Just a month into his new gig as the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mark Rosekind unveiled his vision for the future of the agency, including increasing staff and creating two new divisions to help step up efforts to identify defects and alert motorists about issues and recalls. [More]
Congress’ deal to keep the federal government up and running may be coming at the expense of some of the nation’s poorest prospective college students. The spending package is poised to cut $303 million from the Pell Grant program. [More]
No one has ever said, “I’d like to get the least amount of stuff for my money.” So when you’ve only got a few bucks and need to fill up the old stomach hole with food, you want to stretch those spare dollars as far as they can go, toward the most calories you can shove in there. And of course, there’s a hack for that, if you don’t mind eating Taco Bell.
We were a bit flabbergasted recently while looking at a budget planning guide from Visa for McDonald’s employees that conveniently added a second job (no easy feat for most) and also seemed to forget the fact that most people need staples like food and gasoline. Not to mention healthcare, which usually is a lot more than $20 a month. So what’s a real budget like for an honest to goodness, living, breathing, eating human being working at McDonald’s? [More]
The best time to stock up on Halloween candy is today, the day right after Halloween. But you better get to the store early if you want to snag the best deals, and the best candy, before they get looted by everyone else.
Before you even step foot on campus this fall, you should know your budget as well as you know your class schedule. If you graduate with an A+ in personal finance management, that might be the best lesson you learn in your years of higher education. Here are a few tips, reminders and resources you should take advantage of.
On the back of news that SETI, an array of satellite dishes that search for extraterrestrial intelligence, would be shut down, John at Î¼cosmologist put together a infographic to compare the cost of running it against other things. For instance, it costs $2.5 million a year to run one SETI satellite, while one Predator drone costs $4.5 million. A Citibank exec’s bonus? $19.3 million. And if just a small part of the $10.7 billion Starbucks made last year was put aside instead of paying for their employee’s health insurance, we’d have ET’s whole city in the bag. In comparison, continuing to send and seek out bleeps into a silent and uncaring void isn’t that much. Check out the full version here, and stick around for the money shot by scrolling all the way to the bottom.
DaysToPay is a handy little site that quickly shows you how long you will have to work in order to buy something. Enter the cost and your hourly wage or yearly salary and it shows you just how much of your sweat is going into that new Xbox Kinect.
After I uploaded my quick n easy excel budget spreadsheet yesterday, Consumerist reader DangerP sent over his to share with everyone. His is pretty cool! In addition to the regular cash flow and recurring billing item tracking, it also has a built-in worksheet for doing a debt snowball, tracking long-term debts, and an overall budget dashboard. Update: new excel file replaced to fix formula issues some people where having.
Back by popular demand after the file on our server got messed up, it’s Consumerist’s easy excel budget spreadsheet! It lets you track your cash flow and expenses, and plan for upcoming purchases and bills. Use it properly and you’ll never overdraft again.
It’s hard to beat an excel spreadsheet for quickly shifting between a granular and top-level view of your personal finance situation. Here’s reader Lauren’s account balance spreadsheet she made to keep track of her expenditures, past, present, and future, and itemize her budget.
According to a new ING Direct study, the word that most comes to mind when a hypothetical blind date partner is described as frugal is “smart.” Sadly, “sexy” only came to mind about 3.7% of the time, but at least you’ll have more chances: an eHarmony review commissioned by Ron Lieber at the New York Times “found that both men and women were 25 percent more likely to have a potential mate reach out to them if they identified themselves as a saver rather than a spender.”
If you live in Seattle, make sure you don’t plan any library outings between August 30th and September 6th, when all branches will be closed. As it did last year, the library system is shutting down services and not paying employees for a week to cut about $650,000 from its budget. Fortunately, you’ll still be able to access several electronic services that week, including ebook checkout and online databases.
Emergency room bills bring a special sort of sticker shock, because they don’t usually show up until weeks later, and then come packed with all sorts of over-inflated fees and add-ons. The New York Times calls them “notoriously high and perplexing,” and although it’s unlikely you’ll ever end up paying the full amount listed on the bill, there are strategies you can use to bring that initial figure down.
You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you are. In order to accomplish your long-term financial goals, like saving up for travel, a home, or starting your own business, you should sit down and assess your net worth.
Travel guru Christopher Elliott thinks that airfare prices could drop significantly this fall, thanks to a double-dip recession and general economic misery. So far prices for car rentals and cruise packages are going up, but Elliott says he’s hearing from travelers and travel companies about “dramatic, unexpected bargains” and “rates … on par with last year’s record-low prices” when it comes to flights.
The second half of summer is “complain about textbook prices” season, and last week the New York Times put together a special section on the topic and asked experts to weigh in. Too many of the contributors just provide an overview of the situation but no solutions; a publishing industry representative actually defends textbook prices as trivial compared to other educational costs. Fortunately Anya Kamenetz, who writes for Fast Company, suggests Flat World Knowledge. And to be fair, the guy who defended textbooks prices suggests CourseSmart for ebook rentals. The Times also asked students, professors and parents to weigh in with advice.
According to a new report from coupon marketing company NCH, the volume of coupons redeemed rose about 8% from a year ago, and marked the seventh consecutive quarter of growth. The report also indicates that manufacturers are increasing the value of coupons but moving up the expiration dates.