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Many New Features Are Coming In 2012!

Submitted by vanpelt on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 11:17
Status Updates //

All of us at moneyStrands are excited and proud to have our money management solution featured in several articles focused on helping consumers manage their finances in the New Year! Thanks to all of our users and bloggers who have found the following features so useful:

Bill payment tracking and calendar
12 month budget plans
Automatic spend tracking and reporting
Low balance alerts

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The New and Improved moneyStrands Has Arrived

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 01/28/2011 - 16:53
Status Updates //

IMPORTANT UPDATE
We are making changes to our automatic account aggregation capability. As a result, beginning March 19th we will be pausing all automatic account aggregation for an extended period of time. During this time, only manual account aggregation will be supported on moneyStrands. For more information click here .

Today we are excited to unveil the new moneyStrands. As most of you know we’ve been working on this for the past year and we think you’ll find that it was worth the wait.

To highlight all the new changes, we’ve put together a short moneyStrands Tour video. If you prefer to read about our new changes, scroll down the page for all the details.


The first thing you may have noticed from our new homepage is that we’ve incorporated paid subscription plans for the service. I’m sure many of you are wondering why we would begin charging for a service that used to be free so I want to briefly explain.

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How to pay off holiday debt

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 18:55
Debt Managmeent //

I’ll admit, as much as I preach about spending less than you earn and planning your holiday budget in advanced, the holidays always seem to get me. So as the end of the month approaches and all my holiday bills begin coming in, I’ll be devising the best plan to pay it off.

While my holiday debt is manageable, it’s still important to me to find the best and fastest way to pay it off. If you’re facing the same problem, here are some tips to help you pay off that holiday debt a little quicker:

Find ways to cut back on expenses
Having debt means you may have to make some sacrifices when it comes to your discretionary spending. This can mean packing a lunch instead of going out to eat, turning down the heat to save on gas or cancelling your Netflix for a couple months. Depending on the size of your debt, you may be able to find enough extra cash in your budget to pay off your debt before Spring comes!

Don’t add more debt
You’ll never pay down your debt if you keep adding to it, so find the willpower to buy only the things you need while you’re trying to slash your holiday debt. This can mean resisting the urge to buy those boots you’ve been wanting that are now on clearance or canceling that weekend ski trip you had planned. Prioritize your needs and save the wants for later.

Make more than the minimum payment
You will significantly increase the time it takes to pay off your debt, as well as your total balance, if you only make the minimum payment. This is why it’s so important to pay more than minimums. If you have the money to spare, put it towards your credit card debt.

Pay high interest cards first

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A new year means new beginnings and the perfect opportunity to review your goals, set new goals and get organized so you can accomplish them. While many of us are great at setting goals, some (such as myself) have a hard time staying on track through the year.

If you’re like me, the first week is the easiest, the second week you begin losing steam and by the third week you’re falling off track. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so these first three weeks are the most important! To help keep you on track, here is a list of 4 tips to help keep your financial resolutions:

  1. Limit your goals & create milestones
    Don’t overdo it when it comes to setting goals. Prioritize the top 1-3 goals you want to accomplish and set small milestones to work towards throughout the year. Becoming overly ambitious could lead to failure, so make sure you are realistic about what you can accomplish when setting financial goals.
  2. Follow a plan
    This may sound a bit intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. If you have 1-3 goals set for the year, get a piece of notebook paper and outline the steps you will take to achieve these. For me, writing things down always helps me to remember them and now you have something to keep on your fridge to keep you accountable. Be sure to set monthly or quarterly milestones throughout the year so you can get a pulse on where you are.
  3. Find a money buddy

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'Tis the Season: The Do’s and Don’ts of Charitable Giving

Submitted by strandslucia on Thu, 12/16/2010 - 15:40
Smart Living //

'Tis the season for giving! A survey by the American Red Cross found that 57 percent of American adults plan to donate to charity this holiday season, despite the economic downturn.

The same survey showed that while 86 percent of Americans reported their personal finances are the same or worse than last year, 72 percent expect to give the same amount or more than last year to charity.

If you’re one of the many Americans opening your heart and your wallet for a good cause this holiday season, its important to be smart about how you do it. Here are 10 do’s and don’ts to follow for charitable giving:

DO….

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Best Mobile Apps for Black Friday Shopping

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 11/19/2010 - 17:05
Money Management //

Black Friday is only one week away! If you’re planning on taking advantage of all the great holiday savings this day has to offer, you should not only be prepared to stay on budget you should also be prepared to find the best items at the best price. We’ve put together a list of free mobile apps that will help you accomplish this.

