Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Money Market Rates 7/14

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

0.87% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.85% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.80% American Express High Yield Savings
0.75% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings
0.20% Western FCU Money Market
0.05% Citibank Savings Plus
0.03% Chase Plus Savings


In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 7/21/14. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one few credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks. By a slim margin, Ally Bank Online Savings is again in the top position on this list.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

DC

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Credit Card Bonus Categories Q3 2014

Save money on purchases and get cash back with the following coupon codes and credit cards:

Citi Dividend Card
  • 5% cash back thru 9/30/14: The Hilton Portfolio, car rental agencies, movie theaters and theme parks.
  • 1% on everything else.
Discover Card
  • 5% cash back thru 9/30/14: Gas Stations
  • up to 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.2% on travel and dining
  • 1.1% on everything else.
  • No annual fee.
The Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card (no annual fee)
  • 5% on priceline.com purchases
  • 1% on everything else.
Costco TrueEarnings Card from American Express
  • 3% cash back at gas stations
  • 2% cash back on restaurants, and travel
  • 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
  • 2.2% on travel and dining
  • 2.2% on everything else.
  • ($89 annual fee after first year)

AT&T Universal Card by Citibank
  • 5% cash back thru 9/30/14: Online Purchases.
Bank of America Quantum Visa Card
  • 5% Cash back through 9/30/14
  • Office supply stores
  • Book stores
  • Shoe stores
  • Electronics stores
  • Computer stores
Also See:
PF Stock Money Tips #1: Use Coupons
PF Stock Money Tips #2: Credit Cards
PF Stock Money Tips #3: Taxes
PF Stock Money Tips #4: Shopping
PF Stock Money Tips #5: Organize Your Purchases

DC

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Three Stocks To Own Right Now

Every once in a while a stock jumps off the chart at you as a no-brainer buy… but it’s not often that three stocks jump out as must-owns! INO.com Contributor, Wayne Burritt, found three this week that are just that. After you see his complimentary report, I think you’ll agree.

Inside you’ll learn:

  • The identity of the 3 stocks.
  • Why these big-name stocks are set-up for an upside move.
  • When you should make a move.

The technical and fundamental support suggests that these are stocks that are ready to move now.

Don’t miss your chance, view this report: 3 Stocks To Own Now!

3 Stocks You Should Own Right Now - Click Here!

Three Stocks To Own Right Now…What they are and why you should own them!
FREE INO.com Special Report – Click Here



Monday, April 7, 2014

Credit Card Bonus Categories Q2 2014

Save money on purchases and get cash back with the following coupon codes and credit cards:

AT&T Universal Card by Citibank
  • 5% cash back thru 6/30/14: Groceries, Gas, Drugstores, Restaurants, Commuter Expenses.
Citi Dividend Card
  • 5% cash back thru 6/30/14: The Home Depot, Home Furnishing Stores, Home & Garden Stores.
  • 1% on everything else.
Discover Card
  • 5% cash back thru 6/30/14: Home Improvement Stores, Furniture Stores, and Bed Bath & Beyond
  • up to 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
The Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card (no annual fee)
  • 5% on priceline.com purchases
  • 1% on everything else.
Costco TrueEarnings Card from American Express
  • 3% cash back at gas stations
  • 2% cash back on restaurants, and travel
  • 1% on everything else.
Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard (Travel Rewards)
Also See:
PF Stock Money Tips #1: Use Coupons
PF Stock Money Tips #2: Credit Cards

DC

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3 Things That You Can Do To Avoid Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a scary concept for everyone. Unfortunately, for many consumers, it's not just a concept, it's a reality. The simple fact is, the recent financial recession has made it almost impossible to survive financially for many people. As a result of this, tons of people have racked up debts that they don’t see any way of paying back any time soon. So, one thing constantly looming on the minds of these consumers is, "Will I be able to avoid bankruptcy?".

Although not everyone will be able to entirely avoid bankruptcy, most people asking the question will. That is, if they follow the right steps to realizing debt relief. That being said, here are 3 great ways to get your debts paid off, and hopefully avoid bankruptcy.

