Personal Finance 
48
comments

No Law Requires Acceptance of US Currency

CoinsTake any bill out of your wallet, notice the little “Federal Reserve Note” written in the ribbon at the top of the bill? You may have heard that it’s considered legal tender and that you are required to accept it as payment.

As it turns out, while the Coinage Act of 1965 states that “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues,” there is no such law that requires anyone to accept them. Section 31 U.S.C. 5103 of the act only states that the coins and currency are considered legal tender, but a business has the option must accept it as payment.

So the next time you want to “get back” at a business by paying in pennies, they are legally allowed to tell you to pound sand.

(Photo: r-z)


 NEWS 
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New $100 Bill

New $100 FrontIf you’ve wondered why Benjamin Franklin’s expression on the $100 bill never changes, it’s because he’s been getting regular botox injections. He would love to show emotion, but unfortunately he can’t. This year, he’ll be getting a little more work done, his first since 1996.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has created site with interactive tools that showcases the security features of the new $100 bill or you can check out their PDF explaining everything in great detail.

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 Personal Finance 
16
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Converting Old European Currency to New Euros

EurosCan you believe the euro has been around for almost eight years? I didn’t realize it’s been that long until I read a Bankrate question about options for converting old European currency (there aren’t many). That page referenced a University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business page that has anything and everything you could possible want to know about the Euro conversion, from a timeline to conversion rates to the Maastricht criteria, the criteria a country must meet to be eligible to convert to the euro.

The big lesson I learned was that the conversion rate from the old legacy currency to the euro is fixed forever and that you may have a deadline on converting notes and coins. For example, you can no longer convert the coinage of Belgium, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Portugal. There’s also a deadline on converting paper currency from Greece, France, Netherlands, Portugal, and Finland.

Here’s are the deadlines (includes ones for the recent additions):
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 Personal Finance 
8
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Don’t Forget the Big Picture

Magnifying GlassOne of the things I learned whenever I drew up our financial network map was that I had a lot of bank accounts, mostly high interest savings accounts at online banks. FNBO Direct, Dollar Savings Direct, HSBC Direct, ING Direct, and E*Trade for starters and that was after we closed accounts at Emigrant Direct and Virtual Bank.

There are many reasons why I have so many bank accounts, and I’ll explain that some other time, but the point of this post is that it’s easy to forget the big picture whenever you’re dealing with the nitty gritty of daily affairs.

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 Personal Finance 
14
comments

Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees

One of the most important lessons you can teach your children is the importance of money. While we don’t have any kids yet, it has been a topic on my mind so I defer to these highly rated books for guidance:

Raising Money Smart KidsRaising Money Smart Kids: What They Need to Know about Money and How to Tell Them by Janet Bodnar is published by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, one of the most respected personal finance magazines today. Bodnar is Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s deputy editor, mother of three children, and nationally recognized as an expert in family finances and teaching children about money.



Silver Spoon KidsSilver Spoon Kids : How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children by Eileen Gallo, Jon Gallo, and Kevin Gallo is a different kind of family finances book. It focuses on how to raise kids if you are in an affluent family and was written in the dot-com boom era (2001). While money has been tighter these days, I think that it covers the important topic of “trying to give your children everything,” which applies to both the affluent and less affluent.



Money Doesn't Grow On TreesMoney Doesn’t Grow On Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children by Neale Godfrey and Carolina Edwards is a book from 1994, available for just a few dollars (plus shipping). How could I forget the book that is the namesake of this post? This book teaches timeless lessons about family finances and teaching kids about the value of money and personal values. If it applied in 1994, it’ll apply today (children haven’t changed that much!


 Personal Finance 
25
comments

The Secret About Money…

When you spend your days like this:



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 Personal Finance 
5
comments

Free Consumer Information Guides from the Federal Citizen Information Center

Consumer Action HandbookI just learned that it’s National Consumer Protection Week and the featured resource is the very book I mention below, the Consumer Action Handbook!

Did you know that the U.S. General Services Administration’s Federal Citizen Information Center offers hundreds of publications that you, as a consumer, could benefit from? Each year, they send out a catalog of their pamphlets and booklets and I received mine last week. I now receive it because I once ordered a copy of their Consumer Action Handbook, yet another entirely free publication. I never order anything because all the documents are available online (and if it’s available online, why waste the paper printing it out and the fuel on shipping it to me?).

Let’s take a look at some of the publications in their “Cars” category:
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 Banking 
70
comments

Busting Cashback Tiers with Mint’s $1 Coin Direct Ship Program

My wife’s first credit card was Blue Cash by American Express because it offered 5% cashback on many of the things she bought. For those who went as far as to read the fine print, you’ll recognize that you can earn up to 5% cashback. The card works off the tier system where you don’t get the highest 5% cashback reward rate until you’ve reached a certain amount of spending each year. For some, the tiers are trivial. For others, the tiers are onerus. Here’s a great way to bust through them and make them almost irrelevant.

Buy money.
(Click to continue reading…)


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