August 26, 2016

Best of Blogs for Week of August 26th

Worried about stocks being at an "all time high"?    This graphic is courtesy of a link from The Simple Dollar.

Also found via TSD is this Backdoor Roth IRAs Could Cost Some Investors at Tax Time

TSD also talks about silly facebook video with Financial Mistakes You Must Avoid in Your 20s? Why You Need to Be Careful with Online Financial Advice

August 19, 2016

Best of Blogs for Week of August 19th

Every Friday afternoon I share some of the more interesting or notable posts that I have seen in the personal finance blogs and other sources for the past week

TheBigPicture has a chart of American Total Debt Balance and Its Composition and I don't think it looks that bad considering we're still below the 2008 peak.


August 14, 2016

Foreigners With Giant Piles of Cash Are Not Buying All The Homes

In certain hot real estate markets I see people claiming that rich foreigners are coming in with millions of dollars and buying up homes and thus driving up the market.    Now I'm sure this happens some but when I saw these claims I couldn't find much solid data on the amount of foreign cash purchases of homes in specific markets.

I did however just find a report showing the total % of homes that are not owned by citizens per major city.
From Bloomberg: Most Non-citizen Homeowners

The % values range from 2-7% mostly in the 2-5% range.  

Now, they say "non-citizen" which Im' going to hazard a guess includes some "non-legal" residents.    I'm not sure on that point but I think its feasible.   Also notice the largest % figures are in Southern cities in TX and AZ.  

San Jose, CA is one city where there are a lot of expensive homes and I've heard there are cash buyers from China.   San Jose is at #4 on the list at 5.8%.    Now thats a significant % really in a market but its not exactly some sort of flood of foreign money.  


August 12, 2016

Best of Blogs for Week of August 12th

Every Friday afternoon I share some of the more interesting or notable posts that I have seen in the personal finance blogs and other sources for the past week

The Big Picture cautions on Faber: 50% Crash Coming! (However. . . )

The Onion gives the Pros And Cons Of The ‘Tiny House’ Movement
They make a lot of good points that add to my argument.

Zillow projects if your house might be underwater The Effect of Rising Sea Levels on Coastal Homes in the future.   Don't panic you've got up to 90 years to move.


August 10, 2016

Amazon Subscribe and Save Filler Items Under $2 for August 2016

Updated list of items under $2 eligible for Amazon Subscribe & Save :

If you don't find anything of interest below you can also search using these category Quick links :
Grocery,  Health and Household,  Beauty and Personal Care, Home and Kitchen, Automotive, Industrial and Scientific, Pet Supplies

A lot of stuff available right now.   Several items under $1.25 and quite a few potentially useful things like a can of tuna, 2x toothbrushes, green electric tape, some super glue, paper plates, bandages and that 76¢ Dial soap.    There were so many things that I stopped looking and didn't bother to list them all.

Dial Liquid Hand Soap, Soothing Care, 7.5 Ounce = $0.76

Glade Solid Air Freshener, Honeysuckle Nectar, 6.0 Ounce = $0.87

Energizer Lithium Coin Watch/Electronic Battery Ecr2450 = $1.00

Tom's of Maine Toothpaste Clean Mint Simply White, Trial Size, 0.9 Ounce = $1.10

Kraft Ranch Dip, Dressing and Recipe Mix Packet, Thick and Creamy, 1.0 Ounce = $1.21

Vidal Sassoon Small Tuck Combs, Tortoise, 4 Count = $1.23

Purex 08993 Dryer Sheets, Mountain Breeze, 40 Count= $1.25

Pringles Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips, 6.42 Ounce = $1.27

Suave Antiperspirant Deodorant, Shower Fresh 2.6 oz = $1.27

Vidal Sassoon Bobby Pins, Brown, 60 Count = $1.27

Scotch Vinyl Electrical Color Coding Tape 35, Green, 1/2" Width, 20 Foot Length (Pack of 1)= $1.31

