I mentioned last year that against my frugal intuition I shelled out the big bucks to hire a CPA to do my taxes.  I wanted to follow that post up and share my insight after another year of experience and knowledge to answer the question is it worth getting a CPA to do your taxes.  Here are six reasons you should consider hiring a good Certified Public Accountant: Your taxes are somewhat complicated. Complicated can mean any of the following: extra income from say blogging or contracting, investments, child care expenses during work hours, mortgages or refinancing, energy efficient home […]

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Removing Finance Charges From My Chase Freedom Credit Card

by The Happy Rock on February 16, 2009

After two months of procrastination, I finally called Chase to ask that they fully remove any finance charges related to my first time late payment offense.  Did I ever mention that I hate making phone calls even if it is just calling a service rep that I don’t know to get late fees and finance charges removed?  The introvert in me often hopes that avoiding the calls will make them go away…that rarely works. The thing about this charge was that it left me seething.  Every time I thought about it, I got upset.  Upset because: One 8 hour late […]

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Sometimes You Just Don’t Feel Like Saving Money

by The Happy Rock on June 17, 2008

Blasphemy, I know…but it is true. I am not talking about some calculation that I do in me head that says doing X isn’t worth the time for the money, but about blatant laziness or avoidance. Sometimes when certain moods strike I am just unwilling to put in a little extra effort to save another dollar or two. Three incidents stand out in my mind from the last week or two : I can remember about a week ago realizing that I had not been charged the sale price on ice cream.  I was already in the car with the […]

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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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Why APY Matters And The APR Lies

by The Happy Rock on March 28, 2008

APR and APY. I know that I have had to look up the difference more than once in my life. It is one of those facts that is easy to understand, but they easy to forget. The numbers are usually similar, but the subtle difference can cost you a lot of money. So, what do they mean and what is the difference. Annual Percentage Rate(APR) is the rate that a company assigns to the financial product. If a credit card has a 12% APR that means that will mostly like charge 1% a month for 12 months. If you carried […]

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Do We Earn The Right Not To Budget?

by The Happy Rock on November 7, 2007

I have admitted it before, The Rockette have never lived on a formal budget. The closest we come to real budgeting is what I label retroactive budgeting. This is when you come up with reasonable spending amount for the different categories like groceries, clothing, entertainment, etc. Then at the end the month you compare the actual totals to your suggested limits. When we were in the midst of shedding our 70k in debt, we did this almost every month. As the debt shrunk, so did frequency of our retroactive budgeting. I have been trying to decide whether this is a […]

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Book Review : The Quiet Millionaire by Brett Wilder

by The Happy Rock on October 8, 2007

Recently I recieved a copy of The Quiet Millionaire: A Guide for Accumulating and Keeping Your Wealth by Brett Wilder from a publicist. I jumped at the chance to read a new finance book, and bring the review to The Happy Rock readers. To start, when reading a book of advice, you must take a look at the author. Brett Wilder “is a Certified Financial Planner® with over forty years of professional experience as a personal and business financial adviser. He founded the Financial Management Group, Inc. in 1989, a fee-only financial management and investment advisory firm registered with the […]

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Marriage and Money – The Budget Meeting

by The Happy Rock on September 6, 2007

What often happens in marriages with combined finances is that one person will assume control the finances. They pay the bills, watch the accounts, and retain all of the money know how. In our family that is me. Being the analytical numbers guy, I willingly take on that task. On of the pitfalls of combing finances is that one person often ends up with all the power. Power doesn’t have to just mean setting rules, but it can also mean bearing the financial stress and controlling information. The other spouse often becomes oblivious to the actual amounts and inner workings […]

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Recovering From The Microsoft Money Server Upgrade

by The Happy Rock on August 10, 2007

I cleared a hurdle I had been putting off for about three weeks now; I spent about two hours tonight bringing my Microsoft Money records back up to date. It was two hours I didn’t have, but two hours that were sorely needed. In mid July Microsoft decided that their Money servers need a complete overhaul. Since that time I haven’t been able to download my transactions for my ING Electric Orange checking, savings, or my one credit card. With the July Cash Spending Experiment in full swing, I wasn’t too worried about it since my normal way of operating […]

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Map Out Your Personal Finances With

by The Happy Rock on May 22, 2007

For just under a year we have been saving to fund our emergency fund. During that period our finances have been on auto pilot. Monthly budget meetings were taking five minutes, and there weren’t many decisions that needed to be made. We finally have our emergency fund to $12,000 or about 5 months expenses and now it is time to attack the retirement and college savings. Seems like a perfect time to shake things up and create more simplicity and freedom in our finances. Before we get there though, I wanted to thank Wachovia for graciously providing the impetus to […]

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