It's something everyone's finances can benefit from.
This post comes from Jim Wang at partner blog Bargaineering.
April is Financial Literacy Month and, as part of this month of financial education, I thought I'd go back to the basics with this edition of the Foundation Series. This post explains something I think everyone should integrate into their personal-finance routine -- budgeting.
Budgeting is one of those activities that sound like a hassle, even if you're a numbers person. But I guarantee that you will benefit tremendously from learning how and implementing your own budget.
Student debt a national disgrace, blogger says.
He's no stranger to controversy, that "Mr. ToughMoneyLove." Whether it's help for homeowners in default -- he called that post "Homeowner bailouts destined to fail" -- or sympathy for a particular 54-year-old GM retiree -- "It's second-career time, my friend, and quit the whining," he said -- he's never shy with his opinions.
Recently, he blamed free-spending universities for teaching impressionable minds that it's OK to carry huge debt.
Try this quote on for size, from his post "The college student debt machine: A national disgrace" at Tough Money Love.
You might have to use a little subterfuge.
We know that gethuman.com can help you reach a real person at a corporation that has an unyielding phone tree. But there are actually many ways -- about 50, in fact -- to get the attention of the right customer-service rep.
Tip o' the hat to "vh" at Funny about Money for directing her readers to "PBX hell: 50-plus hacks and tips to get a real person at any corporation in 10 seconds or less" at VoIP-News.
For those who've been hopelessly lost in the phone-tree maze, this list could restore your blood pressure to normal.
You've paid your taxes, now reap the benefits.
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.
Government Web sites provide a wealth of information about money-related topics. But finding what's out there can be a chore. This resource provides links to 70 government Web sites about everything from finding a job to buying a home and paying for college.
A wide variety of topics are covered.
Just the other day, we were thinking it might be time to brush up on advanced complexity theory. And because we're expanding our vegetable garden, knowing more about soil mechanics might help. (Well, maybe not because we haven't taken the prerequisites.)
And in case we've forgotten about the particular charms and indignities of aging, we can take free courses on that too, courtesy of Johns Hopkins.
If you have knowledge gaps you want to fill, you can do it online -- for free. To help you find a particular topic, UniversitiesandColleges.org is building "The master list of free online college courses." Feel free to let them know of courses that don't yet appear.
It all depends on where you live.
Can a family with an income of $100,000 or more really have a hard time getting ahead? FreeMoneyFinance's recent post on that question has prompted quite a discussion among commenters at his site. FMF launched the debate by remarking on a family mentioned in one of a package of MSN Money stories about the "squeeze on the middle class."
The couple make six figures, but are unable to save. "We struggle to stay afloat with the rising costs of car insurance, gas, utilities, food and other necessities," one of the family members said. FMF's assessment: "They're simply spending too much. They have no control on expenses." He also guesses that they live in an expensive area, noting that "$100,000 per year is a lot, but it's more in Omaha than it is in Los Angeles."
What can you do if you want to move?
You don't need to have a crazy interest-only or adjustable-rate mortgage to feel the pain of the housing slump. A reader who posted a question at Free Money Finance wisely put 20% down and got a fixed-rate mortgage in Las Vegas when that housing market was sizzling hot. Now it's not, and he's upside down -- he owes more on the house than it's worth because of dropping values.
His problem is that he wants to move.
"Free Money Finance" wrote: "This is a tough situation. He's played by the rules, been faithful, and is now left paying on an asset that's worth less than what he owes on it. And, to make matters worse, he needs to move (or at least I think that's what he's saying.) So he has to sell at a loss."
Planning, coupon clipping will cut your food bill.
To some, 60 minutes may be a TV show, but to Kris at Cheap Healthy Good, it's the time she takes each week to implement her personal system for saving major money on groceries. With the rising price of food, this is something we all need to read about.
Before you try her system, she advocates three steps. First: Junk any food on hand "that A) you can't identify, B) is in an advanced state of decay or mummification, and/or C) is old enough to be carbon-dated."
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