Option #1 - Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is a great process that's really been getting a bad rap lately for some reason. I think the biggest reason for this is the adverse effects it may have on consumer credit scores. The simple reality is, no debt relief program is going to have a positive effect on credit scores. That being said, debt consolidation is a great way for many to dig their way out of overwhelming debt.

There are 2 forms of debt consolidation. The first is to consolidate your debts all in one debt consolidation loan. The other, and more popular form of debt consolidation is negotiation and management driven. In this form, the company you hire will negotiate hardship interest rates with the lenders you owe money to. Once all is negotiated, they will give you 1 lump sum payment to send. That payment will be sent to the debt consolidation company and they will administer payments to the lenders. This process generally leads to lower interest rates and lower monthly payments.

Option #2 - Sell A Structured Settlement
Although, not everyone has a structured settlement, those who do can really make it work for them in times of overwhelming debt. Instead of settling for bi-weekly or monthly payments, it's possible to sell your settlement payments and get one big lump sum in return. In this case, you could use the lump sum payment that you receive as a way to pay off your debts in full, or pay them down to a manageable amount.

Option #3 - Debt Settlement
The final option, debt settlement is looked down upon by many. However, it's been the key to debt relief for tens and possibly even hundreds of thousands of consumers. Using this option, you would hire a company that will help you through the process of settling your debts for pennies on the dollar. Often times, debts can be settled for as little as 30% of the total amount owed.

Although there is a lot to this process, I can provide a short, to the point breakdown. Instead of sending your lenders payments, you would send them to the debt settlement company. Those payments will be held in a SPA (Special Purpose Account) until you had enough to pay off the settled amount of at least one of your debts. At this point, the debt settlement company will call the lenders you owe money to and make an attempt to negotiate the amount owed on the debt.

Final Thoughts
When you're in debt, it may seem like there’s absolutely no way out. The good news is, there is a way out. Not just one way, but many. Now, it’s up to you to do your research and find the option that works best for you!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Get the Ideal Balance between Your Needs and Wants

Suppose that you won a shopping spree, but could only choose to use the money for grocery items, or use it to shop in your favorite boutiques. Which would you choose? Most of the time, needs win over wants and sometimes when impulse attacks, wants gets the allotted money for needs. Are there ways to balance these two? Here are a few:

Point Out Your Needs and Wants
First thing you need to do is to differentiate two things: needs are those you would normally need daily, weekly, or monthly such as food, clothing, shelter and safety.

Buy at Better Rates
We've all got have financial priorities. But we often stray from those goals and priorities and nowhere does this happen as regularly as in a grocery. Maybe you don’t think your food bill is excessive—even when it is. Can't live without coffee? Go for more affordable ones rather those than ask you to spend a small fortune in coffee beans alone. Don't buy in bulk when you won’t finish off the food anyway. Whatever you managed to save would've just been forfeited because of the food you wasted. So buy only what you need, and if you can, buy them cheaper.

Keep Track of Your Finances
Keeping track of your spending helps you compare your income against your expenses. It often gives you a clear idea of your financial situation, of how much you earn versus how much money you save.

You can start doing this by creating a budget. Categorizing and identifying all costs or payments you make will help you see how you spend and manage your money. Don't throw away receipts, whether from shopping or withdrawing on your ATM. Keeping these paper records can show you where you overspent and should be more careful with in the future.

Still Have Fun While You Save
You're not depriving yourself when you save for the future. While you may need to “tighten your belt” a few times, this really shouldn't get in the way of your fun, not when you know how

Besides, allotting only 20% of your income for your savings is the ideal way to go. You don't have to save to the point that you rely on freebies everywhere: you take free tissues from the toilet or only drink water because it’s free at the office while the coffee isn't. Indulge from time-to-time or when your budget can afford it. Don’t take the things you love away just because you think doing that saves you more money. Financially, it does. Emotionally, it takes out a lot more, and might even make you feel deprived, sad, and even depressed because while you earn enough, you can’t seem to spend on things you like. It’s not going to make you feel very positive about saving in the long run.

