Readers can learn from my mistake.
A nasty upper respiratory virus recently laid me low. During this time I discovered, to my chagrin, how easy it is to overspend with a debit card when you're not feeling good.
I'm about to blame illness for yet another personal-finance gaffe: the Big Bill-Pay Snafu.
It turned out to be correctable, but it was a boneheaded error. Here's hoping you will learn from my mistake.
Pay early, pay often
A small credit card bill arrived over the weekend and I went online to pay it. I'd paid my other bills on Jan. 30. After typing in the amount, I happened to glance to the "last payment made" column on the right. It showed that this bill had already been paid, on Jan. 30.
In fact, it had been overpaid -- by about $750.
Using cards keeps his finances (and pockets) organized.
"Broke Grad Student" would like to have a big honking wad of cash as much as the next guy. But that's a dream because of his big honking student loan debt. In a post called "6 reasons why I hate cash," he explains why he otherwise has little use for bills and coins.
He's right. Cash is easily misplaced. It probably took us 20 years to train ourself to check our pockets for money before putting our clothes in the wash. Among his other reasons:
E-mail cons spreading faster than the virus.
This post comes from partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.
It didn't take scammers long to latch on to the latest hot-button topic to try to make a quick buck. Scams built on fears of swine flu are proliferating quickly across the Internet.
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued an alert this week warning of a number of e-mail scams related to the swine flu. The attacks arrive via an unsolicited e-mail message typically containing a subject line related to the swine flu.
"These e-mail messages may contain a link or an attachment. If users click on this link or open the attachment, they may be directed to a phishing Web site or exposed to malicious code," the alert said.
Disputes don't have to become relationship wedges.
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.
It's been said that money is the No. 1 cause of divorce. Or to say it another way: Marriage is about love, divorce is about money.
To that we may add that money is the No. 1 cause of turmoil in a marriage. Strife over money can last years in a marriage if not properly addressed and, short of divorce, can drive a wedge between a husband and wife. This doesn't have to be, and so here are eight tips on fighting with your spouse over money.
Are you blowing money with your clothes dryer?
Every little bit helps if you're trying to stretch your money, and it's even better if you can accomplish savings with little effort. For instance: How long will it take you to put a dry towel in the dryer with a load of wet wash?
Jeffrey Strain at Saving Advice says you can reduce your drying time by 10% by implementing this little trick. It's from his excellent post called "25 ways to improve your financial situation in under 10 minutes."
It is possible to mend financial differences.
This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.
Readers often leave comments at The Simple Dollar complaining that they make frugal choices, but their spouses see their savings not as a long-term financial benefit but as more money to spend right now.
Thus, their frugal ways go without a long-term reward. They're careful about spending their money, but their bank account balances don't grow.
I'm lucky. My wife is very frugal, and we share the same philosophy. In fact, she's probably more frugal than I am. Her only weakness is books, but she participates in PaperBackSwap to keep the cost low. She's in line with my goals: freedom from debt, saving for major purchases so we don't have more debt. Our goal as a family is to eliminate all of our debt by my 40th birthday.
Bloggers hold different views.
It's a sign of the times that Web sites have sprouted up telling people how to walk away from homes they can no longer afford or -- in some cases -- are no longer willing to pay for.
While some sites trumpet offers to buy homes from stressed-out owners, another one sells a foreclosure kit. California-based YouWalkAway.com says its kit will enable you to stay in your home "for up to eight months or more without having to pay anything to your lender!" It also says: "With our money-back guarantee, you get it all for only $995."
The list of services provided is stuff you can do on your own if you're so inclined. And the steps won't eliminate the damage foreclosure does to your credit score. Writes blogger Sam Glover at Caveat Emptor, "Foreclosure ain't pretty, folks, no matter what this Web site would like you to think."
You might not want to answer it truthfully.
Seriously, are you going to answer that one honestly? "I'm a compulsive liar." "I chew my cuticles until they bleed. It makes a real mess at my desk." Or how about: "I'm obsessed with all things George Clooney. I have his face tattooed on my rear."
FMF also offers some humorous possibilities, including "I like to sleep on the job since I find the sounds of office machinery to be soothing."
You'd be a fool to be honest about your worst weakness or fault, he says, so what's the best way to answer that question?
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