attacks it (before someone else can pick it up?). She is so cute when she does this that some of her friends have taken to tossing coins on the ground to watch her pick them up. She taught me that no amount is too little, and that free money is the best kind of money. 

The Ruthless Negotiator 

I once knew a guy who got things like free phones and cash because he was really smart and knew his way around warranties. He also knew how to negotiate and get what he wanted pretty much anytime he tried. He taught me that it's okay to stand up for yourself when it comes to customer service. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Messages From Readers: No credit could be just as bad as bad credit

What does a kitten have to do with personal finance and credit?
Absolutely nothing.

I've written a lot about credit, but I'm only 20 and have had a credit history for about five months. It's really nice to hear from people who are older than me, and here is a message from such a person detailing some personal experience. 


"In one post you (nearly) recommended not to use credit at all.  I think there is some safety to this, but I don't think it's actually good advice.

Early on I was told that to establish credit, you need to acquire debt and pay it off on time. I took that to heart, got a credit card, and put all my day-to-day expenses on it (i.e. food, movies, etc. but not rent). I make sure I don't spend more than I have, and I pay it off every month completely and before the deadline.  It takes a little effort and planning, but the result is that I now have nearly perfect credit, which means I get excellent terms on car loans, etc. In contrast, if you have no significant credit history, even if you pay on time every month, you represent basically an unknown quantity to lendors, and they don't want to give you generous terms.

Please fact check me on this, as I may have been misinformed (by the lenders, maybe, I don't know). But this has been my experience, and no amount of careful planning and avoiding credit will save you money if you can't get a low-interest loan when you need it. (also, there's no harm in financing a car if you don't have the cash- just take the absolute highest monthly payment you can afford to avoid paying extra interest).

Monday, July 1, 2013

What To Do When You Have No Credit History At All

A baby eating a credit card. What could be more appropriate?
photo credit: _Dinkel_ via photopin cc

Read this if: 

1) You don't know how to build credit so that you can build more credit. 
2) Because if you don't have credit, you really can't get that much more credit. 


To get a credit card, you have to have good credit. To get approved for a loan, you'll need good credit. But what do you do if you've never had a line of credit? Having no credit means that potential lenders will have no idea what kind of person you will be financially - why would they lend you money? Here are some things you can do to establish credit. I based this off of what I found online and also on what things show up on my credit report, which is just my credit card (because I don't have loans).