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The Best Kohls Coupons and Deals

Finding high-quality items for affordable prices is a never-ending pursuit that can often fuel frustration. How do you know you’re getting the best price at the best time when deals keep changing? When it comes to shopping at Kohl’s, getting a bargain is almost guaranteed — you should rarely, if ever, have to pay full …

The True Cost of Student Loans

When you’re 18 years old and preparing to leave the nest, it’s easy to think you’ve got it all figured out. You’re ready for college, and you know that a college degree is a good investment in your future. And you’re willing to do almost anything to make your college dreams come true, even if it …

What Is a Good Credit Score?

What is a good credit score, and why is this three-digit number so important? Can it really affect your everyday life, and what kind of control do you have over it? In this guide, I’ll tackle all of these questions. We’ll take a look at what your credit score means, how many people have good …

Choosing Your Personal Financial Focus

When I first started my professional life, my main financial focus was on my career. I tried really hard to establish a great professional foundation and took on a number of hard projects, presentations, certifications, public speaking opportunities, and other challenges in order to cement a positive reputation and resume. During that time, I didn’t …

How Big Should My Down Payment on a Car Be?

Reader Jimmie wrote in with a good question about the ideal down payment on a car: I’m going to buy a new car in several months and I’m trying to figure out how much down payment I should have. I’ve heard tons of different answers from different people. What’s your take? My initial take was …

Questions About Cheap Wine, Book Swapping, Smartphones, 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. The smartphone carousel 2. Freezer thawing frustration 3. Planning out a move 4. Disheartened by 401(k) mistakes 5. Finding cheap bulk wine 6. Getting started with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Using the HARP Program to Refinance an Underwater Mortgage

Just a few weeks ago, reader Sarah wrote in for advice on how to handle her underwater mortgage. Like many people who bought homes at the peak of the housing market in 2006 and 2007, she and her husband still owe significantly more than their home is worth. Her note describes her thought process as she considers how …

How to Create a Budget With a Credit Card

In the world of personal finance, it’s not very often that you hear “credit card” and “budget” used in the same sentence. Still, I have to be honest here. As a credit card rewards enthusiast and zero-sum budget expert, people are constantly asking me how I reconcile those two opposite areas of interest. My answer? …

Financial Independence and Permaculture

As Sarah and I have continued to work toward financial independence, one of the principles we’ve really come to value is that long-lasting reliable stuff is preferable to less reliable stuff. Reliability is a pretty big virtue for us. If we’re going to buy something, we’d rather buy it for life. It’s not hard to …

Why You Shouldn’t Lease a Car (and Other Similar Money Moves)

More than once on this site, I’ve argued on behalf of renting instead of buying a home. Renting comes with a number of financial advantages, not the least of which is that it’s far cheaper per month than owning your own home. You’re not responsible for homeowners insurance, property taxes, property maintenance, or any of …

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