From the category archives:


Layaway: a Formal Delayed Gratification Program?

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More and more layaway plans from retailers like Sears and Kmart are making a comeback largely because of the recent economic downturn and credit worries.  So that begs the question is layaway a good alternative to just putting the purchase on your credit card?  Let’s dig into the details of the layaway program (we’ll use […]

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Sinking Funds: taking Budgeting to the Next Level

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Boring!!! Okay it might be but it’s a really important tool for your personal finance arsenal.  In the business world a sinking fund is the act of setting aside funds over a time period to pay off debts or acquire assets.  That models well to personal finance so we’ll assume you’ve got your basic monthly  […]

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Emergencies are Assured So build your Own Emergency Money Fund

Emergency Fund

If you are considering any steps at all for getting your personal finances in order your first step should be to establish an emergency money fund. It’s a guarantee that life goes wrong or unexpected. Appliances fail, cars break down, kids get sick, Uncles get incarcerated. You get the drift. So what do you do when life throws you […]

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Cash for Clunkers Taxable? No not for Federal but Maybe for State.

There is a misinformation war afoot with regards to the CARS program or Cash for Clunkers as it’s known commonly. The question centers around whether the program is a taxable event for your income tax. The offical CARS website available at expressly calls out: Is the credit subject to being taxed as income to the […]

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How to Run Your Personal Finances Like a Fortune 500 Company

I’ve spent over half of my professional career working for a Fortune 100 company and have had the dubious role of managing budgets north of 100 Million dollars. While I would be careful to apply anything to do with big business to my personal life there are certainly lessons you can learn for dealing with […]

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The FiscalGeek Cell Phone Trade In Program: Free Cell Phones for Life

I’m going to let you in on a secret that the Cellular Carriers don’t want you to know. I’m going to drone on for about 8 pages explaining that you can unlock the hidden riches of the Cellular World. I’m also going to go into excruciating detail how I’m the foremost expert in selling, buying, […]

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Save Money By Asking Nicely

When was the last time you asked for a refund, a discount, or a fee forgiveness? I have been noticing that many companies are willing to work with you if you ask nicely. Over the course of the year, my wife and I probably saved a few hundred dollars just by calling up different people […]

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Are You Fiscally Negligent? Did Netflix Cancel You Because You Never Swapped Movies?

I’ve done a variety of things to sabotage my own budget so much so that I wanted to share them here as not really savings tips but more like financial penalty avoidance (FPA). When you look at the potential expenses you could literally save hundreds a year by avoiding these traps so take this as an opportunity to learn from my mistakes or celebrate our financial failures together.

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Calculate the True Cost of Debt

As my wife and I head towards debt freedom working through our debt snowball I use a variety of methods to keep us motivated. For me that has included looking at what our debt is costing us as it relates to our future. It’s simple, every dollar you spend on interest to your lender is money that could be working for you.

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Refinance Your Home Even if it’s Underwater with the Making Home Affordable Program

If your home value has decreased and you don’t think you can refinance you still may be able to refinance at today’s mortgage rates. The Making Home Affordable program from the US Federal Government is designed to help homeowners who may have Adjustable Rate Mortgages that are adjusting or have loans with higher interest rates who may not qualify for conventional loans due to their home value versus their mortgage balance

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