Would You Let Your Insurance Company Monitor Your Movements to Save Money?

usage based insuranceI guess the answer depends on how much money, right?

Auto insurance companies have been offering usage based insurance (UBI) programs for over a decade now and many in the industry see these programs as the future of insurance. So what is usage based insurance? Basically, the insurance company sends you a small device to install in your car. The device collects data about your driving habits as you drive and sends the information back to the insurance company. The insurance company can then use real-time driving data to set future rates. Continue reading

Posted in Cutting Expenses, Frugal Living | 11 Comments

10 Ways to be a Control Freak With Your Spending

I hope you enjoy the following guest post from Amy Matt. But first, allow Amy to introduce herself: “Hi Everyone! I am Amy Matt and I am a girl who views the world through a frugal lens. Financial independence is a true blessing and it needs to be adored. Drop me a line here.”

 

Why? Why control your spending? It sounds like too much of a hassle. Been there done that. Are there really any benefits? What kind? Prepare yourself, because these 10 bits of wisdom will change your financial destiny, and give you control of your money.

First You Must Understand

Financial success takes time and energy. It is not easy. If it were easy everyone would be financially successful, and in control of their spending. Since we have concluded that the norm is financial turmoil, we will proceed. Continue reading

Posted in Finances | 11 Comments

March Investment and Side Income Update

earn extra incomeOne of my financial goals for 2014 was to increase my dividend income by continuing to invest in dividend paying stocks. In reality I have a mix right now of index ETFs and individual stocks that provide dividend income. In an effort to provide motivation for myself and to be accountable in terms of my stated goals, I plan on posting about my progress regularly (hopefully monthly, but we’ll see how that goes).

I’ll also include here updates on any side or passive income.

We are still waiting for the warm weather to appear here in the northeast. I think it is supposed to hit 60 degrees tomorrow which will feel amazing. My regular visitors will notice that I haven’t posted anything in over two weeks. I’m not happy about it, but I’ve been extremely busy at work and just haven’t had the time to devote much here. But hopefully things will be settling down soon. Continue reading

Posted in Earn extra income, Investing | 33 Comments

Liebster Award!

Liebster AwardHappy Saturday everyone! I’m so glad that this week has finally seen the official start of spring. While we are still experiencing winter temps in the northeast, I take some comfort in knowing that there is an end to this miserable winter in site. There just has to be.

In addition to the start of spring, this week brought good news to this blog. Green Money Stream received two nominations for the Liebster Award from awesome fellow bloggers: Dee at Color Me Frugal and Mel at Broke Girl Rich. I’m just surprised and flattered that anyone would nominate me. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

A Guide to Freaking Out About Retirement Planning

stuart milesSometimes freaking out about something can be a good thing if it sparks us to take action on something we need to give attention to. Take retirement planning, for instance. Some people just coast along, perhaps saving money in an employer’s retirement plan and perhaps not, because retirement is years and years away. It may even be decades away.

So what’s to freak out about?

Well I’m here to suggest that we all freak out just a little bit about our retirement planning. Let’s have a sort of controlled freak out, at least until you’re finished reading this post. Continue reading

Posted in Retirement Planning | Tagged , | 37 Comments

Saturday Morning Personal Finance Musings

personal finance musingsThere have been some great posts this week discussing some personal finance bloggers’ philosophies when it comes to advising readers who are seeking a better financial picture. Charles, Andrew, and Ryan have contributed with particularly good posts. Andrew asked if personal finance bloggers are pound foolish by giving out advice that is common and seemingly generic to readers. The line that spoke to me in his post was “No, cutting cable television may not be a panacea for all financial problems. But we have to start somewhere.” I completely agree with this. Ryan expanded nicely on this in his post discussing the classics of personal finance and how small changes, like cutting cable or making your own coffee at home, can add up to larger savings. Continue reading

Posted in Finances | Tagged | 29 Comments

Rattlesnake Wrangling and 5 Other Side Hustles

side hustlesNow that I’m posting my investment and side income updates monthly, I’ve been looking at ways to generate additional passive or side income. For those of us living frugal lifestyles with a goal of financial freedom or debt repayment, we know that cutting expenses can only take us so far. Once you’ve cut unnecessary expenses from your budget and simpliduced your lifestyle as much as possible you may start looking for ways to grow your income stream.

Enter the side hustle.

Whether you are selling your old baseball card collection on Craigslist or walking dogs in your neighborhood, the side hustle lets you bring in a little extra cash to put towards your financial goals. Continue reading

Posted in Earn extra income | Tagged | 39 Comments

February Investment and Side Income Update

earn extra income

One of my financial goals for 2014 is to increase my dividend income by continuing to invest in dividend paying stocks. In reality I have a mix right now of index ETFs and individual stocks that provide dividend income. In an effort to provide motivation for myself and to be accountable in terms of my stated goals, I plan on posting about my progress regularly (hopefully monthly, but we’ll see how that goes).

I’ll also include here updates on any side or passive income.

Well another month has come and gone. February was not an exciting month all around. Not only did we have to put up with freezing temperatures and snow, but it is also a lite month for dividend payments in my taxable account. I, for one, welcome March with open arms as spring will officially appear before it is through and with it the promise of warmer weather in the not too distant future. Continue reading

Posted in Finances | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

What Are Investment Fees Really Costing You?

investment feesI’ve been thinking a lot about the investment fees I pay both in my retirement account as well as my taxable brokerage account. I put together a spreadsheet to illustrate the differences between investments with varying fee structures to help myself out and I’d like to share the results.

I first discuss the results from comparing the fees that could be paid in a retirement account investing in mutual funds. Then I look at the fees that might be paid in a taxable brokerage account where I’m purchasing stocks and compare this to the alternative of investing in an ETF instead. Continue reading

Posted in Investing | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

What’s the Difference Between an ETF and a Mutual Fund?

exchange traded fundAs my husband and I were driving the other day I was telling him about a recent investment I had made in our Vanguard brokerage account. I told him I had purchased some more shares of one of my favorite Vanguard ETFs. His response was “Oh, that’s great.” Then after a pause he asked, “So what is the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund?” As I answered his question it occurred to me that he’s probably not the only one to be confused by the two. So I thanked him for helping me come up with my next post topic!

Mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are similar as both are comprised of a group of securities which make up the fund. Because of this grouping, an investor can purchase shares of a mutual fund or ETF and gain broad exposure to a market index or sector. This can be an efficient way to diversify an investment portfolio. Without these funds, individual investors would have to buy hundreds or even thousands of different securities to achieve this diversification. Continue reading

Posted in Investing | Tagged , | 27 Comments