How many days do you have to work each month to pay for your fixed obligations?
Every year, the Tax Foundation points to a day in April and proclaims it Tax Freedom Day. It's the day after which you have effectively earned enough to cover your tax liabilities for the year.
For 2010, that day was April 9. In 2009, it was April 8. The idea is that, based on what you are projected to owe in taxes, every hour you work until that day goes toward funding that liability.
It's more a gimmick than anything else, but it does underscore an important point: Each month you experience your own "Freedom Day."
Your personal Monthly Freedom Day is the day when you've earned enough that month to cover your fixed monthly obligations like your rent or mortgage, your car loan or your student loans. I'm going to help you calculate your Monthly Freedom Day.
Some are leery of dating people described as 'frugal,' but they like savers. How do you show you're financially smart but not stingy?
You may want a frugal mate, but do you want a frugal date?
Nearly half of you apparently do not. Asked which words came to mind when contemplating a blind date with someone described as "frugal," 27% answered "stingy" and another 15% picked "boring." Only 3.7% found frugal to be the new sexy, Ron Lieber reported in The New York Times, citing a study by ING Direct.
On the bright side, 56% of men and 42% of women did equate frugal with "smart." Women seem to be a bit more leery of the frugal label, with 33% of women equating it with stingy, compared with only 20% of men.
A new FCC study shows that your access is up to 50% slower than advertised.
A new report by the Federal Communications Commission shows that those advertised speeds are off by roughly 50%.
The period between graduation and your first job can be a challenge.
Isaac wrote recently with a question about how to make the transition from college to the real world. He has a good degree, but it'll take him time to find a job, especially since the economy is still sluggish. He's worried about how he should handle his finances in the meantime. Here's his question:
I recently graduated from college with a degree in electrical engineering. I'm currently living at home with my family while I search for a job. I'm concerned about my first month or two once I find one, though.
I have no savings, and I'm not sure how I will be able to buy a car (and insurance) to get to and from work, rent an apartment, or even buy necessities for my first few weeks while I wait for a paycheck. I know that some jobs will give a signing bonus or relocation package but I don't want to count on that. My parents are in deep credit card debt and live paycheck to paycheck, so I can't borrow money from them.
New sites let customers pick what's available and what gets discounted.
Faced with sluggish consumer spending, some online retailers have taken a new approach to "the customer is always right."
They're letting shoppers dictate which items make it into the inventory, and even which go on sale.
Earlier this summer, social shopping site Kaboodle.com began offering limited-time sales, called "PopPicks," which offer discounts of up to 35% on the users' 10 highest-rated items from a partner retailer. New site The Traveler's Collection lets shoppers submit recommendations for artisan crafts they've seen while traveling, and offers a commission of up to 5% on its sales. And last fall, ModCloth.com started a "Be the Buyer" program to let shoppers vote on designs its employee buyers are considering.
Going to a nude resort is one way to avoid paying the airline a checked-bag fee.
Travel alert: Nearly 50% of U.S. readers recently surveyed by TripAdvisor said they'd welcome a visit to a nude beach -- with open arms, we'd expect. That's a big jump from the 31% who endorsed nude beaches last year.
Did you know there's a name for this type of trip? It's the "nakation" -- a play on vacation, staycation, nocation, et al. And, naturally, the number of sans-clothing destinations is growing to meet the increased demand. TripAdvisor members recently rated their favorite ones.
While we wrote the subhead above about checked-bag fees as a joke, further research revealed it's really not.
Some people never want to buy a home. The government is rethinking its attitude toward homeownership perks.
A new survey finds that 27% of renters never want to own a home.
While Trulia, the real estate data company that did the survey, sees this as a reason the housing market will continue to be depressed, we don't see it as cause for alarm. Even the federal government is rethinking whether homeownership is right for everyone.
AmEx, Discover top J.D. Power's customer-satisfation ranking.
J.D. Power just released the results of its 2010 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The results were based on responses from more than 8,500 credit card customers in May and June. For a fourth consecutive year, the No. 1 credit card issuer in customer satisfaction was American Express, with a total score of 769 out of 1,000. Discover Card was a close second with a score of 757.
The ratings were based on one to five stars in each category, with five stars representing the highest rating. There were a few surprises, which we'll cover.
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