Money Ventures

My current obsession with getting our financial house in order is pushing me closer to creating a “12 Money Tips” category to go along with 12 Books and 12 Beers. Ah, what the heck, I might as well just do it and see what comes of it. I went back and updated my “Stupid Human Tricks” post about online savings accounts so that it is the first tip.
As an update to that post, we opened up our HSBC account pretty much the same day I wrote that post. I also set up a direct deposit of about 10% of my paycheck to go into that account. The first month’s worth of interest was only around $10, but that’s a third of what we earned in our regular savings all of last year!
I’m still looking for other ways to maximize our money working for us. I found out that Presidential Bank is local to us here in the DC area and has a big online presence. Their rates are extremely competitive, and they even offer 4.50% on their checking accounts (with a minimum average daily balance of $1000). Plus, they meet Lisa’s requirements of being able to write real checks and receiving paper statements (unlike ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking). I am seriously considering the pros and cons of switching over to them, so feel free to let me know your thoughts.
Finally, one of the ways I am picking up all of this newfound knowledge is through blog reading. I’ve already added a couple worth reading to my blogroll (see my highly organized blogroll on the right side of my blog). In addition to Consumerism Commentary, where I picked up the first tip on online savings account, I also enjoy reading Five Cent Nickel (who incidentally is running an iPod giveaway to celebrate two years of blogging). The author has a bunch of tips on how to get “free” money. My favorite, yet most frightening, is using 0% balance transfer credit card offers to earn free interest. The way it works is you sign up for one of the credit cards with a 0% balance transfer offer. Usually they give you 12 months to pay it off. Only the catch is, you’re not actually transferring a balance, you just request for them to send you a check so that you can pay off your bills, and then plunk that check into one of the aforementioned savings accounts, or safe investment vehicle of your choice, and let it earn you money for the next year. Theoretically, if you have the balls to do it, you could make $1000 by doing nothing but requesting a $25,000 balance transfer on one of these cards. So there you go, money tip #2: make money off 0% balance transfers. Since I missed out on giving a tip in April, I will give you another tip later this week on how to better keep track of your money, which is one of the goals I have set for myself this year. I will be sharing other goals as I progress along this new track, so I hope you enjoy following along.