dcsimg
Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the savings offers appearing on this site are from advertisers from which this website receives compensation for being listed here. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). These offers do not represent all deposit accounts available.

Traveling abroad? Know these 5 credit card facts


Traveling abroad? Know these 5 credit card facts

Published 3/16/15  (Modified 3/20/15)

Traveling abroad? Know these 5 credit card facts By Peter Andrew

Do you believe that 41.8 percent of adult Americans failed to take a single vacation day in 2014? And that another 16.1 percent took fewer than five? Those figures, which comes to you courtesy of the Skift travel website, are derived from an online survey with a sample base of 1,500, so they're hardly bulletproof statistically. But do you share my sneaking suspicion they could be correct -- or at least pretty close to correct?

It wouldn't be surprising. In 2013, the Center for Economic and Policy Research published a list of the paid vacation time provided in each of the 21 most advanced economies. The U.S. was alone in providing none. Add paid holidays to paid annual leave, and some countries were startlingly generous. You won't be surprised by the 31 days in France, but how about the 34 in Germany and Denmark or the 27 in Australia and New Zealand? Even the Japanese are guaranteed a minimum of 10 vacation days a year.

But not Americans. And yet vacation time can have an important influence on how we feel about ourselves. A few months ago, Gallup found some amazing results when it asked survey respondents about taking proper breaks from work.

Read the full article »

Easy and cheap ways to boost your home's value

Published 1/30/15

Easy and cheap ways to boost your home's value By Peter Andrew

Regular readers may be shocked by my grubby little secret: I can waste hours online reading about, looking at floor plans and pictures of, and fantasizing over other people's very expensive homes.

What do I get out of this? Some of my motivations may be shameful, and driven by insecurities about my own modest accomplishments. It's fun to see how the ultra-rich can expend vast sums of money on spectacularly garish -- almost Trump-esque -- monuments to vulgarity, ostentation and bad taste. Though one has to admire the equal-opportunities ethos of those who employ interior decorators who must surely be legally blind.

But the main pleasure I get is imagining what I'd do to the homes were I to be able to afford to buy them and then remodel with money-no-object budgets. Short of a lottery win or the discovery of a previously unknown and recently deceased billionaire relation, these fantasies are unlikely to come true, but I enjoy them. Still, it's embarrassing, so I'd be grateful if you keep my little secret strictly between the two of us.

Read the full article »

2 steps to making saving easier

Published 1/22/15

2 steps to making saving easier By Georgie Miller

It may still be early in the year, but if you're like me, you've already failed at a New Year's resolution (or five). I think one of the reasons so many resolutions fail is because they require that you take an action (or not take action) every single day. Saying I won't buy myself coffee every morning is easy. However, if I have to drive or walk by the coffee shop on a daily basis, it's only a matter of time before my willpower gives out and I'm in line for some caffeinated bliss.

That's why I experience more success by using strategies that fall into the category of "set it and forget it." In other words, if I only have to do something once, then I don't have to worry about a daily inner battle that I'm all too likely to lose. A little bit of effort up front can save me quite a bit later. How do you do that? Here is a simple two-step process for effort-free savings.

Step 1: Determine how much you want to save and work backward

How much do you want to be putting aside every month and why? Once you know that, then all you have to do is to figure out how to keep that money from hitting your checking account where it's likely to be spent.

Read the full article »

This holiday season, say no to store credit cards

Published 12/9/14

This holiday season, say no to store credit cards By Peter Andrew

I'm such a nostalgia junkie. Even now I'm an adult (allegedly), I can't help but overlay the hell that is getting through holiday preparations with precious childhood memories. There were happy songs on the radio. There was no pressure to judge gorgeously gaudy decorations through the prism of taste. Church -- something rarely other than boring to a 6-year-old boy -- suddenly became upbeat and fun.

And, when it came to festive-season department stores, the tables were turned: Instead of Mom dragging me for seeming eternities through endless displays of china, linen, silverware, menswear and -- the ultimate humiliation -- womenswear, I got to drag her to the toy department.

"Bliss it was in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven," Wordsworth might have written about kids and holidays, had he not already used the lines to describe the French Revolution. Come to think of it, in our house, the two could get similarly bloody (at least metaphorically) by Christmas night -- though not for us kids.

Trouble in store

You have to feel sorry for today's 6-year-olds. It must feel as if every time mom comes to pay in a department store they have to settle down to witness a clerk giving her the hard sell on the retailer's plastic. And quite a lot of those moms (and dads and others) are falling for the pitch.

Read the full article »

Building a better brown-bag lunch

Published 12/2/14

Building a better brown-bag lunch By Georgie Miller

If you're anything like me, it's hard enough finding your way to the coffee pot in the morning -- let alone making a plan for a healthy and delicious lunch.

As a result, it's easy to fall into bad habits. Takeout and frozen meals may be fast and convenient, but they aren't necessarily the best choice for your wallet or your waistline. So how can you take the pain out of bringing a healthy and affordable lunch to work?

Here are two brown-bagging strategies that require a minimum of advance planning -- and money.

1. Simmer your way to savings

Every Sunday, I get out my slow cooker and survey my refrigerator and pantry.

Read the full article »

4 affordable US cities with great dining

Published 11/13/14

4 affordable US cities with great dining By Justin Boyle

If you're anything like me, your love of good food and residential elbow room tends to find itself at odds with your need for reasonably priced goods and services. Fortunately for people like us, though, there exist U.S. cities where it's still possible to enjoy a lively and well-fed existence in a comfortable living space while keeping your savings account intact.

Here are four of the best places to do it in 2014, in alphabetical order.

1. Albuquerque, New Mexico

The attraction here might not be immediately obvious, particularly after the city's starring turn as a den of vice and viciousness in "Breaking Bad," but you'll be cheered to know that the real Albuquerque is much friendlier than it seems on TV. This desert metropolis is home to some world-class spas and restaurants (and casino resorts, if that's how you party), and it's growing in prominence as a destination for fine food and libations.

Writers for both Women's Health magazine and the venerated Zagat Survey have listed Albuquerque among their top food cities for 2014. Such cuisine and recreation might threaten dry up your disposable income in most places, but New Mexico ranks among the 10 most affordable states in the U.S. in the mid-2014 cost-of-living index (COLI) released by the Council for Community & Economic Research.

2. Boise, Idaho

The Idaho capital could be a real sleeper hit for lovers of food and frugality, particularly those whose physical constitution can handle the freezing winter temperatures.

Read the full article »