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nervous man

PANIC MODE! Why It’s Dangerous and How to Avoid It

In 2006, I realized that I couldn’t pay my bills any more. I did the math and I realized that we just didn’t have the cash to go around. Sure, I did the smart thing and started reading and planning, but I also panicked a bit. I dove into cleaning out my closet and selling …

Categories: Getting Started

The Best Credit Cards to Score Free Hotel Stays in the U.S.

While most people think of credit card rewards as a way to pursue international travel on a budget, it’s important to note that the same programs offer plenty of opportunities for domestic travel as well. Even if you have no desire to travel outside of the U.S., you can find plenty of value all over …

Categories: Credit Cards, Travel

Questions About Student Loans, Social Isolation, Free Software, Old Cars and More!

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Facing huge student loan burden 2. Selling my house 3. Pantry organization 4. Dealing with frugal social isolation 5. Free software for memorization 6. Bulk buy …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Six Money Messes to Clean Up Before Your 30s

For both my husband and me, reaching our mid-20s seemed like a huge “adult milestone.” For the first time in our lives, we had “real jobs” – the kind with a 401(k) match, health insurance, and paid time off. Plus, we had purchased our first home, took out a loan for an upgraded car, and …

Categories: Getting Started

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Rental Property

When I was a little kid, a cousin of mine owned several rental properties in the small town near my home. This was basically his livelihood, as he spent his time taking care of the properties as needed, collecting rent, and so on. He spent about 20 hours a week on his collection of properties that …

Categories: Real Estate

How Bank ‘Buffers’ Can Make or Break Your Mortgage Application

By Peter Miller If you’ve got your mortgage application figured down to the penny, you may want to haul out the old calculator one more time. Lenders may not be playing with the same set of rules potential borrowers hear so much about. To understand what’s going on we need to add a new term …

Categories: Housing, Loans

A Romantic Reality

Donald Liebenson wrote an interesting article at Business Insider entitled “Most people aging out of the workforce consider retirement ‘a romantic fantasy of the past.’” Retirement. “A romantic fantasy of the past.” The article focuses on an Allianz Life study of 1,000 Baby Boomers (people aged 49 to 67) and 1,000 Generation Xers (ages 35-48). …

Roth vs. Traditional IRA: Retirement Showdown

IRAs, or individual retirement accounts, allow you to sock money away for retirement in a way that offers certain tax advantages over other savings methods. There are actually nearly a dozen types of IRAs, but for most people, the choice boils down to two main options: a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA. If you’re trying …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

How to Maximize the Value of Abundant Fresh Foods: Lessons from a Gardener and CSA Member

One of the pleasures of the summer season is the abundance of fresh foods available. From early summer through the middle of fall, gardens and fields are producing in such impressive abundance that we can scarcely take it all in. In fact, in all honestly, it’s too much right now. Between our CSA share (which …

Categories: Frugality, Meals

How Is Credit Card Interest Calculated?

Paying credit card interest is painful enough. Figuring out how that interest is calculated? That’s almost as bad! The entire process is rife with complexity — and not always set in stone. Still, if you’re carrying a balance on a credit card, you should know the science behind how much interest you’ll ultimately pay. This …

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