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Heading to the car dealership just to look around isn’t a bad idea if you need a new car, right? Just because you look doesn’t mean you have to buy, right? Well, if you’re not concerned with price or the type of loan you wind up with, then this type of thinking is perfectly fine. If you’re price-conscious like the rest of us, on the other hand, and want to get the best deal on your new ride, you should do some …

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Any amount of debt can seem overwhelming, depending on what your income is or how much debt you’re comfortable having. If you’re feeling in over your head, it’s time to start looking for help to get you out of debt and back on track. When it comes to digging out from underneath your debilitating debt, there’s a sort of order you should go through — beginning with some fundamental strategies before turning to increasingly drastic measures. Here’s where to start when you’re staring down an insurmountable debt. …

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As many articles for The Simple Dollar do, this one started out as a reader mailbag question whose answer grew longer and longer and longer and eventually warranted its own post. Here’s Mike’s question. I’m really into your idea of cutting the unimportant things so that I have plenty for the important things. Good stuff. So I am trying to apply it to coffee. Morning coffee, two or three cups, is a requirement. It’s not going away. I love the …

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“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. You might want to start this series from the beginning! Last time, we continued looking at the average American family budget, going through each category and examining how one could trim the cost of typical expenses in that category. Here’s the “average American family budget” that we’re looking at, along with links back to the earlier entries on those specific areas: Housing – …

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There are lots of reasons to want to work part-time, from launching your own side business to spending more time working on your hobbies. However, let’s be real: For most American parents, the search for lucrative, fulfilling part-time work is about the necessities of balancing work and life in the 21st century. Unless you have a trust fund or a partner who makes a mint, you need to work; unless you live with an accommodating retired relative, you probably need …

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Dana asks a great question: My husband and I are in our early forties. Our house is paid off in the last year and we have no other debts. However, we do not have much saved for retirement. This was something that has been worrying us. But then we took a look at a Social Security calculator and it estimated that my husband and I will receive about $2,000 a month each in SS benefits. That’s more than what we …

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For many teens, learning about algebra and geometry is more common then learning to manage one’s personal finances. Perhaps it’s an unfortunate oversight in our education system, or maybe it’s just not a priority when there are so many other subjects to be taught in school. Whatever the reason, personal finance experts say one of the best ways for parents to start their child on the road toward financial responsibility is to open a teen checking account. “Most banks and credit unions allow you …

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During the last year, my wife has made the choice to get her masters degree in order to not only improve her professional skills but also increase her range of employment opportunities and income. I’m glad that she’s doing it and I’m fully supportive of her doing so. We can afford to pay for this degree on our own without tapping any kind of financial aid and we’re both very confident that the higher degree will pay for itself in …

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The world of credit is filled with terms that can sound quite foreign to most people who don’t work in the industry. Once such term is “re-aging.” And, if you currently have the unfortunate experience of collection accounts appearing on your credit reports, it’s a term you should definitely understand. Re-Aging Defined Credit problems are not allowed to haunt your credit reports forever. This is great news if you’ve made credit mistakes in your past. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting …

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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. Best state retirement investment option 2. Unrealistic expectations 3. Saying no to boss demands 4. Why switch ceiling fan rotation? 5. “Junk drawer” solution? 6. Resetting life balance without spending 7. Scrimping and splurging cycle 8. Taking items from restaurants 9. Collectible card games 10. Pressure cooker? 11. …

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