Sunday, January 25, 2009

Credit Unions Smarter than Banks

I did not know this.

Almost all credit unions require you to put up your other accounts as collateral when applying for one of their credit cards. Thus, if you default on the card, they can take your savings and apply it toward what you owe them. In contrast, very few banks require this sort of collateral when opening a credit card account.

Why do all banks not require this? It would seem to be just good business practice.

I guess this is one reason we haven't heard of any credit unions failing.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Father Knows Best - Yeah, Right

My daughter graduated from college last spring with a degree in accounting and landed a great job with a very impressive salary that included a recent raise. Knowing she has always been very responsible, I was sure she would be looking for a place to store some of that nice raise of which she was so proud. Being the wise beyond my years Dad that I am, I shot her an email with a referral link to open a savings account at ING Bank paying 2.5%. For those of you not familiar with ING Bank, they are an online bank with very competitive savings and checking account rates.

Well, it was not long before I received a reply that I was sure would be thanking me for that great advice and bragging about how smart and great a Dad she has. I could not have been more wrong. She was quick to point out that she received a better rate (4.01%) than that for her checking account at a local bank. Not to be out done, I shot back a scathing reply requesting the name of the bank since I have been considering moving my checking accounts because I am not totally happy with my present bank.

Since being schooled by my daughter, I was able to open a new Rewards Checking account online at 'RENASANT BANK'. Renasant Bank is based in Tupelo, MS, and has branches in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. If you live in one of those states, you might check to see if they have a branch near you and consider opening a checking account that offers very competitive rates. I have listed the features and requirements of the account below. If you can not meet these requirements, they have a Totally Free Checking account without the requirements necessary to benefit from the Rewards Checking.

Earn 4.01% APY* on balances up to $25,000
Free ATMs nationwide
No minimum balance, low opening balance of $50
No maintenance fees
Free Internet banking and Bill Pay
Free Visa Check Card

Simply do the following during each monthly statement period:
Make at least one Direct Deposit or ACH automatic payment
Receive your monthly statement electronically
Make at least 10 debit card transactions (excluding ATM transactions)
Log on to Renasant's free Internet Banking

If you are not near a Renasant Bank, check with the banks in your local area and I bet you can find a bank paying similar rates.

And by the way, if you do, telling Cash Flow Moe sent ya!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Controlling Your Money

J.D. over at 'Get Rich Slowly' has written a must-read article for anyone even remotely interested in getting their finances under control. Do yourself a favor and follow the link below. I bet you'll be glad you did:

9 Methods for Mastering Your Money in 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Amazon vs. Ebay

Maybe I've had my head stuck in the sand or something, but I just discovered the ability to sell my gently used items on Amazon. And like eBay, sign up is free. I have been an eBayer for some time now and hated the listing fees, reserve auction fees, additional picture fees and even an extra fee to have the listing show in bold type all charged to you before the item even got to the listing page.

Well, all that is a thing of the past. Amazon provides all the pictures, descriptions and other product information necessary to list your items and best of all, YOU PAY NOTHING unless the item sells. You find the item in their listings, decide what price you would like to sell the item for and a few clicks later, your item is exposed to millions of customers. They also process the payment, collect a shipping fee and send you a check when your item sells. You can accept all forms of payment, including credit cards, because Amazon collects for you.

There are some limitations. If you sell previously worn items of clothing, I think you will have to stick with eBay. I am sure there are other items you can sell on eBay that can't be sold on Amazon, but they are sure worth the first look in my book.

So, the next time the wife complains about that leg lamp you bachelor buddies gave you, give Amazon a look.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Things that go Bump in the Washing Machine

Well, I finally did it. I started a blog. I witnessed no revelation that inspired me nor do I need to feel a sense of empowerment. The fact is, I read several blogs about money and I just feel like one more is needed. One for people that don't have tons of knowledge about money but would sure like to have a little more of it (knowledge and money that is) at the end of the month.

So, that's what I hope I can help you do. I will attempt to provide some information periodically that will help you accomplish the goal of having a little extra money without having to carry out some complicated mission. Things that I do, or you can do that anyone can do without needing lots of money to do it. Also, at times I will just relate interesting stories about money that are nice to know or just fun to know, like the story below.

It happened a few years back when my neighbor knocked on my door hoping for some help. It seems he had a problem with his washing machine and knew he could count on me due to my vast knowledge of appliance repair (yea, right). You can now see how this relates to having extra money. Don't pay a repair man when you can do it yourself with a trusty neighbor's help.

Actually, he had fixed his problem but was faced with a dilemma all great men are faced with following a repair. What to do with the parts that are left over. Well, he was fortunate, he only had one part left over and was hoping I could help him discover where it went. It was about 6 inches long, was a flattened piece of wire and was in the shape of an arch. Nothing about this thing looked familiar.

We went so far as tearing the machine back down to see where it could be missing and had been at it for about two hours without any luck when his wife returned home and asked what was up. Being a little frustrated and short on patience, my friend explained in man terms that, and I quote, "we are trying to figure out where this d????? piece of wire goes in this d????? washing machine." She looked at the wire and started laughing. "What", asked her husband.

"That's not a part of the washing machine, that's the under wire out of my bra."

Money saved, time lost, and another successful d-i-y repair.