Credit Review

Savings and Credit news, tips, offers, etc. Pretty simple, but hopefully really useful.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Make money by linking to what you love

You've probably heard of digg or reddit. Services that let the community control the flow of news by voting on headlines. The only problem with these services is that they don't really work for small communities. Your city, your church, your favorite technology, or even your favorite TV show can't compete with the popular days news.

Now, using, you can create pages on these and other topics and even make money from them. It is really simple to get started. Simply click the try the editor button on the Most Recent main page and use the simple drag and drop editor to build your topical news page. Link to your favorite blogs, profiles, twitter accounts, photos, videos, etc. To make money all you need to do is place ads on your page and you are in business.

Learn how to promote your page here and see how easy the editor is by watching the video.

Friday, March 31, 2006

5 simple tips to cut your grocery bill in half

Been playing around with the Ideal Budget Calculator over at CNN Money and now I’m absolutely appalled by the amount of money I spend on food. What am I? A whale? I make a decent wage, but my food costs still approach 15% of my income and often outstripped my meager efforts to save and invest. And I know I'm not alone. While many expenses are fixed, groceries often roam freely over one's budget like a hurd of buffalo. With these tips I aim to get out the shot gun and the skinning knife and put an end to this stampede once and for all.

  • Tip #1: Meal plan you duffus!
Yeah yeah, every newspaper, magazine, television show, and dog has been telling you to plan your meals, but do you? Do you know you can actually live quite frugally with minimal effort? As the Hillbilly Housewife discusses in her $45 Emergency Menu you can very easily eat a large and varied diet with just a little bit of planning. Man, just reading these recipes I wish I ate at least this well on what I spend right now.

  • Tip #2: Stick to the edges
Bankrate has a nice 20 ways to save on groceries article that I found very useful. They highlight the fact that you should shop around the edges where the milk, bread, fruits, vegetables, and meats can be found. These items are not only healthier, but they can actually work out to more meals for the dollar. Think about it, you can go a lot further with a sack of potatoes than you can with a bag of tator tots. Likewise a little meal planning will turn a package of hamburger into two or three meals that will end up being half the price of the equivalent frozen dinners and can of Campbell’s Chunky soup (can you believe they named it Chunky? How un-politically correct.).

  • Tip #3: Bring your lunch
The classic joke goes something like this: back in soviet Russia your lunch would bring you to work! Ok, so maybe that is lame. The point is that you should avoid eating out at all costs (pun intended). In iamnext's College Finances: Spend Less on Groceries article they remind us that bringing your lunch is easy, cost effective, and often better smelling and tasting than the alternative (bankruptcy).

  • Tip #4: Shop quickly!
Did you know that studies show that for every 30 seconds you spend in a store over 30 minutes you will spend $.50 that you wouldn't have spent before? I have little doubt in my mind that stores take advantage of this by spreading things out as much as possible, moving their location from time to time, and placing all those tasty snacks at the end of each isle. To read more check out eSSORTMENT's Moneys saving tips for the kitchen.

Go ahead, you've been shopping for 45 minutes, you deserve 25 Cookies and a 2 Liter Coke.

  • Tip #5: Ignore the fat on the middle shelf
Ever wonder why your table is not 6 feet tall? You'd be less inclined to use it (Duhh!). The same is true on the grocery isle. Marketers know you are more likely to put something at chest level into your cart, so that is where they put the higher margin and more expensive products. Use the top and bottom shelves to find non-name brand products that are just as good and cost a lot less. Marketers also know that lots of smart shoppers already ignore their high margin product placements, so they often launch "ugly" brands (products with ugly wrapping) to sit on the bottom shelf. They don't really care if you spend $1.99 or $1.29 for that can of soup, just as long as you buy it from them. Even Dummies know that!

