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When you want to travel determines when you’ll find the cheapest airline tickets

by Mitch Strohm on April 06, 2015

If you’re shopping for a great deal on a plane ticket, the best time to book depends on when you’ll be traveling.

During off-peak season, on average, you’ll get the best prices on domestic fares 47 days before takeoff, according to a recent report from CheapAir.com.

For summer travel – June to August – 76 days out is the average target for the cheapest airline tickets.

And if you’re traveling during holiday seasons, the earlier the better. Booked 320 days in advance, air fares for peak-season travel were just $8 more than their lowest price point.

In order to get those averages, the online airfare shopping engine tracked nearly 1.5 billion trips in 15,000 markets and recorded the lowest fare for each trip every day from 320 days in advance up until one day before departure.

Of course, those averages are just a guide. For individual trips, it really depends on your destination, the time of year, and the days you’re traveling, notes CheapAir.
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The secrets to saving $1 million in your 401(k)

by Mitch Strohm on March 30, 2015


If you’re striving to save for retirement take some cues from the 401(k) millionaires over at Fidelity Investments.

According to recent Fidelity data, 72,379 of its 13 million 401(k) accounts now have balances of over $1 million.

That’s more than twice as many as in 2012.

And while the average annual compensation for these individuals was $359,000, between 1,000 and 1,200 of them made under $150,000.

How’d they save $1 million or more?

These individuals average 60 years old and had been with the same company for somewhere around 30 years. So stability at work is key.

But it’s not just one thing that these individuals did. It’s a lot of different things.
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Cord-Cutter Alert: Cheap new app pushes cable TV one step closer to obsolescence

by Mitch Strohm on March 23, 2015

If you loathe cable TV (and who doesn’t?), there’s now another, cheaper alternative for all of you aspiring cord-cutters.

Sling TV, a subsidiary of Dish Networks, is the newest streaming TV service on the block, and it seems to be a viable replacement for cable, especially if you only watch a handful of channels.

The company’s motto: “Take Back TV.”

For $20 a month, the service allows its subscribers to watch cable on demand from their television sets, smartphones and tablets.

You’ll get 14 channels: ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey and Galavision.

For an extra $5 a month, you can watch live NBA, NFL, college basketball, college football and some soccer games — think March Madness and the NBA All-Star Game. You can also add a kid channel package ($5) and a news package (another $5).
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Where to find the highest pay, lowest cost of living

by Mitch Strohm on June 02, 2014


We often hear people say things like, “I’d be able to save more, if I lived in a cheaper city.”

But a lower cost of living usually means lower paying jobs, too.

So here’s the question you should be asking yourself: Which cities have the best balance of high pay and low cost of living?

National Public Radio recently put out a really cool interactive chart that answers that question.

It lets you see how far the typical paycheck really goes in 365 U.S. cities.
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Stop guessing about how much you’ll spend on gas

by Mitch Strohm on May 26, 2014


If you’re planning a summer road trip here’s a quick and easy way to see how much the gas will cost.

FuelEconomy.gov, the official government source for fuel economy information, recently released My Trip Calculator.

It’s a nifty tool that provides the best route and estimates your fuel costs based on whatever you’ll be driving, all in one spot.

The precision of this calculator is a real revelation for me because my typical trip planning goes something like this:

“Let’s see, I’m driving about about 300 miles, I’ll get about 30 miles per gallon and gas costs about $3 a gallon, so this trip will cost (pause for the mental math) about $30.”

Then I’m shocked when I spend twice that much.
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Manage your life like a CFO

by Mitch Strohm on May 05, 2014

If you want to save money, you’ve got to manage your life much like the chief financial officer runs the company where you work.

J.D. Roth of the personal finance blog “Get Rich Slowly” just launched a course that can help you do just that.

The course aims to help you eliminate debt, master your money and achieve financial independence.

It includes a 52-week email series with the best lessons from the Get Rich Slowly blog and a 120-page guide called “Be Your Own CFO” with supplementary downloads.

You’ll also find interviews with well-known individuals in the personal finance sector including Jim Wang (the creator of Bargaineering), Ramit Sethi, Pat Flynn, Jean Chatzky, Gretchen Rubin, Mr. Money Mustache, Paula Pant and Adam Baker, to name a few.

After taking a year off, Roth realized that there was an aspect of personal finance he hadn’t yet tackled.

“I think it’s imperative that people understand that they are responsible for building their own financial future,” he says.

It’s easy to sit back and take advice from your real-estate agent, broker, banker, family and friends, but Roth notes that the advice isn’t always geared toward your best interests.
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Always buy the biggest pizza…That’s why God created freezers…And big ziplock bags

by Mitch Strohm on March 17, 2014

We suspect you don’t really need another reason to buy a bigger pizza.

But if you do, here’s a great one: You’ll get more pizza for your money if you go with the larger pie.
Quoctrung Bui of Planet Money recently studied this after noticing something while eating lunch with an engineer.

Though the engineer claimed not to be very hungry, he ordered the 12-inch medium pizza instead of the 8-inch small. His reasoning: The medium was more than twice as big as the small and only cost a bit more.

The math of why the bigger pizza is a better deal is straightforward. The area of a circle, the pizza in this case, increases with the square of the radius.
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