Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pay Taxes and...

If you, like me, just filed your taxes in the nick of time you may have also been inspired to do a little financial fitness. Kind of like when you wash the dishes and decide to throw away the mold extravaganza growing in your fridge's to-go containers. Not always fun, but occasionally necessary.

But where to start? WNYC recently did a four part series titled Money U with Saving, Credit, Debt Collection, Banking 101.

I first saw Deyarina del Rio at The New School's Banking Under the Mattress: Financial Literacy and Unbanked New Yorkers and she is one smart cookie. She's the Associate Director for the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project, a great non-profit that works towards financial justice.

Honestly, if the only annual financial thing you do is hold yourself accountable to the IRS, then we need to revise that to-do list. Banking and credit report, how about that? Once a year evaluate your banking fees, if you spend more on banking fees than you do on Spanx, then you need to move on. In other words, NO FEES! I'll get to where to park your money in a later post. And get your FREE annual credit report while you're at it. Two things. Well, three, if you count pay your taxes. Trust me, they're easier than filing a 1040 and just as important. And let's face it-- multi-national banks don't need your hard earned money, and that cultural attaché from Nigeria who's been sending you emails about a fat inheritance really shouldn't have your social security number.

photo courtesy of thebrooklinelibrary via flickr

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

End of Hiatus

Well, after two years of sleep deprivation and the unhinged joy of parenting, I am back in the saddle. While I missed the great economic meltdown, I am sure you did not miss my commentary because, well, everyone was talking about it.

So, I will kick off with a low pressure post, nothing too fancy and nothing too serious. Freelancers Union is a free organization, a non-socialist non-state-budget-villain-of-the-year "union", if you will, that is open to freelancers in the United States. From health care to retirement, they offer competitive services for freelancers. Equally important, they are a community of freelancers who have a wealth of information that flows freely. So drink up.

They also have great educational events, and coming up on Wednesday, April 27th, is an educational webinar (no, I did not make up that word), Retirement Strategies Every Freelancer Needs to Know.

So check 'em out, and come back to PiggyBankBlues, where the not-so-nine-to-fivers build a nest egg, don't lose their shirts or their balls in the economic roller coaster, and learn about the nuts and bolts of financial planning with the over-use of the nifty hyphen. Welcome!

photo courtesy of charsplat Jeffrey Clement via flickr

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Urban Roots of the Fiscal Crisis

David Harvey... a take on the current economic crisis that you won't see on CNBC....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ladies Night at the Car Wash

You know I've crossed the frugal freak line when I wash my car on Wednesdays only. Two bucks off for the ladies, why that's almost a gallon of gas...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top Ten List of Reasons Why You Know These Times are A-Changing

As President Obama gears up for his first State of the Union Address, I was going through the gazillion (appropriately enough, not a real number) economic and financial issues at hand. I don't even know where to begin, and after not blogging for a while this is one helluva time to just jump in. So I'll start with something easy.

Top Ten Reasons You Know Times are A-Changing

1. American Express offers some credit card holders a$300 pre-paid card to pay off their balances in full and close their accounts. Funny, it was just a short while ago credit card companies were happily feasting off those who carried a balance from month to month.

2. Housing prices fell 18.5% this past year, a record breaking rate of downward return. I won't rub lemon juice in a paper cut, but we all know what the housing market used to be like...

3. Joining the ranks of the unemployed, Harvard's endowment management team will layoff a quarter of its staff, after losing 20%. Harvard's endowment returns made Warren Buffet look like Joe Shmoe. Well, not really, but they have been jaw dropping until recently.

4. Speaking of Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway slumped on Friday to a 5 1/2 year low, kind of like everyone else's accounts. (Okay, maybe everyone else is at a 30 year low).

5. The nationalization of US Banks is an actual debate.

6. A US President calls for a fiscal responsibility summit. Americans owe $35k each towards the federal debt, and with entitlements like Social Security and Medicare- all just plain old not funded at all- that obligation per person balloons to $135k. I think we're so late on the fiscal responsibility summit that it would be a joke if not for the fact that we're in such dire straights we need to reverse the course of stupidity. So while I can be like oh, I don't really owe the Feds $135k so who cares!- I shouldn't kid myself. That level of debt is not theoretical, it reflects how much needs to be made up for each of us in taxes or cuts.

7. You know times are tough when a bill tries to waft its way to a state's Assembly floor-- proposing to tax marijuana! Oh, those silly Californians...

8. eBay used to sell used books and clothes. In times of desperation, people will try to sell anything. $80,000 for 212-867-5301 is my personal fave. The antonymous auction would be the one involving losing one's virginity to the tune of $3.7 million. In a word, eww.

9. Americans are saving more and spending less, a sharp contrast to saving nada and spending wildly beyond one's means.

10. And last but not least, change is definitely in the air when Manhattan's luxury real estate market is, of all things, on sale.

And of course, it goes without saying, things are not quite the same old same old when a recession hits all classes, the US is in danger of having no American car company, banks are going belly up, the interest rate is near zero, and inventory- from cars to homes, exceeds not only demand, but access to financing for what little demand there is. The list is endless, and a top ten list could easily go on to a gazillion.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Baby!

After a many month long hiatus from blogging, I'm gearing up for a comeback. My utmost apologies, but M and I had a bouncing baby boy late November, and life has been, well, just a tad bit chaotic. An absolute joy, but the sleep deprivation has been biting into my blogging time. Until I start to sift through an attempt at understanding the economic carnage, I leave you with a recent article in the NY Daily News that declares it takes $123,322 a year to be middle class in NYC. Class is a wiggly beast, and while M and I fall far short of this article's vision of middle class, I think it would be unfair to exactly call us the working poor. So I'd like to declare myself part of the sub basement middle class...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tracking November's Grocery Spending

I just finished renovating our monthly budget, and under Groceries I have $400 per month (covers both M and I). I am going to hazard a guess and say that this is a nice blend of wishful thinking and total denial.

Since New Year's resolutions are right around the corner, I figured I might as well find out. So for the month of November I'm going to save all grocery/bodega/food co-op receipts and see what the final tally is. I figure that we should be able to eat in on $100 a week, so one of the interesting things about going through the receipts will be finding out what the budget breakers are. If I was a betting budgeter I'd place money on it being my obsessive purchase of blocks of cheese...