7 Financial Habits of Immigrants

I recently heard someone refer to a multi-family living arrangement as, “that’s what Mexican’s do”. I think that the comment was intended as a slight. Even if it was not, it was clear that the speaker thought a particular life choice was something that he would not consider. What he did not realize is that in a world drowning in debt, many Hispanics have figured out some of the secrets to achieving financial freedom without credit.

Is military service a good way to pay off student loans?

People who speak often or write a lot in the public arena sometimes make mistakes and leave themselves open to criticism. That has happened to me a couple of times on this blog and it will probably happen again. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article responding to a question about college loan payoffs. If you read down to the comments, you will see where a regular reader who goes by the moniker, “Damsel” shared how her husband’s military service has been good for their family finances.

My response, a hastily typed comment via my Blackberry, came across as rather flip:

Anatomy of a Craigslist scam

As many of you know, Mrs. Stew and I have been looking for another place to rent. We are not in a hurry, but we are consistently checking the ads to see what is available in our price range. In the course of looking on craigslist.com, we have happened upon some fishy offers, including one scam. I figured out that it was a scam pretty quickly, but I emailed the scammer for a bit just for kicks. I thought that readers might be interested in reading the responses from the con artist.

Avoid spending money while “on tilt”

For those of you who watch professional poker or even play the game once in a while, you understand when a player is “on tilt”. Tilt is when a poker player is making decisions with emotion and not playing according to a disciplined strategy. Being on tilt is usually the result of an emotional reaction to the events of the game. A poker player who is on tilt can often be taken advantage of by the other players and if he does not get control of his emotions, his continued presence in the game is at risk.

My favorite penny-pinch

I am a toiletries miser.

I think we all have our strong points and weak points when it comes to saving and spending money. My weakest point is probably in spending money on food. I spend too much on going out to eat and I tend to spend too much when I go to the grocery store. However, one area where I am a successful cheapskate is in toiletries.

A year with no surprise expenses

As I looked over our budget from last year, several expenditures caught my eye:

Car repair:  $ 481
Scooter:      $ 900
Dentist:       $ 389
Car repair:  $ 850
Dentist:       $1,314
Scooter:      $ 250
Car repair:  $ 224
Car repair:  $ 292
Dentist:       $ 191
Car repair:  $ 125
Second mortgage settlement: $5,000

That is $2,049 spent on car repair (does not include fuel, oil changes or car washes). We spent $1,894 at the dentist and I purchased a scooter this last year that ended up costing me over $1,100.

Some observations:

Question about student loan payoffs

Some time ago, I received a question from a reader with a general question regarding college student loan payoffs. I recently paid off my own loan, but we are still working on Mrs. Stew’s subsidized student loan balance. Just in case you were wondering – she is worth every penny!

That said, I have a fair amount of experience in dealing with student loans. Here is the question:

I graduated May 01, 2010 and would like to know if you have any information on the best plan for paying off student loan or is their ways to get a portion of the loan forgiven.

I am a little late to the party: Amazon.com

Okay, I have always thought that I was pretty close to the cutting edge of technology, the internet and all the rest. Yes, I do not have an iPod, but that has more to do with the fact that I do not really listen to music much, not that I do not know how to use one. I bank online, I book flights and hotels online I get my news online . . . Hello! I am a blogger, for crying out loud! Of course, I buy stuff and sell stuff on the world wide web through sites like Ebay, Craigslist and shopping portals like Fatwallet and Ebates.  I use internet tools such as Gmail, social sites, Google documents, Mapquest and more. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on this thing that one recent president called “the internets”.

What are “firstfruits”?

From time to time, a reader will ask a question by way of this contact form. I usually respond with a private message most of the time, but today, I would like to take the opportunity to address a question with a public post.

Here is the question:

How to Get the Best New Auto Car Loan Interest Rates & Financing

Although it may be tough to think about spending any more of your hard-earned money right now, economic downfalls have created a great consumer environment for buying a new car. If you have a steady job, great credit, and are confident it can fit into your budget, you may be ready to make the leap towards buying a new car. If you do make the decision to buy a new car and you are not paying for it in full with cash, one of the most important aspects of the process is getting a quality car loan rate. Here are 5 tips to help you get started:

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