Author Archive | Matt Bell

The Uncle Sam Savings Plan

Are you among the 75 percent of federal income tax filers who’ll get a refund this year? If so, the government is making it easier to deposit the money straight into a savings account where you won’t be tempted to spend it. According to a story on _MSNBC_, the refund can even be split and […]

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Protect Your ID, Save the Planet

Got junk mail? Everyone does – an average of nearly 11 pieces each week. Some of it can tempt us to buy more than we should. Some of it even puts us at risk of identity theft, such as credit card offers that fall into the wrong hands. Recent articles from _Marketwatch_ and _SmartMoney_ suggested […]

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’til 200,000 Miles Do Us Part

Looking for ways to free up some cash? Look no further than your driveway. As was pointed out in a recent _MSN_ article, the average U.S. household spends a whopping $8,000 a year on transportation. That includes car payments, insurance, gas, repairs, and public transportation. h3(matt). Matt’s View p(matt). Breaking the cycle of financing cars […]

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1a Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to celebrate the people we love.  It’s also a good reminder to celebrate the One who came up with the idea of love in the first […]

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The Cost of Zero Percent Financing

These days, zero percent financing “deals” can be found on everything from trucks to TVs. But it’s important to read the fine print. According to a story in the _Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune_, the prices on some such items are often inflated to help retailers make up for lost financing charges. Or, they come with […]

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Cake, Candles, and Sanity

A new organization is trying to help parents stop the one-upmanship associated with many of today’s children’s birthday parties. As reported by the _Associated Press_, was formed by a group of “concerned parents and professionals” to address the excesses they say have led to kids feeling stressed, envious, and entitled. Its web site lists some […]

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Shopping for Opportunities to Give

We’re all accustomed to shopping for things to buy, whether flipping through the latest catalog that came in the mail or browsing the aisles of our favorite stores. But have you ever “shopped” for ideas about where to make charitable donations? The _Chicago Tribune_ recently profiled , an organization described as “a sort of philanthropic […]

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Where the Real Savings Are

It makes sense to manage even the smallest day-to-day expenses, but if you really want to maximize your money, look to your big-ticket items. That’s the message of an article in the February issue of _Money_ magazine, which said that trade-offs in what you drive (think Honda instead of Acura), where your kids go to […]

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Investing in Relationships

In the last issue of _Matt About Money_, I wrote about a financial planner who suggested an unusual New Year’s resolution: “Buy a really nice gift for your spouse.” His point, and I agree, is that relationships matter most. I asked readers what’s one way they could invest in a relationship that really matters to […]

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No Regrets

The ability to delay gratification is one of the hallmarks of a wise money manager. That’s what it takes to build savings instead of indulging in all of the “must-have” items we see advertised. However, an interesting piece on _Yahoo! Finance_ recently focused on the regret of putting off fun purchases too long. Columbia University […]

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