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« Archive for the ‘Budgeting’ Category

Scams Keep Targeting Free Credit Reports

Here’s a problem some consumers are having. They get on their computers to obtain the free credit reports they’re entitled to under federal law. They want to go to annualcreditreport.com, which is the site the three major credit reporting agencies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax — established to provide those. If they type “annualcreditreport.com” into […]

Bargain Without Guilt

If you saved when others didn’t. If you resisted the temptation to buy a home you couldn’t really afford. If you refused to run up big balances on your credit cards. Then it’s OK to be a predator now. You shouldn’t feel a shred of guilt about driving a hard bargain on cars, collectibles, electronics […]

Lego My Debit Card, You Online Pirates

I am a single, child free woman. I am not in the habit of buying toys. So imagine my shock when, as part of my daily morning routine, I logged into my checking account and found a $112 purchase at the Lego store. I’ve been a victim of debit card fraud before, but it happened […]

Half Say ‘Yes’ To Overdraft Fees?!

We aren’t happy about this. Almost half of all checking account customers opted into their bank’s overdraft protection, according to a new study released by the American Bankers Association. Overdraft “protection” is that nasty little program where banks will cover relatively small debit card purchases even if you don’t have enough money in your account […]

Earn 3% On A Toys “R” Us Christmas Club

If you’re planning to do a lot of toy or baby shopping this holiday season the Toys “R” Us Christmas Saver’s Club can help your money go a little further. It’s sort of like the Sears Christmas Club. You can sign up at any check-out lane at Toys “R” Us or Toys “R” Us Express […]

Final Push For Overdraft Fees In High Gear

Yes, we’ve written about why you should just say “no” to overdraft “protection before. But we’ve got to revisit this topic one more time for two very good reasons: Reason 1. The deadline for banks and credit unions to get you to enroll in overdraft protection is Sunday (Aug. 15). Reason 2. A new report […]

Beware Of Fees On Debit Card Rewards

Banks are now promoting reward programs for their debit cards in an effort to get customers to use them more often. But take heed: These programs aren’t always free. Enrolling in a reward program that offers points or cash rebates often means you’re signing up for something most debit cards don’t have – an annual […]

Just Say ‘No’ To Overdraft Fees

We had hoped that most banks would follow the lead of Citibank and Bank of America, and not pressure customers to sign up for overdraft protection. Hah. That was wishful thinking. The Consumer Federation of America says 13 of the country’s 15 biggest banks – all of them except Citi and Bank of America — […]

Avoid The Pitfalls Of Social Shopping Sites

Social shopping sites have been characterized as a Facebook for people with a compulsion to shop and share. They allow users to tell the world what they’ve bought, where they got it and how much they paid for it. We think that’s a bad idea for all sorts of reasons. But let’s focus on two […]

More Fees Headed For Checking Accounts

Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, according to the Wall Street Journal. Those changes are expected to spell an end to free checking accounts for many Americans. Free checking accounts, which have been widely available for […]

Comerica’s $300 Bonus Tough To Earn

Comerica Bank is promoting an eye-catching bonus of up to $300 to new customers who open a checking account by June 30. But banking at Comerica doesn’t make sense for everyone, and earning even part of that bonus requires some patience and effort. Customers can qualify for up to three, $75 bonuses by: Making a […]

Best HELOC Rates Remain Below 4%

Although rates on our favorite home equity lines of credit have edged up since December, they’re still the cheapest consumer loans you can get. If you have 30% to 40% equity in your home and good credit you should be able to find a HELOC for under 5% APR. In some areas of the country, […]

Good Advice For Organizing Your Finances

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get your financial house in order? Check out a new book called One Year to an Organized Financial Life: From Your Bills to Your Bank Account, Your Home to your Retirement, the Week-by-Week Guide to Achieving Financial Peace of Mind by Regina Leeds and Russell Wild. It […]

Earn Up To $100 In Bonuses With U.S. Bank’s New Spend-And-Save Program

Having money automatically added to your savings account each time you buy something is one way to put something aside for the future. Now U.S. Bank has come up with one of the best spend-and-save programs we’ve seen. It’s more generous and flexible than other programs, allowing you to build a bigger balance and rewarding […]

