This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Article: Don't let the crisis spook your 401k

Posted By Paul

An article where the author (Walter Updegrave, Money Magazine senior editor) explains why he thinks that you shouldn't let the current economic crisis keep you from investing in your 401k:

Don't let the crisis spook your 401k

The whole article is worth a read, but here are a few specific excerpts:

"In fact, I think it would be a mistake for virtually anyone, regardless of age, to forego saving for retirement in a 401(k) or similar account in reaction to the recent failures, takeovers, freefalls in stock prices, etc."

"I believe that the best way to deal with the inherent uncertainty of investment markets is to settle on an asset allocation that makes sense for you and, aside from rebalancing back to it once a year, pretty much leave it alone (or at least refrain from making big changes)."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Little Things I Do To Save Money

Posted By Paul

If you've read my earlier post:

Financial Choices, Good vs Better

Then you know that I try to focus on the things that save the dollars, not pennies. Of course crazy economic times always make me look for new ways to be frugal. There are a few things I do to save a penny here and there, and I finally decided to share them.

So here goes:

Bring snacks in to work:
I sometimes find myself getting hungry in the mid-morning or afternoon and needing a snack. I used to run to the vending machine to grab something, but now I go to CostCo and stock up on snacks and I keep them in my desk. Not only is it MUCH cheaper, but I've found that it's easier for me to avoid the unhealthy snacks using this system. I have the discipline to eat a healthy granola bar when it's in my desk drawer, but it's a whole different story when I'm faced with the granola bar from the vending machine with the peanut butter cups right next to it.

Keep ready lunches in my desk:
Related to the above, I also keep stuff I can eat for lunch in my desk (usually cans of soup). This is especially nice for those days when I'm really busy and don't want to go out to lunch. Instead I can just grab a can of soup and save a few bucks and a few minutes.

Ordering less food at lunch:
Matt and I meet for lunch every week or so, and one of the places we go pretty often is Panda Express. Matt and I used to always get the two item combo, but at one point I decided to try the one item rice bowl. At first I wasn't sure if it would be enough food, but it ended up being plenty. Now every time I go to Panda Express I get the single item rice bowl. I get enough to eat, I don't end up eating a bunch of food that I don't really need, and I save a little money each time. Also if I get hungry in the afternoon I still have those snacks ready to go.

Just a few little things I'm trying to keep an eye on as a way to save a buck here and there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Article: 14 Useless Insurance Policies

Posted By Paul

As a new dad I find myself revisiting all of my insurance coverage with a new eye. As always the world of insurance is overwhelming and exhausting. I've been trying to go through each type of insurance (medical, life, auto, etc) and figuring out what changes I need to make as a new dad.

An article I came across that was related and which I thought was interesting comes from one of my favorite pages: The Dollar Stretcher.

It talks about 14 different types of insurance, specifically saying why the author feels you probably don't need them. The 14 types covered are:

1. Accidental death insurance
2. Automobile collision
3. Automobile medical
4. Cancer/dreaded disease insurance
5. Credit card fraud insurance
6. Credit card insurance
7. Extended warranties
8. Flight insurance
9. Flood insurance
10. Life insurance for a child
11. Mortgage life insurance
12. Optional group life insurance
13. Rental car damage insurance
14. Scheduled property

If you have been thinking about any of these insurance policies recently, then the concise info is worth a look.
The article is called:

14 Useless Insurance Policies

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Article: Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt.

Posted By Paul

In case you ever thought that credit card companies were worried about your financial well being, here is an article describing the sad but not surprising fact that they will be happy to lend you money that you can't affort:

Ex-bankers on pushing customers to rack up debt

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Article: How Safe Is Your Bank

Posted By Paul

A friend sent us this link to an interesting page that tries to provide a rating to represent the strength of a bank.

Might be a good thing to keep an eye on in the next few months:

How Safe Is Your Bank

Monday, September 15, 2008

Article: Paying More When You Try To Save

Posted By Paul

I thought this article was interesting. It's a series of stories where the original intention was to save money on a house project, and then end result was that it ended up costing far more than planned.

It reminded me of when I was a kid and my Dad would have me be his assistant when he did repairs on the car. Many time what was supposed to be an afternoon project would quickly balloon in complexity and price.

My favorite is when what was supposed to be a one day job involved the purchasing of several new tools, and several new parts (because by doing the work he accidentally broke other things) over several days, and the project ended with my Dad paying to get the partially dismantled car towed to a mechanic so that the work could be completed properly.

Of course the annoying part is that with many of these projects you only know if you saved money in hindsight, but I thought it was a good point to keep in mind that sometimes trying too hard to save money can end up costing you.


Mistakes We've Made, So You Won't Have To