Pac-Kit 12-015 Antiseptic Povidone PVP Iodine Wipe (Box of 10) = $1.33

Pillsbury Funfetti Neon Yellow Flavored, Vanilla, 15.6 Ounce = $1.34

Earth's Natural Alternative Wheat Straw Fiber, Tree Free 6" Plate, 20 Pack [paper plates] = $1.39

Reach Crystal Clean Firm Value Pack Adult Toothbrushes, 2 Count= $1.50

StarKist Selects Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, 4.5 Ounce = $1.55

TetraBetta Plus Floating Mini Pellets = $1.52

Vaseline Lip Therapy, Creme Brulee 0.25 oz = $1.52
True Lime Limeade Stick Pack, Black Cherry, 10 Count (1.06oz) = $1.76

GoodSense Nasal Decongestant Phenylephrine HCl 10 mg tablets, 72-count = $1.76

Band-Aid Peanuts Assorted Adhesive Bandages, 20 Count = $1.86

Permatex 25575 Fast Orange Pumice Bar Hand Soap, 5.75 oz. Bar= $1.95

I'm citing the price for each item including the 15% discount that you'd get with 5 items which is the point here.

I try to list a variety of items so you'll have a better chance of seeing something on this list that you'd actually get use out of so its not just bought and wasted.

Warning :  If you use items off this list then make sure to watch them and cancel your subscription if you no longer want them or if the prices go up.   The cheap items I find seem to change pretty quickly so they may have large price hikes or be removed from the subscribe and save program.

Prices change!   Note the list will get out of date within days or weeks.  I'll probably post a newer list before all of the above items are gone or have price increases.  But if you can't find something good here you can always go to Amazon and search for Subscribe & Save and sort based on prices and poke around to find something cheap to use as a filler.

I've discussed before how you can get a  better discount on Amazon Subscribe and Save purchases if you order 5 items at once.  However if you don't buy a lot of stuff then it can be hard to come up with a 5 item order.   However if your products are worth enough then it can be worth it to add some filler items to get up to 5 items to get the 15% discount. 

Say for example, you want to buy a couple cases of Pampers Swaddlers Diapers  that run $45.97 each with a normal purchase.   With Subscribe and save you'd get a 5% get the price down to $43.67.    But if you have 5 items in your S&S order then it is only $36.78 or a $6.89 savings.   And if you're buying two of those then thats double or $13.78.    Adding the 4 cheapest items listed here to the S&S order would only cost you $4.99 total with the 5 item discount so its worth buying those items to get you a net savings of $8.79.

Note if you don't want the filler items and only use them to get a 5 item discount then you can of course always give away the food items to someone you know or donate them to the local food bank.

--This article may contain referral links which pay this site a commission for purchases made at the sites.

August 7, 2016

I've Made $140 In The Past 12 Months With American Express Offers

I've been watching Amex Offers and trying to take advantage of them whenever I see a deal thats useful for me.   In total I've gotten $140 back through the deals in the past 12 months.

I searched my Blue Cash cards activity for the past 12 months August 1 2015 to August 1 2016 and below are all the cash rewards that I've gotten :

Staples = $25
Jet = $20
Boxed = $20
Amazon = $15
Boxed = $15
Jet = $10
T-mobile = $26
Pharmaca = $5
Shutterfly = $4

For the Staples deal I bought a gift card that we'd have used anyway.    The other stores were purchases for items we'd buy normally.  

There are a bunch more offers on my card right now.  Here's a sample :
Olive Garden = Get $10 back for spending $50 or more
Oriental Trading company = Get $10 back for spending $50 or more = Get $80 for spending $500
Gap store brands = Get $10 for spending $50 (in store only)
California Pizza Kitchen = Get $10 for spending $40
Sheraton Hotels = Get $50 for spending $250

You may or may not have those deals.  The offers vary and its YMMV as to who gets which offers.

I doubt I'll use any of those.   The offer is something we might use but I don't think its likely.   The most recent trip we booked didn't have any hotels of interest at AmexTravel in the  city we're going to.


