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Personal Finance

Jan 28, 2016 A budget is a plan for your money. To that end, not having a budget is like planning for financial failure. Yet the act of creating a family budget is no guarantee that it will work. The best way to increase your chances of creating a household budget that you can live with and that will help you gain a measure of control over your personal finances is to understand the top five reasons household budgets fail. Here are some budgeting tips families can follow to avoid these mistakes. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Debt is easy to accrue yet difficult to get rid of. The problem for many people, millennials included, is that they barely get by from paycheck to paycheck and simply don't have the extra money to make more than minimum payments on what they owe. The solution may not be in your debt, though, but in your income. A part-time job that fits your schedule may be the fastest and simplest way to eliminate debt. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Socking away money into a 529 plan is a smart move for parents who want to help their kids with the cost of college so they don't end up overburdened by student loans. Compared to a Coverdell Education Savings Account, 529 plans offer a lot more flexibility in terms of how much you can save, who can use the money and what you can do with any excess that's left over once your student graduates. If you've been saving diligently for your child's education and you anticipate having a surplus, here are five ways to put it to good use. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 If getting a better grip on your finances tops your list of New Year's resolutions, then taking advantage of technology can make it much easier. Whether your focus is on budgeting better, keeping track of your expenses or paying down debt, there are hundreds of money management apps to choose from to help you achieve your goals. Sifting through them all to find the best ones is time-consuming, but SmartAsset has done the work for you to find the eight best finance apps that beat out the competition. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Being one man at a computer wasn't enough for Philip Taylor, known by most in the financial blogging world as PT. After starting his own website in 2007 to share his experience improving his own finances, PT soon realized there were many bloggers spread out across the country and the world talking about similar issues. To help foster  a community for these like-minded, finance-focused writers, he started a conference. We caught up with PT at the fourth annual FinCon event. He's our guest for this edition of SmartAsset Talks. Read More...

Apr 20, 2015 Feeling a little overspent? Why not try a spending diet? It could be just what you need to get your financial house in order. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 We all know from news reports and studies that finances are the principal reason couples divorce. The stress of mishandling finances can drive even the most loving couples apart. For this reason, it's important to stay on top of your spending and money habits, not only as an individual, but as a couple. Remember: once you decide to make a life commitment to your partner, your financial burdens becomes theirs, and vice versa. One of the best ways to ensure long-term success as a couple, therefore, is to manage your finances responsibly. Here are four tips couples—married or not—can use to work towards becoming fiscally responsible. Read More...

Sep 08, 2021 Tiffany Aliche is The Budgetnista. She teaches financial empowerment through speaking engagements, workshops and her bestselling book. Her motto is "LIVE RICHER" and for this edition of SmartAsset Talks she explains what that means and how you can join 10,000 other women for her free 2015 LIVE RICHER Challenge. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 By 2020, spending on prescription drugs in America is expected to top $510 billion. That means more than $1,500 per year for each and every person. The reality is that prescription drug prices will continue to outpace inflation for the foreseeable future. And that means that any way you can save a few dollars helps. Read More...

Dec 11, 2014 According to Iowa Code 556, property in the State of Iowa is considered unclaimed if the holder is unable to locate or contact the owner after a period of inactivity, usually at least three years. As of this writing, the total value of unclaimed property held by the Treasurer’s office was $162 million. Given that the population of Iowa is 3.09 million, there is an average of about $50 worth of unclaimed money per person in the Hawkeye state. Read More...

Dec 10, 2014 In the state of Illinois, property is turned over to the State Treasurer as “unclaimed” if the holder is unable to locate or contact the owner after a period of inactivity, usually five or more years. As of this writing, the total value of unclaimed property held by the Treasurer’s office was $1.8 billion dollars. There are 5.8 million names in the state’s unclaimed property database, which means that on average, each unclaimed property account is holding $310.38. Using data from the State Treasurer’s office and the U.S. Census Bureau, SmartAsset found the Illinois counties with the highest average claim, and with the most claims per capita. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Across the country, State Treasuries are holding billions of dollars in unclaimed property, assets like orphaned 401(k) accounts or payroll checks that never made it to their rightful owners. Every single state has an unclaimed property law that requires the treasury (or in some cases the controller or comptroller) to seek out the rightful owners of such property. As part of SmartAsset’s ongoing investigation into the numbers behind unclaimed property, we wanted to take a look at unclaimed property on a local level. Specifically, we found the U.S. Counties with the highest totals of unclaimed funds owed to residents. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 There are people walking around right now who are owed  hundreds, thousands, or in some cases even  millions of dollars in unclaimed property. In fact you might be one of them. Let us explain... Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 Think back to the first job you ever had as an adult. We’ll bet you spent just about all that money soon after you got paid and imagined all the things you’d do with a higher income. What about now? Do you still long for a bigger paycheck even though you’re making more? It’s called lifestyle inflation: the tendency for our lifestyle to become more expensive as our income grows, leaving us perpetually dissatisfied. So how do you resist the siren call of a fancier lifestyle? Here are our top 5 tips: Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Now that you've indulged in Thanksgiving excess and dipped your toe into holiday shopping, isn't it time you showed a charity some love? You may know that charitable donations are tax-deductible, but do you know the ins and outs of getting that deduction? Read on for our top tips. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 When you're trying to score a break at tax time, maxing out your deductions can potentially lower your bill or result in a bigger tax return. Apart from the standard write-offs for things like mortgage interest or business travel, you may be able to claim more unusual expenses, including the cost of taking care of a pet. The IRS has certain rules about when pet expenses are tax-deductible, so if you've got some furry friends at home, here are a few scenarios where you might benefit. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 You hate it, I hate it, everybody hates it. Sometimes, though, asking for financial help is the only way out of a jam. With the holiday season coming up, chances are your relatives are asking you what you want as a gift. What if you gave a different answer this year and got some financial help instead of a new pair of socks? If you choose to go down this road, here are our top 5 tips for making the conversation as easy as possible: Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 When you're trying to pay down a pretty steep pile of debt, getting to the finish line is usually more of a marathon than a sprint. If you've been living on a tight budget so you can get those credit cards or student loans paid off more quickly, it can easily lead to burnout. When that happens, you run the risk of overspending to compensate for the sacrifices you've made, or worse, giving up altogether. Finding ways to keep your motivation up so you can stay focused on your end goal can help you counteract the symptoms. If you've reached the point where you can't stand the thought of putting another penny towards your debt, however, here are some things you can do to beat the mental block and keep going. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Farnoosh Torabi has been tackling the topic of money for more than a decade. The personal finance expert and  TV personality is a contributing editor at Money Magazine and frequent contributor on The Today Show. She's also a wife who makes more money than her husband.  In this edition of SmartAsset Talks, Farnoosh tells us why this unusual but increasingly common situation became the (very personal) focus of her latest bestselling book, When She Makes More. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Most articles you read about getting out of debt, controlling spending or saving for the future advise that you start with a budget. They may not all use the actual word, but the sentiment is clear: you'll be lost without a plan. This is right, though there is a popular misconception about budgets that they are exclusively forward-looking. It is true that budgets act as road maps to your financial future, but you can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been. In other words, the most effective way to plan for your future starts with understanding your past. Read More...

Nov 03, 2014 Halloween is right around the corner, but the ghosts and ghouls aren't the only things going bump in the night. Old debts can come back to haunt you when you least expect, and you can run into some serious problems if you're not sure how to deal with them. When you've got a collection agency howling at your door over an unpaid debt, here's what you need to know in order to banish it for good. Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 Holiday travel is as American as eating too much apple pie and turkey and stuffing and, well, you get the picture. It's a tradition! But as much fun as traditions are and as much as you love them, they can bust your budget. So to help out, we've composed a list of 10 ways to save money on travel - whether it's over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house, or filling up on Southern sunshine before hibernating for the winter. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Josh Elledge of SavingsAngel doesn't believe in sacrificing everything in order to save money. In fact, he believes you can live abundantly and still meet your financial goals. Not many financial experts are encouraging people to continue buying their favorite coffee drinks. Josh does... if that's what you love. He explains his philosophy in this edition of SmartAsset Talks. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 J. Money is the rebel of personal finance. Some people even call him the rock star. Whatever label you choose, he's certainly not your average finance nerd. The full-time blogger dons a mohawk instead of a suit and tie and his view on the (sometimes dry) topic of finances is refreshingly optimistic. The man behind the Budgets are Sexy and Rockstar Finance brands sat down with us for our latest SmartAsset Talks video. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 The numbers are startling: a whopping 36 percent of young adults from the ages of 18 to 31 in the United States moved back home to live with their parents in 2012, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. That figure marked the highest percentage of young adults living with their parents in at least 40 years. It means that 21.6 million 18- to 31-year-olds were living in their parents' homes in 2012. That's an all-time record. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 Hacks are simple tricks that save you time and money. A common trait of most hacks is that they take something you already have and use it for an all new purpose. Some hacks are not about clever uses of dustpans to fill buckets, but better ways to buy buckets. Ultimately hacks are all about changing the way you look at the world and adapting in new and interesting ways that save you resources. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Lauren is THAT lady. The mother of four juggles it all. When her family was digging out of debt she learned just how much she could save on groceries by cutting coupons, planning ahead and executing. Now she shares what she learned with others through her blog, speaking engagements and her book. You may have seen her on the Dr. Oz show, the Marlo Thomas Show or in ALL You magazine. Well, now you can see her here as part of our SmartAsset Talks series where we interview personal finance experts. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 We all know the environmental advantages to carpooling and bike riding. Less carbon fumes in the air, makes it a greener mode of transportation. We also know that it can be a bit more economical as well. But I wanted you to know just how much carpooling or bike pooling can save big bucks. You might be surprised at just how much you can save, I know I was, and how many pooling services exist in case you can’t rally your own co-workers to join you. Read More...

