Amanda Stanhaus

Category: Financial Literacy




These should be called SUPER IRAs.

Employers are required to contribute! I know, super duper.

While limited to companies with 100 employees are less, those employees are a lucky bunch. Even if the employee does not contribute (but we will always contribute), the employer must contribute 2% of the employee’s annual compensation to the IRA. And if an employee contributes (like we will), the company matches the contribution up to 3%.

Want to know more? Check in with the IRS.

Mission accomplished—I understand almost all of the IRAs. To review, that’s Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)

Purchasing a New Wallet


How much $$ should I spend on the wallet that holds my $$?

We, of course, want the $$ to be well spent. For a specific #, to each their own.

The following was my thought process:


My wallet needs to hold all my cards, plus stash my cash. And, I must be able to easily access both…don’t want to be the person holding up the morning coffee line. Plus, I need to discreetly, externally store my precious monthly metrocard. Therefore, I chose a  continental wallet with an exterior pocket.


I would rather not have to go on a search and rescue mission to find my wallet in the dark abyss of my carry all purse. Therefore, I chose polka dots.


I want this daily-used statement piece to be around for a while. Fabric wears & tears. Leather scratches. Therefore, I chose patent leather.

Hope you enjoy wallet shopping as much as I do, it’s my favorite type of shopping.

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)



Ladies, while we do like to stand out in a crowd, we want to be in the know about the current crowdfunding trend. While I say trend, I do think crowdfunding is here to stay.

Now when we need $$ to make a certain something happen, we can create a crowdfunding campaign, build a community around our certain something, and raise the $$ we need to get it done.

FYI: not all crowdfunding platforms are created equal. Let me explain.

Donation-based Crowdfunding

(Psst: this means when we give $$ we get goodies as a reward.)

Have a creative itch? Use Kickstarter.

Have a group vaca to plan? Use Crowdtilt.

Have a [insert whatever] that needs $$? Use Indiegogo.

Investment-based Crowdfunding

(Psst: this means borrowers pay interest and investors are rewarded with a $$ reward.)

Have a loan that paid for grad school? Use CommonBond. (I know…it’s my second mention in a week, I’m a fan.)

Have personal credit card debt or a small business that needs $$? Use Lending Club.

I give us all permission to stick with the crowd — just this once.

Good luck crowdfunding!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)

Equal Pay



Ladies, we are paid less then gentlemen.

How much less? The numbers vary, as The Wall Street Journal and NPR both explained.

77 cents for every dollar a man makes.

This number is calculated by comparing annual earnings of women to men. Some suspect it because on average women are in career fields (ex. education) that pay less than men (ex. manufacturing). Plus, women work fewer hours.

88 cents for every dollar a man makes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this number is calculated when men and women with a 40-hour work weeks are compared.


Regardless of how the figure is calculated, (ex. similar hours, similar responsibilities) women always come up with the short end of the stick.

Despite partisanship in Congress, President Obama signed two executive orders promoting paycheck transparency. Barry said it best, “Pay secrecy fosters discrimination.”

I recommend using Glassdoor and PayScale to see how much $$ others are raking in.

Go get those equal paycheck, ladies!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)


Nail Polish


Is it just me or does everyone’s nail polish expire before it is empty?

Either it gets clumpy, or the color separates, or it mysteriously chips after two days when once upon a time it lasted a week.

Already, I tried to save $$ by avoiding the needless expense of nail salons by painting my own nails. But I really wasn’t saving money by buying new nail polish at every opportunity. So I’ve controlled my previously uncontrollable habit of collecting nail polishes.

I am committing to one color per season. This spring my color is OPI Big Apple Red. Fitting, eh?

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)




I’ve kicked my très mauvais habit of smoking.

What was the tipping point?


I realized that spending $10 per week…$40 per month… $480 per year on cigarettes was too much!

It’s been one month since I went cold turkey and j’adore that my wallet is $40 heavier!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)


The Volcker Rule


“The Volcker Rule.”

This is a key term to know ladies—especially if you are dating any sort of banker.

Remember the now-defunct Glass-Steagall Act and how it separated commercial and investment banks?

The Volcker Rule (tucked into Dodd-Frank) is trying to separate these two types of banking yet again! Never again should a commercial bank take on too much risk and gamble away its deposits à la 2008. Therefore, commercial banks must limit their use of proprietary trading and sponsoring private equity firms or hedge funds (and their excessively risky behavior).

The Volcker rule returns us to the classic definitions of a commercial bank vs. investment bank.

If you want a detailed play-by-play, here is a well-done New Yorker article.

Oh and if you are dating a banker, please note he will most likely not be a fan of The Volcker Rule.  Proceed with caution.  But at least you’ll understand what he’s complaining about next time!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)


Make-up Brush Return


I am a shameless deal huntress. But, I also appreciate it when my make-up looks just right.

I know its necessary to have the right products and matching tools.

So I bought my oh-so expensive—yet absolutely necessary—under eye concealer from Mac and the matching brush. Reviewing my receipt I knew I could get a cheaper version of the same brush at Sephora. So that’s what I did. And I returned the expensive brush within 15 minutes to the exact same sales person.

Reason for return: I got a better deal.

Gotta do what we gotta do, right ladies?

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog: XO, Bettie.)



Prepaid Debit Cards


I woke up confused, do you know me at all?

I had a dream…scratch that nightmare…that my Man gave me a prepaid debit card.

In the light of day, I reviewed with him why I never want a prepaid debit card in my wallet.

1. Why bother?

Prepaid debit cards are glorified gift cards. One does not need a bank account or a healthycredit score (AKA there is no credit check) to have a prepaid debit card, both of which I deem a necessity. I’ve read that prepaid gift cards can be appealing to some as a way to control overspending and overdrafting. But I can use my regular debit card to control my finances, please and thank you. Remember, I am anti-overdraft protection.

2. Unregulated

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Birdie mentioned yesterday is in the process of regulating this currently unregulated financial concoction. Here are all the problems with prepaid debit cards that need to be regulated.

3. Fees

Just look at this list from NerdWallet. Prepaid debit cards are not money savers.

In review, I’ll say “thanks, but no thanks,” to anyone who wants to give me a prepaid debit card. But recently, Ann Carrns reported in the New York Times, prepaid debit cards might not be the worst financial innovation in the world.

We can each decide for ourselves!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)



Correct Change


Thanks to my pre-counting I knew how much change I expected to get back last night at a bar. When my change expectations were not met, that was the question I asked.

Whenever I am preparing to pay my restaurant/bar bill in cash, I pre-count how much I want back. I highly recommend this strategy on busy nights.

Otherwise, I get a bad taste in my mouth when I wake up the next morning, assess my wallet, and can’t do anything if I seem to be missing some $$.

Have fun!

(Originally published on Amanda Stanhaus’s financial literacy blog XO, Bettie.)