Friday, August 14, 2009

Check Cashing v. Financial Education

Every morning I listen to the radio while I’m getting dressed, and every morning I hear the radio personalities advertise for a check cashing/pay day loan place. The station is an urban station, meaning a majority of the listeners are more than likely going to be Black. So, basically a Black radio station is advertising using check cashing places to do anything from pay bills to one morning the mentioned buying coffee.. Am I the only one who finds this WRONG?

Lately, I have been getting into financial literacy and financial independence. Everything that I have learned has told me to stay AWAY from check cashing and pay day loan types places. So why is this being advertised as a solution to financial troubles? Why is this even being brought up as an option to save the day financially?

Ok, maybe it might be a financial option occasionally, if you know the ins and outs of using these types of places and understand the risks involved. Cash advances and pay day loans typically have HIGH interest rates. So my thinking is, if you didn’t have the money when you needed it are you really going to have the money plus some when it comes time to pay off the loan? Shouldn’t people in positions of power use that power to educate their listeners, instead of telling them they can get money fast WITHOUT telling them they will have to pay even more for it in the long run?

I guess one can make the argument; this is what we all do when we use credit cards or take out student loans…auto loans…mortgages…personal loans. But there are criteria that have to be met in order to qualify for those loans. Check cashing and pay day loan places, do they have criteria or do you just go in and come out with money?

Why not try to teach financial responsibility and independence instead? I suppose financial independence doesn’t advertise…

Friday, May 8, 2009

Addicted to Stuff?

I think I’m addicted to stuff. Meaning, everything that I always wanted when I was growing up but never could have I am trying to make up to myself now. I don’t know if this is normal, but it is something I struggle with almost daily. It could be movies, clothes, shoes, toys (electronics, video games…). I guess it is kinda normal when thinking about it, look at athletes, musicians, actors who came from nothing, coming into a lot of money. What is the first thing they do? Buy things they always wanted. Do they really need 10 cars and 7 houses? No, but these items have become like toys to them, toys they never got. Look at people who have illegal means of monetary success (ie. drugs or sex), what do they do? Buy things they wanted buy couldn’t buy before. As a society, we are trained to want things and when we aren’t able to get the things we want we either find some way (legal or illegal) to come into the money or we wait/do without. Everywhere you look we are bombarded with images of things to buy, things we might really need, things we want, things that are ridiculous and clearly don’t need. It has become an unconscious yearning. Have you ever bought something, then when finally getting home realize you didn’t want the item in the first place but you just had to have it? Exactly!

I work hard for my money, ok I work for my money, so I want to be able to do the things I want to do in life and have the things I want to have. The problem is I’m not at a point in life where I can treat myself to whatever I want…yet. I do well most of the time curving my craving for stuff, but sometimes the cravings win out. I have always had a passion for shoes, but was never able to buy the ones I really wanted. Well, in the last 3 months I have bought at least 6 pairs of shoes. What’s the problem? I don’t think I bought myself 6 pairs of shoes in the last 2 years previously. Growing up, I never had upwards of 6 pairs of shoes at once that’s for sure.

I feel slightly guilty buying myself things. I feel bad because my parents are still struggling, but is that my fault? Although I have always been somewhat responsible for them, am I responsible for them? I do what I can to help, but never feel like it’s enough. I have always been financially responsible, mostly because I saw my parent’s waste money and decided as an adult I wouldn’t waste money and have to struggle unnecessarily. I am proud of how hard I have worked to get what I have and of the fact that NOTHING has ever been given to me. Even as a child I had to earn everything I was given. I kept my grades up, that was my “job”. I mowed lawns, shoveled snow, babysat, and delivered newspapers all to get money to do what I wanted. Usually, I spent the money on things we needed or helped my mom pay bills. I have always been this way.