May 18, 2018 One of the advantages of being coupled up is that there's someone there to share the financial load with. Even in relationships where one person is the sole breadwinner, two heads can be better than one when it comes to setting goals, managing the budget and planning for the future. When you're on your own, you bear sole responsibility for handling your finances so it's especially important to make wise decisions. Single women are often at a disadvantage since they tend to earn less than men but that doesn't mean they can't be good money stewards. If you're a woman who's flying solo, here are some tips for keeping your finances on the right track. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 J.D. Roth calls himself an accidental personal finance expert. This humble, friendly and very knowledgeable guy started the Get Rich Slowly movement (and blog!) to share his journey of getting out of debt more than eight years ago. Now J.D. continues to pass on tips through speaking engagements, writing for major publications and multiple books. SmartAsset caught up with J.D. at FinCon in New Orleans. Check out the video below to hear how he got started, what he's learned in the process and some advice he has for the rest of us. Read More...

May 27, 2015 We begin life as helpless newborns completely dependent upon others for every aspect of our well-being. The 'others' are most often our parents. We then spend a couple of decades leaning on them while learning to be independent. This sometimes continues well into our adulthood. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 When you regularly reach the end of your money before the end of the month, it's probably time to consider revamping your budget. Writing down everything you're spending can help you keep tabs on where your hard-earned dollars are going, but sometimes you might need to go a step further. If you normally use credit or debit cards to pay for things, switching to cash-only can improve accountability and make it easier to stay in the black. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 As you enter into your fourth decade, you've hopefully learned a few things along the way, especially when it comes to managing your money. Becoming a financial grown-up won't happen overnight and making mistakes is part of the process. If you managed to escape your twenties without racking up a serious amount of debt or doing anything that damaged your credit then congratulations, you're well ahead of the game. To keep your financial house running smoothly in your thirties and beyond, it pays to keep these important money lessons in mind. Read More...

Sep 24, 2014 These days it seems like everyone's got a blog and it's relatively easy to carve out your own little section of real estate on the internet. Setting one up usually doesn't require a large investment of time or cash but you can expect to work a lot harder if you want to convert it into a money-making machine. If you've got a blog that seems to be going nowhere, here's a look at what might be holding you back and how to turn things around. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 A neglected lesson is that financially responsible adults are made, not born, usually by parents who instilled important good money management skills early. Budgeting is the most important financial proficiency parents can impart to their children because all other best financial practices flow from it. A kid learning to place a priority on budgeting helps ensure that as an adult they will establish and maintain good credit, have the wherewithal to make investments and develop the type of discipline necessary for success in their work life. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 News flash – gas is expensive! What, you already knew that? Of course you did, but how many of these saving tips and tricks for the gas pump are you aware of? We've collected 14 here to save you money and leave you feeling a little better after filling up that tank. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 One of the trickier issues that goes along with tying the knot is figuring out how to manage your finances. Some couples prefer to keep things separate while others are comfortable pooling all of their resources. A prenup may be necessary when one or both parties have financial interests they want to protect, such as a business or an inheritance. If you get hitched without one, you still have the option of signing a postnuptial agreement after the fact. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Sometimes all it takes to sour someone on a particular business or company is just one bad experience. An unresolved billing issue, complaints about the quality of a particular product or just poor service may be enough for you to go from current to former customer. The situation is often made worse when you feel like your voice hasn't been heard. Fortunately, there are several agencies that are actively listening to buyer feedback. With help from the North American Consumer Protection Investigators, the Consumer Federation of America has come up with the top 10 consumer complaints for 2013. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Going from dating to married is a big test for any couple but the stakes are a little higher when both of you bring children into the mix. Blended families are becoming increasingly more common and approximately 65% of couples who remarry have children from a previous relationship according to the National Stepfamily Resource Center. Aside from navigating schedules, visitation times and who sleeps where, you also have to figure how you'll handle the financial side of things. Blended families face some unique challenges on the money front so we've got some tips for making the transition a little easier. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The things that make a city good to live in are pretty different if you're an adult or a kid. Children don't care much about property tax rates, for example, but if there isn't anything fun to do after school they probably won't be very happy. With that in mind, SmartAsset took a look at the hundred largest cities in the country to assess which were the best to spend a childhood in. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 It’s coming down to the end of your summer and another academic year begins. You've enjoyed the warm weather, and now find it’s time to refocus on school and making sure you have everything you need to be successful this year. If you are going away for the first time, it can be scary, compounded by the sometimes immense amount of money you have to pay for college. Tuition, room and board, and others costs can quickly add up. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Keeping your budget in check is mostly a matter of having a plan for spending and the willpower to stick to it. Resisting the urge to blow thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe or that dream vacation can keep you out of the red but sometimes it's the smaller things that add up to a big drain on your wallet. If you're on the lookout for ways to save, take a look at these things that may be costing you more than you think. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 Everyone loves a bargain. Manufacturers and retailers have understood that fact for decades and the result is bigger boxes with less content because it provides the impression of being a good deal. The process is simple: They offer consumers five percent more in a package that's 10 percent larger, label it bulk economy size and charge 15 percent more than the regular size. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 When I think of summer, I think of great weather and spending lots of time outdoors. For those in relationships, summer can be a great time to take your dates outside, and do it without spending a lot of money. Here are five ideas for a fun, inexpensive, summer date. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Losing your job unexpectedly can be emotionally and financially devastating but unfortunately, it's something all too many Americans have found themselves dealing with in recent years. While the national unemployment rate has been on a steady decline since 2009, it remained at 6.2% as of July 2014. Whether your job loss was the result of downsizing or a company-wide layoff, how you react to the situation can determine the impact on your bottom line. If you're recently joined the ranks of the unemployed, here's what you need to do now to minimize the damage to your finances. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Starting a family usually requires a significant lifestyle adjustment but it also means making some changes to your finances as a new parent. With a new baby comes added responsibilities as well as added expenses and if you're not prepared, it can throw a serious wrench in how you manage your money. If you'll soon be welcoming a new bundle of joy, here are five financial missteps you'll want to steer clear of. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 For most people money is not something we spend a lot of quality time thinking about. Sure we spend lots of time thinking about how we don't have enough or what we would do if we had more. None of that is quality time. Quality time thinking about money is when we engage in thoughts that lead to actions that improve our financial well being, so that we waste less and save more. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 There are certain perks that go along with being self-employed or freelancing, like the ability to set your own schedule or work from just about anywhere. There is a catch, however, since working for yourself often means you don't get a regular paycheck. The same is true if your income is irregular because you work on a commission basis or you're a seasonal employee. If you're dealing with a feast or famine scenario more often than you'd like, learning how to adjust your budget accordingly can help you close the gap. Take a look at these tips for making the most of your money when you aren't getting paid on a steady basis. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Having a discussion about home energy consumption and saving money can sometimes seem intimidating so it might be best to start with the fundamental equations at the heart of the issue. E (energy) = M (money) Therefore, more energy equals more money. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 I'm not a mathematician but I'm sure there has to be a direct relationship between the degree to which we desire something to the number of euphemisms and clichés we develop to describe it - get your mind out of the gutter, we're talking about money!  Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Most everybody wants to save more of their hard-earned dollars but actually doing it is challenging for most Americans. According to the Federal Reserve, the Personal Saving Rate was 4.8% as of May 2014, which is a far cry from the 12.3% consumers were saving four decades ago. In today's technology-centric world, you'll find plenty of apps and software that can help you keep track of your money but using them doesn't always equal more savings. If you're looking to fatten up your piggy bank, these old-fashioned tactics might do the trick. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 When you're on the receiving end of an inheritance, figuring out what to do with it can be tricky. Without a plan for managing your sudden windfall, it's easy for the money to slip through your fingers, leaving you no better off than you were before. If you're set to inherit a sizable chunk of change or you've recently come into some cash, here are some tips for using it wisely. Read More...

Feb 10, 2020 If you're a parent, paying for college can put a serious strain on your budget, especially as tuition prices continue to climb. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition at a public four-year university was $31,107 for the 2013-14 school year. The cost jumps even higher for students enrolled at private colleges. Saving early and often can soften some of the blow but you have to make sure you're stashing your cash in the right place. Read More...

Jul 24, 2014 We've all done it: Charging part of, of if not all of, our vacation expenses on a credit card. You totally deserve the vacation and, if you don’t have the money up front to pay for it, you use your card to make up the difference. So is that the best thing for your credit and your debt? Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Summer offers us plenty of opportunity to spend time outdoors. For many of us, this means taking at least one trip to the beach. Whereas we picture a day at the beach, to be carefree and fun, it can end up costing a good deal of money, if we're not careful. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Developing good financial habits requires discipline and a willingness to commit but how you view money can play a big part in whether you're successful. Your individual experience is shaped by a number of factors, including your parents, friends and what you see in the media. Picking up on the wrong messages can lead to trouble later on, especially if you've developed a bad money attitude. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Summer is the time of year to let your hair down and relax a little. Some employers take on summer hours meaning more free time, and of course there is the coveted vacation time. These getaways allow an escape from everyday life, even when staying at home. While it is important to enjoy their summer, it is also important to be aware of potential money pitfalls that can drain pockets this season. Here are four common money pitfalls to avoid this summer. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Summer is in full swing and next year's tax filing deadline is probably one of the last things on your mind. Even though the 2015 tax season is still several months away, now's a good time to go over your financials and fine tune your tax planning strategy. The more prepared you are the better off you'll be, especially if you're worried about owing money to Uncle Sam. Here are a few midyear tax must-dos that can help you hang on to as much of your hard-earned cash as possible. Read More...

