How to Survive the Holidays without Wiping Out Your Savings Account


How to Survive the Holidays without Wiping Out Your Savings Account

Published 11/19/10  (Modified 3/8/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

This is a guest post from Jesse Mecham, founder of You Need a Budget

It's almost that time of year again. I'm not talking about gingerbread houses, cocoa, and caroling; I'm talking about shopping, impulse-buying, digging ourselves into more credit card debt, and raiding our savings accounts.

We undoubtedly lose a bit of sanity, self-control, or both when it comes to holiday spending. For most Americans, the nature of the season already implies we'll part with our money quicker than Santa can shoot up a chimney. The key, however, is not to spend it out of desperation, impulse shopping, or simply because you don't have a plan.

Plan spending ahead of time

Your biggest safe-guard against excess or unplanned holiday spending is (are you ready for this?) making a plan.

This means you actually create a budget...and stick to it. Decide how much you're willing to spend and then decide what you're going to buy from there. The more items you decide on ahead of time, the better. This saves you from making a decision in the heat of the moment, surrounded by all those shiny, new things, and potentially can keep you from overshooting your budget.

This will take some sleuthing on your part, but the research will pay off and keep money in your pocket. Once your list is made up and in your hand, it'll be so much easier to avoid those impulse buys.

Work to build up your

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How the FDIC protects your bank savings

Published 10/25/10  (Modified 3/9/11)

By Marcia Passos Duffy

Today, when a bank fails people might feel anxiety, but it doesn't cause the blind panic of the crash of 1929 - when people lined up to pull their money out of banks.

Most of us alive today don't remember - but history books will tell you - that before the government insured your bank-deposited money, there was absolutely no safety net if something went wrong. If a bank failed it was your own tough luck and the bank took all of your hard earned money down with the sinking ship.

As a result, in 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt created the FDIC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to insure that this kind of crazy rush on banks would never happen again.

If it wasn't for Roosevelt's foresight, you can bet the bank panic of 1929 would have happened again in 2008 when the stock market took a nosedive and banks started dropping like flies.

How the FDIC protects your money

The FDIC web site asserts that, "no depositor has ever lost of penny of insured deposits since the FDIC was created in 1933." So how does it work?

  • Bank must be FDIC insured. To get the benefits of insurance, your bank must be insured by the FDIC (an insured bank will always display an official FDIC sign at each teller window). Deposits at credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration. The insured bank
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    Savings accounts - nest egg builders or wastes of time?

    Published 10/6/10  (Modified 3/17/11)

    Savings accounts - nest egg builders or wastes of time? By Peter Andrew

    You say tomatoes...

    Do you think the Federal Reserve should be more like the Bank of England? No, I'm not suggesting it should employ people with funny accents or lose most of its international influence. But perhaps its people could learn something from their opposite numbers in London about plain speaking. The Daily Telegraph, a UK-based newspaper, reported at the end of September 2010 some remarks by the deputy governor of the Bank of England. He told British savers to, "stop moaning and start spending."

    Well, that's blunt, and you can't imagine a senior Fed official coming out with anything like it. However, if you look at what the Fed does, rather than what it says, it's hard to escape the conclusion that it's trying to send a similar message to Americans. Perhaps it should just come clean like the Brits.

    Saving accounts that lose you money

    Partly thanks to the Fed, interest rates right now are generally at or near historic lows. That's great if you need a mortgage, but bad news if you're saving up for the down payment you'll need to get that home loan - or for anything else for that matter. Indeed, if you factor in fees and inflation, you can actually come out at a loss by keeping your money in some savings accounts.

    But don't despair. It may be a long time before we again see the sorts of high rates for savers that

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    Day trading: Do you have what it takes?

    Published 8/25/10  (Modified 3/8/11)

    By MoneyBlueBook

    This is a guest post from Marc Pearlman.

    When people ask me if they could be successful at day trading, my first response is, "Do you know what day trading is?"

    Most people don't. You might think day trading is about finding the best online brokerage, grabbing a stack of financial reports, arming yourself with financial blogs and news and then diving in.

    What many would-be day traders don't realize is that success doesn't come from the uncanny ability to analyze balance sheets and fundamentals like Warren Buffett. And even if you have the ability to interpret charts and price action--the primary skill for day trading--this is secondary to having the strict discipline of adhering to specific rules and guidelines.

    Without these rules in place, day trading is like a child playing with a chainsaw.

    I'm not judging the merits of day trading. I know both very successful day traders and those who blew themselves up financially with day trading. (For what it's worth, I know many more of the latter variety.) But if you're going to succeed at this kind of investing, you'd better understand what it takes.

    What it takes to succeed

    Here are observations from my experience as both a professional trader and money manager about what it takes to succeed at day trading:

    • Hard work. Brains don't hurt, but day trading is a skill, and that skill needs to be developed by treating this as a business. A lot of people day trade as a side avocation or hobby, maybe because it seems
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    Investing tips for today: Q&A with money expert Saly Glassman

    Published 8/9/10  (Modified 3/8/11)

    By Barbara Marquand

    In the wake of the financial meltdown, top money expert Saly Glassman says investors need to take responsibility of their finances and get their investments back on track. Glassman, ranked the nation's No. 1 woman financial advisor by Barron's, is author of "It's About More Than the Money: Investment Wisdom for Building a Better Life" (FT Press: 2010).

    We recently chatted with her about today's hot personal money management issues, from coping with losses to investing independently with discount brokers.

    MoneyBlueBook.com: What's your advice for investors coping with losses?

    Saly Glassman: The best way to deal with a loss is to step back and make an unemotional evaluation of what happened. By looking with more objectivity at the situation, you can analyze what role you played in contributing to that loss. Were you overextended with your borrowing? Did you have unrealistic expectations with that return? Did you not save enough? Did you not do enough research on the kind of investments you were buying and the person who was advising you? Ask yourself, "What role did I play in the loss that I incurred?"

    If you say, "It's everybody else's fault," where does that take you? How can you be part of the solution if you had nothing to do with the problem?

    MBB: What are the biggest mistakes investors have made in the last two years?

    Glassman: Common mistakes

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    Tax Credit For First Time Home Buyers Extension

    Published 11/24/09  (Modified 3/8/11)

    By MoneyBlueBook

    If you're a new home buyer, or an existing homeowner who has been contemplating about selling your house or condominium apartment - you might want to start taking decisive action fast. There is free government money in the way of tax credits to be had for both prospective new home buyers and current homeowners - to the tune of either $8,000 or $6,500, depending on your qualifications.

    To keep this stagnating economic train running, President Barack Obama has recently signed a new bill - extending the duration and expanding the coverage of the federal housing tax credit. Previously, the economic stimulus package only provided free tax credit assistance to first time home buyers and was slated to expire in late 2009. But with economists and pundits still doubting the ability of the economy to recover without additional stimulus intervention, the federal government has now officially extended the deadline of the federal homebuyer tax credit program until April 30, 2010 for new home contracts, or until June 30, 2010 for the final closing. The home's closing can occur by June 30, 2010 and still qualify for the free tax credit, but the contract���� to buy the home must be completed by April 30, 2010 at the latest. Those looking for a further extension after early 2010 might be disappointed as current indications suggest that this extension may be the final one.

    To incentivize and encourage continued homebuying activity (as much of our economy is intertwined with the housing industry - example: banks, construction related services, home equity

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