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Thursday, May 31, 2007
Visa's What's My Score Video Contest
Visa is holding a Video Contest regarding "Why should a college student care about their credit score". Video must be 30-sec or less. Up to $10,000 will be awarded in prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000. For complete rules, including deadline and limitations, check out:

Visa's What's My Score Video Contest
posted by Ruby @ 12:15 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007
How much is enough to save for retirement?
The CNNMoney.com article discusses the frequently used rule of thumb of saving 10% of salary every year for retirement.

As per the article, this may be good rule if the future is certain. However, this rule is not a good one due to uncertainties in life. In addition, the % that needs to be saved will vary depending on what age you start saving for retirement and the beginning balance. So if starting to save later in career, the amount you may need to save is likely to be much higher. In addition, the amount to be saved depends on your spending level in retirement and whether you plan to work in retirement (if working, is it really considered retirement?)

For complete article, check out:

CNNMoney.com: Why the 10% solution is actually 90% wrong
posted by Ruby @ 7:34 AM   0 comments

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Monday, May 28, 2007
Free Degree Deodorent for Women
For a free sample of Degree Deodorant for Women, check out:

Free Sample: Degree Deodorant for Women
posted by Ruby @ 12:43 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, May 27, 2007
Weekend Quote - Change
If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.
— Mary Engelbreit
posted by Ruby @ 7:26 AM   0 comments

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Saturday, May 26, 2007
Free Movies Courtesy AMC Theatres - June 27 – August 15, 2007; excluding July 4
AMC Theatres will be showing free movies from June 27 – August 15

(excluding July 4). Shows start at 10:00 a.m. every Wednesday.

For details, including restrictions, check out:

AMC Theatres: Free Movies
posted by Ruby @ 2:11 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, May 24, 2007
Divorce and Social Security
The Kiplinger.com article discusses whether a person can qualify for social security benefits based on the work history of his/her spouse in case of a divorce.

As per the article, based on the current social security requirements, a person can qualify for social security spousal benefits even after divorce if:

- He/she is at least 62 years old
- Was married to the (former) spouse for at least 10 years
- Is currently unmarried (after divorce)
- Is not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own or someone else's Social Security record.

As per the article, as a spouse, a person can receive up to 50% of his/her partner’s Social Security benefit based on the partner’s work history, or alternatively, the benefits may be based on their own earnings history.

Getting social security benefits based on spouse’s earnings history, rather than one’s own earnings history, may be beneficial if a person has limited working years or had lower salary compared to his/her spouse. As a result, social security benefits may be much higher if qualifying based on the spouse’s earnings history rather than one’s own.

For complete article, check out:

Kiplinger.com: Social Security and Divorce
posted by Ruby @ 7:34 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007
10,000 Frequent Flier Miles Graduation Bonus from United
United Airlines (UAL) is offering 10,000 bonus miles to full-time students graduating from a US college/university. For details, check out:

United: Graduation Bonus

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posted by Ruby @ 8:43 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Factors that determine wealth
The Yahoo/Fool.com.com article discusses the factors that determine how wealthy you'll become in life. Based on results of a study cited in the article, surprisingly those factors are not education, intelligence, skills, etc. Rather as per the Ohio State economics professor Jay Zagorsky, they are"Staying married, not getting divorced, thinking about savings."

Reason that higher intelligence does not automatically result in greater wealth is because such people tend to take more risk, spend more, max out credit cards and pay bills late.

For complete article, check out:

Yahoo/Fool.com: You Don't Have to Be Einstein to Get Rich
posted by Ruby @ 10:59 AM   0 comments

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Monday, May 21, 2007
Free tickets for the Millionaire Inside show (Jun 12 - Englewood Cliffs, NJ)
CNBC is offering free tickets to join the studio audience for the Millionaire Inside show. The show features well-known financial professionals such as David Bach, Barbara Corcoran, Phil Town and Loral Langemeier.

There will be two tapings on Jun 12 in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Tickets can be obtained by emailing MillionaireInside@cnbc.com or by
using the following link:

Tickets

Studio Address:

CNBC Global Headquarters
900 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

For details on the Millionaire Inside show, check out:

Millionaire Inside show
posted by Ruby @ 7:06 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, May 20, 2007
Weekend Quote - Impact
You can never tell what type of impact you may make on another’s life by your actions or lack of action. Sometimes just a smile on the street to a passing stranger can make a difference we could never imagine
— Ed Foreman
posted by Ruby @ 6:53 AM   0 comments

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Saturday, May 19, 2007
Free 30 Photo Prints from CVS
CVS is offering free 30 photo prints. For details, check out:

CVS Photo Center: 30 Free Prints
posted by Ruby @ 8:01 AM   0 comments

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Friday, May 18, 2007
Snapfish's Photo Contest
Snapfish.com is conducting a variety of photo contests over the next few weeks and offering a chance to win over 600 prizes.