Feb 19, 2016 Getting ahead financially requires determining your priorities and setting goals. When you're focused on paying down debt, it's tempting to put things like saving for retirement on the back-burner. Dumping your debt as quickly as possible can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest but you have to figure out whether it's worth it to delay building your nest egg. If you're torn between saving for retirement and getting rid of those lingering credit cards or student loans, here are some tips to help you strike the right balance. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 When you're soaking up the sun and enjoying the summer weather, Christmas is probably the last thing on your mind. By the time Halloween rolls around, you realize that you haven't set aside anything for holiday shopping and the clock is ticking. You pull out the plastic to cover gifts for everyone on your list and vow that next year you'll start saving early. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 In today's job market, a college degree is considered a must-have but the rising cost of tuition is making it more difficult than ever to afford higher education. Student loan debt in the U.S. currently tops $1 trillion, leaving young grads with a nasty case of sticker shock once they leave college behind. For parents who are looking to ease some of the burden, saving early and often is the best way to financially prepare. If you're planning on footing the bill for some or all of your child's education costs, you need to avoid these costly college planning mistakes. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Planning a wedding takes a lot of work--from finding the perfect dress to choosing a venue, the list of things to do can seem never-ending. Couples get so focused on the big day itself that they often don't have time to think about what happens after they say their vows. You both agree to love one another for richer or poorer but if you haven't talked about your finances beforehand, you could be starting off on shaky ground. Here are seven important money questions to tackle before you walk down the aisle. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 The first year of college is full of ups and downs as new students learn to navigate life on their own for the first time. In addition to juggling classes with working, studying or just having a social life, many freshman students are also figuring out how to manage their money without mom and dad's help. According to the National Financial Educator's Council, which administers the National Financial Literacy Test, the majority of young adults are woefully under-prepared for tackling financial issues. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 There's no way around it-- raising kids is expensive. According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a new parent can expect to shell out nearly a quarter of a million dollars by the time their child reaches age 17. As if that thought wasn't panic-inducing enough, that figure doesn't include the cost of a college education. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Being a minimalist is all about paring down your lifestyle to only include those things you truly need. The main idea behind this growing movement is that simplifying your life increases happiness and contentment. Applying this same concept to your finances can help to remove some of the stress that goes along with managing your money. Here are some ways to incorporate the minimalist approach so you can save your pennies. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye, potentially causing serious injuries and leaving your vehicle worse for wear. While your insurance is designed to protect you against financial consequences that could break your budget, you could still end up on the hook for medical bills or car repairs if you're not careful. Planning for the aftermath of an accident before it happens may seem pessimistic but it's a smart way to protect yourself money-wise. Here's a look at what steps to take if you're involved in a collision. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 It's that time of year when new grads are taking that long walk across the stage to collect their degrees and first-time students are preparing to head off to college for the first time. From a parent's perspective, both events can be financially draining, especially if you're shouldering some of the cost of tuition or forking over a sizable amount of cash as a graduation present. To add insult to injury, your wallet could see even more of a strain if you have to pay a gift tax on your contribution. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 These days, it’s hard to get an education without having to borrow money to help you do it. Some of us end up borrowing quite a lot. Not all degrees offer a great salary once you graduate to help pay back some of the student debt load. So if you’ve got a lot, or even just a little bit, of student debt and are scratching your head as to how you’ll pay it off before you die, we’ve got some tips for you. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 The fourth of July is a great time to get together with family and friends, throw some burgers on the grill and enjoy the fireworks. The only problem is that if you're not careful, the festivities could end up blowing your budget. When it comes to things like food, decorations or alcohol it's easy to overspend if you don't plan ahead. If you'll be hosting a July 4th bash this year, here are some tips for keeping the cost under control. Read More...

Nov 15, 2017 Rewards, points, and cash, oh my! If used responsibly (paid-off in-full on-time) credit cards can be very rewarding. Who doesn’t like an extra? Not all rewards are created equal. If there are annual fees, the rewards might not even be worth it depending on your spending habits. When I was choosing a new credit card, I was firmly anti-annual fee. From there I had to decide which reward I wanted and my thought process was this: Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Being a good pet owner requires a significant investment of time and energy, not to mention money. The pet industry is big business, raking in more than $55 billion in 2013 according to the American Pet Products Association. Depending on the type of pet you have, you could easily shell out several hundred dollars a year on food alone. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Would you ever try oil to cure your back pain or take herbs to fight a cold? Some of you would say no, but there are many who would try a natural remedy, especially if it keeps them away from the doctors office. It’s estimated that as many as 36 percent of US adults aged 18 and over use some type of complementary and alternative medicine. With the rising costs of traditional healthcare, I feel like this number will keep rising. Read More...

Jun 06, 2014 When I was in college, I attempted to start an investment club. Being on my own for the first time and free to explore topics that interested me such as personal finance, lead me towards reading up on the topic and talking with friends about the possibility. Unfortunately, the club never got started, but I am grateful for what I did learn. Especially now that investment clubs seem to be becoming more popular once again. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 When the lazy days of summer come calling it's easy to adopt a more relaxed approach, especially when it comes to your finances. Going on vacation, buying new clothes or socializing with friends can eat away at your bottom line if you're not careful. Taking some time to do a midyear money checkup can help you stay on track and see how much progress you've made towards your goals. Here's a quick rundown of what you should look for to make sure you're fiscally fit. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 Everybody likes saving money but how you go about it can make a big difference in how quickly those extra pennies pile up. Clipping coupons and slashing your budget down to the bare bones can certainly help you grow your cash cushion but there are some savings habits that may leave you feeling shortchanged. If you've employed any of these tricks to try and save a few extra bucks, you could actually be costing yourself money in the long run. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Shopping seasonally can add up to big savings but you'll need to do your research before you hit the stores. Certain things are always cheaper at different times during the year and with the weather heating up, there are plenty of deals to be had. Whether you're in the market for a new computer or you're looking to do some home renovations, here's what you'll save the most on this summer. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Thanks to tighter lending restrictions and rising home values, renting has taken on a new degree of popularity over the last few years. Many have determined that renting is better than buying for them. According to the National Multifamily Housing Council, approximately 35% of U.S. households are comprised of renters. As demand continues to grow, rent rates are skyrocketing in cities across the country leaving many renters feeling the pinch. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 Getting a divorce can take an extreme emotional toll on everyone involved and it can also pack a wallop when it comes to your money. Even if you don't have a substantial amount of assets to divvy up you need to be prepared to untangle the knots of shared financial responsibilities. Doing as much as you can to separate things before divorce proceedings begin can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long run. If your marriage is on the rocks, here's what you can do to protect your finances. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 For working parents, the question of what to do with the little ones when school's out for the summer can be a tough one. While daycare may be appropriate for younger children, it's not necessarily a good fit for older kids. Summer camp offers an opportunity to explore nature and make new friends but paying for it can be challenging for mom and dad. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 You save up, fly in or load up a mobile home or van and you are off on your family vacation. However, so often we put things off because of money and time constraints. I have reached a point in my life where I proclaim; "if not now, then when?" My goal, as it was in the Miami article, is to help you get away without giving away all your cash. This time we tackle one of my favorite cities in the Midwest: Kansas City, Missouri, who's also known for some of the top financial advisor firms around. Read More...

May 19, 2014 You got that student loan to pay for college, or maybe you used the cash for that spring break vacay. Whatever you used the money for, it is time to pay the piper. The problem is you are graduating and still looking for a job or planning to go to grad or professional school. Read More...

Jul 08, 2020 Sharing your living space with a complete stranger may not sound like an ideal situation but it can be a lifesaver when finances are tight. Taking on a roommate is a smart move if you're looking to save money and you can't afford to buy a house. But there are certain pitfalls that go along with communal living. In addition to navigating the rules about chores, socializing and personal boundaries, you'll also have to figure out how to make it work financially. If you're worried about a money miscommunication with your new roomie, here are some things you can do to keep conflicts to a minimum. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 When it comes to planning a marriage, most people believe they will be with their future spouse for a lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While skeptics believe signing or even discussing prenuptial agreements is akin to signing a death warrant on your marriage, this is not necessarily so. Not all marriages last a lifetime, and it is important to be realistic about that because a divorce can have major consequences not only for your emotional well-being, but also on your finances. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 What would you say if I told you my nightly beauty routine starts with a trip to my pantry? After dealing with some chronic health issues the last few years, I started to research everything that I was putting on or in my body. It changed what products I used but also how much I spent. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 You're ready to plunk down the cash you need for that new bedroom set. Or maybe it's time to upgrade your laptop. A long-awaited trip might be in your future, and you're ready to book the perfect hotel. If you're like a growing number of consumers, you'll make these purchases online. Research firm Forrester says that online shopping should account for $370 billion in sales by 2017. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Remember graduating from college? Remember how clueless you really were about money? When you’re fresh of school, you have a lot on your plate and money management is often the last thing on the list. Here’s a few easy tips to pass along that could really benefit a new grad in the very near future. Whether the person is a relative or a friend, your new grad may not soak in all of the information but even a little bit of it can save them frustration, time and money. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 When you get delivery or takeout from your favorite restaurant on the job, chances are you’ll get, along with your plastic cutlery, a handful of tiny paper packets of salt. If food needs it, we typically use one or two of these, and tend to throw the rest out. But why waste salt when it’s so useful? After all, to the ancient Romans and West Africans, salt was worth its weight in gold, and it still can be. Here are five ways you can put your salt packets to work at work. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 In today's economy, retirement has become an elusive goal for many Americans who were hit particularly hard by the fallout from the housing market collapse. Some older workers are even facing the possibility of having to continue working long past retirement age. The concept of retiring early may seem foreign to a large part of the population but if you're diligent about saving, it could become a reality. Here are some tips: Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 We have all been there. You read an article about arsenic levels in orange juice or meat recalls in the grocery store and you panic. Or maybe you watched a documentary like Food, Inc or Supersize Me and you were shocked by the way our food is “made”. It could be enough to make you head down to the local Whole Foods and spend a week’s paycheck on making over your home and refrigerator. For some people, spending a little more on their grocery bill is easy to do. For others, tacking on money to the grocery bill can be a hardship. Read More...

