Let’s face it, saving money is a bitch. But all the big stuff in life — car, college, marriage, kids, travel — have equally big dollar signs attached. To minimize debt, saving for these expenditures ahead of time is important. Here are six effective strategies to set money aside — and keep it there. Keep reading »
In finance, there’s a canon that everyone on Wall Street has read: Benjamin Graham, Adam Smith, and Robert Schiller. But no canon exists for personal finance. In fact, most personal finance books are a frustrating waste of time and money. From Suze Orman’s factually incorrect information to Jim Cramer’s super-caffeinated hysteria, it’s a sad field that puts consumers who take such advice, likely already vulnerable if seeking help, at risk. But, despite all the garbage, there are some stellar resources and I am going to direct you to them. Keep reading »
Around the same time I started raking in the big bucks (courtesy of the Tooth Fairy), my father started enforcing the rule that the topic of money was off-limits in polite conversation. There was no, “Hey, how much was your incisor worth?” in my house. And the one time I asked my dad the amount of the bill at a restaurant, he handed it to me since he assumed I was offering to pay. I never asked again. Keep reading »
One of my favorite coats is a gorgeous knee-length number that coordinates with almost anything. The best thing about this coat is that I paid the criminal price of $10 for it. I found it on a clearance rack. It was the only coat of its kind and happened to be in my size; our relationship was obviously meant to be. It lacked a price tag, however, and I was scared this meant it would be expensive. When I asked the cost, the manager pulled a jacket of lesser quality from the same rack and said she’d give me my coat for the same insanely low price. Delighted, I showed her where the coat was missing a button, thinking she would have a suggestion for replacing it. Instead she shrugged and offered to knock off an additional 10 percent. I couldn’t hand over my debit card fast enough, and when I got home? The missing button was tucked in the pocket.
As adorable as the coat is, the amazing bargain makes me love it more. While my steal was more the result of a tired manager than my intense negotiating skills, it definitely whet my appetite for wheeling a good deal. Knowing how to ask for one can be intimidating, though. Jim Camp, negotiation skills trainer and coach, and author of Start with No, offered this advice for the negotiating novice. Keep reading »