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How to Hire Contractors who Won’t Blow up Your House


Thinking about adding some weather-stripping to your house this winter? Need roof patching or a furnace tune up? Do not try to save money by hiring a non-licensed contractor or someone who is not qualified for the job. Even licensed contractors make huge mistakes sometimes, and knowing what to look out for could save you […]

Advice for Winning $500 Million

If you win a lot of money, take time before spending it (and get some professional help).

Like a lot of people this week, my wife and I have been seduced by the media attention surrounding the half-billion dollar Powerball lottery prize – the nation’s second biggest lotto jackpot ever. And so, last night, we bought a single $2 ticket. Not so much for the odds of winning all that money (statistically, […]

How To Budget For Holiday Shopping If You Haven’t Saved For Gifts


No money for Christmas gifts this year? Get a plan, opt out when you can, and don’t get so caught up in holiday spirit that you forget your other goals. Here’s how to stretch your budget and get the most presents for your buck.

Holiday Gifts for Every Budget

Brain teasers or action figures to adorn the cubicle are great gifts for coworkers.

Holiday gift buying has always been particularly anxiety-fraught for me; my mother raised me to believe if it is the thought of a gift that counts, much thought should go into every gift. In a universe of millions of products, finding a perfect thingamajig that each of your recipients will actually use and appreciate is […]

Using Credit Carefully to Weather Tough Times

If you don't have savings to weather tough times, credit cards may be a lifeline -- if you're careful.

There are several disconnects between financial advice and financial reality that annoy me. One such disconnect revolves around the advice to NEVER carry a credit card balance. No credit card debt, no problem. It’s abstinence-only financial education. The reality, however, is that lots of us know borrowing against credit cards isn’t wise, but we do […]

♥ & $: Banning Black Friday and Other Lessons Learned Along the Way

Black Friday used to be a time to enjoy someone's company, dress up, and enjoy shopping. No more.

It was a tradition, something my mother and I did together on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We would spend the morning leisurely perusing the sales and then have lunch at I. Magnin’s, the august department store at the base of Union Square in San Francisco. My mother always insisted I put on my best Sunday […]

Smart Shopping: 8 Tips for Savvier Black Friday Shopping

Shopping on Black Friday

Editor’s note: We have a love/hate relationship with the madness of holiday shopping. On the one hand, shopping sales can net you more stuff for less cash. On the other, submitting to grating ads, ever-earlier store openings, and panic-inducing crowds is hardly a pleasant way to spend our precious time. Today and tomorrow we’ll explore […]

Rational Investing: Why I Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff

Since the crash of 2009, the S&P 500 has returned 81 percent; gains that only went to investors who stayed in the game.

The media loves a good dramatic story. As they say “If it bleeds, it leads”. That motto isn’t just about physical violence, it can also apply to a bleeding economy. When you hear something on the news keep in mind that it’s on the news because it’s rare, and probably awful. Don’t let the media knock your investment strategy off course.

Car Dealer Secrets: Four Questions To Ask Before You Buy An Extended Auto Warranty

Extended auto warranties are like insurance policies for your car's mechanics.

When I was a kid I went along with my father and watched him buy things like televisions, furniture, and even a few cars. He was a shrewd buyer and I remember being impressed how quickly and firmly he said NO to any sort of extended warranty. He taught me to buy quality products; after […]

Why We Both Went Back To Work After Having Kids

Deciding to become a stay-at-home mom or dad after having kids is a big decision.

The decision to return to work can be tough one. If you have the option to stay home it can be tough to decide to go back to work after having kids. Here’s our thought process on the matter and why we both decided to return to work full time