Apr 28, 2015 You know how important it is to save for your retirement years. Problem is, you don't make a lot of money. Maybe you're pulling down $40,000 a year. Maybe your annual salary is even under $30,000. It might seem impossible to put anything away for retirement if your yearly salary is so low. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Taking care of your body is one of the smartest investments you can make. The more time and energy you put in maintaining good physical health, the bigger the payoff will be down the road. If you regularly eat the wrong foods or carry around extra weight it can significantly up your risk for developing health issues later in life. When bad habits lead to a serious illness, it can put a strain on your budget if you rack up hefty medical bills. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Planning for your financial future can seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Finances can be confusing and there is a bit of a learning curve, but there are a few key things you should do if you are trying to secure your financial future. You do not have to be rich or extremely wealthy to have a secure financial future. However, you do need to pay attention to your finances and be willing to make changes when needed. Here are four things you should have to help ensure a secure financial future. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Winning the lottery or inheriting a fat stack of cash are two ways to get rich quick but if you're like most people, the odds are against you. This means most of us will have to focus on hard work, discipline and smart decision-making to build wealth. Whether you make a lot or a little, what you do with it that has a big impact on your financial outlook. If getting rich is your goal, avoiding these common money missteps can help you move from the red to the black. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 When I started working as a freelancer, a very wise and experienced writer told me one helpful piece of information that has followed me in my career and other aspects of my life, "Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket." Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Flying the friendly skies is getting more expensive as airlines continue to tack on new fees for travel-related expenses. Higher fees translate to big business for the airline industry, which raked in a whopping $6 billion in baggage and reservation-change fees alone in 2012, according to the Department of Transportation. For passengers, the rising fees are one of the more frustrating aspects of air travel. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep your costs down. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 It’s never too early to teach your kids responsibility when it comes to money. The same goes for the value of hard work. One of the best ways to teach this is by giving your kids an allowance for helping out around the house. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Spring break is right around the corner for many and the summer travel season will soon be underway. While you're gearing up for your next getaway, would-be criminals are thinking up creative ways to sucker you out of your hard-earned cash. Whether you're traveling abroad or planning to stick closer to home, you need to be alert for potential scams. We've put together a list of some of the worst travel traps you want to avoid. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 If you dream of a big wedding you better be prepared to give your checkbook a workout. On average, couples can expect to pay close to $29,000 (some resorting to wedding loans) to get hitched. Even if you're planning a smaller-scale ceremony you could still end up shelling out some serious cash if you're not paying attention. If you'll be tying the knot this year, here are some tips for making sure your wedded bliss doesn't come with an oversized price tag. Read More...

Mar 31, 2014 Over the last several years, the U.S. Postal Service has been on a financial losing streak. Despite measures to increase revenue and improve productivity, the agency still reported a net loss of $5 billion for the 2013 fiscal year. That brings total net losses to a whopping $27 billion since 2011. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017   Once spring arrives, the lazy days of summer won't be far behind. Plus, it's never too soon to start making plans for a quick getaway. Whether it's soaking up the sun at the beach or taking the family on a European tour, you need to make sure you have enough cash to cover your trip. Here are a few simple tips to make sure you reach your summer vacation savings goal. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 At some point, parents have to decide when to permanently close the Bank of Mom and Dad and allow adult children to stand on their own two feet. If you've taught your kids smart money habits from an early age, it may be relatively painless for them to make the leap to financial independence. Cutting the financial cord may be a bit more difficult when the roles are reversed. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Since February 1, 2014 the U.S. Department of State has issued ten travel alerts or warnings due to civil unrest. Among the countries are Thailand, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. Such countries are not common spring break travel destinations. However, one country has remained under a warning that is one of the most popular spring break spots: Mexico. Read More...

Mar 06, 2017 Spring is finally here! The warmer weather may tempt some shoppers to hit the stores looking for deals. During the months of March, April and May sales abound on everything from household items to electronics, which can add up to big savings when you're planning a major purchase. If you're thinking of doing a little retail therapy to cure your cabin fever, here are some great spring buys that won't break your budget. Read More...

Dec 31, 2014 You've done your taxes and instead of getting a refund it turns out you owe Uncle Sam even more money. Asking for an extension gives you more time to file but it won't get you off the hook for any penalties or interest that accrue on your tax bill. If you're short on cash but you don't want to be in debt to the IRS you could use a credit card to close the gap. Paying your taxes with a credit card can actually work to your advantage in certain situations but it's not the right choice for everyone. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you pull out the plastic. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Effectively managing your money is all about organization, planning and commitment but your mindset can have a significant impact on your success. Buying into certain money misconceptions can be a major stumbling block when it comes to achieving your goals. If you've allowed yourself to believe any of these damaging money lies, it's time for a reality check. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Children are expensive! On a scale that runs from OMG! up to You Can't be Serious, just how expensive depends on where you live and a handful of other factors. Of course on the off chance that one of my children are reading this, let me assure you that you were all worth it - every penny was well spent.... but it was a lot of pennies! Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 The cold weather will soon give way to the warmth of spring and for many people, it's the time of year to tackle those cleaning and maintenance projects they've been putting off. When you're through decluttering the attic and the basement it might be a good idea to do a little spring cleaning where your finances are concerned. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 I’ve recently started taking the city bus to work. Some of you reading this might yawn and say, ‘so what?’ Some of you might think, ‘I would never take the city bus.’ Every city transit system is different, and while it may seem like a no-brainer to take public transit in New York City, it doesn’t necessarily compute to folks in Albuquerque. Beyond just saving money and the environment, there are several reasons why you should really contemplate riding the mass transit in your city. Read More...

Apr 16, 2018 Living on a budget is one of the first and most important steps towards financial freedom. We all have different goals, from getting rid of debt or saving for retirement. Reaching those goals comes with having a financial plan. You should plan for how you spend your money each month and optimize it.  Read More...

Dec 09, 2016 You know you need to sit down and go over your monthly bills but you can't ever seem to get around to it. Meanwhile, you're not sure exactly where your money's going each month and your credit card balances are slowly creeping up. If you take a hands-off approach when it comes to budgeting, your finances could be paying the price. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 The unfortunate truth is that most people do not feel prepared financially for their retirement years. A 2013 survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling found that 75 percent of people agreed that they were not financially ready for their post-work years. But what about if retirement comes earlier than expected... and not by your choice? Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 If you are hoping to make smarter decisions with your finances, seeking out professional help may get you closer to your goals. Financial advisors can offer guidance on the best way to manage your money but they're not all created equal. There are four basic types of financial experts to choose from and knowing how they differ can help you find the best fit for your situation. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 If your wallet's feeling the squeeze, cutting out certain expenses can give you the financial breathing room you need. Taking a closer look at your spending can give you an idea of what's dragging down your budget but how do you decide what to cut back on? If you're trying to free up some extra cash each month, here are a few cost-cutting moves you'll want to consider. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 In the wake of the recession, millions of Americans have found themselves looking for ways to trim their budgets. With the economy still recovering, many consumers continue to rely on frugal tricks like clipping coupons, scouring bargain bins and shopping secondhand to save. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The new year saw key provisions of the Affordable Care Act take effect, including the mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. In late 2013, state and federal health insurance exchanges were established to help the uninsured find affordable coverage. Read More...

Jan 31, 2017 The amount of student loan debt in America is a staggering number. It’s estimated that Americans carry at least a trillion dollars in student loan debt. Yes, some colleges have a much higher tuition than others, but at least two thirds of college graduates are carrying some type of student loan debt.  Couple that with a limping economy, and the job horizon for many first entering the work force, (or those who have been laid off) can be depressing. But there is hope! Some good careers will actually help you pay your student loans. In fact, some public service jobs will even pay your loans completely. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015   This is a guest post written by the Editors of CreditDonkey. It's a tough economy out there, and even tougher for elderly folks. According to the Pew Research Center, around 20 percent of adult children ages 40 to 60 years old in the United States help with their aging parents' living costs, including everyday expenses and geriatric care bills. If your parents have fallen on hard times, whether due to illness or dwindling income, you have several different options. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 When it comes to personal finances we all have a certain style. Some of us prefer to save, some to spend and still others don't really give it a lot of thought. Ultimately how we treat our money is a personal decision. But there's no denying others can and do influence our financial choices. Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 College acceptances have already (or will soon!) come in. I thought I would search out a few scholarship surprises you may not know about to help cover the cost of college. There are more out there that can help parents keep a few jingles in their pockets in order to save money for college. Read More...

Sep 08, 2021 Saving money doesn't always mean you have to drastically change your lifestyle. There are small changes that can really add up. In fact, you can find large savings in every room of the house. Check out our latest video blog for 3 tips to save you money in the bathroom: Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Have you looked at your energy bill recently? Did you like what you saw? If not, you’re probably thinking of ways to save money. While making sure to unplug the coffeemaker while you're at work can help reduce energy usage, a more efficient way to cut costs is to look into an energy audit. Read More...

Dec 21, 2017 With mortgage rates still low, it makes sense to consider a refinance if you're trying to save on interest or lower your monthly payments. Refinancing your home can be time-consuming. Depending on your situation, you may find it difficult to get approved for a new loan. If you're planning to refinance, there are a few things you should do to make sure you're ready first. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 Making the transition from high school to college or from college to the real world isn't always a smooth ride. For some students, taking a year off before facing the next challenge in their academic or professional careers gives them some much-needed room to breathe. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Financial advice is everywhere. But knowing what to listen to and what to ignore isn't always that simple. When it comes to managing your money, putting stock in certain beliefs could end up costing you big time. If you're looking to keep your finances on the straight and narrow, here are some key money myths you'll want to steer clear of. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 For many baby boomers, 2014 signals the end of their time in the workforce. Retirement often means a lifestyle change but it can also bring some significant financial changes as well. Having a plan in place can take some of the stress and headaches out of the transition. If you're a soon-to-be retiree, here are a few tips to ensure that you're prepared when it's time to say goodbye to the 9 to 5 routine. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Carrying around high interest debt is like living in a financial black hole. You throw money at credit card bills each month but the balances never seem to go down. You want to sock away extra money for retirement and other financial goals, but there just never seems to be any cash left once you're done feeding the debt monster. Read More...

