How To Handle Your Finances When You Lack Shared Goals

Roger has his heart set on taking his children to Disney.  When he was young, his family went to Disney every couple of years, and he remembers really enjoying the vacations.  Continues after Advertisement He is the budgeter in the family, and he’s scrimping and saving for the trip dollar by dollar. He’s frustrated, however, because his wife, Sheila, keeps spending money that could be … [Read more...]

How To Decorate Your Home Frugally

Most of us have watched a new home buyer show or two and seen how a family buys a house and then spends tens of thousands of dollars renovating it so the house is just their style.  While that’s fun to watch, for many of us living on a tight budget, buying the house is enough of a financial strain. There is little money leftover for changing the house’s décor or even buying new furnishings.  … [Read more...]

Will There Be A Second Stimulus Check?

There’s a good chance that you’ve already received your stimulus check, courtesy of  the federal government’s CARES Act. If you haven’t received your check yet, head to the government’s Get My Payment web page. (Some people have had problems on that form, but after the IRS made updates to the Get My Payment database, it"s much more helpful.) Continues after Advertisement This is a page … [Read more...]

CARES Act Retirement Account Withdrawal Rules: Should You Take Part?

This has been a year like no other.  A pandemic has engulfed the world. Unemployment rates in the United States have jumped to the highest they’ve been since the Great Depression.  Continues after Advertisement The United States government recently passed the CARES Act, which offers many financial breaks to Americans including a stimulus check and a hiatus on student loan payments … [Read more...]

Do I Have To Spend The Money On The Stimulus Debit Card?

Millions of Americans received an automatic deposit into their bank account as part of the CARES Act last month.  This infusion of cash gave them the ability to pay bills, buy groceries, or simply save money.  However, some Americans were left waiting, and waiting, for their money.  Continues after Advertisement Finally, just recently some began to receive checks or debit cards.  But … [Read more...]

Important Lessons To Learn From The Coronavirus Pandemic

I grew up watching my grandma wash used plastic baggies and tin foil so that she could use them again.  She didn’t see the point of using them once and throwing them away.  She lived through the Great Depression, and the lessons she learned during that time stuck with her for the rest of her life.  Continues after Advertisement Likewise, for our generation, there are important lessons … [Read more...]

What To Do With Leftover FSA Money In 2020

Do you have a FSA (Flexible Spending Account) through your employer?  If you do, you know that you’re allowed to set aside a certain portion of your income, pre-tax, to pay medical bills and childcare costs.  You also likely know that you typically have until the end of the calendar year to use those funds or you lose them permanently.  If you have leftover funds from 2020, however, Congress … [Read more...]

Why Most Money Challenges Don’t Work And What Does

Here we are, at the beginning of another new year.  One of the major New Year’s resolutions that many people make, behind losing weight and quitting smoking, is saving more money.  Continues after Advertisement To that end, you’ll likely find hundreds of webpages filled with money challenges.  However, save your time.  Most money challenges don’t work, but there is a strategy that … [Read more...]

Should Married Couples Have Joint Bank Accounts? (2023 update)

Today, I want to revisit a common (but always interesting) discussion, covering “Should married couples or those in a long-term relationship have  joint or separate accounts?” I say “revisit” because I brought up this topic over a year and a half ago on this very blog. It was in my early days of blogging and this post was actually the first time I received hate email (and hate … [Read more...]

How We’re Handling A Sudden Loss Of Income

In the United States many individuals are currently out of work because the government considers their job or business non-essential, or impossible to carry out while maintaining social distancing.  My husband works for a local university and has been home working for weeks now.  I honestly didn’t look ahead enough to see how much universities would be impacted, but that became very obvious to … [Read more...]

Pros and Cons of Car Title Loans

Car title loans are a convenient way to borrow money quickly. They provide a lump sum of cash based on the value of your vehicle, and you can use it for whatever financial need you may have. Car title debt can be a great resource, but it is important to understand the pros and cons before taking this type of loan. Pros of Car Title Loans  Flexible Repayment Terms  A car title loan allows for … [Read more...]

How to Negotiate Dental Costs (2023 update)

Let me be blunt about negotiating dental costs.  I’m no master negotiator. Of course, the title of this essay isn’t “Negotiation Tips for Masters”! Over the last few years though, I have slowly picked up a few tips and tricks that I try to use from time to time to save money.  Most of these techniques are best utilized to negotiate products or services.  However, they can easily be adapted and … [Read more...]