Control Yourself
If you've never been in the habit of making a budget and sticking to it, you may find it a bit hard to start working on one. However, you don’t have to go pro all at once. Start with a simple grocery list. Then try your hardest to stick to that list, even when you see something you really, really like while you amble through the grocery shelves. Treat it as an exercise in self-control. That pricey chocolate drink might make you happy for a few days but what happens when you run short before payday—just because of one costly purchase?

Getting what you want isn't all that fun, not when you get yourself in debt over it—or when you need to borrow money just to survive till payday. Discipline is the key to successfully managing your money. All the budget tips in the world won’t make a difference if you don’t get your spending habits under control.

Finding the ideal balance between spending for your needs and wants is different for everyone. People have different ideas of what’s important to them, of priorities. For first-time savers or those who want to start being money-wise, following these steps will ensure you get a strong start with your financial goals this year.

About the Guest Author
Ryan Del Villar is a writer at Money Max, Philippines' leading online comparison portal. Ryan is also a freelance writer at Helm Word, an Online Reputation Management company. He worked as an online video editor before he started his writing career.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Money Market Rates 1/14

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

0.87% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.85% American Express High Yield Savings
0.85% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.85% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings (formerly ING Direct)
0.20% Western FCU Money Market
0.10% Citibank Savings Plus
0.05% Chase Plus Savings


In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 1/22/14. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included one few credit union in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks. By a slim margin, Ally Bank Online Savings is again in the top position on this list. Last year, ING Direct has been replaced by Capital One 360.

The frequent changes show how variable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

DC

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Virtual Stock and Options Trading

Do you have a virtual stock and/or options trading account? I recently opened up a Virtual Trading account at OptionsXpress for the sole purpose of practice trading. It is a way to test out trading ideas without risking any real money. When you sign up, they put $25,000 of "play" money in your virtual trading account. Virtual trading lets you use the optionsXpress (by Charles Schwab) platform to screen stocks and options. You can then go through the motions of using the trading tools and resources to execute practice trades. This is a way to test trading strategies on stocks, options, and futures without risking any real money.

My biggest complaint so far is the sign up process. They claim that it only takes 5 minutes, but it seemed to take longer than that. You will be asked for all the personal information that you would need to open a real trading account. You are not required to provide a checking account or credit card, and you are not required to fund your account (with real money) at all. You also have to provide your social security number, so I can understand if people think it is not worthwhile. But if you're willing to go through this process, you will have access to the exact same platform as a real OptionsXpress account.

For the record, I also have an OptionsHouse account (different company) that I keep around for the purpose of virtual trading. My real OptionsHouse has a balance of $0.01. OptionsHouse starts you with $5,000 of virtual "play" money.

If you decide to open a real brokerage account, consider taking advantage of one of these great offers:

Open up a new optionsXpress account and get $100
Sign Up for an OptionsXpress Account and Choose Your Free Investment Book
Get a FREE Xbox 360 when you open and fund a new OptionsHouse account

DC

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Best Buy Black Friday Preview

Like Walmart, Best Buy just released their Black Friday Doorbusters Preview on the BestBuy.com website. It seems like Black Friday now actually starts at 6pm on Thursday, 11/28. I quickly glanced through the advertisement, and noted a few interesting deals:

  • LG 55-inch 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV for $499.99
  • Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi Tablet for $299.99
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch 16GB for $99.99
  • Insignia 24-inch LED (1080p) HDTV for $79.99
  • Sony Smart Wi-Fi Blu-ray Player for $54.99
  • Google Chromecast HDMI for $29.99
  • LG G2 for $49.99
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 for FREE
  • Microsoft Surface RT 32GB for $199.99
  • D2 Android Tablet 4GB for $39.99 (online only)

Did you see any deals you like?



PFS

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Walmart Black Friday Ad

Walmart has just released their 2013 Black Friday Ad Circular on the Walmart.com website. While Black Friday is traditionally November 29th, Wal-Mart will be opening at 6pm on Thursday, 11/28. I quickly glanced through the advertisement, and noted a few intriguing deals:

  • Apple iPad mini Wi-Fi 16GB for $299 (Bonus free $100 gift card)
  • Funai 32-inch LED HDTV for $98
  • LG Blu-ray Player for $38
  • Furby Boom for $29
  • Straight Talk Galaxy Centura for $29
  • RCA 7" Dual Core Tablet computer for $49
  • Call of Duty Ghosts for $39.96
  • Xbox 360 4GB Console for $99
  • Xbox One System for $499

Did you see any deals you like?