Nov 28, 2016 Donating your time to those in need is a great way to connect with others and make a lasting impact in your community. Giving back provides a deep sense of satisfaction. From a financial perspective, working for free may not seem to make much sense. But it can actually be a smart move in the long run. If you've been wondering what to do with your spare time, here are three good financial reasons to volunteer. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 In academic terms, economics is the study of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. Simply speaking, it's the study of the choices people make with the resources they have. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Having kids is expensive and welcoming home a new bundle of joy can put a serious pinch on your wallet. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child until the age of 18 is right around $241,000. If you've got a new baby on the way, you need to cut costs now so you'll have plenty of money saved by the time your little one arrives. Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 If you're working on your retirement savings strategy for 2014 you need to know exactly how much you can sock away. The Internal Revenue Service routinely adjusts the annual contribution limits for different types of retirement plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs. For 2014, most limits will stay the same. But there are a few key changes that take effect. Here's a rundown of what you can expect if you're looking to max out your retirement plan this year. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 With winter weather, homeowners are sure to see their heating bills rise as they try to stave off the cold. Investing in a few minor home improvements can help keep your energy costs down when you feel the chill. Here are some money-saving projects you may want to tackle this winter. Read More...

Apr 10, 2018 We've all seen that Public Service Announcement from the Ad Council and The American Institute of CPA's that urges us to "Feed the pig." Well, I will be the first to say it is annoying, but it is also very effective. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 Deciding which college is the best fit  is no easy task. There are all sorts of factors to consider which run the gamut from cost of the college and campus life to how big the institution is and what degrees it offers. You should consider them all before you and your child make a final decision, but there's got to be a starting point. Consider these 5 factors when picking the perfect college. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 In the simplest sense, a budget is a written plan for how much money you plan to spend versus how much you'll have coming in over a set period of time. Making a budget is a fairly straightforward process but making it work isn't always as easy. If you've written a budget but you still find yourself running out of money before the end of the month, you need to figure out why your plan's not working. Read More...

Dec 08, 2016 It happens to just about everyone at some point. You walk into the supermarket to pick up one or two things and before you know it, you're walking out with an armload of bags and no idea how much you've spent. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 A trip to the emergency room or an unexpected illness can be a recipe for financial disaster if you don't have health insurance or your coverage isn't that great. According to a study released earlier this year, medical bills are the number one factor leading to personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S. If your medical bills are piling up because of an injury, illness or other health crisis, here are a few strategies for dealing with the debt when you can't afford to pay. Read More...

Nov 15, 2017 When you don't have insurance, paying for medical care can put a serious pinch on your wallet. Credit cards are a convenient way to cover medical bills when you're strapped for cash but that convenience comes at a premium if you end up having to pay interest and fees. A number of banks are now offering medical credit cards for consumers looking to finance health-related expenses. These cards can seem like a great deal but there are a few things to know before you sign on the dotted line. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Are you one of the 40% of the population who will be making a New Year's resolution this year? If you are, don’t set yourself up for failure. By July 60% of those who make a New Year's resolution will have given up. Starting the year off with goals is a great idea, but how do you stick to them? Read More...

Jan 23, 2017 Do you love throwing a New Year's Eve party each year to celebrate with friends and family? I love throwing a party as much as the next person, but sometimes I just can’t afford to. Don’t let the cost of throwing a party deter you from having one. For someone who is just recovering financially from the holidays, the thought of throwing a New Year's Eve party can be overwhelming. That doesn't mean you can’t have a great party and still stick to your budget. If you don’t want to end up paying for your New Year's Eve party well into 2017, here are some tips and ideas that your wallet will love. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Teaching your kids money management skills can help them to establish good financial habits that will benefit them long after they're grown. If you're ready to start raising money-smart kids, here are some of the most important topics you'll want to tackle. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Most people have at least one bad habit. While some are relatively harmless, others can have a negative impact on your health or your life. When bad habits spill over to your finances, it can make getting ahead a major challenge. Learning how to break these bad money habits can help you get your finances back on track so you don't end up in the poor house. We've got the 3 bad money habits that are keeping you broke. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 The holidays shouldn’t be stressful, but they are. Finding the time to spend with friends and family, let alone all of the effort and time of shopping for them is hard. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, there’s always the cost of the holidays. Trying to pick out the perfect gift that’s within your budget isn’t easy, especially when you’re just flat broke. There’s no shame in making gifts for those you love, because sometimes the time and effort it takes to make a gift makes it that much more special. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Netflix, ShoeDazzle, Citrus Lane, Petflow, Birchbox. It seems that subscription services are popping up everywhere these days. And it makes sense. These companies sell you something once and the revenue doesn't stop. It's also easy to see the appeal of these services: monthly surprises in a curated box of  stuff. Whether the 'stuff' is shoes, TV and movie streaming, baby products, pet food, make-up, clothing, or any other product for that matter, it's nice to get things sent to you! Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 At the grocery store there are aisles full of over-the-counter medications, cleaning products, hair shampoos and conditioners that can be purchased. While these products may be helpful, they are not the end all and be all when it comes to household needs. There are many home remedies that can be made with everyday products often found around the home. The benefit is that these home remedies are often cheaper than the actual products designed for specific purposes. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Some of the hot toys this season are also some of the most expensive. So what if you want to give your kids a great holiday without spending a small fortune? Here are some of the season’s hot toys and how you can still make your little ones happy with a more budget friendly alternative. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 'Tis the season - for festivities, traditions, family...and spending. Travel, parties, presents and decorations are just a few of the mounting expenses we face as the merriest time of the year approaches. When it comes to presents, I not only struggle with what to give someone - but how much I should spend, per person and overall. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 It's that time of year when people are encouraged to give back to those who are less fortunate. When you're on a shoestring budget, giving even a little can seem like a stretch. But there are plenty of ways to give to charity that don't cost a thing. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 There are few words that go together as well as Christmas and overspending. But there are alternatives to ending the year with piles of debt. Of course no one wants to feel like a Scrooge in the midst of a holiday season that celebrates giving across faith traditions as well as among the purely secular. SmartAsset has some tips so you can save money and celebrate this Christmas season. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 It's the time of year when many of us think about giving back. You can donate money or time, new toys or old coats. But this year, I decided to donate my hair. It doesn't cost a thing (often the salon will offer a free haircut if you are donating) and it can mean a lot to someone else. Check out the video of my hair donation here: Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 If you’re an owner of a small business, (as I am) you know that marketing is usually the last thing you’re able to afford. That said, without some marketing, the majority of businesses are doomed to fail. There are several cheap and simple marketing tips literally anyone can use. Small budgets (or even no budgets) can still produce targeted efforts and great results. Whether you work for a non-profit or a small business just starting out, all four of these easy marketing steps can be utilized for big results. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 The idea of a road trip is a romantic one. To be sure, road trips can be exciting, adventurous, and an ideal type of travel for solo, group, and family excursions. At some point though, scenery is going to lose some of its pull, the car is going to get hot, backs will ache, and boredom will threaten to kill any remaining buzz. Music and snacks are a must, and so are a few games to whittle away at some of those hours of highway stuck behind a cow trailer. Read More...

Jun 29, 2015 More and more people are using online tools and their smartphone to create their budgets and track their spending. We met up with Julianna Young from Moven to talk about this trend. Watch our video interview below to learn some of the advantages of having your budgeting tools at your fingertips and how products are developed to better match how people live and spend. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The days are now shorter. It's inevitable - winter is coming! Maybe you've already turned the heat on for one or two nights. Or maybe you're trying to tough it out. A big concern for many of us is the increased cost of heating and our electric bills in the colder months. For help, we can look to a perhaps strange source - cities. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The holidays are on the horizon and, if you live a far from family and friends, that could mean some traveling this time of year. When you couple the purchase of gifts with travel costs, the expenses for holiday travel can begin to add up. One area you can save money is on baggage fees. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 We all understand it: Bring Your Own Beverage. Choosing to BYOB to a restaurant – with a beverage license or not - can be a wonderful way to eat out while cutting costs. There’s a reason Zagat added “BYOB” to the “special features” section of their newest editions. Bringing your own beer and wine for a night out is a favorable factor for restaurant-goers. But before you start swigging Three Buck Chuck at the nicest restaurants in town, learn how to BYOB properly. Read More...

Jun 26, 2017 In the past few years we've seen a resurgence of point-earning credit cards and handsome sign up bonuses. There are a number of ways to earn credit card points and miles. However, redeeming those rewards for things you actually need and want is a whole another game in itself. 50,000 points won't do you a whole lot of good if you can never use them. Read More...

Apr 10, 2017 Your health is a priceless asset. How well you take care of it can have a big impact on your wallet. A poor diet and lack of exercise can contribute to major health problems. This can all add up to big medical bills later on. If you're worried about how your health choices will affect you financially, there are a few things you can do to improve your quality of life and keep more cash in your pocket. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Halloween costumes are a lot like wedding dresses. You get all dressed up for one day and after that they live in the back of your closet forever. There are so many other ways you can use that old Halloween costume to give it new life. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 30.7 billion dollars. $30,700,000,000.  That's the richest endowment of any U.S. university and it belongs to Harvard.  It's no big surprise that Harvard sits at the top of the list for university endowments but $30 billion is pretty astounding.  That's $10 billion more than the next highest endowment which belongs to Yale University(again, big surprise). Read More...

Sep 20, 2016 Everyone's talking about weddings.  Well, really they're talking about wedding dollars. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Five years after the Great Recession and resulting financial crisis, the economy still has not recovered to the degree that economists and policy makers had hoped. Unemployment is on the decline, the threat of deflation has abated, and the stock market is at all-time highs. Yet Americans are not spending. Consumer spending is the final piece to an economic recovery. Without it, the present recovery has remained tenuous, fueled as much by Federal Reserve action as by true growth. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Bills, bills and more bills.  We all have them. But when you're struggling financially, they can really be a burden on your financial health and well being.  Even though you might not necessarily live paycheck to paycheck, if you were to suddenly lose your main source of income would you know which bills you should pay first? Read More...

