Personal Finance Systems

Credit Cards Make Purchases Cost More

by The Happy Rock on January 30, 2009

Here is another strike against credit cards.  Not only do they often cause us to spend more, but they make merchants charge more to cover the credit card processing fees are usually 2-3%.   The best cash back credit card that I use can end up costing merchants even more because credit companies pass an extra fees to cover the rewards which then  gets passed right back on to the consumer.   Americans spend an estimated $50,000,000,000(500 billion) in processing fees, almost the cost of one stimulus or bailout package. Here is the scoop from True Cost of Credit : Rewards cards […]

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ING Direct Drops Electric Orange Rate to 0.5%

by The Happy Rock on December 18, 2008

Just as I was praising ING for my great financial system, they go and drop the interest rate on the checking account on December 17 2008. Here is the official information : $0-49,999.99 earns a 0.50% APY $50,000.00-$99,999.99 earns a 2.85% APY $100,000.00 or more earns a 3.05% APY Rates are variable and effective 12/17/08 The savings rate has remain at 2.75% for now. The sad part is that when I joined the rate was well over 2%.  I don’t think it was a teaser rate, but my guess is that all the features of the account are costing more […]

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My Finances and Saving System With ING Direct

by The Happy Rock on December 11, 2008

I have said it before, but I love ING Direct and I have the accounts to prove it.  I have an Electric Orange Checking Account, ING Direct Savings, and an Orange Mortgage all through ING.   Here are 5 reasons I like their products: Their web interface is a joy to use and they are constantly improving it Customer service has been great All the accounts play nicely and instantly together Very good interest on savings and checking balances Simple and straightforward.  ING doesn’t like to play games with fees or complexity. My System Both paychecks are direct deposited into our […]

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What Does Financial Simplicity Feel Like?

by The Happy Rock on July 28, 2008

I often talk about how destroying debt simplifies your life, but the word simplicity is vague and fluffy. It might not mean much to a lot of people.  So let me take a shot at inspiring you with the current state of my financial simplicity journey. First, as I did my bills for the month, I could feel the simplicity.  Simplicity is often more of a feeling than it is a system or goal.  Sometimes it is the absence of feelings that mark simplicity.  The absence of worry and stress being the most notable.  As I sit down each month, […]

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I have mentioned Price Protectr before and how it nicely notifies you when the price of a recently purchased item drops after you buy it, so that you can email the online merchant and receive a post purchase refund.  The biggest problem with the whole Price Protectr system is remembering to add your recently purchased items to the list.   Now, the process is a lot less intrusive. The best way to remind yourself was to use their browser toolbar for the best web browser on the net, FireFox 3: The only problem was that there were an extra set of […]

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I mentioned a few weeks that I wanted to further simplify my financial system and closing extra accounts is a big part of that. Well…I closed my NJM Bank Checking account. I have been putting this off for about a year, because the prospect of having to pay the occasional ATM fee made me cringe. Yes, I can be that cheap.  The $8.00 a month ATM fee reimbursement was the sole reason I kept the account around. The ironic part is that the extra interest I will earn by having the money in ING will more than cover the extra […]

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Vacation and Perspective – Simplify Your Finances

by The Happy Rock on May 6, 2008

The Rock Garden went vacationing this past weekend to Pocono Mountains of Pensylvania just outside of Jim Thorpe, PA. We got a great a good deal on a modern three bedroom house with a scenic view that I will post about later. Despite a wash out on Saturday and some allergies, it was a great vacation. I am not here to talk directly about the vacation though, but rather something peculiar that I noticed. The Satelitte TV wasn’t working in the house and there was no internet. The amazing thing was that after the 36-48 hour withdrawal period, I began […]

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About a month ago, I switched my only credit card from my Sunoco Mastercard which I have had since college to the Chase Freedom card. Why? Because I was leaving money on the table since I wasn’t taking advantage of the new breed of cash back cards that have come out in the last few years. Using my spending history I was able to quickly see how my Sunoco Card matched up to my other options. My Sunoco card offered 4% cash back on all Sunoco purchases and 0.5% up to $7,500 then 1% on everything else. It should be […]

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The Frugal Tool Chest is a recurring series covering practical tips and tools that will arm you to save even more money on your online purchases. I The first frugal tips involves a website that will notify you when the price drops on any of your recent purchases. How does this help? Well, most stores have a price protection policy that allow you to receive a refund if the price of the item you purchased dropped before X number of days post purchase. For example Amazon’s policy is currently this : Post-Order Price Guarantee Amazon.com’s prices for released items will […]

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Hooray for ING Direct. I made $1000 dollars of income in 2007 with no effort! I just got my tax sheet for my ING accounts and saw that I made $99.77 from interest from my checking account and over $900 from our dozen or so ING savings accounts. I would have made $200 from the Electric Orange account, since my first direct deposit was the first week of June. Not bad at all. Now, because of the Fed’s willingness to tinker with rates at the drop of a hat, the interest rate on the checking is currently 2.25% and 3.4% […]

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