So there you have it. I hope this helps you. I'd be delighted to hear about your own grocery savings ideas. Please post any in the comments section.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Get a signup bonus with Sharebuilder

Sharebuilder is offering a signup deal (not an affliate link) where they give you $50 and a copy of the generic sounding "Guide to long-term investing with Stocks and ETFs". Still, $50 isn't chump change. You need to deposit $50, make one share purchase, and wait 4-6 weeks to get your bonus. There are no minimums, no inactivity feeds, transaction fee is only $4, and you don’t have to buy whole stocks.

You can get get a little bit better deal if you are a Costco member. Executive Members get $85 (plus 25% rebate on fees) and Gold Star/Business members get $65 (plus 10% rebate).

Friday, February 10, 2006

top 4 internet savings accounts compared

digg this | reddit |

My friends know me as the Yoda of Online Savings. I'm always wondering around muttering things like build emergency fund, you will or pays 4.25%, Emigrant does or perhaps credit card debt leads to fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to suffering.

Yep, you just can't get around it; I'm a big fan of high yield internet savings accounts. Below you'll find a quick summary of all the major (highest paying) players. All accounts have no fees and no minimums. Simple. Easy. No affiliate links. Just great tools to help you put away cash until you need it.
Bank Interest Rate Review Signup Bonus
HSBC Direct 4.80% until 04/30/2006
Variable thereafter
Signup requires waiting for snail mail.
Good rates and functional interface.
Free ATM card!
$25 with promo code START
ING Direct 4.75% until 04/15/2006
3.80% thereafter
Best interface and support
Easy to use and signup is a breeze
Referral bonuses for Savings and Mortgage
$25 with invite
(see below)
Emigrant Direct 4.25% Highest non-promo rate
Poor support/interface
MasterCard with 1.25% cash back
Capital One 4.00% Name Brand
Easy to use and setup
Second highest non-promo rate.

PayPal Pays well too
PayPal offers pretty good non-FDIC insured returns on their money market accounts (which pays on your PayPal account balance). I've been earning in the 4.3% range. It is pretty simple to signup so I’d suggest checking it out.

ING Direct Invites
You can post invites or find invites here. I also have a few left to give out so feel free to email me at 2e{at} Oh, and FYI, I make $10 off an invite if your do signup through me.

Did I miss something?
Have your own experience or review to share? Did I miss something? Please post to the comments section. I plan to regularly post updates to this list to keep it current.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

the 5 things you need to read before buying a Dell

Deal Hack has some good tips for you here.

  1. Buy one step below the top line model.
  2. Decide your needs before you configure so you don't buy what you don't need.
  3. Use coupon codes.
  4. Buy and install additional memory yourself.
  5. Buy online, not over the phone.

paying taxes on adsense

Here is a great website all about paying taxes on your Google adsense earning.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

4 followups to 7 steps

Wow! I got dugg! And the comments and links went nuts! Thanks for all the kind words everyone. I wanted to pull a few of the things out and respond to them, so this is a followup post.

You can view the original post with 50+ comments here:

7 simple steps to grow your fortune

You can also see the digg post with 60+ comments by clicking here (and 1400+ diggs!)

1. Thanks to all the haters!

Not all the comments I got were good. Some were down right rude. Others weren't even G rated. But thanks anyway for giving me a thicker skin. And thanks to everyone who defended the post for what it was.
  • Some people accused me of spamming digg because I have adsense on my blog. Hello! Millions of people use adsense. Digg uses adsense. By that logic digg itself is generating traffic to make money off of adsense. I have no problem with adsense provided the product or content it is on is worth the while.
  • Some people expected more. Anonymous suggested my ideas were so obvious that I must be writing for 5th and 6th graders. Yet another Anonymous thought the post was worthless. me1.0 and Anonymous and Menlo fought back.
  • Some people, like Anonymous, were mad at me because I suggested that music should be purchased rather than downloaded illegally. So sue me..wait, sue them instead.
  • David C reminded us that the world is about to end.
2. Thanks for the excellent commentary!