Sep 14, 2016 Sometimes you may look around your home and wonder how it ever got this way. Meanwhile you see gorgeous decor images all around you. Looking through Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn magazines, and Pinterest boards can provide a lot of inspiration to spruce up your space, but sometimes they are too expensive to implement for your budget. Read More...

Feb 21, 2019 Americans spent over $55 billion on their pets last year, according to the American Pet Products Association. The largest percentage went towards food. But pet owners shelled out approximately $13 billion just for veterinary care, up 40 percent from 2006. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Whether you're an Apple fan boy or hooked on Android, there's one thing that we can all agree on: smartphones aren't cheap.  Not only do you have to re-up your 2 year $100 a month contract every time you want the latest and greatest phone, but there's also the cost of the actual phone to deal with.  We'll ignore the opportunity cost of the time spent waiting in lines for hours every time a new phone comes out for now. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 How often have you seen this scenario? You budget at the beginning of the month, you know exactly how much you have to spend on bills, necessities, and fun. Yet at the end of the month, you are left scratching your head and wondering where all that money went. Sound familiar? Don’t worry; you aren't alone. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Everyone dreams of being on the receiving end of an unexpected wad of cash but landing a financial windfall can quickly become a nightmare. Without some careful thought and planning, you could end up squandering the money before you've had a chance to put it to good use. Whether you've come into an inheritance, gotten a hefty bonus at work or hit it big playing the lottery, we've got some tips to help you make the most of your new-found wealth. Read More...

Jul 19, 2019 A trip to the ER can be a frightening experience, especially if you've suffered a serious injury or you're having an unexpected health crisis. Once you're on the road to recovery, you may get another shock to the system when the medical bills start to arrive. According to an NIH-funded study published earlier this year, the average cost of treatment in the emergency room is 40 percent more than a month's rent. It's only expected to get higher. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 We've all heard stories of personal bankruptcy.  Many of us have even known people who have been to the brink and fallen off. One all too common and unfortunate comment is he\she\they had no idea how bad things were until it was too late. This is of course pure bunk, hogwash if you prefer. There are always signs whether we choose to read them or not is another story. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Given the economy of the past few years, many people have been laid off or are underemployed. Couple this lack of or decreased income with the fact that a lot of us are just not very financially savvy and the consequences can be disastrous. Luckily, there are ways you can become more financially secure, so that if you ever find yourself on the wrong end of a pink slip or a government shutdown, you are prepared. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 The issue of student loans has been getting much attention lately. Here at SmartAsset, we've written on entrepreneurs such as Peter Thiel who are creating programs for young students to drop out of school and pursue their interests directly. States such as Oregon are coming up with alternative methods to pay for state college tuition. However, for many of us, these programs are coming out a little too late. We're already saddled with student loan debt. While this debt cannot be reversed, if you take some smart steps to pay down your debt sooner than expected. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Student life is busy: school, internships, part-time jobs, friends, dating, and staying involved on campus. It may seem easier to worry about grades than your credit score, but college is a great time to start building credit. The key is to take calculated steps in becoming financially independent. Using a credit card can be a way to do that.  Here's a list of tips for college students who are ready to begin establishing credit. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 This is a guest post from Bo Lu, CEO of  FutureAdvisor,  a fee-only registered investment advisor. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Everyone likes to save money and one of the easiest ways to keep more cash in your wallet is to shop secondhand. Whether you're browsing the local flea market or surfing the ads on Craigslist, you're sure to find deals on everything from books to clothes to furniture. While it's better to buy some things used, there are certain purchases you can't afford to skimp on. Here's a list of things we think you're better off buying new, even if it means spending a little more. Read More...

Jan 13, 2016 There was a time when people got paid on Friday and went to the bank on their lunch hour.  They cashed their paychecks and deposited money into their bank accounts. Stores took checks from customers they knew and everyone else paid cash with real money that they carried around in a wallet or purse. Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 We eat for lots of reasons, not the least of which is to stay alive. This makes food the only item on our household budgets that can't be eliminated entirely. What and how we eat is also a matter of pleasure in both the physical sensation of being full and contented and for the enjoyment of the tastes. Finally sharing meals is a social function that pre-dates history and brings us closer as families. If the only concern we had when it comes to food were staying alive we're pretty adaptable and can eat most anything to meet our needs for nourishment. Since survival is not our only reason for eating what and how we eat has a greater impact on our household budgets. Eating more, eating better and doing it for less is not impossible or even complicated. Read More...

Dec 01, 2016 Congratulations you're engaged! Tell your parents. Text your friends and tweet and post the happy news so that everyone can share in the happy occasion. Pick a date, pick a hall, book a honeymoon, and start picking baby names! What? Choosing baby names seems a little premature? Ok, you can do the rest, right? Wrong! Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Imagine moving out of your parents’ house for the first time, and not knowing how to create a budget, what a 3% interest rate on a student loan means, or never having seen a credit card only to be confronted by employees of credit card companies trying to sign you up for a card by enticing you with free stuff. For many, these scenarios have played out on college campuses across the nation. Unfortunately, it’s not only young adults, freshly out of high school, who are confused or unaware about personal finances. In a previous post, I discussed how one-fifth of adults lacked confidence or were confused about their own personal finances. If these adults lack awareness about their own personal finances, chances are they are hesitant to teach their children about personal finances, thus furthering the cycle and confusion. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 For better or worse divorce is the end result of close to half of first marriages and an even higher percentage of subsequent marriages. Adding to the crushing emotional toll is often financial uncertainty. Divorce is a process and the sooner it is treated that way the better, especially when it comes to personal finances. Denying the inevitable will only serve to make matters worse down the road and will do little to slow the progression of change. Divorces are fraught with uncertainty even those that occur on the friendliest of terms. Read More...

Dec 08, 2016 Health insurance is designed to help cover the costs of your medical care, whether you're going in for a routine checkup or undergoing emergency surgery. Comprehensive plans typically cover both major and minor medical care expenses, but every policy is different. If you're concerned about the possibility of developing a serious illness, such as cancer, you may want to consider purchasing a disease-specific policy. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 If the bills are piling up and creditors are hounding you over unpaid debts, it may seem like the only way out is to file bankruptcy. While filing bankruptcy can give you a financial clean slate, it's meant to be a last resort. In some situations, bankruptcy is unavoidable but in many cases, all it takes is careful budgeting and a little discipline to get your debt under control. If you're struggling with your finances, these simple budgeting tips may be able to pull you away from the brink of bankruptcy. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 If you're looking for ways to trim your budget, buying things that have been previously owned can save you a lot of money. While it's true that you get what you pay for, buying secondhand doesn't necessarily mean you have to sacrifice quality. If you take the time to shop around, you'll find that there are plenty of things you can buy in like-new condition without having to pay top dollar. Here are just a few things we think you're better off buying used. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 In the U.S., there is growing national concern over the obesity epidemic. According to public health workers, anyone with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 is considered obese. Nearly, one-third of Americans are obese today, and it is estimated that by 2030, 42% of Americans will be obese. Obesity is a major concern for a number of reasons, many of which center around the healthcare costs associated with obesity. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 In today’s day and age, people have much more access to information than ever before. The ease with which we can look up all sorts of data and information is astounding, and often, incomprehensible to past generations. However, given all the information available to us, right at our fingertips, it still seems that many people are confused about their personal finances. If you find yourself in this boat, just know you are not alone. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The past few months have been very exciting for same sex-couples. One of the most exciting occurrences was the Supreme Court’s striking down of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA. The Supreme Court’s decision made way for a number of significant advancements for same-sex couples when it comes to taxes and nursing homes or living arrangements for elderly same-sex couples. One of the main arguments for same-sex couples who were championing the legalization of marriage had to do with tax and other benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy. According to an article published by Slate by J Bryan Lowder, the U.S. Treasury announced that given the strike down of DOMA, same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes. The press release from the Treasury states, in part: Read More...

Dec 08, 2016 Your health is an invaluable asset that you can't afford to neglect. How well you take care of yourself has a significant impact on your quality of life and it can also affect your finances. If you're in good health, you generally won't have to spend as much on medical care and you may get a better deal on insurance. If you're not in great shape, you may face more costly medical issues as you age. Maintaining good health requires time and effort but it doesn't have to be expensive. Take a look at these budget-busting health myths that could be costing you money. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 When it comes to buying and selling real estate, there are certain situations where it helps to have a qualified legal professional on your side. If you're looking to get into real estate investing, attempting to purchase a short sale or foreclosure, or having unexpected complications with a simple transaction, it may be time to hire a real estate attorney. Before you sign on the dotted line, consider asking these five questions to make sure your prospective attorney has the skills and qualifications you need. Read More...

Sep 02, 2015 With Labor Day behind us and the summer unofficially officially over, the great fall sales beckon shoppers to dole out some cash on end-of-the-season sales. The transition into fall makes it  possible to find deals on summer products and snatch up last year’s models before the new ones are unveiled. Here is a quick guide on what to look for while shopping this September. Read More...

Dec 08, 2016 Do you ever find yourself checking your bank account or credit card balances and wondering where your money went, only to realize it’s all in your closet? Do you find yourself splurging a little too often on a new pair of shoes, new clothes, or even eating out? Unfortunately, emotional spending is a problem for many of us that leads to overspending on things we really don’t need. Thankfully, there are ways to break the habit of emotional spending, so that we can put our money to better use and improve our overall financial situation. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 I was fortunate enough to graduate college with very little debt.  I went to a public university in California and although tuition has skyrocketed lately, the cost wasn't overly outrageous at the time.  My fiancee was in the same boat but she chose to attend graduate school after college.  We've been dating for 9 years so I knew all along that we would be incurring big time debt to pay for her graduate studies.  But I didn't mind since it was what she wanted to do and I didn't want to hold her back from her career goals and dreams. The same can't be said about all couples though, when is the right time to ask how much student debt or debt in general your partner has?  I've been out of the dating game for a while but I don't think credit scores are a great first date conversation starter.  Not if you want to have a second date at least. Read More...

