Payday Loans are Still a Bad Idea

As if we needed another reminder, the Today Show had a piece this morning on the dangers of payday loans. They did, however, include some interesting numbers that really drive home how bad these loans can be. For example, they highlighted a borrower named Mary who took on a $400 loan in a pinch, opting […]


Five Cool, Free Holiday Gifts for Your Spouse

Face it, once you’re past Santa-believing age, Christmas gifts don’t hold quite the same thrill. The gift-giving aspects of the holidays are definitely for the kids. But that doesn’t mean your spouse doesn’t expect something — far from it! But, especially if you’re on a tight budget that you are co-managing, your spouse may be […]


Sticking With Our High Deductible Health Plan (and HSA)

A reader named Marc recently left a comment asking how our high deductible health plan has worked out for us. Given that November is open enrollment season, this is a very timely question, so I thought I’d tackle it with a dedicated post. In short, we’ve been thrilled with the HDHP (and the associated HSA) […]


Holiday Shopping Without Breaking the Bank

It’s Black Friday. Have you been braving the crowds in hopes of saving a few bucks? Or did you stay home (or go to work) instead? Either way, I wanted to share some tips for getting through the holiday shopping season without emptying your savings account or running up a huge credit card bill. Make […]


MasterCard $20 Bonus for Online Shopping

As a quick followup to my post about Small Business Saturday, I also wanted to point out a $20 bonus offer from MasterCard. To qualify, simply register your card and then spend $200 online between now and December 31st. Within a week of hitting the spending threshold, you should receive an e-mail with redemption details. […]


More Thoughts on Mail-In Rebates

As a followup to last weeks post about why I hate mail-in rebates, I wanted to highlight an article that a reader named Sun shared in the comments. It’s a few years old, but it captures the essence of why may of us hate rebates. Due to a combination of procrastination (i.e., missing the deadlines), […]


Small Business Saturday 2011

As you’re likely aware, this coming Friday is none other than “Black Friday.” And what happens the day after that? Small Business Saturday, of course. Small Business Saturday is a promo that was launched last year by American Express. The goal of this promotion is to get people to shop at small, locally-owned businesses – […]


One Sick Scam

It’s well established that average Americans find it difficult to save money. Come to think of it, there’s good reason for this. In a stagnant wage environment, they face high and ever increasing costs from legitimate sources, everything from supermarkets, gas stations and drug stores to car repair shops, banks, clinics, the folks who collect […]


Addicted to Online Billpay?

If you’re anything like me, you pay the vast majority of your bills online. What’s not to love? It’s convenient, and it saves money on postage, check printing, etc. Well, let me let you in on a little secret… Banks don’t offer these services out of the kindness of their hearts. Rather, they do it […]


Credit Card Surcharges vs. Cash Discounts

Have you ever noticed that certain businesses offer a discount for paying with cash vs. credit? This practice is particularly common at gas stations, though you’ll sometimes see it at other businesses, as well. And yet, as we’ve discussed, it’s against the policies of the major card networks (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) — and, in some […]