Tales from the Wallet: Do You Invest in Stocks or Index Funds (or Other)?

Do You Invest in Stocks or Index Funds We haven’t had a Tales from the Wallet in too long — today, let’s talk about what kind of investments you prefer, how you research and buy them, and general investing theory and resources. Specific questions for today: How comfortable are you investing your money (beginner, expert, or somewhere in the middle)? Do you invest your own money, or leave it to your partner or a trusted family member (like a parent) or a financial planner? If you invest it yourself, do you invest in stocks or index funds — or something else like roboinvestors like Betterment or Ellevest? Another fun question: When and how did you start investing?

(Pictured at top: this lovely Kate Spade wallet (affiliate link) is on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale — it’s currently marked to $125, but after the sale ends on August 5, the price will go back up to $188. Psst: check out all of our coverage of the 2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, including our top picks for workwear under $200 and our favorite plus-size picks for work!) [Read more…]

How to Cut the Cord: The Streaming Services And Devices to Consider

how to cut the cordCutting the cord and freeing yourself from that monthly cable bill is becoming more and more popular — people choose to do it not only to save money, but to avoid dealing with cable companies, who have earned their industry the title of most disliked in the country (along with ISPs). Kat recently decided to cut the cord, and I haven’t had a cable subscription since at least 2007. (My son probably doesn’t even know what cable is.) Still, finding out HOW to cut the cord can be a little nervewracking — so today we’re rounding up which streaming services you should consider, as well as which devices you may need.

At my house, we stream Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and we enjoyed a few months of Showtime … after I signed up through Prime Video and then forgot to cancel the free trial. We also use our huge DVD collection, borrow DVDs from the library (mainly Blu-ray), buy the Blu-ray versions of our favorite movies (I feel old saying those things), and watch various TV clips on YouTube, from Key & Peele to The Graham Norton Show. DVDs aside, there are so many great alternatives to cable that considering all the options can be really confusing. Still, that’s a good problem to have.how to cut the cord - image of a cable remote

Here are details of the main services and devices that can help you cut the cord for good:

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Tales from the Wallet: How Do You Store Your Bills, Receipts, and More?

how to store billsHere’s today’s topic, ladies: What are your best tips on how to store bills and otherwise organize your paperwork? How do you deal with the mix of paperwork, electronic documents, emailed receipts, and more? I describe my own record keeping system below, but I thought it’d be fun to see what other people do… 

I was 15 or so the first time I remember my parents talking about how to store bills, receipts, and other kinds of paperwork. By that point I already had savings accounts, and my mother also opened some early credit cards for me at various stores (thank you, Mom!) to start building my credit report. But it was probably when I got my first job that we actually sat down and started to talk about how to store bills, as well as other record keeping tips. Back then, my parents gave me a big subdivided redweld and suggested that each entity that I got bills and statements from should get its own little pocket. So my bank statements went in one pocket, my lifeguarding check receipts went in another pocket, and then my Gap card statements (or wherever) went in a third pocket. It was all very, very organized. Oh, and every time I made a deposit at my bank (or a withdrawal) I was supposed to enter it in the little checkbook register.

These days, I’ve backslid pretty far from that initial system for record keeping — but it works for me and my family. Here’s how I store my bills (both electronic and paper):

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How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Data Breach

How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax BreachMillions of people (unfortunately, not an exaggeration) are wondering what many Corporette® readers are also wondering: how to protect their credit after the Equifax data breach. On September 7, Equifax revealed that hackers may have exposed Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, website security questions/answers, etc., for up to 143 million people — a “breath-taking amount of highly sensitive data [handed] over to criminals,” as Ars Technica put it. (With all the upsetting news stories recently, someone thought we needed even more things to worry about!) We’ve seen some contradictory information online — and the sheer amount of advice out there is overwhelming — so we thought we’d round up some expert advice in a post. Ladies, what steps have you taken to protect your credit after the breach? Have you used any services or had any success in freezing your credit? If you’ve written to government officials about changing the laws, share your script!

Here are the latest recommendations for how to protect your credit:

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Tales from the Wallet: How to Pick the Best Rewards Card For You

How do you typically use credit cards — and what are your tips on how to pick the best rewards card for you? We’ve discussed some great rewards credit cards (Kat is still using her Amazon Visa!), but we thought we’d have a broader discussion today about readers’ credit card habits — the good and the bad. Which do you think are the best credit card rewards — and what are your tips on how to pick the best rewards card for you? (Pictured: bright red Kate Spade wallet – highly rated and only $88 at Nordstrom.)

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

I’m always using my credit cards, because like a lot of people, I barely ever carry cash. (It bugs me when I’m at a bakery or other business that doesn’t take credit cards, even though I get it.) I like how the fraud protection is better with credit cards than with debit cards, too; my cards have been compromised a couple of times and I’ve never been liable for anything. And the rewards don’t hurt: My Citibank Simplicity card lets me earn cash back, and my TJX card (Marshalls, TJMaxx, and Sierra Trading Post) earns me gift certificates at those stores. My husband and I also have a UPromise card from Barclaycard that generates money for our son’s 529 plan. (His grandparents have one too that also contributes to his account.)

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Tales from the Wallet: When to Dip Into Your Emergency Fund

when to dip into your emergency fundWe’ve talked in the past about emergency funds — particularly where they fit in a money roadmap and where you should stash the cash you’re saving for an emergency fund — but here’s something we haven’t talked about: when is it ok to dip into your emergency fund? How big of a deal is it to you if you need to take some money from your emergency fund to cover a big shopping trip, a vacation, or more? Do you overfund your emergency fund (and keep more than 6-9 months living expenses) so you CAN dip into it if you need it — or do you have a “stop point” where anything above a certain amount of money goes into an investment account? (On the flip side, do you keep a “fun money” or “mad money” account just for these kinds of indulgences — and save money to be spent?)

Pictured at top: I’m not usually a beige wallet kind of person, but this highly rated “tan sparkle lizard” wallet might make me change my mind. It’s $89 at Nordstrom (six other colors, too) (affiliate link).

As we’ve discussed in the past, I’m a pretty aggressive saver who hates to keep money sitting in low-interest checking and saving accounts, so for the most part I clear out our checking account every month and move left over money to higher interest online savings accounts. In addition to retirement savings, I use automatic transfers to savings and automatic investing as often as I can, and I also try to amortize known big purchases (like term insurance and a vacation budget) so that the cost is spread out over the year instead of hitting in one particular month. In fact, I have about 10+ accounts open at Ally right now for various things personal and business, as well as one big account at Ally that we consider to be our “family emergency fund.” But of all my crazy accounts I don’t have a “fun money” account — and maybe I need one for those for times when our credit card bill is bigger than expected, or it’s been a birthday month (or, ahem, a Nordstrom sale month) and more.

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