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The world of credit card processing might look like a maze of charges, fees, unwelcome chargebacks, equipment, new technologies, and contracts. That’s because it is. There are more than a few players involved (you, your bank, your customer, their credit card’s bank) and the fees are flying everywhere. When I talked to 30 merchants, I heard a lot about how opaque the industry is. “It actually reminds me quite a bit of shopping for a mortgage,” said Mark Aselstine of …

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Finding the best cheap home insurance should be easy. Just call up some providers, compare prices, and pick the lowest one, right? Not quite. Price isn’t always the best measure for comparison because insuring your home is a big deal: It’s not just protecting the four walls and the roof, but also all of your belongings and yourself too, in case someone slips on your front steps or is bitten by your dog. As such, stability and quality of service need …

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If you’re thinking about taking out a personal loan, you’re in good company: CNBC reported in February 2016 that the number of people taking out unsecured loans jumped close to 30 percent in recent years, from 10.57 million in 2013 to 13.72 million in 2015, and another 24 million Americans are likely to take out a personal loan this year alone. You’re also making a good financial move. (Yes, really!) But when you’re looking for a loan online, you’re faced …

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A couple of years ago, I wrote a very popular post called Meal Planning for Busy Families, in which I outlined the exact strategy that my own family uses to plan and prepare meals at a reasonable cost. But what does that strategy actually look like in the real world? I thought it might be interesting to show you exactly how we implement this strategy in our own life. I’m going to do this by walking you, step by step, …

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This is the first in a series of posts called the “Two-Sided Coin,” where TSD’s Jon Gorey and Holly Johnson take opposing viewpoints on a number of personal finance topics.  Holly: College Isn’t Always Worth the Money Most of us have been told the same story our entire lives: If you do your best in school, you can get into a good college. And if you put in the work and graduate in good standing, you’ll be rewarded with a great career and a …

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I recently came across an interesting article from Richard Eisenberg at Forbes entitled The Dicey Retirement Gamble Americans Are Making. In it, Eisenberg pieces apart the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. This study takes a look at the confidence people feel about where they’re headed in terms of retirement and compares that to their actual financial state. Let’s be clear: The gamble Eisenberg is talking about is the gamble that you’ll somehow be able to …

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If you’re in debt and desperate for a way out, those first few steps can feel overwhelming. Not only do you have to face the reality of what you owe, but you have to figure out how in the world you’ll pay it back. A lot of times that can mean completely reinventing your budget – and drastically cutting your expenses so you can pay “extra” on what you owe. Of course, there are books, spreadsheets, and apps you can use …

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Financial goals are never a short-term thing. People don’t simply wake up one day and decide that, yes, today they’re going to be financially independent or today they’re going to be debt free. The truth: People who achieve financial goals are people who consistently apply a number of skills over time. They get up in the morning and go through a normal day just like anyone else. The only real difference is that they apply a few skills throughout their …

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Becoming a parent changes your life in ways that you can’t even begin to imagine. There are the negatives, like never having a quiet moment to yourself again, and stepping on Legos in the middle of the night. But there are so many positives — and not just the obvious ones. In fact, one of the surprising side effects is how parenting prepares you for being an incredible entrepreneur. Here are six examples of what I mean. 1. You Become an Incredible Multitasker …

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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. Disposable razor sharpener 2. Work-at-home jobs while pursuing degree 3. Student loan payoff strategy 4. CFL or LED bulbs 5. Spooked by stock market 6. Handling impatience 7. Strategies for breakfast burrito batches 8. Uses for old cell phone 9. Trying to avoid divorce 10. Cheap sturdy shelving …

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