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How to finance college without borrowing too much

Filed under: Student on February 6, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

When it came to saving for our two kids to go to college, my family found itself in a pickle jar good and tight.

My eldest plans to begin his college career this fall. My husband and I first thought about contributing about $10,000 a year to college, and the kids were expected to cough up the rest. (One study found that when parents give kids a blank check, grades are lower.) The goal was to avoid saddling the boys with student loans.
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3 annoying things that can go wrong at the ATM

Filed under: Banking on February 4, 2015 @ 8:12 am

I recently learned that an ATM isn’t the best way to make a big deposit. An ATM is basically a big computer and technological glitches happen.

In one extreme case, a Bank of America error caused multiple ATMs to let a customer with only a few dollars in his account withdraw more than $1.5 million. He gambled the money away. Oops.
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How I cut $400 in monthly expenses for a savings cushion

Filed under: Budgeting on January 30, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

Investing firm Fidelity recently noted that 2014 was good to many of us, with the stock market up and unemployment sinking to below 6 percent.

But rather than becoming complacent, which Fidelity warns could be happening (its annual financial resolution study shows that less than a third of Americans made financial resolutions this year), now is a great time to take advantage of your good financial situation.
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6 ways I became a more frugal medical consumer

Filed under: Finances on January 28, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

My husband and I have a high-deductible health insurance plan through his job, but that hasn’t stopped us from going to the doctor for any ache, pain or other problem.

That strategy used to work fine when we had more generous health insurance plans through previous jobs, but with this high-deductible plan, our approach is breaking our budget.
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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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