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If you believe everything you read about your credit score, you’d think it was the most important component of your financial health. Without a good credit score and history, the experts say, it’s more difficult to qualify for a mortgage or car loan – and more expensive, too, because you won’t get the best interest rates. In many states, bad credit can even raise your insurance premiums, cost you a rental apartment, or make it harder to get hired. While all of …

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It’s a pretty regular routine in my life. I see something I want to change in my life. I think about it. I come up with some kind of plan for that change. I become thoroughly convinced that this is the right way to go. I start making that change in my life… and then, before long, it fails. Sure, there are always excuses. There was a big family reunion! It was the holidays! I just couldn’t pass up those …

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I was recently made aware of a fascinating business called Books by the Foot. This business buys bulk books from publishers and libraries and other sources that might otherwise just throw them away and then sells them by the foot for people who want to create the visual appearance of having a giant library of books. In some cases, this does make sense – a person making a film or a theatrical production might want this very kind of prop …

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It’s easiest to be frugal when you’re flying solo. When all you have to think about is yourself and your own internal demands, it’s easier to make frugal choices. Often, the desire to be social or the desire to keep up with social demands can really eat into our finances, because the financial cost of things like going out with friends and eating out with friends add up really quickly. Because of that, many people who dabble in frugality tend …

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If you love credit card rewards and spend your free time pursuing points and miles, you already know the secret to outsized rewards: The more bills you can charge to your rewards credit card (and pay off right away), the more points and miles you’ll earn over time. Personally, I pay every possible bill I can with credit – expenses like car insurance, health insurance premiums, groceries, gas, and internet service. Over time, even small purchases can add up to …

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For the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about some smart strategies for using leftover staple foods – things like rice, beans, pasta, and so on. Here’s what you do when you cook a bit too much and don’t know what to do with the rest! It’s tricky to cook the right amount of pasta for a meal. Because you want to make sure that you have enough pasta, it’s very, very easy to cook too much pasta, often …

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When you travel as often as I do, you get used to unexpected expenses throwing your budget out of whack. You can plan ahead all you want, but when your kid needs an $8 pack of children’s Tylenol from the airport gift shop, you buy it. Either that, or you’ll cram your carry-on luggage so full you’re forced to check the bag. Or, you’ll forget to pack snacks. You may even make it all the way to Mexico without sunglasses, meaning …

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Almost every department and grocery store chain in America produces a weekly flyer describing the sales of the week in the store. The stores do this because it works – good prices get customers in the store spending money, and when they’re in there, they often buy lots of items as they’re buying other groceries, too. In order to really entice customers and get them in the door, stores will regularly promote really steep sales on specific items, sometimes even …

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When it comes to your credit scores, the higher they climb, the better. But you probably already knew that. Of course, you may be able to get by with bad credit. But bad credit makes life a lot more difficult, and certainly a lot more expensive than it needs to be. There are a number of perks to having good credit – here are five of the biggest. Perk No. 1: Lower Interest Rates and Better Terms Let’s start with …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Entrepreneurship versus raises 2. Harassment at work about finances 3. Pulling plug on internet service 4. Travel guides worthwhile? 5. Motivating yourself for better habits 6. Irrevocable or revocable trust? 7. First steps before potential divorce 8. Gifting unwanted hobby stuff 9. Thoughtful gifts for kids 10. Discarding …

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