Sep 20, 2016 Whether you consult on a freelance basis, work remotely or operate your own business, your home office is a hub for focused productivity. It can also serve as the space where you keep your personal finances organized. With the right tools and conditions, the life of the home office worker can be very rewarding. SmartAsset rounded up these handy tips to help the Smart Guy to optimize his home office space. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 New York City is one of the most expensive cities to visit, and live, in the country and in the fall it's also one of the most beautiful. What a lot of people don’t realize is that for every expensive attraction or show, there are just as many free things to do in NYC as well. In the city that never sleeps, you can find enough activities to keep you busy all day and keep you up all night. When you get to NYC, pick up a Time Out magazine or check out their website. I find it’s a wealth of information when it comes to finding free things to do in NYC. You can find everything from free buffets at happy hour to free classes and more. These activities can vary from day to day. If you can’t find something in there to do, you can always check out these great alternatives. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 For many freshly-minted grads struggling to find their footing in a tough job market, the arrival of their first student loan bill is a harsh reality check. Just as student loan debt is approaching an all-time high, default rates are also skyrocketing. According to a recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, approximately 7 million borrowers are in default on a federal or private student loan. If your student loan payments are putting the squeeze on your budget, you need to know what your options are. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Are you getting the best deal on your cell phone? Did you ever take the time to compare other companies or do you just pay your phone bill because you don’t want to take the time to shop around? I am one of those people. I love to save money but I can never get it together in time for when my plan renews, so for the last decade I have had the same cell phone carrier. Does that sound familiar? Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 People choose to rent their homes for a variety of reasons. Maybe they were temporarily relocated by their employer or their relocation was so fast, they didn’t have time to sell. When the housing market crashed, a new wave of landlords emerged. Many people found themselves upside down in their homes, but needed to move anyways. Instead of taking a loss, they rented their homes to wait for the market to rebound. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 A college degree is crucial to success in today’s job market, but the rising costs of earning a diploma is making it harder for young Americans today. Scholarships, grants and student loans can ease the burden but you could still end up having to cover part of the expense yourself. The good news is you may be able to put some of that money back in your pocket by taking advantage of these key tax breaks for education. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 Sometimes you just need to get away. But if you haven't planned out a vacation, are you doomed to spend tons for airfare and hotel rooms at your preferred destination? The answer is no! Here are a few helpful tips to help you save money on your last minute vacation. Read More...

Sep 14, 2016 A bare bones apartment is the ultimate blank canvas for creativity. But unless you’re a skilled designer or interior decorator, putting together an attractive, comfortable home — and ensuring it all works together — can be daunting. SmartAsset has compiled some price-savvy design ideas to help you create the ideal living space. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Bike sharing is a new phenomenon in the United States that has its roots in Europe and in a city that is legendary for its canals and its bicycle culture Amsterdam. Modern bike sharing got its start in the Dutch capital in 1965 has since evolved into a world wide trend since. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Handling your money is a personal endeavor. You are the person in control of what you spend on and how much you allocate to your expenses. The amount of pressure and responsibility is part of what makes budgeting so difficult. How do you decide what to buy, when to buy it, and how much you should spend? Saving money presents challenges all its own. Add to this chaos the confusion of loans, debt, and perhaps mortgages, and crafting a personal budget becomes a near impossible task. Read More...

Aug 09, 2013 High school graduation is a rite of passage and time for celebration. But unless you’re willing to witness a real life scene from 16 Candles,  Weird Science or even worse,  Project X, you’d do best hosting a project graduation party. Nowadays, schools across the country participate in some type of chaperoned, drug- and alcohol-free event, which typically on throughout the night. The scope of these events varies, depending on the school’s budget allocation and cost-per-ticket. But that doesn’t mean party planners need to skimp on the frills. The pleasure seekers at SmartAsset have compiled some ideas to help you load up on the fun on a budget. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 In an article, a financial columnist wrote about how it was possible to put away thousands by saving rather than spending $5 for a cup of coffee or some other frivolous item.  That can add up to hundreds thousands of dollars over the years.  Those funds you are saving can easily pay for a car, house, college or retirement. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 In the August installment of The Best and Worst Things to Buy, we take a look at the best and worst end of summer deals.  For parents the end of summer  can’t come soon enough. For the kids it’s here too soon. But, August isn't just back to school time, it’s a great time of year to snag some deals. Whether you are looking for a new grill or stocking up office supplies, there is a sale for everyone. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Shopping and banking online occur constantly in the Internet marketplace. Unfortunately, online fraud and identify theft occurs just as frequently, thanks to clever thieves and sloppy consumer Internet shopping habits. Online transactions always carry some risk, but consumers can do many things to increase their security on the web. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 In 2009, the American Journal of Medicine found that at least 60% of all bankruptcies are caused by medical problems. The issues of health care coverage and its costs are often the center of political debate and discussion, and are a main concern of Americans from different classes and backgrounds; everyone needs and deserves to be healthy. As a culture, it has been shown that Americans are quite unhealthy, and do not often lead lifestyles that prevent the onset of disease like diabetes and heart disease. The result is that many people are finding it difficult or nearly impossible to pay for health care costs, especially those without access to health insurance. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Have you ever felt undervalued, under-paid, or just underappreciated for the effort you put into your work? While you’ve certainly heard of the Type A personality, and about the habits of highly effective people, you may not yet have heard about the personality type called “The Underearner.” In many ways, under-earning is the flipside of the Type A and hyper-productivity--it may even be an overreaction to the aggressive pursuit of self-expansion and accumulation that characterizes those other types and is generally celebrated in our culture. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Congratulations, you’ve either paid off all your high interest credit card and revolving credit debt (or are well on your way) and you’re ready to start building your own emergency rainy day fund. A what, you ask? Rainy day funds or emergency funds or financial security blankets are some of names given to a stash of cash you keep locked away to cover your living expenses for six months or more. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014   More than one third of  American adults are obese. With their average medical costs being $1429 higher than someone who is not overweight, it was about time that the government took notice and did something about it. The Affordable Care Act is doing just that. In the past there were a small handful of insurance companies that helped those who were trying to lose weight, however with Obamacare, most insurance plans are now required to help obese patients lose weight. The methods they cover may vary from plan to plan but one thing is for sure – we are finally getting the help we need to fight the war on obesity. Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 There’s a war going on in your wallet. The war is for control of your life and the enemy is personal debt. That might sound like hyperbole at first blush but the reality is that personal debt, especially excessive personal debt is slowly strangling millions of people every day. Personal debt can suck the joy out of life faster than shop vac in fish tank. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Discussions of personal finance usually end up in one of two ways, with drooping eyelids, yawns and repeated glances at a watch or in raised voices and some variation of “None of this applies to me I know what I’m doing.” Yet every day more and more people find themselves in financial hot water without much of a clue about how to get out or how they got there in the first place. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 You’ve filed your income tax return and put another year tax year behind you as you wipe the sweat from your brow. The relief that you survived a visit from the tax man is tempered by a deeply seeded sense of anxiety borne from the uncertainty of the eternal question that has plagued human kind since the dawn of time, what if!?! Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Having fun on a tight budget can be tough especially if you live in a big city or anywhere where a lot of traveling is required. However, we found 12 ways anyone – families, friends, couples, or singles – can have a great time while still meeting their strict budget guidelines. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Regardless of your position on the ladder of success the question is the same: "what can I do to move on up the food chain?" Whether you are a fresh out of school or a highly experienced professional everybody wants to get ahead. Even though every business, career and career path is unique, where some may have education requirements or experience minimums or other standards that are particular to your industry or field there are still some rules that are universal. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 According to financial calculators on www.finaid.org, the tuition for a public 4-year college when a child born this year enrolls, will cost well over $50k a year. Even in this financial environment, it is not only possible, but extremely helpful to invest in a 529 Plan, which is one of the best college savings plans. Used correctly, it can be a very useful tool for college planning and reaching your long-term goals. Read on to learn about 529 plan rules. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 So you have decided to begin a life a frugality. Congratulations on your new found direction! In a short time you will see the positive results of your new found frugality in your bank account and in your head as you will be stressing less over your financial situation. However, many wannabe frugal livers have trouble kick-starting their endeavor. If you are one of these people, have no fear! Here are 20 simple living tips to kick-start your new lifestyle. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Hosting a successful yard sale is much more than throwing your items out in the front yard with a “For Sale” sign. With the age of technology, you can advertise to a larger audience and even take credit card payments from your smart phone. Planning a yard sale can be time consuming, but if you do it right, you may be able to make a few hundred dollars (or more) in just a few hours. Here are a few tips for hosting a yard sale in style (and making some money along the way): Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 It starts with flashing lights and a few chirps of the police cruisers siren and you find yourself on the side of the road fumbling for your license, registration, insurance and a reasonable explanation in the hope of getting out of a traffic ticket. Sometimes you get lucky and the officer lets you off with stern lecture and a warning. Other times you join the not so exclusive club of traffic law violators. Traffic tickets, aka moving violations are no fun and can end up being far more costly than being late for an appointment which is by far the most common excuse for speeding. When excuses and explanations fail and a ticket is issued and the patrol car drives out of view you are left with a piece of paper that represents only a portion, possibly a small portion of your cost for the event. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 If you have ever been a server at any type of restaurant, you know how important a tip can be. Servers are amongst those making some of the lowest wages in the country, and therefore rely on tips in order to make each week’s pay worth the hard work they put in. However, if you are more often in a restaurant to enjoy a meal and good service, you may conceive of the coveted tip in quite a different light. Read More...

