Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The blog has moved!

I have been having some trouble with Blogger recently so I decided to stop being lazy and just install some blog software on my webserver. I installed WordPress and have moved all of my old posts over from blogger. I am just working on updating some of the links within the posts, but otherwise it should work fine. I will be moving the comments over from the old site later this week as well. Please update your links to the site and RSS feeds accordingly.


Friday, April 07, 2006

My first sale(s):

Last week I sold stocks that I owned for the first time. I think this would normally be very nerve-racking for a person, thinking "what if it shoots up after I sell it?" or anything of the sort. This was made much easier because I needed the money in my account to pay my taxes, so it didn't really matter if it sky rocketed or collapsed after I sold it. Would I be disappointed if it shot up after I sold it? Yes, but as I said, I have to pay taxes, so not a big concern. Both of the stocks that I sold have stayed close to the price I sold them at, so it hasn't bothered me yet, we will see in a few weeks.

I think needing money to pay taxes is a good reason to sell some stocks. Needing money to buy new shoes is not. If you are planning on purchasing a car in a year, start stocking money away in an index fund, and then take it out when you are ready to purchase a car. Do the same if you are going to buy a house or anything else major. When you invest, you should plan on keeping money in the market for at least a year in order to avoid tax penalties that you have if you take it out within that first year.

Remember, you want to buy and hold until you really need the money!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Feeling overloaded from too much personal finance information?

I just found a great article about avoiding information overload.

Let me know your thoughts on it!

Sorry, I needed to make a half-way decent April Fools joke on someone!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A thought about this weekend:

So I went away this weekend and heard one of the most horrifying quotes ever: "Yeah, my girlfriend is a vegetarian and I can't cook, so I go out to eat for lunch and dinner almost every night."

I cannot think of many worse ways to spend money than to go out to eat everyday. Think of how much money you are wasting in doing that? Not only are you paying probably double what you would pay to make food, but you also waste gas and time going to and from the place. He isn't going out to fast food places and getting the dollar meal either, he is going to Panera a lot of times and Subway other times. Looking back at my last job and how much money I spend on getting lunch every day, I can't imagine doing that every night as well. I feel so stupid knowing that I went out to lunch 3 days a week and wasted $21 or so every week. Now if he spends 7 dollars for lunch and dinner every weekday, that's $63 just on his food, plus if he takes his girlfriend out to eat for dinner Friday, lunch and dinner Saturday and the same again Sunday, that's probably another $175 for a grand total of $238 a week!

How about instead he just puts that into a checking account? He would have over $12000 every year! Now imagine the possibilities if it were to go into an index fund at the end of each year and earn around 8% every year? After the first year he would earn over $1000 on his investment. If he invested the $238 a week into the index fund instead of a lump sum at the end of each year he would earn even more money. So tell me again why you would go out to lunch every day, or three days a week, or more than one or two days every week?

Track your spending and cut out most of the unnecessary stuff today!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Just to clarify my last article:

It seems there was a little confusion about what I said in the last article dealing with when to, and not to use your credit card. If you are able to pay off your card every single month, then by all means use the card for all your purchases. However, if you ever get a little behind, even if it's only $25 dollars, you need to stop using the credit card to purchase everything. This is how people end up in credit card debt. First they say only have a $25 balance is okay, I will be able to pay it off next month, then the next month they have $100 balance and say oh I am getting a big pay check next month I will pay it off then, then you are thousands of dollars in debt and your minimum payment is more than $200. DO NOT LET YOUR CREDIT CARD DEBT GET THIS WAY! In fact, don't get into any credit card debt!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What not to buy with a credit card:

The following items are things that you should not be using a credit card to purchase. After you read them, I will explain why it is a bad idea:

1. Groceries
2. Gas
3. Coffee
4. Fast Food
5. Restaurant Bills
6. Tobacco Products
7. Alcohol
8. Gifts
9. Rent
10. Utility Bills (electricity, Heat, Cable, ect.)

Why is it such a bad idea to use a credit card on these things? None of these items hold any value! Groceries, gas, and tobacco products will all be gone within a week or two, why would you want to be paying them off for months? If you are going to take time to pay something off, and pay extra for it via interest, you should at least still have it in your possession while you pay it off. Coffee, fast food, restaurant bills, and alcohol fall under basically the same thing, but they are gone even faster. Why would you want to pay interest on your medium mocha latte grande what ever it is from Starbucks, or take 4 months to pay off a 99 cent cheeseburger from Wendys?

"What about gifts, why can't you put them on your credit card? The stuff I buy my ____friend is expensive!" So why shouldn't you put them on your credit card? Once you give the gift to your significant other, it is not longer yours, and no longer holds any value for you. The person you gave it to may love it, or be able to pawn it and get money for it, but you will never be able to. It is basically the same as the choco latte mini with cream you got from Starbucks yesterday (Can you tell I don't like Starbucks yet?). Don't be paying for a necklace for 6 months after you gave it to someone.

Rent and utility bills are the worst things to be putting on your credit card. You have already used the service up and now you are going to pay for it over time and pay interest on it? If you can't afford to pay cash for your cable every month, cancel the cable. If you can't afford to pay your rent, it's time to start looking for cheaper places to live. If you use up too much electricity, turn the lights off when you aren't in a room, or buy energy saving light bulbs. You shouldn't have to pay interest on your cable bill, it already costs too much to have cable.

So there has to be some exception to this right? I mean, I am special so I can use my credit card to do this right? Well there is really only one way where it is okay for you to use a credit card to buy these things, and that is if you pay the credit card off completely every month. This way you never get charged any interest. However if there is ever a single month where you don't pay off the card in full, it's time to stop using the card. Don't make excuses, or say next month will be better, just stop using the card. This is how people get into trouble and it's a good way to piss all your money away on paying interest charges.

Say no to credit card balances!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Why I should have cared about money sooner:

I first started this blog a little while after I got laid off from my previous job. Not having a job made me realize that money is important, and I should do more than get my paycheck, pay my bills, and spend the rest. When I lost my job, I was fortunate enough to have some money saved for taxes because I was self-employed. The problem is, I used up that money, and now I have very little left for taxes, and the tax man wants a lot more than I expected. Now I'm left trying to shake some money out of my dried up money tree. So for the next money I will be looking for payment plan options to pay the money I owe over time. I'm hoping I don't get screwed over with the interest rate on this like I do with my credit card. Luckily for me, I am now an employee of a company, and they take care of taxes for me.