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Money Up Front: 5 Tools for Paying Right Now In her recent article, "Many In U.S. Don't Have Bank Accounts", Jeannine Aversa indicates that "As many as 28 million people in the United States are forgoing traditional financial institutions..." More than likely, those people are living, working, and buying without plastic! In today's society, there are very few things that cannot be bought with some form of plastic. Since Americans are accumulating more and more debt, perhaps we would be better off if we were forced to pay ... Having Money to Make Money Unless you are very unusual, you have loose change around your house, car, purse, etc. By some estimates, there is as much as $10 billion is loose change sitting in American homes right now. That's a lot of money to be gathering dust instead of earning interest! Before you get too busy looking for your share of that money, you need to keep this in mind... If a coin is not in circulation, it is not doing its job. If ... The Envelope Please: A Guide to Hands On Money Management How much cash is in your wallet or purse RIGHT NOW? If the answer is little to none, you are not alone. Increasingly, Americans rely on plastic (debit or credit) for their day to day financial transactions, even the small ones. I cannot prove it, scientifically, but it occurs to me that, as we have become more and more physically separated from our money, we have gone further and further into debt. If that is true, establishing (or re-establishing) ... Simple Supermarket Savings One of the largest categories in our monthly budget is FOOD. Here are just a few ideas that save me money at the store without costing me a lot of time in preparation! 1. SHOP REGULARLY - When you shop on a regular basis, you begin to get a feel for what things cost. Consequently, when you run across a bargain, you will know it and you can take advantage of it. 2. PLAN YOUR MEALS AHEAD OF TIME - Trying ... From the Fine Print: A Closer Look At Credit Card User Agreements Every credit card that you have includes pages and pages of "fine print" known as the CREDIT CARD USER AGREEMENT (CCUA). This printed agreement spells out specific details between the credit card issuer (CCI) and the card account holder. Each card agreement is different. The best way for you to use credit responsibly is to be aware of what is contained in the written agreement(s) for the card(s) you carry. More than likely, that means you will ... What’s Breaking YOUR Budget? I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that, if your budget is broken, you are the person that broke it. The good news, however, is that your budget doesn't have to stay broken! Whether you have it organized and written down or not, you have a budget that is dictated by your income. Living within your budget requires that you spend less than you make in income. Your budget is "broken" anytime your ... “Consider It Spent!” Early in their marriage, my father served in the U.S. Air Force and my parents lived on a small miltary salary. They had 4 short military assignments in just 2 and 1/2 years. These assignments were at bases far from their homes and families in Alabama. During one of their stops, my mother got money ($5.00) from my father to get some things for their apartment. She went shopping and got the things she needed. Additionally, she was able to get some ... Banking Basics How much do you really know about banking? Not YOUR bank, necessarily, but the banking process in general. Do you know how banks operate the way they do? I confess that banks are one of those things that I have thought were just there because they had always been there. I decided to educate myself a little more thoroughly about banking. Actually, it is pretty interesting not to mention that it helps what I know about money make a ... 5 Reasons to reduce or eliminate debt 1. TO RAISE YOUR CREDIT SCORE One component of your FICO score is based on your debt load. Debt load is calculated by looking at the #number of credits accounts you own and the proportion of revolving debt to the amount of credit available. Reducing or eliminating debt will increase the amount of credit AVAILABLE to you and, thus, lower your debt ratio. 2. TO LOWER YOUR INTEREST RATES ON MONEY YOU BORROW Lenders will loan money at lower interest rates ... Creating a Financial Organizer Document: What do you have and where do you keep it? A couple of years ago, my husband had some serious health problems. After that experience, we spent some time re-evaluating our finances, wills and insurance to make sure everything was current. Part of that process was the creation of a document called a "financial organizer". It is a word processing document that lists pertinent information about our financial, legal, property and insurance records. It specifies what we have and where it is kept. When something happens to one or ...