I guess this is just part of growing up and dealing with my past. We all go through it at some point, to some extent. It’s a learning process, learning that I work hard for what I have and that I deserve it all and more. One day, maybe I will be guilt free.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mother's Day Flowers - Discounts & Coupons

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]May 04, 2009: Mother's day is almost here. We've already presented windowboxes as a cool gift idea for moms who love to garden. But flowers always seem to bring an instant smile to our mom's loving face. Some ideas never seem to age, they are evergreen. Come to think of it, they are like our mom's love which

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cheap Travel Deals



Hotwire - Save up to 40% off last minute fares with low Hotwire Hot-Rates!
Airline Excess Baggage Fees - This airline fees table shows additional fees that might be added to domestic tickets (US routes) for some of the most popular airlines.
Car Rentals


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Ideas - WindowBoxes

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]Apr 29, 2009: We have loving moms. So this year we're thinking ahead on various gift ideas for Mother's day. We'd love to surprise them with simple gifts which they'd cherish. For those of us with urban moms who love to do gardening, windowboxes seem to be a great option. Gardening and working with plants

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Carnival of Personal Finance #202 - The Lao Tzu Edition

Lao Tsu writing the Tao Te Ching on bamboo paper

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]

Welcome to the 202nd Lao Tzu edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. With each passing day the going is getting tougher for millions. So we felt inspired to theme the Carnival on the quotes from the great master Lao Tzu. He is the author of “Tao Te

Thursday, April 23, 2009

FREE YNAB Pro Giveaway

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]This contest has ended and the winner has been announced. Click here for current giveaways.Welcome to our Giveaway of You Need A Budget (YNAB) Pro - Personal Finance Software on the eve of Mother's Day :). YNAB Pro software is sold at a price of $49.95. But it could be yours for FREE if you win this

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

$50 Bank Signup Bonus - Franklin Templeton Bank

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]Franklin Templeton Bank is offering a $50 sign up bonus when we sign up for a classic checking account with direct deposit. Franklin Templeton Bank & Trust Deposit Accounts are FDIC insured.Sign Up Link: Deal & DetailsHere are a list of services that you will receive with a Classic Checking account:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wall Street Survivor - Free Fantasy Stock Market

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]April 20, 2009: If stock markets appeal to you and you feel that online investing is fun then you might want to hone your skills with Wall Street Survivor which offers a free platform for a fantasy stock market. The platform simulates real world stock trading with high accuracy. This helps the players to

Thursday, April 16, 2009

FREE iPod Shuffle from eFirstBank

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]eFirstBank is offering a FREE iPod Shuffle when we sign up for a new personal checking account with at least $50. This offer is specifically for their customers in Arizona, California and Colorado. If you are not from these three states you can quit reading from here on :(.Sign Up Link: Deal &

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

FREE Health Care for the Unemployed - Take Care Clinic

If you have lost your job, are unemployed at present and are uninsured, then you along with your family can get FREE health care visits at a Take Care Clinic. Take Care Clinics are part of Take Care Health Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walgreens.
This offer applies to any Take Care Clinic patient that loses his or her job on or after March 31 and has no health insurance. Any other

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Winner of "NURU Personal Finance Cards" is .......

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (] The winner of our giveaway of a cool pack of NURU Personal Finance Cards is the entry with comment #3 - Brynna Morgan. Congrats Brynaa! The cards will be on their way as soon as we receive your mailing address :).Heartfelt thanks to all who participated in this contest and made it such fun. We shall be

Monday, April 6, 2009

Upto 80% OFF - Wall Street Journal Subscription - Promotions, Discounts And Coupons

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]

The Wall Street Journal needs no introduction. It's a must read for serious investors as well as those who are keen to learn the ropes of investing. A few notable features are:
Expert insight on the market and economy and how both can impact your everyday finances and personal investments.

Monday, March 30, 2009

$50 Bank Signup Bonus - Bank of America Business Checking Account

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]Bank of America is offering a $50 signup bonus when we open a business checking account before April 06, 2009. In addition, we also need to maintain an average minimum balance of $125 in our new account for the first 60 days and make one check card purchase.Sign Up Link: Deal & DetailsWe can also open

Mar09 - Top 100 Personal Finance Blogs - Ranked By Traffic

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]The LATEST RANKINGS are available HERE.Updated on Mar 30, 2009: Welcome back to our rankings of personal finance (pf) blogs for March 2009 based on traffic data of February 2009. The following tables show traffic rankings of individual and group personal finance blogs respectively based on monthly traffic

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How To Get Rid Of Household Chores?