For details, check out:

Snapfish: Photo Contest
posted by Ruby @ 8:06 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, May 17, 2007
Simple rules of managing money
The NHRegister.com article advises on the basics of managing your money. The advice - follow a few common-sense rules which include:

- Set specific goals
- Focus on needs rather than wants
- Keep it simple
- Know your weaknesses to avoid triggers that lead to spending more
- Be realistic
- Be prepared for the unexpected

For complete article, check out:

Keep it simple: Stick to the basics when it comes to managing your money
posted by Ruby @ 5:47 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Impact of spouse's bad credit history
CNNMoney.com article discusses whether a person's credit score is affected if his would-be spouse has a bad credit history. As per the article, a person's credit score doesn't change because of his spouse's bad credit history, assuming he continues to keep paying bills and maintain his history. However, when applying for joint mortgages/loans, lenders will consider the lower of the two credit scores.

For complete article, check out:

CNNMoney.com: Marrying into bad credit
posted by Ruby @ 6:54 AM   0 comments

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Monday, May 14, 2007
Free cell phone voicemail messages in your email
CallWave is providing free service called CallWave Visual Voicemail for Email which allows users to get mobile phone voicemails in your email. These messages in the email can then be played, saved, deleted, etc.

For details, check out:

CallWave Visual Voicemail for Email
posted by Ruby @ 9:13 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, May 13, 2007
Weekend Quote - Mothers
God could not be every where, so He created mothers
- Jewish proverb

PS: Happy Mother's Day to all moms. As mentioned earlier, Skype is offering free global calls today. See my previous post:

Free global calls from Skype - Mother's Day
posted by Ruby @ 5:29 AM   0 comments

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Saturday, May 12, 2007
4,000 bonus Delta Airlines' SkyMiles to Starwood Preferred Guest members
Delta Airlines is offering Starwood Preferred Guest members 4,000 bonus miles for joining its Skymiles frequent flier program. Promotion ends June 30, 2007.

For details, check out:

Join Skymiles Program

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posted by Ruby @ 9:00 AM   0 comments

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Friday, May 11, 2007
Transfer Delta Airlines Skymiles without processing fee during May'07
During this month, Delta Airlines is allowing Skymiles members to transfer miles to another person, without paying the $25 processing fee. Transfer fee is $0.01 per mile transferred.

For complete details, check out:

Delta Skymiles transfer
posted by Ruby @ 8:07 AM   0 comments

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Thursday, May 10, 2007
Free Quaker Granola Bites sample
Walmart is offering a free sample of Quaker Granola Bites. For details check out:

Walmart: Free Quaker Granola Bites
posted by Ruby @ 8:03 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Payday Loans
Recently, I have been seeing and reading a lot of ads and articles regarding payday loans or cash advances. In the past, every once in a while I would see signs at some small mom and pop store offering such loans but in the recent years, it seems like a lot of firms, including online firms, banks and credit unions have jumped into this field. Reason - a chance to earn high interest rates on short-term loan.

So what exactly are payday loans or cash advances? Payday loans are loans for small amounts, generally in the range of $100 to $2,000 for small period of time such as from 7 days to 2-3 weeks. Firms offering payday loans call it so because the purpose of such loans is to meet some financial need while a person is waiting to receive his/her next paycheck. These loans are also sometimes referred to as payday advances, fast loans, check advance loans, fast cash, etc.

Cash advance firms lend borrowers money generally based on their current salary although they may also look at their credit scores, etc. These cash advance firms generally give borrower the amount of loan, and in return, the borrower issues the lending firm a check for the amount borrowed plus a fee. For example, assuming a person borrows $200 for a two-week loan, and the fee is $20, the borrower will issue a check for $220 to the lending firm which will hold it until the next payday.

The fee charged may be based on a percentage of the face value of the amount borrowed (such as 15% of the amount borrowed), or a fixed amount based on the loan amount (such as $10 for every $100 borrowed). Depending on the agreed-upon plan, the cash advance firm may deposit the check on the next payday, or the borrower may pay back $220 in cash, or extend the loan for another couple of weeks by paying appropriate fee for extending the loan.

The issue with payday loans is that the interest rates charged on such loans are very high. For instance, in the above example, it is $20 interest on a loan $200. $20 by itself seems small but considering that the loan is just for a two-week period, this equates to an APR of about 261%.

Not surprisingly, such loans should be avoided when possible. However, if it is indeed absolutely necessary for me to get payday loans, some of the things I would consider include:

- Borrow only what I can afford to pay back on my next paycheck, including any fees/interest charges that I need to pay back, while still having money left over to make it till the next paycheck.

- The longer the period for which I borrow money, the more is the interest amount. So I would attempt to avoid rolling over the loan because that would mean paying additional fees/interest charges. It is better to keep the loan duration short to minimize interest charges.

- Compare the cost of payday loan with cost of borrowing from other sources such as banks, credit cards, etc. However, borrowing from sources such as credit cards may not always be cheap, especially considering that credit card firms can tack on late payment fee of $30 or higher, cash advance fees and other transaction fees in addition to high interest rates. Similarly, banks may charge loan origination and other fees. All these fees when added together can sometimes be way more than the fees on payday loans. So it is important to include all fees when comparing alternatives.

