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Over the years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have some great friends from other cultures. Back in the late 1990s, I was lucky enough to have my time on this earth overlap with a wonderful guy from China, a guy whose laughter could fill a room at certain times, a man who would have your back whenever you needed it, a person who always seemed to have the right question to ask, an individual who seemed to click in any …

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One of the most efficient ways for a family to save money is to simply eat meals at home as often as possible. Feeding three or four or five people with take-out or at restaurants all the time becomes quickly expensive, even if you choose super-cheap options, and if you consider the health impact of eating restaurant-prepared food, it becomes even more costly. (Research suggests that home cooking is a key part of a healthier diet, simply because you control …

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You may be following the news of recent natural disasters from thousands of miles away, wondering what you can possibly do to help. If so, rest assured that the effectiveness of your charitable donations doesn’t necessarily decrease with distance. A large number of charities and relief organizations are helping victims of Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean, as well as earthquake victims in Mexico. The list includes some of the most respected, highest rated groups in philanthropy, such as: UNICEF DirectRelief …

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For the first 28 years of my life, I thought there was only one way to memorize information: brute force repetition. If my schooling taught me anything, it was that the way to do well on tests was to make detailed notes and then read them until your eyes bled. This style of learning is effective, but only to a point. As we all know, information that was crammed is soon lost. Much of this forgetting is normal and healthy. …

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The other day, I was at a home brew supply store. I had stopped in to simply buy some bottle caps with which to cap individual bottles of my most recent batch of home brew. Such a purchase would just cost a couple of dollars. While I was in there, I found myself admiring their refreshed sale table – items that were on discount. The local store loves to do this – they’ll put items on the sale table all …

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When it comes to cheap meal staples that work for nearly any budget and dining style, it’s hard to beat beans. Whether you crave comfort food, ethnic dishes, or one-pot meals, you’ll find a ton of recipes that feature different beans as the star. Beans are also a good source of protein and fiber, as well as a great way to get enough iron, calcium, and other nutrients in your diet. Better yet, beans are downright cheap to buy in a …

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A few days ago, I was listening to the always enjoyable Talk of Iowa program on our local public radio station. They were having a discussion about growing old in Iowa, covering the fact that Iowa is considered the second best state to grow old in. What really stuck with me, though, was the ensuing conversation about the challenges of caring for elderly parents. One caller in particular stuck in my head – she called in wondering about what help …

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Love them or hate them, good or bad, your credit scores are going to wield considerable influence over you for the rest of your life. You cannot change the fact that others are going to use your credit scores to judge you. However, you can use that knowledge to your advantage. It’s certainly in your best interest to learn how credit scoring works and, more importantly, to learn how you can earn and maintain the best credit scores possible. The …

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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. What’s next for investing money? 2. Dumpster diving for cash? 3. Health insurance steps after divorce 4. Buying winter socks 5. How to handle earnings increase 6. Food items made from scratch 7. What’s a “goal-oriented planner”? 8. Whole Foods question 9. Hidden sales at grocery stores 10. …

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An in-depth look at the Disney credit cards and their rewards programs. Disney has two credit cards offering big savings to Disney park goers and store patrons alike. Both the Disney Rewards® Visa® Card and the Disney Premier Visa® Card feature a variety of perks with the main difference between them being rewards rates and fees. However, the questions that have been on many people’s minds are: Do I need a Disney credit card? Are they worth it? To answer …

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