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Holiday Shopping: Layaway or Credit Cards?

November 7th 2011 by
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If you remember a time before credit cards were part of everyone’s life, you probably remember the customer service area in the back of many department and discount stores that offered ‘layaway’. A layaway plan offered by retailers allows their customers to shop for and make a claim to items they don’t have the cash for at that moment. In most instances, the customer will make a down payment (usually 20%) and pay the rest over time on a regular schedule. Once the item is paid for in full, they can bring it home. The biggest advantage of layaway is…

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Have More Money Without Changing Your Lifestyle

September 1st 2011 by
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Short of winning the lottery or landing a Wall Street-sized bonus, can you end up with more money every month (to save or to spend) without giving up the small luxuries that make life so much more enjoyable? Sure you can! It’ll take some time and effort, but there’s money to be found if you look for it. Shop around for services. Anything you use on a regular basis, pay for monthly, or even products/services that have more than one option to choose from – be sure to shop around. Things like home insurance, auto insurance, gym memberships, internet, cable, and cell phone bills all offer different rates, so make sure you research until you find the best deal. Look at what you’re using and what you’re not using. If you have a monthly gym membership but only go twice a month, would you be better off paying an entrance…

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College Financing 101

July 7th 2011 by
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College financing is a huge issue; how is tuition going to be paid for? The following information breaks down the basics of financial aid so your child will know what to expect in the near future. Your child must file a FAFSA to determine what need based funding they are eligible for. The FAFSA is available through the federal department of education here: www.fafsa.ed.gov/ There are four primary funding sources used to pay tuition. Need Based Grants, Merit Based Scholarships, cash payments and Student Loans. Need Based Grants originate from Federal and/or state government agencies. They can also be awarded by the school your child attends. They use the FAFSA to determine eligibility. The lower your household income the more likely your child can qualify for a need based grant. Examples for these grants include Pell, SEOG and TEACH. Merit based scholarships are awarded by admissions offices by considering GPA,…

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Talking About Money with Those You Love… When It Really Isn’t Easy

June 2nd 2011 by
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Some conversations don’t “just happen”. While money is something you need to deal with every day, actually having a conversation about money (one that doesn’t involve raised voices or finger pointing) is as rare as it is important. When your spouse or significant other has different spending habits than you, if an elderly parent is moving in with you and finances have not yet been discussed, when a sibling seems to be taking advantage of Mom, or your adult child begins to see you as a cash dispenser… all these circumstances call for a conversation. And it won’t be easy. When this happens, see to it that the setting is neutral and friendly. You should both be feeling pretty good, not tired or stressed. It’s a good idea to take a walk at the lake, a park, or have lunch at a restaurant. Use “I” statements. For example, “I feel…

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Saving Money

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For most kinds of purchases, you can get valuable advice and comparisons on the Internet. Ask a librarian or friends which Internet sites they think are helpful. Be aware that information you find is often biased. At many websites, the only products or sellers listed are often ones that pay to advertise. Before buying anything on the Internet, check several websites and make sure you deal with reputable dealers. You may wish to access the following resources: The Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) published a brochure titled “66 Ways to Save Money” that you may find helpful. You may order a printed copy of the brochure or read the information online. There is also a Consumer Knowledge Test you can take. In addition, the Department of Energy (DOE) maintains information on saving energy and money at home, which includes information on space heating and cooling. You may also find more…

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