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]It's the weekend again. A pile of household chores are waiting to be taken care of. Do you ever wonder about how we can get rid of them? Here is a hilarious way of doing away with household chores forever ......Image Source(s): Email from a friend :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NURU Personal Finance Cards GIVEAWAY

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]

This contest has ended and the winners have been announced. Click here for current giveaways.
Welcome to our Giveaway of NURU Personal Finance Cards on the eve of spring break. We are looking forward to spring in nature as well as into our world of material and spiritual assets :).

What are NURU

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FREE Ipod Nano & Amazon Gift Cards Give Aways from Firstrade

Firstrade's Investor Network has launched a promotion that will give away the following:
An Apple® iPod nano® to the three members that contribute the largest number of quality posts by April 16, 2009.

Additionally, if you are one of the first 150 members who contribute three posts by April 16, 2009 you will win a $10® Gift Card!
No trade execution or purchase necessary. This

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

2009 Carnival Publications

Sign Up Link: Deal & DetailsA $50

Upto 44% OFF - TurboTax Business Discounted Deal

If you are using AT&T's phone, internet (DSL) or cellular products and services then Citi has a cool deal for you. Citi's AT&T Universal Rewards Card is offering a superb 10% cash back for first 12 months and 5% thereafter on each dollar that we spend on AT&T products and services that matches the amount we spend on other purchases.
There is a 1% cash back on non AT&T purchases. This

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jan09 - Top 100 Personal Finance Blogs - Ranked By Traffic

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]The LATEST RANKINGS are available HERE.Updated on Jan 22, 2009: We wish you a great new year ahead :). Welcome back to our rankings of personal finance (pf) blogs for January 2009 based on traffic data of December 2008.Jan 24, 2009 (4:00 am): We had to publish this month's rankings three times due to

Upromise College Scholarship Increased to $500,000

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]UPromise is Giving Away 500,000 for College Scholarships this year!This move is a part of their mission to make college more accessible. So they've gone ahead and increased their scholarship fund to $500,000, which is twice that of 2008. It implies that 200 of the best and brightest students will receive

Monday, January 19, 2009

Top Ten Paid Survey Sites to Make Extra Money

Whenever we get some free time or short breaks we use it to earn some extra money by doing paid surveys. This helps us to donate more money to our favorite charities. Last year we earned around $127 by doing paid surveys from Pine Cone Research. So we thought of expanding our paid survey portfolio to other paid survey sites as well.

We've centered our research on paid survey sites which

Friday, January 16, 2009

Circuit City Closing Shop, Going Out Of Business

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]Circuit City, one of our favorite retailers for electronics goods, is going out of business. They are closing 567 of their remaining US stores and slashing 30,000 jobs. Circuit City had filed Chapter 11 of bankruptcy in Nov 2008, but had to take this drastic step since they could not work out a sale of the

Monday, January 12, 2009

FREE - Suze Orman's Latest Book - Download Now

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]New York Times Best Selling Author, Suze Orman, needs no introduction. If you want to see what personal finance advice she has up her sleeves for 2009, you can download her latest book Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan - Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound, for FREE, right now until 11:59 p.m. CT on Thursday,

Free Download - Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2009

Microsoft, the software giant is offering a FREE Download for Microsoft Accounting Express 2009. For those of us who are new to Accounting Express, it is a free but ad supported version of Microsoft's Office Accounting Professional 2009.

Microsoft's Office Accounting Express 2009 FREE Edition is targeted towards small businesses, start ups and home-based companies. It can do common personal

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Investing Tips From Warren Buffett

MSNBC recently ran an article on 10 investing basics from Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett is becoming one of my favorite people. He is rich but he became rich by being smart about his money and listening to his gut. I want to start investing once my debt is gone and possibly buy some investment properties. Just basically make sure that I can retire by 50, 23 years from now. If I could retire earlier from working for someone else and work for myself that would be great, that’s my goal!

So Buffett’s tips are:

Be Frugal- Buffett lives in the same small three-bedroom house in Omaha, Neb., that he bought more than five decades ago. He drives his own car. He owns the world's largest private jet company, but he flies commercial.

Wait for the 'fat pitch'- Resist the itch to constantly buy or sell stocks. Have the patience to wait a long time until some market turbulence brings the "fat pitch," as Buffett calls it, or stocks of great companies trading at really cheap valuations.