Make your shopping list
The Black Friday app, allows you to browse through all the retailer ads and deals from your mobile phone. While your browsing you can save items you want to a list so you remember what you need at each store. Available free on the iPhone.


Get the best prices
We’ve talked about Red Laser in the past as being a great price comparison app, however, if you’re looking for something available on the Android as well, check out ShopSavvy. As with Red Laser, this comparison app scans barcodes with your phone and compares prices across 20,000 retailers. Available free for iPhone and Android.

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Holiday Shopping: 5 tips to help you stay on budget

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 11/12/2010 - 13:25
Budgeting // Tips and Tricks //

Halloween is over and Thanksgiving is almost here. As we move into the holiday season, many of us will be thinking about one of my favorite hobbies, shopping!

Extra spending and increased budgets can make this a stressful time of year for some. But hopefully you have planned accordingly for the extra spending and have created a spending plan to help you get through the holidays. For those of you who need a little extra help in budget planning, we’ve put together a few tips to help you stay on budget while you do your holiday shopping:

Make a list
Before you leave your house (or if you prefer to shop online, before you visit you favorite shopping sites), make sure you have a list of who you need to buy for and what you want to buy them. If you don’t know what to buy, go online and browse some online shops for ideas and write them down. Having a list prepared before you buy will help you budget your money.

Create a budget
Now that you have a list of what you need to buy, determine a spending limit for each item or create a holiday budget worksheet. When you set limits for yourself, you’re less likely to overspend. Make sure that the total for all your items doesn’t exceed your holiday spending budget. If you don't know how to create a budget worksheet, you can also use moneyStrands online personal finance software to help you create a budget.

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Welcoming Rudder users to moneyStrands

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 11/05/2010 - 11:43

Over the past several weeks we’ve been hearing from Rudder users looking for an alternative personal finance management tool. Today we learned the news is official and Rudder has closed its doors and all user data on their servers was permanently deleted on November 3, 2010.

As in the case of similar sites shutting down in the past year (i.e. Wesabe, Quicken Online and Geezeo) we’d like to extend an invitation to Rudder users too. If you are a former Rudder user, we want to make you aware that moneyStrands supports manual file uploads. This means if you have an export of your data from Rudder, you can easily upload that data into moneyStrands (via a CSV, QFX or OFX file) and continue managing your personal finances on our platform. For detailed directions on how to import your data please refer to our former blog post ‘Manual File Upload Option has Arrived’ or view the video tutorial on our YouTube channel.

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How I Saved Over $1000 On a Trip to Vegas

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 10/22/2010 - 15:21
Smart Living // Tips and Tricks //

We all need a vacation sometimes, but finding the extra money in your budget can make it difficult to take one.

These days there are many websites and social media tools that make finding deals, coupons and offers easier than ever. By taking the time to utilize these tools, you can dramatically reduce the cost of a vacation.

This was the case on a recent trip to Las Vegas my boyfriend and I took. Through research, patience and a little bit of luck, we were able to save more than $1000 on our trip. Here’s how we did it:

Cheap Flight
When Virgin America was voted Best Domestic Airline by Travel + Leisure for the third year in a row, they celebrated by offering $33 flights for an 8-hour period. The promotion was announced via their Twitter and Facebook page. We hadn’t planned on going to Vegas, but when I saw the deal pop up in my Facebook stream, I immediately went to the site and looked at flights. It was such a great deal, I couldn’t pass it up, and so I booked a Friday to Sunday flight to Las Vegas on the spot.

The Savings: A regular price roundtrip ticket from SFO to Las Vegas is approximately $300 + tax per person (Friday – Sunday). We paid $66 + tax per person (Friday – Sunday) for a total savings of $468.

Hotel Deal
Now that we had a flight, we needed to find a hotel. My boyfriend and I both work in social media and knew that Twitter and Facebook would be great places to find deals. We immediately made a Twitter list of all Community Managers in Las Vegas and started monitoring for hotel deals.

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6 Money Tips for Today’s Young Professionals

Submitted by strandslucia on Fri, 10/15/2010 - 10:05

If you're a young professional who could use some advice on all of life's tough financial decisions, there's a new book out that can help you. Kimberly Palmer, Alpha Consumer columnist and blogger for US News & World Report released a new book this week entitled, Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back.

Based on some of the most frequently asked questions Kim receives from her readers, the new book focuses on three key life sections for today’s young professional: “Self” (spending, saving, career, freelancing), “Family” (cohabitation, cooking, renting, mortgage, baby), and “World” (the most effective ways to give back). Kim has shared with us some of her top money tips based on the book and we wanted to share them with you. If you like what you read, you can learn more or buy the book at www.generationearn.com.

Here are 6 Money Tips for Today’s Young Professionals:

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