PinchingPennies

Saving money to pay off student loans and consumer debt

ING Direct Closed Our Account!

Apparently they will not allow their customers to live outside the United States. Who knew? That is fine, the husband called trying to get access to our money and they decided to go ahead and transfer it back to our checking account at another bank. They got wind that we were moving to Europe and promptly closed the account.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | savings | , | 1 Comment

Seattle Rejects the Grocery Bag Tax

Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean being anti-environment. In fact, in a lot of ways they can be complimentary. Whether it is saving money on diapers by using cloth or hanging your clothes outside to dry, it is good for the wallet and the planet.

Seattle recently voted on whether or not to tax disposable grocery bags and in the end, the plastic bag lobby won out with a ‘no’ vote.

My family has been using cloth bags for years to reduce the amount of paper or plastic we are adding to the landfill but it also saves us some money. And it should. Grocery stores don’t offer up disposable bags from the bottom of their heart, they add a charge for them onto the cost of the groceries. The stores we shop at generally offer a $.05 to $.10 credit for each reusable bag that we bring. At the end of the transaction, the clerk reduces our end bill by the number of bags we bring multiplied by the amount of the credit.

Now most stores offer reusable bags for $1 a bag. Those things are generally tough but I found canvas bags to be the most durable. One canvas bag that I’ve had since high school is now starting to fray on the handle. Not bad for 15 years of use. Search Craigslist or Freecycle for free ones and you can start saving and slow the growth of landfill trash today.

Love me some reusable bags. w00t!

August 19, 2009 Posted by | savings | , | Leave a comment

Investing Money – Finding the Best Rate

A new website, MoneyAisle, has banks compete for business by bidding for the best interest rate. Give the website a test spin by entering an initial deposit amount and state of residence. Also choose between a certificate of deposit (CD) or high yield interest savings account. To find out the name of the bank and see the terms, you need to register. The site claims all banks are FDIC insured, which I never thought was important until a year ago.

When I tried it out, the high yield savings account gave me an APY of 2.65% and a 6 month CD had an APY of 2.25%. The minimum deposit is $1000 for both the CD and savings accounts.

Takes some of the time out of the research.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | savings | , | Leave a comment

When To Not Discuss Finances

The husband approached me this morning talking about the CD rates at WAMU as I was pouring my first cup of coffee. He asked me if I had any extra money in savings because WAMU was offering such great rates on Certificates of Deposit. My response? Wait until the coffee has kicked in.

For the record, WAMU is offering CDs at the following rates in my area:

Terms (Months) Interest Rate2 Annual Percentage Yield (APY)3
6 1.98% 2.00%
8 4.17% 4.25%
12 4.89% 5.00%
13 4.89% 5.00%

18 3.93% 4.00%
24 3.93% 4.00%
36 3.93% 4.00%
48 4.07% 4.15%
60 4.41% 4.50%

I am not interested in tying up that much money for 12 months, if it was 6 months maybe but for 12 months no.

August 26, 2008 Posted by | savings | , , | Leave a comment

Savings Acct APY Going Up

WAMU is advertising a savings account with 3.75% APY if you open the account online. My checking account is with WAMU so every time I log in to do any banking, they have the APY of the savings account in big numbers, hoping I will sign up. Not long ago, WAMU offered only a 3.0% APY on the savings account so I guess the fact it is going up is a good thing.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | savings | , | Leave a comment

Buy an iPhone or be a Millionaire

The Joy of Tech cartoon depicting the decision to buy a new iPhone or invest the money and retire a millionaire.

The analysis of the computation is pretty interesting too. But is it accurate? It seems the big assumption is the interest rate of the index fund being 10%. This hasn’t been my experience for the last 8 years but maybe going forward…

July 21, 2008 Posted by | savings | , , | Leave a comment

Lowering the Electricity Bill

It is hot here and the AC is on virtually all the time. When I opened my electricity bill, I was in for a little surprise. It was not too high! The company we use have an Electricity Usage Summary that compares our current usage with last month and the same time last year. I don’t find the last month particularly helpful because the temperature difference is 15 degrees. This time last year and this year is a good comparison though.

At the same time last year we averaged 33 kWh per day where this year we averaged 33 kWh (slightly less if you divide total use by number of days) but the heat chart shows that this year has been hotter by an average of 8 degrees. Hurrah global warming. So I count last month as successful in saving electricity.

What have we done to save?

  • Turned down the AC to 80-82 degrees. Last year it was 76-78 degrees.
  • Closed the blinds and turned off the lights. I also covered a few windows with blankets to keep the light out.
  • Made more use of the ceiling fans. I read that using ceiling fans makes it feel a few degrees cooler than it is.

June 28, 2008 Posted by | savings | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Ways to Keep Your House Cool

An article on MSN has 25 cheap ideas to keep your house cool. I ran out to Home Depot and bought a new filter for the air conditioning. The old filter was disgusting and replacing it seems to have helped. I also started running the fans at night so I can keep the AC down a few degrees.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | savings | , | Leave a comment

Bed Bath and Beyond Accepts Expired Coupons

Today I really needed a garbage can with a lid. I thought to myself that I have about 10 coupons to Bed Bath and Beyond so I should just take one and go. The coupons I get in the mail for Bed Bath and Beyond are 20% off one item. Perfect! I only need one garbage can and those puppies can be pricey. When I looked around, the only coupons I could find expired 3 days ago.

The husband told me to call BB&B and ask if they’d accept the expired coupons. No way would they accept expired coupons but they told me they do! So I got 20% off my overpriced garbage can. Woo hoo!

May 30, 2008 Posted by | savings | , , | 1 Comment

Opening ING Direct Savings

After I deposited my tax refund, I opened an ING Direct savings account. Since I got a referral, they added $25 to my savings account for making an initial deposit of $250. I deposited $750 that will go toward paying off the WAMU credit card after the interest starts accruing in November. Until then I will be earning interest on the money. OK, very little interest given the current interest rates but still.

May 15, 2008 Posted by | Credit Cards, savings | , , | Leave a comment