May 2, 2009

My Personal Finance Blogroll

One week after I published my first post on this blog and almost 2 months after I got occupied with the quest to find better money management and budgeting tips. Today this nice Saturday morning brought me to the thought of post a collected set of links to nice personal finance, budgeting and frugality blogs.

There are abundant such blogs and almost each one has something to offer, I will keep the scroll running as I hit more of them. You might not a name you know, do me a favor by leaving name of any such nice blog here:

Update: Starting 05/19/2009 this list will cease to update. You can find my favorite blogs on the right-hand-side panel on Let's Be Curious under tab titled BLOGROLL.

May 1, 2009

My monetary snapshot - April '09

I didn't see this coming so fast. May be authors of the blogs which I keep on hitting have inspired me enough that I am trying to be too enthusiastically cautious of my money; turns out that I also want to publish my financial snapshot periodically. Well as far as I can think of it, it will at least keep me committed to savings.

Emergency Funds (High Interest Savings): $5092
Checking Accounts (Non-Interest Earning)
: $973
401K: $165.87

CD: $0

Interest + Other Earnings: $3

Car Loan Balance: $15,054
Credit Card Balance:

April 2009: Total Assets: $6065 Total Debt: $15,163

Apr 30, 2009

Why consider Credit Unions?

Wait ... before reading ahead, do you already know of Credit Unions? Even if you know let me share a recent experience with you, if you haven't done so you may want to consider your nearest credit union in your decisions as well:

I recently purchased a new car and applied for a car loan with the auto maker. Unluckily I got approved for an interest rate of 7.7%. Then gloomily one day when I opened a savings account at my nearest credit union, I brought up my new loan interest rate with the branch manager. I simply said "can something be done in this matter?" She ran my credit report then and there and, to my amazement, shared my credit score with me; guess what it was, (an excellent) 745. I immediately realized my first mistake that I should have checked my credit reports before applying for the car loan. Anyways, I never expected what happened next. Then the manager acted so pro-actively in my interest that it didn't feel like I am in a financial institution anymore. I instanatly got approved for a car loan of 5% (that's a straight 2.7% drop) with the credit union and my loan with the auto-maker was soon paid-off by them.

Let me explain what a credit union actually is: A credit union is a cooperative financial institution formed by a group of people with common interests of promoting thrift and providing cheap and reasonable financial services to community.

Some facts which you should know about credit unions are:
  • Credit Unions thrive on the money pooled-in by a group of people (its members) and provides low interest loans to the members. It shares the profit with its members as dividents
  • Credit Unions are generally non-profit organizations
  • Credit Unions see its members as partners and not as customers
  • Credit Unions are mostly run by volunteer boards
  • Like FDIC insures customer's money at banks, the same way NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) insures members's money at credit unions.

The facts that credit uions are non-profit organizations, work and share its profit with the local community, ... usually result in higher rates for savings, checking and CD accounts. I am aware of the high yielding savings and checking accounts available online but if you prefer not to get into those monthly restrictions to get the interest, you may want to consider credit unions.

Rest apart, my observation tells me that atleast CD rates are mostly above the national average at credit unions. If you dig in a little bit more, your credit union might have even more to offer. After all these lines if I didn't tell you where you could find nearest credit union, I wouln't have done my job. Click here and punch-in your demographics and you will see a list of nearest credit unions.

Apr 29, 2009

MoneyAisle: Let banks bid for your money

Believe me it's really fun to see how much your money can earn you. MoneyAisle is a wesbite where you can punch in your numbers for a high yeilding savings account or a CD and let the participating banks bid for your money.

It's absolutely free and now committment is required while bidding. MoneyAisle regularly collects data from numerous local banks and institutions and let them bid for your money offer using MoneyAisle's software product. Here you can actually experience the live auction and see for yourself what interest rate a bank would be paying you. I play with the bids daily and almost always the interest rates I find are above the national average.

Deals - Free Gillette Fusion Razor

Let the market turn any twisted way, deals won't stopping coming up ;)

Gillette is giving away 500 free Gilllette Fusion Razors everyday till May 15, 2009. Register now and log-in at noon (EST) everyday to see whether you win.

The give-away started on April 15, 2009 and is scheduled to run for another 15 days. I read this post and was trying my luck for almost a week when I got lucky yesterday. As a tip, when you log-in at noon I noticed the webste got pretty beaten up so be patient and after clicking on "Submit" don't close your browser, just click a few times and let the window stand. All the best for the daily draws, let me know if you get lucky ;)

Apr 26, 2009

Don't Loose That Free Money

Yeah it's hard to believe but we do not usually pay attention to the ways we can get that Free Money to our pockets. Especially in this time of financial turmoil many of the financial institutions are trying to lure customers by giving away free cash rewards, mostly what they are asking for is to just open an account with them.

Recently I got a promotional letter from my credit union about the money rewards they are offering. Open a checking account with direct deposit (I earn $55), get a VISA credit card with them (I earn $20) and transfer a balance on this credit card (I earn $20). Hey that's a total of $95 (don't you call that free money?) and I got it today, and guess what, now I do not have to worry about my cell phone bills for 2 months :)

Now I understand the worries of having to handle few more accounts but at the end of the day you have received some free cash and you can always close the accounts once you have found your purpose.

I regularly follow a nice blog that wonderfully gathers and systematically presents interest rates for savings, checking and CD accounts. Click here to find out several available offers. Also you may want to see the best savings, checking, money-market account and CD rates. Also make sure to keep checking your credit union rates and offers. Find a credit union nearest to you using this Credit Union Locator.