Keeping Your Financial Information Secure Online

With the rise of online banking, it’s important to ensure the security of your financial accounts. Online banking offers many benefits, including convenience, flexibility, and access to a wider range of financial services. However, it also exposes you to the risk of cyberattacks and other security threats. Continues after Advertisement To keep your important financial accounts secure … [Read more...]

Watch Out for Interest-Only Home Loans

Now that the economy has picked up some, the housing market is recovering a little, and memories of the financial crisis are fading, some lenders are re-introducing a few “creative” financing methods. It’s possible to get an interest-only mortgage again, or get a loan with a low, low rate at the beginning. An interest-only loan is tempting because the borrower only pays the … [Read more...]

Why I’d Rather Pay $10,000 to Unload My House Than Become a Landlord

There are people out there who are made to be landlords. They like the idea of having someone else pay the mortgage on a home or apartment building and enjoying the ability to build equity on the property without using their own money. Once the property is paid off, the monthly rent is income (offset by the cost of taxes, insurance, and keeping the property up). I totally get why some people love … [Read more...]

What Do You Do With Your Savings?

One of the basic pieces of advice that we are often given about money is to save more. But where do you put that money? And what should you do with it? Create Goals for Your Savings While saving money just to save money does make sense in some ways, the reality is that few of us are willing to keep doing something “just because.” As a result, it makes sense to carefully consider your … [Read more...]

3 Signs You Need Help with Your Debt

One of the most difficult issues to overcome is debt. If you have a lot of debt, it can be difficult to move forward with your finances. The interest payments suck away your disposable income, and once you are stuck in the cycle, it can take serious effort to get out. In some cases, you might even need help dealing with your debt. You can get help from a legitimate counselor with the National … [Read more...]

Who Do You Trust For Money Advice?

For many of us, it’s difficult to know what to do when it comes to our finances. There are so many decisions to make. While the basic “live within your means” advice can apply, the reality is that there is more to money management than making sure that your expenses are smaller than your income. What do you do to save for retirement? What’s the best course of action when … [Read more...]

How To Avoid Falling Into A Bad Credit Score

Building good credit is a years-long process, while destroying credit only takes a few bad decisions. With this in mind, it’s important for new credit users to avoid the many mistakes which lead to bad credit scores. Too often it seems inexperienced credit cardholders underestimate the ease through which bad credit can be acquired. For these folks – the young ones especially – we … [Read more...]

Ways To Pay For College Without Breaking The Bank

Going to college can be stressful in so many ways. If you are just getting out of high school, you are being pushed into the real world on your own. Your responsibilities just increased ten-fold. You now have to get yourself to class everyday, do your homework, study for tests, and maybe even work. As if that is not enough, you also have to worry about how you are going to pay for college. If you … [Read more...]

How To Recover After Bankruptcy

For the most part, bankruptcy should be the action of last resort when it comes to your money issues. However, there are times when bankruptcy really is the last option you have left. If you have experienced a long-term employment problem, or if you have had a medical problem that causes you financial distress, bankruptcy might be your last option. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, however, it … [Read more...]

Is A Zero Based Budget Right For You?

One of the budgeting techniques that has gained some popularity in recent years is the zero based budget. In this budget, you make sure that every dollar is accounted for at the beginning of the month. You look at what you expect to get in terms of a paycheck, and then use every penny to pay bills, or accomplish your goals. As part of your budget, you decide what will go to debt reduction, or to … [Read more...]

Should You Sell Unwanted Gifts?

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.One of our readers shared the following story and question with me, and gave me permission to share it here:I’m trying to downsize and get rid of my crap to pay off my debt.  I also don’t like clutter so I want to get rid of my stuff so my family of 3 can comfortably fit into 1100 square feet. But … [Read more...]

4 Personal-Finance Lessons From NASCAR

Note: This is a post from Joan Otto, Man Vs. Debt community manager. Read more about Joan.For those of you who didn’t spend Sunday watching the Daytona 500 – and bemoaning its 6.5-hour rain delay and multiple 8-car-plus crashes – well… you have my sympathy. (And my apologies, because you probably aren’t going to like today’s post if you’re not a NASCAR … [Read more...]