January 2010

Should You Max Out Retirement or Pay Off the Mortgage?

Making extra mortgage payments in order to cut the amount of interest paid is quite popular these days. The theory is that you’ll save interest and then be able to save money for other things later. But, I’m not sure this is the right approach if you’re not fully saving for retirement, because you’ll miss out on years of compound interest. Retirement Maximums This year, the maximum 401K…
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Should Couples Keep Their Money and Debts Separate?

David at Money Under 30 is getting married. Congrats David! While preparing for their marriage, he and his fiancé wisely discussed their finances and chose to keep their spending accounts, emergency funds, and debt payments separate. While I can certainly understand the reasons behind wanting to keep pre-marriage debts and post-marriage finances separate, I don’t agree with it in practice. Combining Finances Made It Easier to Agree on Goals…
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When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Pull Money from a Bank

When IndyMac Bank closed, the news featured photos and video of crowds of people waiting outside the bank to withdraw their money. Most of them had less than $100,000 in the bank, and it reopened as a Federal bank the following Monday, so there was really no reason for the rush other than fear. So when should you pull your money out of the bank and when should…
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Celebrate Baseball and the Stanley Cup with a Lobster Roll – at the Carnivals

We’ve got baseball, basketball, and hockey all happening at the same time, which is a good diversion from personal finance worries if you like sports. If you’re like me, then, um have a lobster roll instead. If you want to worry about personal finance, we’ve got the personal finance blog carnival round-up. Yay! First up, the Carnival of Personal Finance #208 hosted by Money Under 30.  Despite being over 30,…
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2009 Economic Stimulus Package Recap

It’s officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This plan comes in at $787 billion. It won’t make everyone happy, but it will help some people and that’s the best we can hope for given the partisan nature of our government. I’m not going to summarize the entire bill, but here are the key points that will impact many Americans. Visit the New York Times for a complete…
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True Adventures in Homeownership: 17 Weeks Down

It feels almost like a pregnancy, except it won’t be over in nine months. Maybe I’ll just stop counting by the time nine months have passed! This last month has presented us with several more challenges, but what some of my homeowner friends are going through is much, much, much worse. Don’t Buy New Construction This isn’t my lesson, this is my friend’s lesson. So far he’s discovered…
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Create a Year-End Spending Summary

Each year, American Express compiles a yearly spending summary and then sends me a link to it. It totals my spending by category and subcategory. I use it to see if any area of my spending is out of whack. Since we make most of our day-to-day purchases on the card, I can easily get a snapshot of my expenses. If you don’t have an American Express, or…
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How to Set up a Garden Share Day

I don’t yet own a house, but I’m already dreaming of my future garden. At the very least, it will have a lemon tree and an herb patch. I might also try tomatoes and another kind of fruit tree. However, having grown up with several fruit trees/plants in my backyard, I’m well aware of the challenge of growing produce: getting rid of it before it goes bad. You…
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Bad News for New Homebuyers Filing for the Credit

I just saw the bad news on CNN for new homebuyers like me who want to file for the First Time Homebuyer tax credit. I’m used to filing my taxes online and getting my refund in ten days. This year, I will be stuck waiting for my sizable tax refund for months because I have to file on paper. We tried to avoid this by stopping withholding, but for…
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Saving Money on Baked Goods

I love to bake. I used to make a lot of cookies and other holiday treats, but now I’ve discovered the joys of truffle making. Still, if you love baking, you’ll love these tips for saving money on holiday baked goods. Buy In Bulk This time of year, you can get bulk prices on flour, sugar, and other necessary ingredients at the regular supermarket. You’ll find five-pound bags…
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