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5 ways to protect your identity from the Anthem breach

Filed under: Fraud and Privacy Issues on May 20, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

I stayed pretty calm when I learned I’d been a victim of the Target data breach, and later the one at Home Depot. But when I fell prey to the Anthem data breach a few months ago, I lost my cool.
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How to cut costs on smartphones

Filed under: Finances on May 13, 2015 @ 10:33 am

I was really happy when I discovered a cellphone provider that charged by usage and cut my bill in half. But I recently found a downside: Expensive smartphones don’t always last for long.

Last year, I wrote about the no-contract  cellphone provider Ting and how happy I was with the company. I cut the bill (for both me and my husband) from $135 a month with T-Mobile to between $60 and $75 a month. But to use the service, I had to buy my own phone, which cost over $250.
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Join our Google+ Hangout on medical debt

Filed under: Google Plus Hangout on May 8, 2015 @ 9:55 am

It’s not just designer shoe addictions or getting in over your head with house and family expenses that causes debt woes.

In fact, more than half of all debt listed on credit reports is medical in nature. That’s according to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that found medical debt accounts for 52 percent of all reported debt.
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Lost purse: 4 prep steps

Filed under: Fraud and Privacy Issues on May 6, 2015 @ 9:25 am

I’ve always known I should take steps to prepare for a lost purse, but I always put it off for another day.

A few weeks ago, I was doing last-minute cleaning to get ready for a party my husband and I were hosting. I shoved a bunch of stuff into a drawer — my purse included — then forgot what I’d done.
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Don’t expect to cash in from Target’s class action lawsuit

Filed under: Fraud and Privacy Issues on April 29, 2015 @ 8:56 am

Target recently agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class action lawsuit over the big data breach that may have affected more than 100 million consumers, including me. But that doesn’t mean big bucks for victims.
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5 key traits of consumers with outstanding credit

Filed under: Credit Score on April 24, 2015 @ 10:38 am

My husband and I have long had outstanding credit scores without really trying.

We have one great habit (pay in full and on time each month) that has done well for us. Now, the credit bureau Experian has released research that shows that Mo and I actually have a lot of great habits.
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5 ways to fix vacation-saving mistakes

Filed under: Budgeting on April 22, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

I love international travel, but my husband and I haven’t been able to take a big trip in years because minivacations have eaten up our travel budget.

In fact, the last major trip Joe and I went on was for our honeymoon in Costa Rica almost eight years ago. Since then, we’ve taken many short trips — to beaches, to the mountains and to nearby cities.
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Lower prices at gas pump aid road trips, savings accounts

Filed under: Budgeting on April 17, 2015 @ 12:08 pm

I’m not alone, it seems, in loving the drop in fuel prices that we have seen over the past few months.

A Wells Fargo/Gallup poll found that 68 percent of respondents reported their household budget had been aided by the windfall. And of those, 70 percent are using the money to pay down bills or are parking it in savings. Only a quarter said they were buying stuff.
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How I disputed a debit card purchase – and won

Filed under: Debit Card on April 15, 2015 @ 9:17 am

I almost always use a credit card when buying any big item just in case something goes wrong with the purchase.

Most personal finance experts recommend using credit over debit for large purchases, both for the consumer protections and perks and because you’re only spending money on paper until you actually pay the bill.
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Best 18th birthday present: A 763 FICO score

Filed under: Credit Score on April 10, 2015 @ 8:56 am

My son George turned 18 this month. Here’s what he did on his birthday:

  • Updated his driver’s license.
  • Had lunch with Dad.
  • Shopped at Guitar Center.
  • Opened a PayPal account.
  • Changed his password on his bank account (because, apparently, moms can’t be trusted the minute you turn 18).

The next day? He and I pulled his first credit report and FICO credit score.
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