This guy (or girl) wrote an article in his comment. This guy figured out that I was talking to younger people just starting life. This guy used it to pound his 401K horse into the ground. This guy was inspired to start looking for a fund that invests solely in consumer debt.

And this guy just went off and stole my post. Hey! If you're reading this you should at least by me a Starbucks card!

3. I didn't forget that you should invest!

This is for all you crazy people out there who gulped, gargled, and sputtered when I didn't include investing in my article: Dudes! Relax! Investing isn't simple so it didn't make it into my simple steps! Besides, I don't want my average reader to crash their car on the way home from a Super Bowl party because their eyes permanently glazed over while I was trying to explain stocks, bonds, and funds. This guy got it right when he told you to invest in yourself.

4. Thanks for letting me know the article was valuable!

All too often I read things that I find unbelievable useful and insightful and yet I fail to let the author know. Well the kind words from people like Douglas Cooty and Antagonist and posted to digg have made me want to be better at acknowledging people's hard work. Good show everyone!

A choice selection of comments for my ego's sake:

  • "Good advice. The way the author talks is more motivational than anything. Puts it into perspective, while still getting to the point, without lengthy lecturing. Digg."
  • "Basic, but good tips."
  • "Great tips indeed, some nice siple common sense ways to help put you in a better financial position than you're in now."
  • "digg - reminders of what seems obvious is actually good (my opinion)"
  • "Tech or not, this was an awesome article. Thx OP."
  • "everyone should read this."
  • "Don't listen to all the blowhards that put the post down. They're probably in some serious debt because they thought a credit card was free money in college. It's good advice but not everything. Good start though."
  • "Fantastic article. Lots of good sense. "
  • "The information is thoughtful and helpful to people. "
  • "Very well written... I practice several of those steps.. :)"
and last but not least, from a guy who appears to have signed up on digg just to post and digg my article:
  • "Great article. I needed it."

Saturday, February 04, 2006

7 simple steps to grow your fortune

digg | reddit

1400+ digs? Over 100 comments? Read the post and the click here for my follow-up response.

Who doesn't want to have more money? Most everyone it seems! Just look at their spending and borrowing habits. Clearly these people want to be poor. They think poor. They act poor. They're comfortable being poor. They've made the decision to value their lifestyle over and above their financial and personal well being. And who can blame them? Saving and growing money is hard.

That's right. I just told you that adding to your personal fortune is HARD! That's the truth. Too many people are out there giving others positive reinforcement and pats on the back for making bad financial decisions. I'm not going to do that here. I want to tell you the truth.

Obviously the following 7 tips are not universal, but most people will be able to leverage at least a few of them in their day to day life. If you do follow them, I can promise you that you will cut the amount of money flowing out of your personal empire and be able to build a better and more secure life. These tips are hard, but they are also simple.

1. Cut the Starbucks.

Starbucks started in 1971 and, within just a couple of decades, grew to become an international phenomenon. That's great! Good for them. Bad for you.

In order for them to plant their nearly 6000 stores they had to addict you to a $5 a day cup of overpriced caffeine. Some may call it evil, others might call it good marketing, but the reality is that it kills your ability to save and invest money. How much damage does it do?

Lets suppose that you were able to save the $5 you spend a day on Starbucks or some equivalent product and invest it in a savings account with a conservative return of 4%. Lets say you just do this for the first six months of the year and then go back to your normal habit after that. How much money would you have in your account at the end of the year?

Over $950! That's right. In just a year, with 6 months of sacrifice, you'd have close to $1000 and have earned about $30 in interest. Neat, huh? Think of what giving it up all together could do!

2. Follow the 5% rule.

I'm going to assume you have some personal debt (most people, do you know). Maybe some student loans, couple of credit cards, mortgage, 2nd mortgage, 3rd mortgage, car loan, yacht get the idea. The 5% rule says you should put into savings 5% of the funds you use to pay your recurring loan payments. How's that? Well lets say you pay $700 a month on loans (including money going to principle), following the 5% rule you would need to put $35 into savings. Why? Because not having money in savings is why you took out loans in the first place! Don't want that to happen again, do we?

