Reviews 
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Review: The Education of an American Dreamer by Peter G. Peterson

The Education of an American Dreamer: How A Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way From a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street, and Beyond. by Peter G. PetersonThe Education of an American Dreamer: How A Son of Greek Immigrants Learned His Way From a Nebraska Diner to Washington, Wall Street, and Beyond. by Peter G. Peterson (quite a title!) is an autobiography and I don’t think I’ve read a autobiography in years. But when I was approached by a publicist and asked if I was interested in reading the story of Peter G. Peterson, founder of the Blackstone Group, I agreed. The Blackstone Group is a private equity firm that manages close to $95 billion assets, as of the end of 2008. While they’ve been adversely affected by the economy, like every other person in the US, they recently announced that they would continue to pay out its dividend for the year and the stock surged. The Blackstone Group is famous and you can read more about it on Wikipedia (of course!).

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 Credit 
52
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8 Reasons Credit Cards Beat Debit Cards

Debit Card hologramThis may be sacrilegious to say, as a personal finance blogger, but I’ve never been a fan of debit cards.

I’m biased though. I think I prefer credit over debit because because I’ve never been in credit card debt. I’ve never been on the business end of the tactics used by the credit card industry. I credit to a fear that my mom would be angry with me, rather than my own self-restraint, but either way I have never paid a penny of interest to a credit card company. :)

That being said, here are eight reasons why I think that credit cards are better than debit cards, which I hope you’ll enjoy arguing with me in the comments!

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 Investing 
37
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Scottrade Review

For years, I’ve heard good things about Scottrade (mostly from people defending Scottrade in this guest post) but never tried them. I mostly use E*Trade because of their high yield savings account and TradeKing because of their low commissions. Since I don’t have that much to invest, it doesn’t really benefit me to open up all these broker accounts just to put a few dollars here or there.

However, since Scottrade doesn’t have any account maintenance fees and a low minimum ($500), I thought I’d give them a look to see what the fuss was about.

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 Travel 
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7 Reasons to Skip Hotels & Rent Vacation Homes

Vacation homes rock!Bankrate had an article recently in which they recommended renting a home or condo to trim vacation costs. While I very much value the opinion of the fine folks at Bankrate, that’s good advice that’s about decades overdue.

At the very least, it’s five years overdue, because my friends and I have been doing this for at least that long. In fact, it was the topic of discussion one day at Meals on Wheels and when one of the other volunteers remarked that they had been renting vacation homes for decades.

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 Personal Finance 
12
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Playing House: Prepare By Pretending

Tea Party inside a dollhouseWhen we were looking at houses a few years ago, I was paying about $600 a month in rent. I was splitting a $1189 per month, 2-bedroom apartment with a friend and my half was a little less than half. $600 a month in rent is fantastic in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area and I was thrilled to be able to save up some cash for a house, despite housing prices soaring back then. So, when I started looking, the prospect of paying a $1500 mortgage was downright scary.

That’s when I learned the technique of “pretending” as a way of preparing yourself for major purchases. I should “pretend” I currently have that mortgage and see how it affects my financial situation.

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 Reviews 
5
comments

397 Ways to Save Money by Kerry Taylor

397 Ways to Save Money by Kerry TaylorThree hundred, ninety seven ways to save money. That’s a lot of ways!

397 Ways to Save Money by Kerry Taylor is a book that has exactly what you think it’ll have, nearly four hundred ways to save money in almost every aspect of your life. I’m a big fan of books like this because they’re very “referency.” You won’t read it cover to cover, but you can pick it up every day and flip through it for ideas and inspiration.

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 Credit 
10
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Credit Card Diversification

Thick stack of credit cardsIn a recent episode of the Personal Finance Hour, JD and I had the great pleasure of interviewing Liz Pulliam Weston about credit and credit scores. We talked about a lot of thing but one subject I wanted to repeat was that of credit card diversification.

Credit card diversification means you should have multiple cards from multiple issuers so that if something “bad” were to happen at one, you aren’t significantly affected. I have several credit cards for cashback reasons and they, by luck, happen to be from several issuers. I have an AMEX TrueEarnings, a Citi mtvU card, and several others I use infrequently. Why should you have several?

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 Personal Finance 
18
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Pausing Your Netflix Subscription

Netflix Thumbs UpDid you know that you could pause your Netflix subscription?

We’ll be going on vacation for parts of July and August and won’t be able to take advantage of our Netflix subscription. Rather than canceling the subscription, Netflix offers an option where you can put the subscription on hold for 7 – 90 days. During that time, the subscription will be suspended, you won’t be able to watch anything, you won’t be sent any DVDs, and you’ll be required to return any rented DVDs within 7 days or be charged for them.

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