Money Management

How to Invite Financial Windfalls into Your Life

My husband and I have received several thousand dollars in windfalls during the last few months and expect a few more in the coming months. While it may seem like we’re extraordinarily lucky, the truth is we created situations that made them possible, and then did our best to ensure we received them. Here’s what you can do to attract a windfall your way. Research Possible Sources of…
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Don’t Fight About Finances: How Couples Should Talk About Money

When my husband and I first got married, we divided up our financial responsibilities: daily bills were his and taxes and investing were mine. Most of our conversations centered around our lack of money, with my occasional irritation about one of his purchases. Now that we have money, and are steadily working on debt, we’ve begun to change the way we talk about money. Here’s how we got…
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What Is a CD Ladder?

I’ve mentioned CD ladders as good options for tax refunds and emergency funds. They’re a safe way to earn a bit more in interest than the basic savings account. Currently, you won’t earn significantly more, but in the past I’ve seen CD rates go as high as 7% on a 5-year CD. What is a CD Ladder? Basically a CD ladder is five CDs, each with different maturity dates.…
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Financial Resolutions for 2009

Every January, I make a list of about ten goals and write them in the little notebook I carry everywhere. Looking at 2008, I achieved three of the financial goals and almost none of the others. Oops. Hopefully I’ll do better in 2009. To be fair, some of them are outside my control, but I make them goals anyway. I should rethink that – I’m just setting myself up…
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Reviewing My Financial Resolutions for 2010

Last January, I set seven resolutions. Three were financial, and four were personal. Let’s see how I did. Financial Goals: Boost Our Emergency Fund: I wanted to boost our emergency fund to at least $15,000. We actually got there, even though my husband didn’t work for four months. We managed not to dip into savings for our home repairs, insurance and tax bills, or regular bills while he was…
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What to Do with a Holiday Bonus

If you received a holiday or year-end bonus, it can be tempting to blow the money on the big screen TV you didn’t get for Christmas or take a spur-of-the-moment trip. Instead of wasting the money, use it wisely to get a leg up on your finances in the new year. Here are five ways to spend your holiday bonus. Pay Holiday Expenses: Use the money to pay for all…
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Could You Afford to Drop Out of Life?

Earlier this month, a co-worker quit so he could spend a year traveling the world. Then this weekend the LA Times covered a family who spent six months traveling the world with a toddler. It got me thinking: could I ever do something like that? What would I need to do it? Both my co-worker and the family from the newspaper had two advantages: contacts in foreign locations that allowed…
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Does Advertising Really Make You Spend More?

A standard claim is that people who watch less TV spend less on stuff they don’t need. I made the claim myself. But I started to wonder if that’s really true. How influenced are we by advertising? Do we spend more because of advertising or do we buy things we otherwise wouldn’t buy? Are consumers becoming immune to advertising? Advertising and Children It’s clear that advertising works on children. When…
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Online Personal Finance Software Reviews: Wesabe

In the last of my free personal finance software reviews, I checked out Wesabe. After testing Mint and Yodlee, I was expecting Wesabe to have more features. Instead, it’s the most stripped down of the three, at least as far as the personal finance features go. Wesabe is actually a combination of basic personal finance software and social networking. I can do without the social networking, but I can see where it might be…
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What We Can Learn from Diana Nyad

For most of the summer, I’ve been eagerly following the story of Diana Nyad as she strives to achieve the goal she first conceived of over 30 years ago. It’s definitely been a struggle, and at this point, she may not achieve the goal this year, but we can learn a lot from her. Have a Big Goal Diana’s goal is to swim 103 miles from Cuba to Key West…
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