Thursday, February 9, 2012

What is

Do you shop online? Do you want to save for your child's education? Well, as unlikely as it seems.....these two are acting hand in hand with

Over the past few months I have made a concerted effort to make sure that each time I go to buy something online, I check to see if is an affiliate of the retailer that I am purchasing from.

Here's how it worked.  I wanted to buy some of the Friends seasons on DVD for my wife.......she loves that show.  I'll admit, I too think it can be quite funny, but that's besides the point.  I found that was selling them for $8.99, which was a steal! But to make this better, I went to the website to see if they were affiliated with  Turns out they were and they were offering me 2% back on my purchase!

So by simply going to, finding the retailer and being directed to directly from this website, it knew I was a Upromise member and they rewarded me with 2% of my purchase credited to my account.

Once you have built up a balance for yourself, you can apply this money to a high yield savings account or to a 529 account set up to help pay for your child's educational expenses.

It's a pretty cool website and if your willing to just take the extra minute to just go through Upromise to do your online shopping, you'll be watching your balance build up before you know it!

How about this deal? I just went to the Upromise website and on the front page it was offering this!

Who wouldn't want to earn 5% back on the stuff you buy at Walmart?

Check out Upromise and start saving today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's NEVER too early to start that retirement account!

It literally took me 3 minutes. No paperwork, nothing to sign, no phone call.....just enter some basic info and check the boxes and you're set up with a Traditional or Roth IRA. - a small brokerage firm whose goal is to make investing easy, even for those who can only afford to start small.

No account minimums, no trading fees that kill your returns. Just one easy fee and it's less than 1% a year.

It has also succeeded in making investing easy for those who are unfamiliar or afraid of the financial markets.  All you choose is the percentage you want invested in stocks and the percentage in bonds, they do the rest.  They will even help you figure out what percentages are best based on your goals and the time you have to reach them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

That Dreaded Budget!

Everyone knows how important it is to budget.  I imagine that you have told yourself a million times that you need to do better at budgeting, but when it comes down to it, you always fall short.

Why do we always fall short? I think the main reason for this has to do with the amount of time and effort that it takes to create and implement a full-fledged budget. It's SO tedious and most of the time it just makes you angry because you realize that on top of spending hours analyzing your finances, you will need to spend hours finding ways that you can make your expenses meet your budget restraints.  It's not an easy process.

There is a better way though!

For the past 14 months I have been using this FREE service to help me manage my finances.  It's so simple and it's saved me hundreds of dollars over the past year or so.  Basically, this program links with all your financial accounts (checking, savings, investment, loan and credit card) and categorizes each transaction, allowing you to easily set budgets and track your progress toward meeting you financial goals.

Back in September, Mint sent me an email saying "you have exceeded your budget on groceries".  I logged in to see just how much we had spent that month.  It blew me away - $ one month.......for two people!  Since then we decided to watch our grocery budget much closer and Mint gives us the ability to see how we are doing towards reaching that goal.  Let me show you a screenshot from my Mint account.

Since September we have been doing better at keeping our grocery spending under control. As you can see we hover around that $300 mark, which isn't too bad. This month we are going for $250 though....we've clipped quite a few coupons!

Take the time to make your primary budgeting tool.  You won't regret it for a second!