Reviews Column

Whether it’s latest book, high yield bank account, stock brokerage, or financial service or product, I try to review as many products as I can so that you don’t have to waste your money buying stuff that isn’t worth it. In general I’m a very forgiving reviewer, I’m just a laid back kinda guy, but I’m also a very frugal one, so I won’t recommend that you buy something unless it’s really worth the price.


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WalletHub review: Free credit scoring and monitoring

Wallethub review

With credit such an important part of our lives, it’s frustrating not to know where you stand.

Is your credit good enough to get approved for the loan you want? Has someone stolen your identity after your personal information was compromised in a major data breach?

WalletHub’s completely free credit scoring and credit monitoring service can help answer these questions.

But is it worth your time? Use this WalletHub review to guide your decision.


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eBay app review and 6 tips to sell on eBay

eBay app review

If you’ve recently sorted and decluttered your home, you likely have a few (or more) piles of items to get rid of. Before setting up a neighborhood garage sale, it’s worth considering what you could bring in by selling those old collections online with the eBay app.

While eBay is not new to the online scene, it’s now easier than ever to use: with the eBay app, you can quickly list what you want to sell and then track the sales process.

The eBay app has had more than 282 million downloads worldwide, according to the eBay site.
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7 stores with an excellent return policy

Woman at a store with an excellent return policy.

After my mother passed, I was cleaning out her basement when I found a pair of new shoes in a Nordstrom box. These shoes had never touched the pavement and still sported the original price tag. I’d never returned anything to Nordstrom before, but I did to see if what all my friends said about their return policy was true. Indeed it was. They gave me a full refund with no questions asked.

Although most stores have a return policy in writing on their site, you can always ask if they’ll take back something that falls outside their policy. If the store prides itself on satisfied customers, it will usually try to accommodate you.

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How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio by Ben Stein

How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio by Ben SteinMost people of my generation know Ben Stein as the monotone voiced teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and then host for Win Ben Stein’s Money with Jimmy Kimmel (he won five Daytime Emmy awards!), but his first success was as a speechwriter for President Nixon and Ford. He’s since done a lot of speaking, on economic and social issues, and was most recently in the news for saying taxes were too low while on Fox & Friends (Stein is a Republican).

He recently came out with a book titled How to Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio by Ben Stein in which he injects a little humor and straight talk to many topics in personal finance and investing. The book is extremely easy to read but be careful, they’re all written tongue in cheek and you should do the opposite of all of them.

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There Are No Dumb Questions About Money by Liz Pulliam Weston

Liz Weston-No Dumb Questions About MoneyMost of us have questions about money. How can I build my credit? What can I do to pay for college? What should I look for in a financial advisor? Some of us may even feel as though the questions we have about money are a little stupid.

Liz Pulliam Weston, one of the foremost experts on money, and a popular personal finance columnist, believes that there are no dumb questions about money. Indeed, she tackles some of the most common questions about money — and provides practical answers to them — in her latest book, There Are No Dumb Questions About Money.

This latest book from Liz is actually a collection of some of her Q&A columns. If you have a question about how to manage money more effectively, chances are that you can find the answer in this book.

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Lending Club PRIME Review

One of the big stories in the last few years has been the rise of peer to peer lending sites. I haven’t written as much about them on Bargaineering because I’m not allowed to invest! Only residents of certain states are allowed to invest at Lending Club and, unfortunately, Maryland is not on the list. 🙁

That said, I still like to keep up to date on what’s happening and it turns out that Lending Club has a “mutual fund” type of managed investing option called Prime. (they also have some private funds for accredited investors, I’m speaking with someone about that too… look for a review of that in the future) While many people are familiar with the process of using Lending Club, and what the site offers, many are unfamiliar with the fact that there is a “prime” option.

Lending Club PRIME provides investors with a minimum investment amount the opportunity to take advantage of a different service — one in which Lending Club takes care of your note investing for you.

(click here to continue reading…)

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Credit Sesame Mobile App Review

Credit SesameLast week, we reviewed Credit Karma’s iPhone app. As it turns out, Credit Sesame, a similar service, also has an app that’s available on iPhone and Android. To recap, Credit Karma and Credit Sesame are similar services at their core. Whereas Credit Sesame offers you a credit score from Experian, Credit Karma offers you a score from TransUnion. They have similar monetization strategies – earning revenue off the offers they present given your credit report data. The big difference is how Credit Sesame integrates your home into the whole picture, whereas Credit Karma largely ignores it (outside of seeing your mortgage).

I see value in using both services because one gives you a way to monitor your Experian report (Credit Sesame) while the other gives you the ability to monitor your TransUnion report (Credit Karma).

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Review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, Jr.

Dave Ramsey has helped many Americans turn their financial lives around with his cash based approach to money. Can’t pay cash? Then Ramsey says you can’t afford it. His debt snowball turned typical financial wisdom around, urging consumers to pay off their smallest debts first rather than the one with the highest interest rate.

However, Dave Ramsey intends to help more than just American adults. With his Financial Peace, Jr. kit, targeted for children ages 3 to 12, he seeks to also educate children about finances.

My son was a spendthrift who begged for money all the time, so one step we took, in addition to making him work for his money, was to buy him Financial Peace, Jr. Overall, I highly recommend the kit, especially for kids ages 6 to 9, but it does have some downsides.

The kit includes:
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