Archive for February, 2010

Friday Gathering: Christian Finance Blog Edition

The  2009 nominees for the Plutus Awards are up and there are five nominees in the Religious Personal Finance blog category. Today, I thought I would feature a post from each of them. After reading, click over and vote for your favorite.

Jason Price at Bible Money Matters challenged us to leave an inheritance for your children.

The article, How to spend your tax refund wisely, was posted at Christian PF, but was also written by Jason Price. Busy guy.

Matt Jabs at Debt Free Adventure posted a somewhat controversial article entitled, One world currency-new world order.

Pros and Cons of Using Prepaid Debit Cards

Recently, I read a report about prepaid debit cards and their use. I was surprised to learn that more than 60 million Americans are using this alternative to a bank checking account. And most surprisingly, prepaid debit cards are not only used by people with poor credit. In some cases, it is the best way to manage your money with the lowest fees.

In order to better understand them, I decided to list the pros and cons of using prepaid debit cards:

10 principles for saving time Part II

On Monday, I shared the first five of ten money saving principles that I learned from my father. I say “learned” because while I remember them intellectually, I still struggle to apply them consistently.

6. Do it when you think of it.

This is the one that gets me most of the time. My dad developed a discipline in his life where he would take on a task almost as soon as he thought about it. There have been many occasions when he and I set up a time to do a particular job together and he would have it done by the time I showed up. Also, there are instances when he goes a little overboard, like when he starts vacuuming the living room floor when there is company in the house . . . or makes an important phone call during supper . . . The instinct to resist all procrastination is strong within him.

What I Like So Much About Making Money Online

A while ago, Larry wrote a very interesting post about how to start an online store. He well defines the right way to start your online store. I also share his point of view on making more money in order to pay back debt faster. While reducing your expenses is always a good budgeting exercise, you still have to stay alive and hopefully enjoy life along the way. To me, this is where online income comes into the equation.

10 principles for saving time Part I

I am not an expert in using time, by any means, but I am committed to improving my time management. There is a famous adage that says “time is money”. That saying is just about always true and if there are not monetary rewards for saving time, there are certainly relaxation and family rewards for redeeming our time.

The person whose time management that I most admire is my father. Sometimes my brothers and sisters and I joke that he gets more done in thirty minutes than the average person accomplishes in an eight hour workday. Except it isn’t really a joke. He is probably the most efficient worker/administrator that I have ever observed. I thought I would share ten of his time habits this week. Five today and five more on Wednesday.

Friday Gathering: Post-Valentine’s Day Edition

Gather Little by Little was featured in four carnivals this week!

What will you do with your tax refund? was featured at the 244th Carnival of Personal Finance. Boy, that thing has been around for a while.

Investing Baby Steps #2: Different Investing Strategies for Beginners Part 2 was chosen as an Editor’s Pick at the 104th Money Hacks Carnival.

If you can’t handle $5, why should I give you $10? was included at 217th Festival of Frugality and the Carnival of Money Stories.

Here are some other articles that I found interesting this week:

9 Ways to Multiply Your Sources of Income and Pay off Your Debts

This year, I am facing one of my biggest personal finance challenges: I need to pay back my parents loan on November 1st, 2010. The amount owing will be $31,000. We had borrowed this money as cash down for our first house and the deal was to reimburse in full (plus interest) after 5 years. So I have only a few months before I write “the big check” and I am looking at different ways to pay off this debt.

Observations from my tax returns

I have been filing with Turbo Tax since the 2001 tax year. The nice thing about the service is that I can see all of my prior year returns anytime. It is kind of interesting to see summary of the information over the years. Incidentally, 2001 is the year that Mrs. Stew and I were married, so all of this data was filed under the “married, filing jointly” classification. I posted all of this data as percentages with 2001 as our baseline number. For instance, our Adjusted Gross Income in 2005 was 101% of our 2001 AGI. None of the data is adjusted for inflation or cost of living, just the raw amounts or percentages. I also do not know much about formatting tables in WordPress, so please bear with me . . . if I were really good, I would have made bar or line graphs out of all this stuff. :)

What to Expect From Mortgage Rate Trends for 2010

Since the major cut in the interest rate back in 2008, we haven’t heard much about the FED cranking up the intraday rate so far. However, with recent GDP stats (5.7% annualised rate for the last quarter), we will surely hear some whispered rumors about the prime interest rate going up.

What is the intraday interest rate?

The FED has control over the inter bank rate. This is the rate established for banks lending to each other for one day. At the end of every day, banks look at their balance sheet and borrow or lend money in order to balance their assets with their liabilities. These loans are for 24 hours since their balance sheet changes daily. This is why we have an intra day interest rate.

Money Saving Mondays: How to know if your loan should be refinanced

I went into the bank the other day to see if I should refinance our car loan. I have really outstanding credit and I wondered if I could parley that into a lower interest rate, shorter term or lower payment. Turns out that I could do all three, but I did not do it after I saw the numbers.

Original loan principle: $17,490
Interest rate: 8.01%  Total term: 72 months
Monthly payment: $306  Total P and I: $22,085
Total interest paid over the life of the loan: $4,595