Saturday, April 16, 2011

Best value smartphones

iPhones and Androids

I think it is finally time to ditch my ancient (over 3 years old!) dumbphone for a smartphone!

I'm still on the family plan for my cellphone and although I don't really use my phone all that much, I'm looking for a cost-effective way to jump on the mobile web bandwagon.

Loving all things Apple, I long for an iPhone, but don't know if I am willing to pay the extra expense or get into a 2 year contract for one.

I've been looking into Virgin Mobile's Beyond Talk plans and the LG Optimus V Android phone as a great alternative, but am worried about the reliability even if the price is definitely right as $25/mo for 300 minutes and unlimited text and data!

(photo credit)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Where to earn more interest on your money

A bit of gaming the system. But the Bucks blog at the New York Times website posts about a sneaky suggestion from a reader to open up a 60-month CD at 2.99% at Ally Bank and even if you end up paying a penalty of 2 month's interest you're still likely to come out ahead.

Read the whole post:

Personally, I still like my HSBC account even if the interest rate is not-so-hot these days. I also took a look at the comments where some folks rightly point out that Ally is part of the formerly known as GMAC Bank, which has been bailed out twice(!) by the U.S. government, which is now the majority owner. That's kind of sketch, in my opinion.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Buy low, sell high

Whoa, just when I finally got into the market, it's taken roughly a 10% tumble in the last month! I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm investing for the long haul. To keep calm and carry on, you might say, especially if you were into one of those ubiquitous posters.

On the other hand, sparing a dreaded "double-dip" recession the economy could be pulled into, if you are buying low, now would be a good time, right? I'm trying to up my contributions now for just that reason.

How're the rest of you faring the current "market correction"?

Image source

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On April 20

Is it appropriate to say that not smoking — legal or only-legal-for-medicinal-purposes-in-certain-states substances — is also a pretty good choice from a frugal perspective?

Part of the reason I could never see myself smoking is I never would be able to stand the cost of the addiction.

That said, even though taxes raised on cigarettes (there's even talk now and then of legalizing and taxing marijuana) benefit society. you have to feel a bit for those who are truly addicted. Especially in the case of cigarettes where the cost does hurt individual's finances, but it's more difficult for someone to quit in spite of the fact.

Are there many PF bloggers out there who are cigarette smokers? I'd be a bit surprised if there are.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Roth IRAs

(Hi, again blogosphere! Why yes, it has been a looooong time since I've posted!)

Well, I just recently opened a Roth IRA an account to make a contribution before the expiration for the 2009 tax year. I opened my account at Vanguard and opted for one of their retirement target date fund accounts, Vanguard Fund Target Retirement 2050. Why? I guess that's because it seemed like the easiest choice without too much work.

I went with Vanguard over other companies for my Roth IRA because of its non-profit/co-op like status. For a financial services company, I liked the sound of that.

But for future investing, I've heard of good things with TradeKing and investments in ETFs from Vanguard. That's a little over my head yet at this point, but I will be looking to consider that route for future investments.

Any advice out there for newbie investors? What's the PF blog world's experience been?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Always ask!

This is an unposted draft from a long ago. But I'll post it now. The advice has always relevance.

I don't have credit card debt and I only have two credit cards. One is a Chase Freedom card, and the other is my first credit card through my bank.

Since the bank credit card doesn't earn rewards as the Chase card does, I don't use it much. I'm not exactly someone who makes the banks a ton of money, but I still don't want to be charged needlessly either.

This year I hadn't used my bank card at all which meant I saw a $40 annual fee posted a couple of days ago. That fee is only charged if no purchases are made on the card throughout the year.

I was a bit annoyed that I'd forgotten to use the card this year and had actually paid the fee, ready to write off the $40 expense as "one of those stupid things you do."

Then, I thought, well, why not call up the bank's customer service and try to get it waived? If I'm completely in the wrong, I am loathe to beg, but even if you are in the wrong, they can only tell you "no." I figured my leg to stand on was that the year wasn't over yet so I made my case, calmly. And? A friendly customer service rep waived it, I made a small purchase, and all was mostly good again.

The moral of this story: And that's why you always ask! Companies do usually want to keep their customer's happy. Also, don't let banks pull one over one you!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CNNMoney: Fed slashes key rate to near zero

link to full story:

Wow, this is troubling. I know the point is to encourage banks to lend and people to borrow, but the first thing I think of is how my HSBC online savings account rate will surely also be lowered. again.

At the CNNMoney story, take a look the graphic on the right illustrates how drastically the rate has fallen since the end of 2007, when we now know the recession "officially" began.