Chris S

Need Help With Taxes? Read These Tips First

January 20, 2012

About ten years ago I had to get help with my taxes.  At the time, I had to account for all of the following: employee stock options, employee stock purchase plans, stock gains and losses, itemized deductions, real estate gains and losses, business gains and losses, and my regular salary and bonuses.  I was overwhelmed so […]

Take Advantage of The Economic Slowdown

January 18, 2012

The economy is in the dumps.  Unemployment is high, stocks are low, coutries are defaulting on their debt, and people continue to lose faith in governments around the world.  It really seems like nothing can go right in this world, doesn’t it?  Well, if you’ve managed to survive this long, there’s good news.  The good […]

Do You Run Your Household Budget Like the Government?

January 13, 2012

I understand how politics work.  Well, at least I understand how politics don’t work.  But seriously, when you look at how you run your own household budget you should expect your government to run the same type of budget, right?   Okay, maybe your personal budget can’t influence the government, but at least you can vote […]

Is Living in a Frugal Way Worth It?

December 16, 2011

People often wonder if living in a frugal way is worth it.  I guess that depends on how you define frugal and to what degree of frugality you live.  Technically, all you need to survive is a canvas sheet and a piece of flint, but would it be worth it?  Probably not.  I think the […]

Have You Heard of Happiness Economics?

December 10, 2011

Yes, that’s right, economists have actually tried to quantify the relationship between money and happiness!  They refer to this field as happiness economics. According to studies from two professors at Princeton University, they have actually come up with a formula that measures the relationship between happiness and money.  Unfortunately, since it’s an economic formula, the […]

Remodeling a Bathroom on a Budget

December 9, 2011

Whether you’re looking to increase resale value, help sell your house, or just are in need of a new bathroom, remodeling a bathroom can add value to your home and is considered one of the more likely ways to get the money back from your remodel.  Depending on where you live and who’s estimate you […]

Save Money With Low Budget Holidays

December 4, 2011

With the Holidays rapidly approaching and the economy still in the dumps, there are millions of households that are looking to save a little money this Holiday season.  The most important thing to remember is that the Holidays are all about feelings, and not about money and material things.  Technically, all Holiday spending is unneccessary.  […]

The Truth on Who Pays Taxes

November 22, 2011

Have you wondered why there is always a heated debate on who pays the most taxes and if they are paying their fair share? Most people have their mind made up as to the answer they believe.  For some reason, almost everyone believes that they are overpaying for their taxes while everyone who makes more than […]

Four Reasons to Budget

November 16, 2011

When it comes to managing your money, there are lots of reasons you should create a budget.  Budgeting doesn’t just mean setting aside a specific amount of money for each expense each month, but really means learning, analyzing and improving your finances each month.  The majority of people that think they are budgeting aren’t really […]

How the 4% Retirement Rule Works

October 27, 2011

There is a pretty common retirement planning rule of thumb that says that you can withdraw 4% of your savings each year during retirement.  It is referred to as the 4% rule.  As with all rules this simple, there are drawbacks to using it as your only source of retirement planning, but when used with other […]

Why People Use Hard Money Loans

October 26, 2011

In years of experience with loans, we’ve never actually seen or heard of anyone getting a hard money loan.  I guess that’s because they’re not commonly used.  At least not in our circle of investors.  In general, hard money loans are used to help finance real estate, and are often used when other credit is […]

Ways to Save Money on a Wedding

October 24, 2011

Most people are shocked when they find out how much their dream wedding will cost.  In some parts of country, a standard wedding can cost $50,000, and an extravagant wedding can cost more than double that.  How does it all get out of control?  We’re guessing because of all the emotions involved.  Most women dream […]

How to Save Money When Building a House

October 20, 2011

There are esentially two ways to save money when building a home.  You can save money on labor and service costs, and you can save money on material costs.  We’ll look at each type of cost separately and give some advice on how to save money on each expense. How to Save on Material Costs […]

What Makes a Good Credit Score?

October 14, 2011

The only fact about what makes a good credit score is that no one actually knows how it is calculated.  While the formula is seemingly top secret, there is at least agreement between experts as to what attributes of a credit report lead to higher credit scores.  Here is a list of important credit attributes that we believe […]

Do You Have a Good Credit Score?

October 12, 2011

It is greatly debated as to what risk category a credit score falls under.  The credit rating companies don’t disclose their calculations for credit score and the companies and lenders that use credit scores, generally set their own standards for juding credit scores.  For those reasons, there are no set in stone guidelines for classifying […]

Are Paid Online Surveys Worth It?

