MoneyAhoy.com – October Update

MoneyAhoy.com – October Update

I’ve returned with the latest MoneyAhoy article update.  Here I’ll discuss posts that I published for the month of October.  This should catch you up on the progress that I’ve been making over there.  Some of these are great reads, check them out:

  • Progressive Snapshot Review – This is a review article where I discuss how you can save up to 30% on your car insurance by signing up for Progressive’s Snapshot program.  It is a little electronic device that you plug into your car’s dataport.  It tracks your speed, miles driven, and how many times you slam on the brakes to calculate your savings.
  • Book Review – A Random Walk Down Wall Street – This is a great book that I highly recommend you check out.  It covers just about any stock picking strategy under the sun and shows why you’ll be best off by investing in low fee market index funds.  Definitely put it on your reading list if you’re looking to start or improve on your investing.
  • The Money Saving Master Table – Here I compile all of my actionable money saving articles in one table that you can sort based on difficulty to implement, savings, time to complete, and savings per hour.  It can really help you focus on where you should be saving.
  • Saving Money versus Making Money – Here I discuss whether it is more important to save money or make money.
  • Give Yourself a Haircut – A post on how you can give yourself a haircut using clippers to save ~$100 a year.  A good money saving practice for the adventurous.
  • Book Review – I Will Teach You to Be Rich – A second book review for the month of October.  I really enjoyed this book as well.  It’s a little more suited towards beginners of personal finance, but the second half gets more down into the details.  I highly recommend it!
  • Free Book Giveaway – FlexScore – The first giveaway I hosted on the MoneyAhoy.com website.  The giveaway was marginally successful (gave away five out of ten books).  It was fun to learn how to use rafflecopter.
  • How to Get Paid for Your Hobby – Here I discuss how you can enjoy your hobby and get paid for it at the same time.  A pretty cool read.

So, there you have it – eight articles in total for October.  I hope you check some of them out – I’m sure you’ll find something helpful.

MoneyAhoy.com – September Update

MoneyAhoy.com – September Update

Back again with another MoneyAhoy progress update.  This time I’ll be talking about posts that I made in September.  Again, I’m catching up on my backlog here as I’ve fallen several months behind on posting these updates.  Here are the articles I created for the month of September:

  • Quit World of Warcraft Today – This posts talks about how my son and I quit World of Warcraft and now save $30 a month in subscription fees.
  • The Best Dividend Paying Stocks – August 2013 Recap – Here I cover the performance of some of the recommended stocks from the Best Dividend series in August.  I show that over the past month they outperformed the S&P by ~4%!  Not too bad, huh?
  • Yard Sale Deals – August 2013 – This month for yard sale deals again we saved more than $300!  I finally found a great sub-woofer, and we also got a boat load of young reader books for my son.  Did I mention that I love yard sales?
  • Life Insurance and Short Term Disability Insurance Recap – This post brings a lot of the work I put in to save on life insurance and short term disability insurance.  All in all, we ended up saving nearly $1,500 a year by getting rid of extra insurance that we did not really need.  I highly recommend checking this article out, as it applies to almost everyone.
  • Yard Sale Arbitrage – Vera Bradley Purses – Here I cover a simple money making idea of buying Vera Bradley purses at yard sales for ~$3 and reselling them on ebay for ~$15-$25.  It works well, and you can generate ~300% return on your money by doing this.  The only problem is that I haven’t figured out yet how to scale it up to make a fortune.
  • Car Downsizing – How I Got a Free Corolla – Here I cover the long process of finding a used car that will actual pay for itself through its increased fuel efficiency.  Switching from a Camry to a Corolla will actually save me more than $1,000 a year!

There you have it!  Only six articles for September, but they were some really great ones.  I ended up making some changes and putting things in place to save more than $2,500 a year.  So, I’m not complaining :-)

MoneyAhoy.com – August Update

MoneyAhoy.com – August Update

Here we are again with the next update to MoneyAhoy progress.  I’m trying to crank out a bunch of these updates since I haven’t had the chance to update things for a couple of months here.  Here’s a brief rundown of the posts for August at MoneyAhoy:

So, that’s a pretty good list of posts for August.  Traffic at MoneyAhoy.com is starting to increase with all the article available there.  I’m pleased with that :-)  See you soon for the September update.

MoneyAhoy.com – July Update

MoneyAhoy.com – July Update

Wow – it’s been a super long time since I’ve updated things here.  Let me give a brief update of the posts for July with a short description of each one.  There were eight in total for July:

Well, that’s about it for the July update.  As you can see, I was pretty busy coming up with some great ways to save money.  Head on over to MoneyAhoy.com for more money saving, making money, and investment ideas!