- As payday loans are a form of credit, the Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose the cost of payday loans in writing, including the dollar amount of finance charges and the annual percentage rate or APR. It is important to go through these disclosures as they provide an indication of how much interest charges are being levied as well as other important information related to loan terms such as any prepayment penalties, etc.

- Above all, I would avoid making it a habit of getting payday loans as they can be very risky and can potentially cause a borrower to go deeper into debt. Such loans can provide relief in times of financial needs and emergencies but those should be genuine emergencies such as where a person may have lost his wallet, or needs to pay utility bill immediately. However, emergency needs should not be defined as the need to go on vacations, buy an expensive item, etc.

The best thing to do is to plan for emergencies by setting up emergency funds, so that there is no need to borrow money in the first place.
posted by Ruby @ 7:22 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Use of sentiment analysis in stock investments
Recently read an article from the Investor's Daily Edge. The Investor's Daily Edge article compares the market reaction to the most recent earnings announcement of two internet stocks - Google and Amazon.com.

Google's earnings beat the consensus estimate by 38 cents, causing its stock to close 2.3% at the end of the next day. Amazon.com's earnings came up 11 cents higher than the estimated earnings but closed 26.9% higher.

Reason for a much higher % increase in case of Amazon.com: pessimistic expectation towards Amazon.com's earnings prior to their release. Unlike Google's stock which was rated 'buy' by 20 out of 20 analysts, Amazon.com's stock had a mix ratings - with some analysts recommending buy, others recommending hold and still others recommending sell. In addition, many investors had shorted Amazon.com's stock. Result: when Amazon.com came out with better than expected earnings, it's stock went up drastically more than that of Google.

The article mentions that sentiment analysis should also be another variable to consider when investing in stocks.

For complete article, check out:

Investor's Daily Edge: Sentiment at its Best
posted by Ruby @ 8:40 AM   1 comments

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Monday, May 07, 2007
Free Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 software
Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 is availble for free download; click the link provided at the end of the post for details. This accounting package is designed for small businesses and provides a Microsoft Office-like interface. It can be used for sending invoices, receiving payments electronicallys and many other accounting-related tasks.

For details, check out:

Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007

Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007 is also available for free to members of the Microsoft Professional Accountants' Network (certain restrictions may apply). For details on downloading the software, restrictions, and becoming member of the network, check out:

Microsoft Office Accounting Professional 2007


Microsoft Professional Accountants' Network
posted by Ruby @ 8:52 AM   0 comments

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Sunday, May 06, 2007
Weekend Quote - Health
Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness
- Edward Stanley
posted by Ruby @ 8:21 AM   0 comments

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Saturday, May 05, 2007
Free Global Calls - May 13 (Mothers Day)
Skype is offering free global calling on May 13th, Mothers day. Free calls to landline or mobile phones any where in the world that day. Calls to premium numbers and satellite phones are excluded. For details check out:

Skype: Free Global Calls
posted by Ruby @ 8:23 AM   0 comments

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Friday, May 04, 2007
Outsourcing household chores
Read an article on TheStreet.com regarding a new Web site. Following the example of many corporations that have been outsourcing tasks, many time-strapped individuals and families also have started looking into the option of outsourcing household tasks and chores. And to make the task of finding help easy, there’s a new Web site called DoMyStuff.com.

The site allows people to list the tasks that they want others to do and then individuals and businesses can bid on those tasks by providing information such as how much they will charge, how long it will take etc. Buyers can then pick from the submitted bids. Buyers don’t have to pay any thing for listing the tasks, but the Web site takes a percentage from the individual/business with the winning bid.

For more details, check out:

TheStreet.com: Do My Stuff and Get Paid

DoMyStuff.com: Fees

DoMyStuff.com: Feature
posted by Ruby @ 12:22 AM   0 comments

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Ways to save money on mortgages
The Yahoo/MotleyFool article discusses various ways to save money on mortgage. Strategies include:

- Assuming the existing mortgage on the house you are buying, if it has lower than the market interest rate
- Using seller financing where you make payment to the seller instead of an institutional lender. Advantage: you may get lower interest rates + can avoid various administrative loan-related junk costs
- Paying points
- Paying off mortgage ahead of the schedule
- Negotiating interest rates with the lender

For complete article, check out:

Yahoo/MotleyFool: Save Money on Your Mortgage

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posted by Ruby @ 7:13 AM   0 comments

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Free pizza slice from Pizza Hut on May 1 (3 PM -5 PM)
Pizza Hut will be giving away hand-tossed pizza slices today (May 1) from 3 to 5 p.m at its 6,200 U.S. restaurants. Limit one per customer.

For details, check out:

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut - Free Pizza Slice

For Pizza Hut locations:

Pizza Hut locations
posted by Ruby @ 8:36 AM   0 comments

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Favorite Quote
"If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you do not have in life, you will never have enough".
                - Author Unknown
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