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Archive for July 2009

July 2009: Net Worth Update and First Time Home Buyer Plans

Published 8/1/09  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

It's time for my monthly net worth report. As long time readers know, for months now, I've been calculating my networth changes and posting an analysis at the end of every month to chart the step by step progress I've been making in my lifelong financial journey. The purpose of such networth updates is not to necessarily boast about monetary successes or lament about the investment mistakes made during the preceding month - but rather, it's to serve as a routine reminder that the daily decisions, actions, and inactions in one's life truly have a ripple impact on one's long term financial health. While I post my own financial net worth reports throughout the year for my own statistical benefit and to share with readers a little about about what I've been up to during the previous weeks, this habitual exercise is also to encourage others to do the same as well.

It's About Time - I'm Finally Looking To Buy A Home For The Very First Time

This month has been a bit more hectic than usual. For one thing, I'm in the early stages of becoming a first time home buyer. Right now, my anticipated home purchase date is still likely months away, but I can already envision the prospect of finally moving out of my longtime apartment rental after all these years and into my very own single family home or town house for the very first time. If you've been following my previous networth reports, you probably already know that I've

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0% Balance Transfer Credit Card Offers and Alternatives

Published 7/17/09  (Modified 7/27/20)

By MoneyBlueBook

As the economic paddy wagon continues to hee and haw its way through the recessionary mud, once available avenues of emergency funds are steadily drying up. Credit card consumers and account holders across the nation may have noticed that they are receiving fewer credit card junk mail in their mailboxes these days. While this reduction in the volume of paper junk mail received may be counted as a blessing, it's also a sign that the once bountiful availability of lucrative 0% APR credit card offers are slowly coming to an untimely end. Due to the deterioration of the mortgage and credit industries, major credit card issuers such as Citi Card, Chase, Bank of America, American Express, and Discover have significantly pulled back their credit card marketing efforts and drastically reduced the quantity and quality of introductory 0% balance transfers offered.

Currently, the most popular 0% balance transfer card offers that still remain in effect today include the following short list of active promotions. As always, before applying for a balance transfer card, it's important to read the fine print carefully and be fully cognizant of the advertised 0% rate duration, the availability of any balance transfer fees, the regular interest rate after the end of the 0% period, and the availability of any underlying cash back or credit card reward offers.

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Costco Executive Membership: Is It Worth It?

Published 7/5/09  (Modified 2/24/14)

By MoneyBlueBook

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers expired and are no longer available.

For many years now, I've been a loyal Costco warehouse club member. In my earlier days, I signed up for Costco's entry level Gold Star membership program at what's now $50 a year - applying for the co-branded Costco TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express credit card in the process for the extra 1% cash back rebate on all club purchases. Over the years, there have been a few instances when I seriously considered discontinuing my membership due to lingering complaints and gripes about overcrowding and inadequate parking facilities at my local Costco locations. But ultimately, the accessibility headaches were not significant enough to outweigh my love for the affordability and bulk conveniences of warehouse style shopping. For now at least, I plan to continue paying my annual Costco membership fee.

Despite my occasional self musings of "is Costco membership worth the annual fee?" - overall, I have to say it is. Despite the inevitable problems associated with visiting such a popular and heavily frequented destination for hordes of bargain hunters and bulk shoppers, when you go to Costco you know the product prices will be competitive, the return policies will be ultra-liberal, and the customer service will be top notch. And no, this is not a sales pitch. I've visited other warehouse stores like BJ's Wholesale and Sam's Club - however, none of them can quite measure up to the overall offerings of Costco in my opinion.

Is Costco Executive Membership Worth The Higher Annual Fee?

A few years ago, I finally upgraded my Costco

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