October 11, 2011

About ten years ago, we signed up for about a dozen paid online survey sites.  Over the years a few have come and gone, and there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of “paid survey sites” that offer nothing other than affiliated links to the same dozen or so legitimate survey sites. So, if you’ve thought […]

The Key to Household Budgeting

October 5, 2011

Many people think that the key to having a healthy household budget is making a lot of money.  They are wrong.  The key to a creating, managing and improving your personal budget is financial discipline.  To have financial discipline, you must be driven, motivated and determined to improve your finances. We all know someone who makes a ton […]

A Unique Way to Save Money

September 30, 2011

Today, I feel enlightened.  For months I’ve been visiting the websites of every catalog I recieve in the mail and either opting out of future catalogs (if its an option on their website) or contacting them to ask for removal from their mailing list.  Today, I discovered that their is a national do not mail […]

Is Gold a Worthy Investment?

September 29, 2011

The business news channels are constantly talking about gold, and commercials on nearly every channel are telling you to buy gold now.  Gold sounds exciting right!?  I mean, it’s gold!  But have you ever really thought about buying some?  More importantly, should you buy some?  We’ll take a brief look at some historical gold data and […]

Ways to Save Money on Food

September 19, 2011

Grocery and restaurant bills can really become a large chunk of your monthly budget, especially if you have a large family or dine out often.  Here are some tips on how to save money on your food costs, both dining out and at home. Dining Out.  It is usually more expensive to dine out than […]

Should You Create a Retirement Trust Fund?

September 15, 2011

If you’ve talked to a financial planner about retirement, you’ve probably heard at least a little about creating a trust fund for retirement.  In summary, a retirement trust fund is an irrevocable trust whereby assets (money, securities, property) are transferred to a trust and then managed by a trustee for the benefit of the primary […]

Make $500 Selling Your Used Stuff

September 12, 2011

Our family has never been a fan of having or shopping at garage sales, but since the emergence of ebay and then craigslist, we’ve used online resources to easily make a few hundred dollars a year – by selling our stuff. If you’re ready to make anywhere from a few dollars to a few thousand […]

Are Savings Bonds Worth It?

September 7, 2011

18 years ago I started buying EE saving bonds for my nephew.  Back then, there was no online trading and buying stocks for someone else seemed impossible, so it seemed like the logical choice.  A few years before that, I had cashed in the savings bonds that my parents bought me to pay for college.  […]

Marriage and Money

September 2, 2011

There are so many different marriage scenarios that make it somewhat difficult to manage your money during marriage.  The key factors that determine how you should manage money in marriage are your age, income disparity, spending differences, number of marriages, desire for independence, and financial prowess.  We’ll cover each one briefly to see what type of […]

Planning for Early Retirement

August 31, 2011

If you’re over 30 you should’ve started at least thinking about retirement.  If you’re really motivated, you should not only be thinking, but also planning for early retirement.  As far as I know, everyone wants an early retirement.  However, if you’re lucky enough to save for one, should you really take it?  Let’s look at some […]

Ways to Invest Your Money

August 30, 2011

So you’ve saved some money and are looking for ways to invest it.  There are SO many options available.  And although its overwhelming to cover them all, here is a summary of the most common ways to invest.  Here, we’ll go over the brief pros and cons of each investment, starting with the least risky […]

Penny Stocks – A Good Investment?

August 26, 2011

Are penny stocks a good investment?  I’m sure you’ve seen numerous emails, articles and advertisements promising to get rich by buying penny stocks.  Well, let’s look at the attributes of penny stocks and then decide if it is worthy of inclusion into your investment portfolio. Low price.  By definition, penny stocks are priced below one […]

Don’t Believe Inflation is Low

August 25, 2011

If you look at the published U.S. inflation rate for 2010 it is 1.5% and for 2011 it is about 3% so far.  While I believe these numbers are accurate for what the inflation measures, I do not believe they represent the inflation rate that average families experience. I was looking at our bank and credit card […]

Save a Million Dollars

August 24, 2011

A million dollars isn’t as much as it used to be, but it is a number that most people get excited about when it comes to saving and investing.  The easiest way to save a million dollars is to save as much money as you can every month.  The second best way is to invest […]

How Credit Cards Can Change Your Life

August 23, 2011

Credit cards are an important part of learning money discipline.  They also offer convenience and help you build your credit score, which in the long run can save you thousands of dollars in lower interest rates. I’ve used credit cards three different ways throughout my life: When I was in college I used them to buy […]