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3 steps to get a collection erased from your credit report

Filed under: Credit Disputes on January 21, 2015 @ 11:42 am

Getting a collection agency to agree to erase a collection from your credit report in exchange for payment of the debt (often referred to as pay-for-delete) isn’t always hard if there’s been a legitimate mistake.

For example, it took me less than a minute to convince a collection agency to delete an old medical collection from my husband’s credit.

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3 places to safely stash emergency funds

Filed under: Finances on January 14, 2015 @ 3:26 pm

My husband and I used to keep our emergency fund in a savings account at the same bank as our main joint checking account. In fact, we had the two accounts linked via online banking, making it super easy to transfer funds.

But that convenient arrangement also made it tempting to slide money over to cover shortfalls that couldn’t, by any stretch, be categorized as emergencies.

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Check your child’s credit report this easy way

Filed under: Fraud and Privacy Issues on January 9, 2015 @ 11:02 am

With two teens at home, child identity theft has been a fear of mine. I had heard that it was difficult to confirm if the credit bureaus have reports on your kids who are under 18. Ironically, if the credit bureaus have reports on file, it can be a sign that your child’s identity has been stolen.

I decided to find out for myself.

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3 ways to donate to charities while cutting expenses

Filed under: Finances on January 7, 2015 @ 2:37 pm

I’ve fallen out of the habit of giving to charities, which I used to do regularly even when I was struggling to make ends meet. I’d love to add donations back into my budget again soon.

But since my husband and I have cut expenses drastically to try to pay off the rest of our remodel debt, I started thinking about how it might be possible to help a charity without spending any extra money.

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4 ways to save for your New Year’s resolution

Filed under: Finances on December 31, 2014 @ 8:00 am

Have you made a New Year’s resolution about money?

Maybe you want to start an emergency fund, pay off your credit card debt or even save so you can pay for a dream vacation with cash.
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5 ground rules for your teen authorized user

Filed under: Student on December 19, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

Tell me if you know the answers to these questions…

What’s the best way to handle a credit card?

Why is that so important?

In preparation for making my 17-year-old an authorized user on one of my cards, I asked him these questions this weekend. He passed with flying colors. More on that later…

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5 ways to protect against ID theft over the holidays

Filed under: Fraud and Privacy Issues on December 17, 2014 @ 10:43 am

Every time you swipe your card to buy a gift, is your holiday cheer overshadowed by fears about ID theft? Well, join the (holiday) party.

A survey from Experian’s ProtectMyID shows that the data breaches that have happened over the past year or so at major retailers have got consumers thinking about identity protection this season.

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Don’t let emotions blow your holiday budget

Filed under: Budgeting on December 12, 2014 @ 12:54 pm

When our kids were younger, and the holidays were a major expenditure, I always felt overstretched financially. Every year I came up with a holiday budget, and every year, I’d break the bank.

There was even a time when I bought with credit cards and worried about the how to pay them off in January. Bad idea.

I’ve learned my lessons since then, and it seems I’m not alone.

More Americans are holiday shopping with cash set aside for that purpose, while fewer are putting their holiday expenses on credit cards, an Accenture study has found.

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5 clever ways to cut your holiday spending

Filed under: Budgeting on December 10, 2014 @ 10:40 am

If you didn’t save up for the holiday season, you might not be feeling very merry. Celebrating can be expensive, though there are ways to trim costs.

A Gallup survey taken in early December shows that the average American plans to spend $740 on Christmas gifts — $30 less than last year. Gallup calls this amount “modest.”
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How I still love to cook, but on half the budget

Filed under: Finances on December 4, 2014 @ 10:28 am

Confession: I love to cook. I follow a gazillion foodie blogs, bookmark tons of recipes and waste way too much time on Pinterest drooling on pretty food photos.

I used to spend at least an hour (if not two) on Sundays choosing recipes based on my whims, then I’d head to the grocery store, and possibly the health food store and a specialty store or second grocery store if I needed to hunt down an unusual ingredient.

Before I took a hard look at our grocery expenses, my husband and I had been budgeting $600 a month, which seems outrageous for two people. And sometimes we went over: Last April, we shelled out over $800 at the grocery store. I knew something had to change. So, I decided to rethink the way I plan our meals and shop for food.
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