Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Is iPhone 4S worth the money?

iPhone 4S with a 2 year contract costing $199 dollars – is it worth?

For people with cell phone - but do you need internet on it?
Everyone has a cell phone - now a mandatory utility. Even a smart phone is somewhat getting universal. With an iPhone, you need to get an extra data plan. Limited data plans can be bought at $15 per month or $360 for two years, which comes to be less than 50 cents a day for the internet. So do you think having mobile internet is worth 50 cents or day?

Money saving apps
There is tons of money saving apps such as;
·        Amazon Price Checker You can compare price and read review of product by scanning UPC code, snapping picture of the product or by just searching. Usually, Amazon has huge discount on the product and sometime their reviews help you avoid bad products.
·        Living Social, Groupon, ScoutMob All discount website have instant deals that can find discounts based on your location. So, why pay extra $10 for sushi (that you would definitely get).
·        Other Apps. There are tons of other apps that check low prices for products in local store, shop for lowest gas price etc.

Digital camera replacement
IPhone 4S 8 megapixel camera is good as many entry-level point and shoot cameras. As a bonus, you always have a decent camera.     

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Debt Roundup – September 2011

Last time I blogged about money was more than nine months ago. In my estimate then, I would have had debt reduction by $2,000 and be in sub 10,000 debt level. Not close enough. Then, I thought my debt would have decreased slowly but instead I find it increased by about $4,000 to 16,021. So what did I do to increase it? These are my major expenses. I was quite a social traveler this year – and I don’t regret this expense at all. Next, I spent on home improvement items such as new furnishing, bedding, etc – I am ok with this expense – time for me to grow up. Next I spent around $600+ on food per month. I feel this is somewhat high for a single man to spend  per month on food. So, next step is to reduce my food budget. I also feel my debt increase is somewhat due to lack of blogging. Blogging provides a constant reminder to be financially discplined. So here again, without making any projections etc –towards the freedom from debt. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Debt Roundup – December 2010

My debt is now at $12,712 down $ 248 from $12,960 a  month ago. At the rate based on the status quo, it will take me until March of 2015 to pay off my current debt - assuming I don't incur any more debts, have similar living expenses, and have stagnant income level. Earlier, my rosy estimates projected myself being debt free by February 2011, which definitely looks impossible, baring any minor miracle. In last few months, I have not been able to pay off my debt as I anticipated. However, my resolution is strong and I will do whatever I can to pay off   this burden ASAP. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why shouldn’t you get a store credit card?

I always restrained myself from signing up a store card to save 10% off or get a lower interest rate on financing. However recently, I signed up for a store credit card, which is not store-brand visa or mastercard.  I signed up because it saved me few dollars on a big purchase.  Now, I am stuck with that store credit card because I can’t use it anywhere except that store -- also the APR is too high to use it on other regular purchases.
This new store credit card has single handedly knocked off dozens of points from my credit scores.
This is how your store credit card hurts your finances.
  • Even before signing up, a new credit inquiry is added to your credit report, lowering your credit scores.
  • After account is open, this new account lowers the average age of your credit accounts further lowering your credit scores.
  • If you make a big purchase (since you got discount), the ratio for used credit increases, increasing your credit utilization and again lowering your credit score.
  • Your interest increases after an introductory period. So, a purchase with future interest could cost you even more.
  • Normally, people tend to overbuy when given a discounted purchase. You end up paying more for things you don’t really want and definitely don’t need. 
Image based on photo by stevendepolo

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Debt Roundup – November 2010

This month I reduced my debt by $42 to 12,960. I still don’t have roommate for some personal reason that I don’t want to discuss here. Besides that, my main unexpected expense this month was related to healthcare. I have a decent health insurance provided to me by my employer. Still, I had to pay $700 out my pocket for something because my insurance company decided it should go under my deductible for this year.

I don’t want to get into current healthcare debate. However, I don’t understand why costs of healthcare are not transparent at the beginning or prior to receiving the care. Normally, you go to health professionals and get treated for ailments without having any idea for what is going to cost you. Even you get estimated cost, you have no idea how much you will be ultimately responsible. For non-emergency ailments, knowing the accurate cost prior to any procedure would help you decide to treat, wait, or shop around.

In this age of iphones/blackberries and 1-800 numbers, can’t we legislate (or?) for health insurance providers to give us an estimated cost (with margin of error) for requested procedure as well as comparative prices. This will not only save money for patients but also save millions for insurance companies. People may decide that they will go with a relatively new Dr. Smith for $500 rather than going with Dr. Jones for $2,000, who happens to be recommended by their friend. If we decide to treat (certain) healthcare products as an economic commodities then why not really treat them like one?

Image based on photo by CarbonNYC