Tag Archives: frugal

Barely over the border foreign transaction fees

Emily Crone

I leave late next week for my delayed honeymoon, and we’ll be spending time in both Seattle and Vancouver. It’s funny–at first, I figured I would just use my normal debit card in Canada. We both use currency called dollars, and so many things about the countries are so similar. I quickly realized that while the value is very similar, a Canadian dollar is still different from an American dollar, and I would incur a foreign transaction fee for every payment.

Read More

Emily’s list: I’m off the market edition

Emily Crone

A new chapter of my life began on Saturday when I tied the knot with my partner of five-and-a-half years. We were only able to go on a quick getaway for our honeymoon, so I’m already back to normal life. Except it’s not quite the same.

I went to the county clerk’s office to try to start the name change process, but I wasn’t able to make it happen since they hadn’t received my marriage license in the mail from the officiant yet (I learned that you need a certified copy of it to take to the Social Security office before your name is legally changed). Once all that happens, then I need to go to my banks and change the name on my accounts and cards, plus set up a new joint account with him. I also need to update all of my insurance information, get a new driver’s license and so on.

Some of the other things are easy. Others are a little trickier. Fortunately, there aren’t any deadlines, so I have time to slowly but surely change my finances to reflect married life. I’m interested to see how my credit is affected by my new marital status.

While I get to work on all of this, read on for my list of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!

Read More

Emily’s list: Farewell magnetic stripe edition

Emily Crone

Many credit card terminals in Europe still have functionality to accept payment from American magnetic stripe cards, but the cashier usually has to do it manually. Most automated payment systems, such as unstaffed train stations or petrol pumps, only accept chip-and-PIN cards. European credit cards still have magnetic strips so that they can be used when these folks travel to the U.S., but the bankers aren’t wild about it since it exposes them to the type of fraud that they try to prevent.

America received its first chip-and-PIN card in May, but it was only for the United Nations Federal Credit Union. The most development on this topic is that the European Payments Council, which sets standards for payment-related issues, On January 31, the European Payments Council, which sets standards for payments, said that they are ready for magnetic strip cards to go just like they did in Europe in 2005. According to MSNBC, they passed a resolution saying the “use of magnetic stripe be restricted to exceptional cases” and allows banks to “refuse magnetic stripe transactions if they so wish.”

Chip-and-PIN technology just doesn’t seem to be on the priority list for American credit card issuers, though an expert in the MSNBC article says that we’ll more likely skip over the chip-and-PIN technology and adopt something even smarter and safer. I look forward to seeing what the future brings!

Please read on for my roundup of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!

Read More

Emily’s list: It’s my birthday edition

Emily Crone

Today, I turn 26 years old. At age 25 and under, I feel like it’s easy to still consider yourself a young adult, or even a kid. Now that I’m above 25, I feel like I’m truly in adult-land. That’s probably a good thing, considering I’m now on a budget and getting married next month.

Looking back, I’ve learned a lot this past year. Thanks to my responsible future husband, I now save my receipts and enter my expenses, purchases and credit card payments into a spreadsheet.

Starting last May, I began the grueling task of planning my wedding–another experience with budgeting. I have had to obtain vendors quotes, compare prices and goods, maintain records, keep up with payments and more. I’ve also had to practice negotiating, which doesn’t come easy for me. I saved a good chunk of my money on my catering and invitations this way. If I can do it, anyone can.

Now I’m off to celebrate my birthday. Read on for my favorite list of personal finance blog posts from the past week!

Read More

Will 2011 be the year of living frugally? Maybe, maybe not

Connie Prater

Will 2011 be the year of living frugally?

Or will the buy-it-now and get-the-latest-gadget trend continue? There is much disagreement about whether Americans have really changed their thinking about frugality and spending.

Of course, some people are being forced to change their ways — because they lost their jobs or they’ve gotten in way over their heads in debt. Some economic watchers say once the economy roars back and unemployment declines, many of those who turned frugal will revert to their old spending habits. Others argue that the 2008 Wall Street crisis gave us such a wake-up call and created so much mistrust of the global financial system that we won’t soon forget it.

There’s evidence on both sides of the argument.

Read More