Don't make the Dr. Evil error of assuming

This is a guest article by Jeff who writes at Caddickisms where he shares his “thoughts on everything”. If you like this article, make sure you head over to Caddickisms and subscribe to Jeff’s feed.

Back in July, I missed a payment on one of my credit cards. I only missed it by 12 hours, but still, I missed it. This was a big problem, because I had heavily loaded this particular card under an excellent promotional balance transfer rate of 3.99% for the life of the balance. Give a credit card company a reason, and they’ll rip those promotional rates right out from under you – and missing a payment certainly qualifies as a good reason, from their perspective.

The Friday Gathering for 9/4/2008

Ever take on a little too much? I seem to have done so over the past few months. The problem is I have all of these ideas and things I want to do, but not enough time to do them, at least not without sacrificing things that are more important to me.

Personal budget categories – the key to tracking your money

Creating and maintaining a personal budget isn’t hard. There are many different options including the old tried and true paper and pen method, using a spreadsheet, and even specialized software packages like You Need a Budget (my personal favorite). Regardless of which option you choose to use, all options require selecting categories.

What are personal budget categories?

Personal budget categories are a way of grouping your expenses so you can track where your money is going each month. When creating a budget, you’ll allocate a particular amount of money to a category then track your expenses against it. Once your expenses meet the amount allocated in that category, you have no more money to spend in that particular category.

Share your story: What is the dumbest thing you've ever spent money on?

While driving to work, I often enjoy listening to the various morning shows. One of the common themes is to ask the listeners a crazy question and have them call in and share their story or experience. I thought it might be both fun and interesting to do something similar here on Gather Little by Little. This post is the first in on ongoing series I am going to run called Share your story, where I’ll throw out a question and you can share your answer. If you have a blog, I encourage you to blog about your story and I’ll add a link in.

What is a Roth 401k?

I received a letter from my employer the other day stating that they will begin offering a Roth 401k program in addition to our traditional 401k program beginning in 2009. I had read a little bit about them in the past, but decided since they were now an option for me to begin utilizing, I should probably learn more about them and wanted to share my findings with you as I understand they are becoming more and more prominent.

Gone fishing…

Ok, so I’m not fishing, but we did decide to head to the mountains for the weekend to relax a little and take a look at our “hopefully soon to ours” home. I won’t have internet connectivity to post on Sunday or Monday, but I’ll be back with some great stuff on Tuesday including an article on Roth 401ks and a new series I’m starting called Share your story.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Photo by: mmmarilyn

Getting started with the envelope budget method

This is a guest post from Luke the guy behind Neobudget. NeoBudget is an online budget manager that uses the envelope method to help you track your spending habits and stick to a budget. You don’t need to be an accountant, and you don’t need to be good with numbers to use NeoBudget. It is budgeting for normal people. Head over and check out Neobudget, it’s pretty slick and the best part? It’s really inexpensive.


The Friday gathering: Moving update

I wanted to provide you with an update on moving to the mountains. We finally completed the contract on the new house, the one I mentioned in my gathering two weeks ago. We offered about 15% below the current asking price, and the family countered to meet in the middle which we agreed to. The house had already been reduced to 15% below asking price, so we ended up purchasing it for about 25% off the list price. Both myself and our agent feel we got a very good deal. We now have a fully signed contingency contract in place. Now we just need to sell our current house within 60 days. The picture to the left is the view from the front porch of the house we are trying to buy. Nice huh?

Paying credit cards before a mortgage? What???

I work in IT for a bank. During our monthly team meetings, we often have guest speakers from different areas of the bank come and talk to us about their area. One of our recent speakers was from our credit card division. While not a fan of credit cards, learning about the business model was interesting. The amount of profit and high level of default rates was plain scary. The one quote that caught my attention was “Credit cards have become such an important financial tool, that people are now paying their credit cards before their mortgage“. My first reaction was that I didn’t hear what she said correctly which was immediately followed with a resounding mental “WHAT???”. I wrote the quote down along with the question “Why??”. Rather than interrupt the presentation, I decided to follow up with her afterward.

Teen money management mistakes

I’ve learned a great about personal finance over the years. Much of it through writing here on Gather Little by Little, reading other personal finance blogs, and reading books. Unfortunately, the majority of it I’ve learned the hard way, by making mistakes and suffering the consequences.

In order to try and keep our children from having to learn the hard way, my wife and I have been sharing information about our finances and trying to teach them responsible money management. This is particularly true of my oldest son as he has now entered his teen years (he’s 13).