August 5, 2016

Best of Blogs for Week of August 5th

Every Friday afternoon I share some of the more interesting or notable posts that I have seen in the personal finance blogs and other sources for the past week

MyMoneyBlog discusses Funeral Price Comparison Website


Download Hay Day for $10 of Free Apps on Amazon Appstore

Amazon has a promo right now giving away $10 in free credit for their Appstore.   You have to get  the Hay Day game to get the credit.    It can take 2 days to get the credit.   The credit is only good for Apps in the Amazon Appstore.    But they have some good games and other apps there that cost money so this is a way to get some apps for free.

Specifics of the deal from Amazon: 
"For a limited time, customers who download Hay Day from Amazon Appstore between August 1, 2016 and August 31, 2016 will receive a $10 credit toward purchase of digital content in Amazon Appstore. Only customers who have not previously downloaded Hay Day from Amazon Appstore are eligible for this offer. Please note, it may take up to 48 hours for you to receive an e-mail confirming that the $10 Amazon credit has been applied to your account."

Note the Appstore is Android only, no iphone.

--This article may contain referral links which pay this site a commission for purchases made at the sites.

August 4, 2016

Americans Are Not All Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Over at The Simple Dollar they posted an article titled : Instant Gratification: Why 76% of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck and How You Can Beat That Cycle with 12 Simple Strategies
That 76% number seemed awfully high.    Way too high.  Unbelievably high.     But there is a survey that claimed that figure of course.   Here is a reference to the survey in a CNN article 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck.   They say its an survey from Bankrate.    I found that survey : 76% of Americans Don't Have Enough Emergency Savings and I quote :

"Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) have enough savings to cover at least six months' expenses"
Having less than 6 months expenses is not "living paycheck to paycheck".    6 months of living expenses is actually a pretty healthy emergency fund.    Living paycheck to paycheck would mean you have less than a months expenses in savings.

The Bankrate article goes on to say: "Exactly half have less than three months' expenses saved up, and 27% have no emergency savings whatsoever."

Bankrate also has a page with charts on the topic.    We can find a little more data there.

Their survey found that the breakdown of emergency savings is :

No savings 27%
Less than 3 months 23%
3 to 5 months 21%
6 months or more 24%
no answer 6%

If you've got over a month savings then you're not really living "paycheck to paycheck" in my opinion.   So I'd say that really somewhere between 27% and 50% are  living "paycheck to paycheck".    Its probably more like 40% who really have under a month in savings.   But that doesn't even mean that 40% are living "paycheck to paycheck" since "savings" isn't the only way to have money.     I'm sure there are people with a pile of money in stocks or other assets but with less than a months cash in a savings account.    Such people may just rely on credit cards or other lines of credit for emergency expenses that might exceed a months spending.  

As another data point I also found the Federal Reserve topic Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. (full report)   and they said : "When asked if they have set aside an emergency or rainy day fund that would cover three months of expenses, nearly half of respondents (47 percent) indicate that they do."   Which agrees with the Bankrate figure on that matter.


August 3, 2016

Everyone Didn't Use To Work For The Same Company For Forty Years Until Retirement

There is a belief it seems that in the "olden days" that people would start a job at some company and then work for that company for the next 40 years and then retire.   This picture is capped with a retirement party and the worker getting their golden watch retirement gift.    Nowadays though the belief is that its typical for workers to bounce between employers every few years.

Nobody in my family I know of ever worked for the same employer more than maybe 10 or 15 years.   Nobody worked for the same company their whole working life.   Of course this is just anecdotal but leads me to wonder if this picture of the typical worker putting in 30-40 years with one business is really typical at all.

I found this report by ERBI : Employee Tenure Trend Lines, 1983–2010

Here's how the tenure of male workers looks over history:

(click image for full size)

Its certainly down from the peaks in the 50's.   But it didn't go from 40 years to 5 years.
I don't see data going back before 1951.     I'm assuming that the lower tenure rate for 1951 is a result of WWII.   During WWII a large portion of working age men were occupied in the war effort.   So a larger percentage of men would have changed or started work at different companies after the war was over.

The trend looks different for women.   Its almost the opposite with all the lines trending up over time.

There is also a Bloomberg article that discusses the same data : Sticking With the Same Job Isn't Out of Style

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