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If you’re looking for a MasterCard, you have plenty of options. There are MasterCards available at numerous banks and credit unions, as well as at major retailers — I’ve had a LOVELOFT MasterCard® since 2010, and have earned plenty of Ann Taylor Loft rewards (which translates into free clothes). But I don’t know where you shop, where your local banks are, or what airlines you prefer, so I’ve pulled together a list of the best MasterCards for nearly everyone. Check …

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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. Kids and delayed retirement 2. Inspiring personal finance book 3. Clearing drains 4. Cheap coffee technique 5. External motivation 6. Three paycheck month 7. Rent is throwing money away 8. Professional photos for kids 9. Preparing for collapse 10. Figuring out early retirement target 11. Finding new social …

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For the most part, most of us know how we should be living our lives. We should exercise five times a week, right? And if you listen to the doctor and the USDA, we should build a diet based on the food pyramid, stuffing down nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. We should limit the amount of alcohol and sugar we consume and make our beds every morning when we rise. We should read to our kids every night, …

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Once a month (or so), I share a dozen things that have inspired me to greater personal, professional, and financial success in my life. I hope they bring similar success to your life. 1. How to Overcome Procrastination From the description: We sift through the world of science, studies, data and theories to uncover what we know about procrastination and to find out if it’s possible to conjure a cure. This is a brilliant summary of procrastination and some techniques …

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If you’re considering a zero-interest balance transfer credit card as a means to get out of debt — which can be a vert smart idea — it’s still wise to read the fine print. While it’s true these offers can extend zero interest for anywhere from 12 to 21 months (0% APR simply means your annualized percentage rate on that credit is zero, nada, zilch — it’s free credit), a few caveats and “gotchas” can ruin the deal if you aren’t careful. Signing up …

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Going down a path toward retiring early, whether you’re in the middle of your career and looking to just shave a few years off or you’re early in your career and looking to shave off a decade or two, is like running a very long footrace on uneven ground. You can see that amazing finish line in your head, but there’s a lot of ground to cover first and some real potential for something unexpected to happen. Almost all financial …

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There are a lot of really great Visa cards out there. Banks, airlines, and major retailers all regularly hand out Visa cards to help you spend money and earn specific rewards. For this “best Visa” roundup, I’m going to focus on Visa cards distributed by major banks, and highlight eight different cards that are great for earning cash back, earning travel rewards, transferring a balance, and more. I selected these cards after looking at a lot of Visas and comparing …

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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! In the previous entry in this series, we started looking at how to build a meaningful life that isn’t centered around spending money but instead is centered around spending time doing the things you love and minimizing the time and money spent on the other things you care about. We separated these concepts …

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The number of stay-at-home moms rose during and after the Great Recession, reaching 29% of American mothers in 2012, according to Pew Research. But, not all of these moms were choosing to opt out of the workforce; Pew notes that the mini-boom was driven by a variety of “economic and societal factors,” including labor-force participation. In other words, some mothers may have chosen to stay home with the kids simply because they couldn’t find work. This is also true of many …

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You’ve analyzed your financial situation, have a good handle on how much money you need to start up or nurture the growth of your small business, and you’re ready to seek outside support. You could apply for a business credit card or a small business loan. With both of these options, though, you’ll need to pay back what you’ve borrowed (and often at unfriendly interest rates). A third option worth exploring is small business grants. While there aren’t a ton of …

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