Amazon’s Pricing Trickery

I’m a huge fan of Amazon.com and shop from them frequently – 177 orders in 2014 to be precise – and generally like most things the company does. However, when it comes to Amazon discount during limited sales, they aren’t entirely…forthright.

Today is Prime Day, and Amazon has some great deals – but before you click BUY because you can’t believe how deep the discount is, be sure to look at the regular sale price. Regular sale price? That’s right – Amazon sells virtually nothing at “regular” price. There’s always a discount, and when Amazon is showing you the discount – it will be off the original price, not the sale price.

For example, the backpack in the screenshot has a full price of $119.99 – but Amazon didn’t sell it for that price yesterday. The regular “sale price” is $76.85. So is this a 50% off deal at $59.99? No, it’s 22% off the sale price it was yesterday. When you’re deciding if a deal is just too good to pass up, look at the real discount, not the number Amazon is putting in front of you.

Having The Money Talk With Your Kids: Part 2

In part one of this topic, I discussed why you should have the first of many “money talks” with your kid, busted some of the myths on why parents avoid it, and covered some of the risks if you avoided it. So when should you start talking to your kids about money? My advice is don’t wait too long.

When to start the conversation

Start explaining what money is at age two. Let them touch money (coins and cash), play games with money…then wash their hands because money is pretty filthy (physically, not conceptually).

Start giving your kids weekly money at age three, but don’t put it in a piggy bank and tell them they can never spend it. The piggy bank approach turns money into an abstract concept rather than a real-world tool. They won’t entirely understand this whole “money” thing at first, but it will give you the tangible opportunity to have regular conversations about saving, spending, and giving. It’s also a great way to encourage counting, addition and subtraction skills.

The issue of whether money should be given only for chores – a commission for work as Dave Ramsey would say – or simply as a financial learning tool isn’t clear cut in my view. We chose to implement it in multiple steps based on our son’s age.

Continue reading Having The Money Talk With Your Kids: Part 2

Writing Cheques Like It’s 1993: Having a Dedicated Chequing Account

Personal finance management and investing is one of my newer personal passions, so I’m going to start blogging about those topics here on a regular basis. I’d love to hear from people on how they manage their money!

I still use cheques now and then (those are “checks” for you ‘muricans) but they tend to be larger values (my son’s school tuition, summer camps, community HOA fees, etc.) and I despise the unpredictability of not knowing when they’ll be cashed. I’ve been burned more than once by having a cheque I’d forgotten about be cashed, pushing my account into a negative balance and triggering an overdraft move of money from another account (and sometimes a fee).

Leaving money in my chequing account is a pain since I zero it every week (on Thursday nights to be precise). If someone was doing old-school cheque-book accounting, and keeping a running tally, they wouldn’t have this problem – but I just can’t run my financial life using a model so restrictive, and, frankly, cumbersome. I wanted a solution that would work for my financial management style.

I decided instead to take an approach that would give me more control, but took the essence of the chequebook approach: you make sure for every cheque that is written, there are sufficient funds to cover it, and those funds are never touched because they’re already spent. I created a “Write a Cheque” bank account where I move the exact amount of the cheque over from my main chequing account, and leave it there. So over a period of weeks the “Write a Cheque” account goes to zero as each cheque is cashed. I’ve been using this method for several months and it has completely solved my challenge.

How do you deal with cheques in your day today financial life?

Photo above courtesy of eComm Merchant Solutions.