Be a contrarian- A great way to make money is to go against the crowd. "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful"

Stick with what you know- If you don't understand a company's product or how it makes money, avoid it.

Don't depend on others to say you're right- If you are in need of constant affirmation about your investment decisions, particularly from the stock market, you won't be able to invest like Buffett.

Buy companies cheap- The key throughout this analysis is to look back over five years or more. Buffett wants to see a consistent operating history; he's not into startup companies. He also prefers to gauge how well a company does in different kinds of markets, not just the good times or the latest quarter.

Look for companies with economic moats- A key characteristic supporting the consistent operating history is a sustainable competitive advantage. In other words, a company should have a barrier to entry -- or a kind of moat -- that keeps potential competitors at bay.

Buy big, concentrated positions- Most professional money managers protect against risk by diversifying. Buffett goes against the crowd here, too. When he finds a company he likes, he piles into it big time.

Hold for life- Embedded in this concept are two key Buffett tenets I've already alluded to. First, it's only worth investing in companies that are good enough to outperform for decades. Next, you have to think on your own and avoid the madness of the crowd.

Believe in America- Buffett doesn't tweak his portfolio depending on which party is coming into office or where we are in the economic cycle. This may make him seen naive. But it also has him putting money to work now, when many others have lost faith in the U.S. economic system. It's a move that will likely make him a winner down the road, yet once again.

These tips seem pretty basic, for the most part. So why aren’t more people following them?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is Higher Education Really Worth It?

Recent college graduates are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place. After graduation, potential employers are passing up these recent grads because they lack relevant work experience. Having a Masters degree at 24 is a major accomplishment to everyone except employers, unless you have 3+ years of experience also. In my case, I didn’t have any “real” work experience. I had worked for about 8 months at a research firm and a year at my schools center for social science research, both calling people and administering questionnaires. That wasn’t enough or the right kinds of research experience to even get a job at the research firm I had worked the 8 months. I went from interview to interview hearing that I didn’t have enough experience OR for jobs outside of research I had too much education and the company was afraid I wouldn’t stay long.

Unless recent college grads found someway to get the experience needed with out amassing huge amounts of student loan debt, even the jobs they get don’t really amount to much. Student loan payments make me wish I never went to grad school, I can’t even afford to pay them. The job I have is extremely boring and not even close to what I would love to be doing with myself but the pay is decent. The pay is the only reason I am still here. I can’t afford to work in a field that makes me happy, I mean after all I have to pay for the education I can’t even use.

With college costs raising more and more college graduates are finding themselves in the same situation. Is the education really worth it? How is the experience gained? In my case, I probably could have done more to prepare myself in college but I didn’t have anyone giving me advice on what I should do. My only concerns were playing basketball, working my work study job, and keeping up with my always full load of classes. There wasn’t much time for anything else. Whenever I talk to anyone who is about to graduate or deciding to go to grad school I always try to encourage them to make sure they are studying exactly what they want and to take all the opportunities available to them to get as much experience towards their future career as possible. Maybe I was just hard headed growing up but I really don’t remember hearing anyone giving me such wise words.

So I guess my words of wisdom are:

Try to get as much experience in the field you want to work in BEFORE you graduate OR have a really great back up plan.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rule of Thumb for Investing

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]2008 was one of the most challenging years for young investors like us. Our portfolio went down by nearly 35%! That's not fun. Now we are in the process of re-evaluating our strategies and risk taking capacities to set forth on a new direction with renewed vigor. In the process of doing so we were

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dean Graziosi’s Real Estate Investor Network

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]Jan 05, 2009: Dean Graziosi (pronounced as say Gra-zee-oh-see) is a real estate investing expert who teaches people how to earn money in real estate by quick and easy identification of cycles in the real estate market. Buying and selling automobiles he became a successful investor when he was just 16. Then

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Custom Logo Design with LogoBang

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (]Jan 03, 2009: The present times demand companies to have sleek Web 2.0 designs with media rich websites and fashionable logos for credibility. A new company with a good product might not gain much popularity and trust if its website and presentation are crappy. In short, we have to create a fantastic brand