 

Best Market Index Funds

Best Market Index Funds

First of all, why are you seeing a post here on the best market index funds?  Well, I wrote a great post about this over at MoneyAhoy.com and I’d like to circle back to discuss this important topic again.  With so much talk of the US markets being close to a market top, I think this topic is pretty relevant.  So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Which is the Best Index Fund?

Drum roll please……

For my money, it doesn’t get any better than SPY!  I covered in my June monthly money making, money saving, and investment report on this which you can read here.

 

Why is SPY the Best Index Fund?

There are so many reason why SPY continues to be my top tip in terms of market index funds.  I’ve highlighted several reasons why in my recent post on MoneyAhoy.com which you can review here: best index funds.  This is a fund that is very easy to invest in through your normal investment account, IRA, and the like.

Currently with SPY, you’re getting a quarterly dividend that equates out to be around 2.0% annually.  It isn’t a great dividend, but there is a fair amount of appreciation to help grow your investment.

 

Why Should I Invest in SPY If We Are Close To A Market Top

Who says we are?  It’s impossible for anyone to know month to month whether the market will be higher or lower than it is right now.  It is nearly undeniable that the Fed’s intervention in the capital markets through quantitative easing has had a significant impact, but it is nearly impossible to know when they will pull the plug.

I still maintain that timing the market is a fool’s errand better left to the fools.  Do what I do and dollar cost average into the market.  You’ll get earnings paid to your through dividends, and who knows – the market could go much higher from here!  I believe that what happens over the next 5 years while people are trying to decide whether or not to get into the market will seem like a blip in the radar 40 years from now when you may actually need to withdraw your investment.  Don’t try to over-think things!

 

I’m back again to discuss the benefits of Market Index Funds.  I’ve been investing in market index funds for the past several months, and I still feel that the is SPY.  It pays a quarterly dividend and has some of the lowest expenses around.

MoneyAhoy.com – June Update

MoneyAhoy.com – June Update

For the sake of completeness, I’m also going to put up some recent MoneyAhoy.com posts from June.  It’s almost the end of July now, so as you can tell I’m a little behind.  I can believe I wrote so many of these in June – hopefully someone out there finds them at least mildly useful!  I’m especially proud of the Frugal Guide for Buying a Used Car article.

  • June 2013 Money Making, Saving, and Investing Report – Here we took a little bit of a step back.  I wasn’t able to make a ton of headway on our goals for the money and we only saved ~48% of our gross income.
  • Save Money When Brushing Your Teeth – This was a good one.  I always turn the water off when I brush my teeth, but my wife will frequently leave it on.  I’ve noticed some changes in her behavior since the article.
  • Simple Money Quiz – I thought this article was particularly clever about how to grade yourself on earning, saving, and investing income – it didn’t really get all that much acclaim for some reason.
  • Frugal Guide for Buying a Used Car – This was my favorite post of the month.  I took a lot of input from reddit.com to put this together.  I plan to use a lot of the tips here to buy a used Corolla.
  • Cut Soft Drinks Out of Your Life – This was another good one.  Can you believe that some families spend more than $600 a year on soda???
  • The Difference Between Frugal and Cheap – Another post that I got the idea from off of reddit.com.  It was also kinda a dud as there weren’t many comments for it.
  • Yard Sale Deals –  6/1/13 – I got some terrific yard sale deals here.  Check it out!
  • How to Setup and LLC – Checklist – The final portion of the LLC series.  Hopefully someone will find it helpful!

 

Final Thoughts

There you have it!  A pretty busy month in June.  Eight posts doesn’t sound like a lot in a month, but it sure felt like it at the time.  Being gone out of the country for a week on vacation meant that it was really only 3 weeks.  I’ve been busy in July as well, so look for another update soon!

-Derek

MoneyAhoy.com – May Update

MoneyAhoy.com – May Update

Well, I’m getting to this update a little late (almost end of July here).  But I wanted to go back and highlight some of the historical posts that I have made on MoneyAhoy.com because I think some of them are really awesome!  I hope you find them useful.