Sep 14, 2016 Have you dreamed of a European vacation but only have enough money to get you a trip to the next town over? It’s no secret that some destinations in Europe like Paris and London are expensive to visit. What if I told you that there were countries where you can have a five star vacation on a staycation budget? There are still a few hidden gems in Europe where you can stay in five star accommodations for less than that you would pay to stay in a budget motel here in the states. Here are just a few budget European travel destinations at the top of our list. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 It's clear that debt can impact your credit score. There are few things that cause more stress than the looming specter of debt.  Even when you are meeting monthly payments and staying afloat, that silent ball and chain still drags behind you, clinking now and then to remind you that you are not really free. It seems logical to assume that the psychological burden debt carries could adversely affect one’s mental health.  I did a little investigating to find some hard numbers on this phenomenon and see what science has to say about the relationship between debt and mental health. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Exercise, we all need it. The Center for Disease Control states that physical activity has the capacity to help manage our weight, reduce the risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and more. Not only is exercise great for physical health, but it is also great for mental health, as well. The benefits of exercise and physical activity are innumerable. However, one of the drawbacks to seeking out exercise is the cost of a gym membership and exercise equipment. Luckily, there are many ways to build a successful exercise regimen without spending a great deal of money. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Workplace awkwardness is such a familiar phenomenon that a hugely popular television series, “The Office”, is based nearly entirely on corporate clumsiness in its many modes.  The US version of the extremely popular comedy series recently came to a very awkward end, capping a hugely successful eight seasons on NBC.  Why was it so popular?  I would venture to guess that more than its classic characterizations from Rainn Wilson and Steve Carrell, what made “The Office” so popular was its familiar and often hilarious portrayal of awkward co-workers. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Car sharing services such as Zipcar, RelayRides and Getaround are all the rage around college campuses and among urban dwellers in crowded cities. In 2012, reports show some 800,000 belonged to car-sharing services, in which members pay a small annual fee to join and can rent cars on an hourly basis using a smart phone app or going online. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Many of us have a family member or friend who seems to be unable to get it quite right with their finances. Whether they are our children, and are just starting out or an older relative or parent who has taken a financial hit, if they come to us for help, we want to be able to give them the help them the help they need. This help can come in the form of cosigning for a loan. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 Debt free people aren’t born, they’re made. It’s easy to look at people without debt with stank-faced envy as you spend your days paying off student loans, car payments, or the speedboat that solved your midlife crisis. However, becoming one of them might not be as complicated as it seems. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 One of the first things you learn in business school is that the goal of any corporation is to “maximize shareholder value.” In layman’s terms, it means, to make a profit. That is the foremost objective of any and every business. What you do not learn in business school, or in any other classroom setting, is how to maximize your own value, as an individual. We are never taught to apply the teachings of how to make money for a company, towards ourselves and our own personal finances. However, we can apply many of the principles that corporations utilize to our own financial lives. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 Feeding your self can be a tedious task. With all of our deadlines, and meetings picking what to food hardly makes it on to the to-do list. Consequently, we end up picking up something on the way to and from our appointments, causing us to spend unnecessarily. Since these on-the-go meals are usually packaged and processed foods, we are missing out on key nutrients found in whole, unprocessed fruits and veggies. We also miss out on one of the best parts of changing seasons, which is eating produce at its ripest- and also cheapest. Foods that are in season typically cost less, can be found at local grocers and farmer’s markets, and are beneficial to everyone’s health. Read More...

Jan 23, 2015 It seems things are looking up for the average consumer. According to recent data, the cost of living has gone down. The Consumer-Price Index dropped .2 percent in March 2013, allowing the month to truly go out like a lamb. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 It’s hard to keep a family organized. Who am I kidding – it’s tough to keep yourself organized at times. Imagine trying to keep a household together with kids who are involved in activities and sports, working full time and having a spouse that works full time, too. You can easily get overwhelmed and disorganized and once you get there, it’s tough getting back.  We put together some tips and helpful tools to help you stay organized and sane. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 A hobby can be a wonderful and fulfilling use of your free time.  However, sometimes your recreation budget can get a bit out of control, and going overboard on hobby-related spending can get expensive.  Here are a few tips on how to have fun without breaking the bank. Read More...

Aug 12, 2015 Nothing burns more than when you’re shopping for things and when you “Proceed to Checkout,” suddenly your balance balloons with shipping charges and other fees.  You always feel a bit cheated, and you ask yourself, “How could I have avoided these horrible charges?!” Here are eight shopping sites that will help ease your shipping burden. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 There is an ever constant trend growing in America with more couples living together before they are married. In fact, some studies and recent census data suggest that almost half of all adults in the United States in their 30s and 40s live together in romantic relationships but aren’t married. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 According to the 2010 Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 53 million people had trouble paying or were unable to pay their medical bills.  Of that 53 million, 30 million had been contacted by a collections agency over unpaid medical debt.  Medical debts can have a severely negative impact on your credit score for several reasons, and there has been debate over whether they should be as credit-impairing as they currently are.  Here’s our breakdown of the situation. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 There's a new school of writers emerging in the arena of personal finance. They're young, they're fun, and they're making financial responsibility cool. Since I'm older than them and still have significant debt, I decided to follow along and see if it really is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Read More...

Jul 07, 2016 By Ankita Dewan Nolan Key Bushnell, American engineer, entrepreneur, and founder of Atari Inc., once said, "The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer." Well, if you're ready to take Mr. Bushnell's advice and turn your entrepreneurial ideas into reality, you'll have to spend time planning your financial agenda before getting started. Here's some finance tips to help you along in your endeavors. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 With vacation season quickly approaching, it’s nice to picture yourself on a tropical resort with a softball-sized coconut drink in your hands. To get there however, you might have to pinch some serious pennies. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 Advancements in internet security technology have led to a proliferation of websites that offer bank-level security and the chance to organize your financial life in one way or another. Back in the olden days (2005), many of us were hesitant or unwilling to provide our social security numbers or bank log-in credentials to third-party sites. Now, safety and security are well established and membership on those sites grows exponentially each year. Providers have popped up in every possible niche to meet our financial management needs. Let’s ignore, for the moment, services that charge a fee, and just take a look at the best reputable, free financial management tools available to anyone with an Internet connection. Read More...

Dec 04, 2017 If you’re looking for a reminder that tax day (April 15 th) is right around the corner, turn on your television. As soon as there's a commercial break you will be assaulted by a never ending stream of ads from H&R Block, TurboTax and other tax services.  While the nation is fixated on their own personal taxes, one contentious question continues to rise to the surface: do the rich pay their fair share in taxes? It doesn't make for polite dinner conversation, or particularly captivating bar banter. But we'll take a look at the three main aspects of the current tax environment to see where the truth lies. Read More...

May 13, 2015 When I hear the word TAXES my usual response is to wince, and it’s all I can do just to keep from shutting down and giving up on the spot.  This can be quite inconvenient, especially considering the fact that paperwork scares me, particularly the tax kind. But, while frustrating to deal with, if properly understood you can turn taxes to your advantage. A great example of this is home ownership, many home-related expenses are tax deductible, and if you know what you're doing, you can end up saving a significant amount on the taxes you pay. Read More...

Nov 10, 2016 If you find yourself with a mortgage and a home that is partly yours and also happen to have the financial possibility of paying off your mortgage sooner, how do you know when this is a good decision, and how might you go about doing this?  This isn't a decision you should make quickly, and it is important to evaluate the potential effects this could have on your finances down the road before you decide on a course of action.    Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 What if you want to buy a home, but you have a bankruptcy on your credit report? You may be worried that you won't be able to convince a mortgage lender to provide you with a home loan. There's good news and bad news. First, the bad: It will take time to repair your credit enough to qualify for a mortgage loan. But the good news? Depending on the type of bankruptcy you have filed and the steps you take next, becoming a homeowner certainly isn't out of reach. Read More...

Dec 11, 2014 Many students take out a loan to help pay college expenses — often, even more than one. For graduates who secure jobs with healthy salaries, paying those loans off early becomes a distinct possibility. If you are fortunate enough to be in this situation, you may wonder if paying off your student loans is a smart financial move, or if you should be investing the money elsewhere. Here are three questions to ask in making the right decision for your financial circumstances. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 You found your dream home. You even made an offer that the seller has accepted. Before you close your home loan, you must take one more step: You need to purchase homeowners insurance. Read More...

Dec 11, 2014 Leasing a car can be a financially smart decision in certain circumstances. But all leases are not created equal, and the lease details found in the fine print of the contract are often the difference between a good deal and a poor one. Read More...

Dec 11, 2014 Life insurance isn't a typical cocktail party conversation, and most people don’t like to think about the possibility of their own demise. But it is important to take some time and determine if life insurance is right for you at your current stage of life. In some circumstances, life insurance can be the difference between your family members' being able to maintain their current standard of living and having to drastically change lifestyles. In other cases, your money could be better spent saving for retirement or building your emergency fund. Read More...

Dec 11, 2014 You've got a limited pool of money to put aside for retirement. How do you choose whether a 401(k) or Roth IRA is best for you? Read More...

Jun 22, 2018 Paying your bills on time each month is one of the most important ways to manage your credit score, not to mention an essential part of being financially responsible. But if you have made some payments after the due date in the past, you may wonder if that's going to affect your credit score. The answer is: yes. Read More...

Feb 19, 2016 Building an emergency fund is one of the most important financial steps we need to take, especially in today’s shaky economy. The big question for many of us, though, is how much is enough? Conventional advice says we should set aside three to six months’ worth of expenses, but that one-size-fits-all rule might not be appropriate. Let’s look at how to find the right number for your situation. Read More...

Dec 11, 2014 I recently stumbled upon an interesting video documenting a fascinating trend in home size in response to economic troubles in the United States. I was thinking that in response to the housing crisis, many people would simply give up the dream of owning their own big house and opt to rent, but such is not the case for everyone! You could look for homes of very low value and try to buy one, but then you might end up living somewhere less desirable and you still might have a 30 year mortgage to pay off. Or, you can commission architect Jay Schafer to build you a mini home (not to be confused with these tiny homes!). For a few adaptable and adventurous people, the American dream is becoming: think small, live free! Read More...

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