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Free Walmart Gift Card

PFS

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Taking a Lump-Sum Payout after Winning the Lottery

After winning the lottery, you will often be presented with two options of how to receive your winnings. You can either claim your winnings in one, lump-sum payout, or as a structured settlement, receiving the payments over a set period of time. There are pros and cons to both options, so make sure you explore each and know which is best for you.

Lump-Sum Payout
A lump-sum payout is a one-time payment of a partial or total value of an asset. In the case of lottery winnings, this option would give you one immediate payment of your total lottery winnings, after taxes have been taken out. For some, this is an attractive choice, but it also has some disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons of taking your lottery winnings as a lump-sum payout:

PROS
CONS
·        You get more money upfront, immediately.
·        You can invest your winnings.
·        You can spend however little or however much you want to at any time
·        Easier to spend all of your money quickly and unwisely.
·        May become a target for friends, family, charities, media and anyone else looking to get some extra cash.
·        You will pay more taxes than if your winnings were taken as a structured settlement.
·        You must pay taxes, immediately, on the entire amount of your winnings.

Structured Settlement Payments
A structured settlement is a legal settlement paid out as an annuity rather than in a lump sum. It is often used to settle wrongful death or personal injury lawsuits, but it can also be used in the event that you win the lottery. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of receiving your lottery winnings as a structured settlement:

PROS
CONS
·        Payment schedules are flexible. You can schedule payments for almost any length of time, beginning immediately or in the future.
·        Guaranteed income.
·        It provides beneficiary protection. In the event of the recipient's premature death, the contract's beneficiaries can continue to receive future payments.
·        You can sell your annuity in the future, if you decide you need more money at a given time than what your regular disbursements provide.
·        You can withdraw from an annuity early, but some fees may apply.
·        You are only taxed as you receive each payment.
·        Once the recipient agrees to the terms and conditions, they are stuck with them. Terms and conditions cannot be changed.
·        Since the funds inside an annuity account may not be accessible, they are not available for purchasing other types of investments.

One of the most important decisions you can make after winning the lottery is deciding how the money will be given to you. Make sure you understand the advantages and disadvantages of taking a lump-sum payment or a structured settlement before making any final decisions. You could be dealing with a lot of money, and it is important to take care of it.

About the Guest Author
Kaitlyn Fusco is a content writer for Annuity.org. She combines her interests in writing and overcoming debt to inform the public about issues related to credit, debt, annuity and personal finance.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lock in $3.95 Stock Commissions

OptionsHouse just sent me an Email saying that they are raising their commissions for stock trades from $3.95 to $4.75 after October 1, 2013. However, existing customers and people who open a new account by 10/1/13 will still receive the old commission rate of $3.95 indefinitely. Unless you have a special deal with a broker, stock commissions don't get any better than at OptionsHouse.com.

So, if you are interested in locking this $3.95 rate, I would advise opening up an OptionsHouse account now before the price increase takes effect. You can also take advantage of their FREE Google Nexus Tablet or Free Kindle Fire HD offer.

As a favor, if you are not planning to take advantage of one of the OptionsHouse special offers, but still want to open an account, I would ask that you Email me (at the Email address in the sidebar). I have an OptionsHouse account, and they offer a commission to customers who refer new customers. Thanks!

PFS

Monday, August 19, 2013

Money Market Rates 8/13

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

0.85% American Express High Yield Savings
0.85% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.84% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.80% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings (formerly ING Direct)
0.20% Western FCU Money Market
0.10% Chase Plus Savings
0.10% Citibank Savings Plus

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates. Rates are believed to be accurate as of 8/18/13. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included a few credit unions in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks. Ally Bank Online Savings has dropped a couple of notches from the top position on this list. Also, ING Direct has been replaced by Capital One 360.

The frequent changes show how changeable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

DC

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Is Your Financial Information Safer Online Today Compared to 5 Years Ago?