 

MoneyAhoy.com May Posts

  • May 2013 Money Making, Saving, and Investing Report – I actually posted this one in June, but it refers to our household’s finances in May.  The month was a really good one overall.  We got a sizeable bonus for the month, and ended up being able to save roughly 54% of our gross income.  Not too shabby!
  • Setup an LLC in Less Than 6 Minutes – In this post, I actually created a YouTube video that goes over how you can setup your own LLC in less than 6 minutes.  I also cover several tips that can end up saving you hundreds of dollars along the way!  I used LegalZoom to setup my LLC (also used as the example in the video), and I couldn’t be happier with them.
  • How to Start and Setup an LLC – In this post, I cover why setting up an LLC is important.  I cover comparisons between LLCs, Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, and Partnerships.  You really don’t want to miss it if you’re planning on starting up your own business.

 

Final Thoughts

There you have it!  That’s my May 2013 update as far as MoneyAhoy goes.  I have some other things in the works that are currently just ideas floating around in my head that I haven’t really put into practice yet.  Hopefully I’ll be able to flesh some of these out and put them into action in the coming months.  I have my MBA classes starting back up at the end of August, so this could become a bit of a challenge to keep juggling all of these balls.  Hopefully, my MoneyAhoy.com posts won’t suffer too much as a result!

-Derek

Investing in Market Index Funds

There is a new post up at MoneyAhoy.com about investing in Market Index Funds and how it can be so beneficial to invest in these types of vehicles.

Market index funds can be Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) or Mutual Funds.  They are designed to hold a basket of stocks in direct proportion to the index they track.  The most popular global index that is tracked which is largely representative of the US market in the Standard and Poor’s 500 (S&P500).  Two of the most popular market index funds that track the S&P500 are the SPY and the VFINX.

The  SPY is an ETF managed by SPDR (State Street Global Advisors), and it is one of the most actively traded ETFs in the world.  The most current net expense ratio is only 0.0945%.  This compares to the average actively managed mutual fund with an expense ratio of 1.29%!!

The VFINX is a mutual fund managed by Vanguard, and it is one of the most popular mutual fund index funds.  The most current expense ratio for this on is 0.17%.  The Vanguard website declares that this is 85% lower than most other funds with similar holdings.

There are several other benefits of investing in Market Index funds besides just the savings you will see from the lower expense ratios.  The post at MoneyAhoy.com details several of these, so I will just touch on them here to wet your appetite:

  • Cost – I touched on this above, so I won’t go into much detail here other than to point out that you will probably save on average roughtly 1.1% over actively managed mutual funds.
  • Risk – Buying a diversified basket of stocks versus putting all your eggs in one basket is the most prudent way to go unless you are looking to buy lottery tickets!  Believe me, I have made the mistake of only owning a handful of stocks and one bad pick can spoil the whole portfolio.
  • Performance – Only about 20% of actively managed mutual funds beat the market index like the S&P500 each year.  If you try to consistently find that 20% that will win each year over a 10-year period, it will be almost impossible for you to beat it.  The much more likely scenario is that you will waste a lot of your time and come out behind.
  • Simplicity – Each month or quarter you can simply fire up your investment software and purchase SPY or VFINX in about 3 minutes versus spending countless hours trying to pick the best stock you think will outperform.

So, there you have it.  There are a lot more details and investing ideas over at MoneyAhoy.com.  If you’d like more information about investing in Market Index Funds, then check out the post directly!

 

Companies Use Advertising Strategies to Brainwash You!

Their is a new article up about money saving at www.MoneyAhoy.com entitled Advertising Strategies to Brainwash You!

This article discusses how companies that buy advertising for TV, radio, billboards, internet banners, junk mail, spam e-mail, etc. use tricks and strategies to brainwash you into buying their product or service.

There are 6 type of influence that Robert Cialdini refers to in his book Influence.  These are (taken from wikipedia.org):

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MoneyAhoy Post on How to Negotiate and save on cable, phone, and internet service rates

I put a new post up on www.MoneyAhoy.com on how you can negotiate for the cheapest cable, phone, and internet service rates.  It is a three-part series documented with Youtube videos and several helpful tips!

I was paying $65 a month and was eventually able to get Comcast to lower the price all the way down to $35 a month.  This gave me a savings of $360 per year for about 30 minutes of phone time.  This equates to $675 saved per hour of my time!!!

Part-1 of the post goes over talking with 2 reps.  The first one I got was pretty good and gave me $15 off almost immediately for being a valued customer (more than 1-year as a customer).  I was working with him to get $20 off to hit my goal when I accidentally hung up on him while checking the call length :-(  I then called back and got Paco.  He was really tough and basically stonewalled me.  I couldn’t really get anywhere when negotiating with him.  I should have started out by asking about the new customer promotions, but I didn’t.  This carried over into Part-2.

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