Four Hidden Dangers of Leasing a Car

For some people, there is an appeal to leasing a car vs. purchasing it outright. Leasing a car is one way for many would-be car owners to be able to finance a more expensive car with a lower monthly payment than they would have otherwise been able to afford. This low monthly payment is not […]


How to Save Money on Plane Tickets

Are you looking forward to a nice Spring Break vacation? Or maybe a summer trip to visit family? If so, and if you’re planning on flying, then read on… According to a study by Airlines Reporting Corp., which is company involved in ticket transactions between airlines and travel agents, the best time to buy a […]


Does the IRS Accept Scanned Documents?

I’ve spent a good bit of time digitizing paperwork over the past couple of years. My primary weapon in this battle has been a sheet-fed scanner, though I sometimes snap pics with my iPhone and turn them into “scanned” pdfs using JotNot. While it feels to good to be working toward a paperless financial world, […]


E-Filing Saves the IRS $3.10/Return

As January winds down, you should have received most of the paperwork that you’ll need to file your taxes. If you’re like most FCN readers — and most Americans in general — you’ll be e-filing this year. Sure, e-filing is convenient. But guess what? It’s also much cheaper for the IRS to process your return […]


Home Economics

I have long contended that, at its most fundamental level, keeping a household’s finances in the black has much in common with operating a profitable business. In both cases, you have to try to generate the greatest revenues, while at the same time keeping expenses in check. It’s not rocket science or brain surgery. In […]


High Deductible Health Plans and Major Medical Bills

I spent yesterday at the hospital. Don’t worry, it sounds a lot worse than it was… Our oldest son had to have his tonsils and adenoids removed, so my wife and I were camped out in the outpatient surgical center for the better part of the day. In the end, everything went smoothly, and he’s […]


Should You Buy Travel Insurance?

If you’ve booked a vacation for your family lately, or sent your kid off on a school-sponsored field trip, you’ve probably considered trip-cancellation insurance. These offers generally promise to reimburse you for the vacation or field trip if you need to cancel. Are these plans worth the cost? It depends on your own personal risk […]


Thoughts on Kids and Gift Cards

Ahhh, gift cards. The gift we all love to hate. Sure, they’re convenient (for the giver) and they seem (again, to the giver) like they’re more thoughtful than cash, but they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always thankful when I receive a gift, and I do recognize the […]


Thoughts on Kodak, Bankruptcy, and Investing

Over the past couple of weeks, there have been rumors swirling about Eastman Kodak’s financial (in)solvency. And then it happened. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday. Not surprisingly, their stock dropped 35%. But really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Kodak actually traded at an all-time high of just under $93/share in […]


Make the Most of Your Pay Raise

Despite high unemployment and lingering financial turmoil from the recent recession, American workers continue to earn pay raises each year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical worker earned an average pay raise of 1.9% last year, and they are on tap to earn a similar raise in 2012. These annual pay raises […]