Notice that, over 10 years, that $35 a month could turn into over $5000 in savings.

3. Don't be fooled by "deals."

A while back I nearly signed up for a preferred membership with Barns and Noble. It offered me 10% off all my book buys and only cost $25 a year. Only costs $25 a year! What am I, an idiot? I'd have to buy $250 worth of books to even cover the cost. If I really plan on buying that many books in a year I should darn will prepare ahead of time and buy them online, getting free shipping and up to 35% of the cover price at places like and

Remember the golden rule that companies follow when they offer you a deal: do unto your customers that which makes you more money. Don't buy memberships. Don't buy stuff simply because its "on sale." Don't buy anything off of TV. And, more importantly, don't buy anything unnecessary at the time its being sold to you. If you need it now you'll need it in two weeks. If you don't need it in two weeks (or don't remember to go back and buy it) you've just saved yourself some money.

4. Use Credit Cards as a form of Payment, not Credit.

Last year I got a DiscoverCard and used it throughout the year on every-month purchases such as gas, food, and various types of entertainment. I faithfully paid the full amount each time I got a bill, and do you know what happened? By Christmas I'd earned enough of a dividend (1% on all purchases, 5% on certain types of purchases) to pay for nearly all the presents I purchased.

You don't have to go with Discover. Chase offers a rewards Visa and Citi offers a rewards Mastercard.

Remember, the worst thing you can possibly do for yourself is to dip your hand in super heated melted plastic. Especially if it's pink. Ugh! The second worst thing you can do is carry a balance on your credit cards!

5. Open a high yield online savings account.

My bank pays me just less than 1% interest on my savings account. Nice of them huh? This is up considerably from a few years ago when finding money in parking lots brought in a lot more income than savings accounts. Now days there are a number of competitive online savings accounts (still FDIC insured) that offer rates as high as 4.25%. If you don't have one of these accounts you should get one. ING offers a good one at 4.75% (for a limited time, 3.8% normally). Emigrant Direct as one that pays 4.25%. And HSBC has one paying 4.25% with $25 sign up bonus (use promo code: start) and an ATM card. All are free and simple to use with your existing checking account.

Update: You can view even more details about these savings accounts in my post here.

6. Save before you pay your bills.

I don't care how much money you save, just start saving. Make saving the first thing you do after pay day. The more money "out of your hands," the better. If you don't have an extra $20 to spend on movie night, so much the better! Try going for a walk or watching the sunset instead. Hollywood won't be the worse for wear and you'll be in better financial shape for it. Do whatever you can to not tempt yourself to spend money when you don't need to. And "need to" is defined as pre-ordained in the budget.

7. Choose a less consumer-centric lifestyle.

You know you've done it. You know you've laughed at a friend when they got all caught up in the latest reality TV show, clothing style, music artist, or "Warcrack" video game. But did you stop to think that you get played by the same big money cycle of consumerism everyday? Why not stop? Then you can laugh at all your friends as they mindlessly return to Walmart again and again. Ho! Ho!

Ok, so laughing may be kind of cruel. How about leading them? Listen when I tell you that the George Foreman Grill, the subscription to Esquire, the flat screen TV, the Herbal Essences Shampoo, the entire collection of McDonald's Beanie Babies, and the latest and greatest in trash bag technology is never going to make you happy or attractive. Look at the people you know who have them. Are they happy? Or do they just want more stuff?

Ask yourself one question right now, do you want an IPOD with 5000 of your favorite (legal!) music tracks or would you rather be able to pay for treatment to help a loved one suffering from severe back pain? Well I can tell you this much, you're not going to get closer to either goal with that pack of Bubblicious gum in your hand. So put it back on the shelf, pay for the stuff you need, and run! Run for your life. Run for your health. Run for your happiness. And run for your fortune!