There exist countless possibilities of loss of financial information during online transactions. With the internet the methods used to compromise data is ever changing. What identity thieves target when carrying out attacks aimed at collecting people’s confidential financial information, are internet systems that are widely being used. These usually include popular shopping carts, outdated coding schemes and database programs.


In order to address these security concerns, internet based systems that are especially meant to process confidential financial information should be designed with security being addressed from the initial design stages. Below is a list of some of the old infamous internet breaches that have been instrumental to the current security state of the internet.

List of old internet practices
Robert T. Morris develops the Internet worm in 1988
TCP spoofing attacks
The Melissa worm (very problematic to email systems)
VBScript worm like the "ILOVEYOU"
Flash worms (SQL Slammer worm)

Today’s tools/resources that make the internet safer to use compared to 5-10 years ago.
Some of the popular avenues being used by hackers and fraudsters to access privileged financial information are through: a web server, the link between a computer and the Merchant site and the consumer’s computer.
  • Firewall systems designed for private network systems to stop unauthorized access to this system
  • Data encryption, involves converting of data into a more secure form to prevent it from being accessed. This is fast becoming one of the most popular way to protective sensitive information
  • Network Access Control, designed to keep hackers and malware out of a network.
  • Password management systems meant to keep people restricted access only to information that is relevant to their role.
  • Use of protected information Discovery Tools that are used to scan through computers to locating information that could facilitate identity theft, such information could either be credit cards, bank accounts, social security number or even driver’s license. This tool is used to seek out such sensitive information so that appropriate action can be taken to safeguard such information.
  • Secure wireless networks providing the benefits of such a network without the security lapses such a network usually causes.
  • Virtual private networks which are known to provide secured channels of communication even when a person is off the premises. This is enabled through use of a secured interface.
  • Various virus protection tools installed on computers to prevent attacks by spyware and malware software
  • Periodic vulnerability scans on computers to carry out risk assessment about information management loopholes that might exist.

The internet is filled with stories of how ordinary people have had their personal information accessed without their consent leading to fraudulent transactions being conducted in their names or worse still having their finances being accessed by fraudsters. Internet users are advised to be security cautious when submitting confidential information.

Even though the internet presents challenges in areas of financial information management. It is much safer today than it was 5-10 years to conduct business transactions over the internet. Due to increased internet security measures being applied, online transactions are increasingly gaining popularity especially among the younger generations.

Author Bio:
Blair Thomas is an online electronic payment expert, who loves all things finance and planning. He is also the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com, the #1 High Risk processing company in the country.& If you would like to see what he's up to, add him to your Google+ circle.

Photo Credit: https://sites.google.com/a/jeffcoschools.us/jeffco-internet-safety-resources/

Friday, June 14, 2013

Money Market Rates 6/13

Here are the latest money market interest rates of the banks that I've been tracking on my blog. Note that these rates are sorted by APY, and represent institutions that I have accounts at, or have otherwise mentioned in my blog:

0.85% American Express High Yield Savings
0.85% FNBO Direct Online Savings
0.84% Ally Bank Online Savings
0.80% Discover Bank Online Savings
0.75% Capital One 360 Savings (formerly ING Direct)
0.20% Western FCU Money Market
0.10% Chase Plus Savings
0.10% Citibank Savings Plus

In some cases, MMA interest rates are tiered. If this is the case, I usually report the interest rate at the $10,000 tier in these updates.

Rates are believed to be accurate as of 6/13/13. I did not include banks that had special, or introductory rates in the list because they are not ongoing interest rates. I am also not including non-liquid accounts such as CD's in the list. I have included a few credit unions in the list so that readers have a comparison point with banks.

It seems Urban Partnership Bank no longer allows you to apply for a new Online Savings account.  So, I have dropped it from the list. Ally Bank Online Savings has dropped a couple of notches from the top position on this list. Also, ING Direct has been replaced by Capital One 360.

The frequent changes show how changeable the money market is. Because this is a constantly moving target, it has been very hard to keep track of the rates that I've been getting in my various money market accounts, and this is the main reason I've decided to compile a list of these annual percentage yields.

So, that is the latest list of money market rates. Please let me know if you know of any higher interest rates.

DC