Cars 
1
comments

Great Alternative Fuel Debate

Popular Mechanics put out a piece (it’s 8 “pages” long) comparing all the alternative fuels, making a case for them, a case against them, and their outlook for the fuels. The alternatives they take a peek out include Ethanol (E85), Methanol (M85), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Biodiesel, Electricity, Hydrogen, and used cooking oil. It’s an easy read and a good to way to get caught up on all the petrol alternatives out there and how viable each one is according to PM.

Oh, don’t miss this comparison chart (PDF).


 Cars, Personal Finance 
6
comments

Free Gallon of Gas in California, Just Run Out

Unbelievable. Gasoline is over $3 so motorists in California are taking advantage of a publicly funded patrol service that gives a free gallon of gas to those who run out. For three dollars worth of petrol, people are stranding themselves on the highway, wasting time, inhaling exhaust fumes, for a gallon of gasoline. Forget the part about how this is the most inefficient way to get gasoline because it’s publicly funded (they pay taxes, the taxes pay for a truck, a driver, administrative fees, maintenance on the truck, and then finally the gasoline… certainly that gallon is costing them more than $3), how little do these folks value their time?


 Credit, Personal Finance 
14
comments

Requested My First Balance Transfer

I signed up for both the Citi mtvU and the Citi Professional card a month or so ago and a few days ago I requested my first balance transfer check from mtvU to begin the 0% balance transfer arbitrage “game.”

One quick tip… always initiate the request online because if you call them they might tell you they can’t send you a check and you’ll have wasted a good thirty minutes of your life waiting and thirty good brain cells navigating those stupid menus. Just login online and look for the menu choice “Manage My Account,” go to “Balance Transfers,” then Request Transfer(s), and follow the easy to navigate menus. Be sure to double check that there are no finance fees assessed.

Giddiyup and good luck!

(anyone have any tips or suggestions about 0% BT’s that I should know?)


 Frugal Living, Personal Finance 
0
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20th Festival of Frugality

Festival of Frugality is a week away from legally being able to buy alcohol for minors, but until next week, you’ll have to settle for the 20th running over at Money Blog Network.

Wandering Indian Monk will be hosting next week’s compilation of frugal living so get your entries in early. There are two handy forms, one at the Conservative Cat and one at Blog Carnival. If you’re interested in hosting a future Festival of Frugality, please contact me after reading what this Festival is about. There’s a list of future hosts and the next available time slot as well as hosting requirements. Thanks and enjoy!


 Cars, Insurance, Shopping 
20
comments

Don’t Buy An Old Car

It’s classic personal finance advice: Buy used and let some other sucker pay the new car premium. So if buying a two year old car, used/certified preowned/whatever, will save you money then buying a four year old car should save you more, right? True. Then, buying an eight year old car will save you even more right? Umm… true. Then why not buy a sixteen year old car? My advice is to never purchase a car that’s long been out of its manufacturer’s warranty period (usually 36k, 3 years or 60k, 5 years) unless it’s from someone you know – say a friend or member of the family. Here’s why…

Diminishing Returns:
It’s common fact that a large percentage of a car’s value is lost when the car drives off the lot (it’s not 50% like the old adage goes, but it’s significant), that’s why they suggest you buy a used car. As the car drives along and experiences the wear and tear of driving, the car loses more and more value according to actuarial tables regardless of how badly or how nicely you operate it. There comes a point where the savings you reap from buying used are outweighed by the age of the car and the investment you’ll need to make to keep the vehicle on the road. I believe that trade off period is somewhere in the 3-5 year range. (remember that a 2003 Civic was definitely manufactured and likely sold in 2002)

(Click to continue reading…)


 Career 
3
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Use Your Summer Internship

After my freshman year of college I was hooked up by a friend of mine’s father, who also hooked up his son and another friend of ours, with a software development job at a company called Periphonics, later bought out by Nortel Networks. It was a good experience, working at a relatively large company (i.e. not a startup), but I always felt that the level of enthusiasm, sense of ownership and the desire to conquer simply wasn’t present at a large company… hence my joining a startup the next summer (that is now bankrupt!). Summer internships are about learning and having fun so…

If you’re moving towards a summer job, first you want to read this article by Ben Bleikamp about how you should skip the traditional summer internship (no longer available) and then, once you’re convinced your time is better spent doing something interesting (use an internship to explore!), consider taking on an internship with Noah Kagan. Noah’s offered a bounty of $50 to the referrer of his eventual peon, and if it’s me then tell him to give you the $50 so you can get a decent shirt and a couple beers.


 General 
0
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Monopoly Here & Now Edition Open Voting

A CNN Money article made it sound like Monopoly was going to get a complete overhaul with the old version was going to go the way of the dinosaur. Actually, Hasbro is just putting out another edition, called Here & Now, where everything would be updated to reflect the current times. I’m glad they aren’t replacing the classic, just putting in another edition to join the hundreds of other college themed, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, blah blah editions out there. I think it’d be nice if they took the originally edition and simply updated the graphics, keeping everything else the same (like buying property for a hundred bucks).

If you want, you can vote on what cities will be where (the more popular, the higher the value, i.e. 1st place gets to be Boardwalk and Park Place). It’ll be fun to see how it all shakes out. Voting ends on May 12th.


 Banking 
13
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“Historical” Online Savings Interest Rate Comparison

Want to see an interesting comparison of the interest rates of HSBC, ING Direct, Virtual Bank, Emigrant Direct and the Federal Funds rate in a table and easy to understand chart? Me too. That’s why I stumbled onto a thread at Fatwallet Finance documenting the interest rates of all those savings accounts (there are a couple more that I omitted) I thought a graphical representation would be an interesting thing to see. Historical is in quotes because this only goes back to January ’05 so it’s not exactly History Channel type depth but I think it’ll suffice.

(Click to continue reading…)


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