Share, Don’t Own, Your Ride

Would eliminating your monthly car payment, and other related costs, like insurance, gas, maintenance and repairs make a difference in meeting your budget? Maybe you should consider sharing rather than owning a car. More than 300,000 drivers have already joined more than two dozen car share programs across the country, which allow the to use […]

0% financing is the best incentive

“Cash for Clunkers” may be over, but our favorite discount is still available on dozens of new cars and trucks. That’s 0% financing. If a finance company is willing to lend you $20,000, $30,000 or more for free, we say, grab it. Here’s why. If you finance $25,000 for four years at 0%, you’ll pay […]

Let Angie’s List Turn You Into An Empowered Consumer

Looking to save cash and aggravation on everything from home improvements to health care by weeding out the bad guys? Check out Angie’s List, which I just did for the first time. A few friends had used Angie’s List to vet contractors — they wanted to find companies that others had raved about instead of […]

Holding The Line On High-Yield Checking

We’ve been impressed with three banks that have not succumbed to the temptation to lower the rates or limit the reach of their high-yield checking accounts since last fall or winter. They’re still paying more than 4% and offering their high-yield, or reward checking accounts as they’re sometimes called, nationwide. Bank of the Sierra, with […]

Bankaholic’s Greatest Deals

Happy Birthday to us! Bankaholic is three this summer and we thought it would be a good time to look back and pick our 10 favorite, dare we say greatest, deals. We combed through almost 600 posts to find everything from the most sky-high CD rate to the all-time best gift for opening a new […]

Let “Thrive” Help You Budget Wisely

Looking at your savings and bills and wondering how the heck to move financially forward? Give Thrive, a free financial advising service, a whirl. Designed with 20- and 30-somethings in mind, Thrive takes the account numbers and passwords to your bank, credit card, mortgage and investment statements and automatically downloads all of the info it […]

The air fare wars are back!

Over the past few weeks, airlines held the line on ticket prices to see just how much summer travel would be off because of the recession. A lot, judging by the fare war that erupted Tuesday and is clearly aimed at filling a lot of empty seats between now and early winter. Three discount carriers […]

Trustmark’s new promotion not a winner

If you’re shopping for a new checking account, pick the one that has all the features you need at the lowest possible cost. The chance to win a few days at a Florida resort shouldn’t figure into the decision. But that’s the hook Trustmark National Bank of Jackson, Miss. is using to attract new customers. […]

New calculators estimate college costs

It’s hard to know exactly how much money kids need for college because so much depends on where they plan to go. But a new type of calculator is providing much better estimates of how much parents will be expected to pay, and what kind of financial aid a student might qualify for, based on […]

Raises will be smaller than ever in ’09

Here’s another way the recession is hurting all of us — even those of us who still have a job. A survey by Hewitt Associates shows employers are planning to boost base salaries by less than 3% this year, the lowest average increase since the consulting firm began tracking the data in 1976. The rapidly […]

What is a Yankee CD?

A certificate of deposit that is issued in a U.S. market by a branch of a foreign bank. Most Yankee CDs come from New York. Yankee CDs are negotiable with a minimum face value of $100,000. As a negotiable certificate of deposit, a Yankee CDS is guaranteed by the bank and can be sold in […]

8 Tips for Saving Money and Your Life

From simple colds and viruses to life-threatening diseases, any kind of health problem can put a huge strain on your pocketbook. By adopting certain habits you cannot only save money on fewer doctor’s visits and medications, you can preserve your cash in other ways. Below are eight frugal living tips that will actually lengthen your […]

Should I Lease or Buy a Car?

When you are looking into getting a new car, sometimes the option to lease instead of buy may be available to you. With advantages and disadvantages to each, how exactly do you know whether to lease a car or to buy one?

Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule

This has been called the Information Age yet it is remarkable how many people have never heard of the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule. This rule covers merchandise you order by mail, telephone, computer and fax. It requires merchants to have a reasonable basis for claiming they can ship an order within a certain […]

Top 3 Money Saving Tips for Summertime

Summer is by far my least favorite season. Staying cool can be expensive, especially if you rely on central air conditioning. I’m trying to save some money, so I’ve been doing some research on how to cut back on my energy bill. Tip #1 : Buy a portable air conditioner with a SEER (Seasonal energy […]