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While we are waiting… As January comes to a close, there is still no definite word about if or when the proposed tax rebate checks might be on the way to mailboxes and bank accounts across the country. While we are waiting, it would make sense to focus our time and attention on something that we can actually control. Specifically, this is a great time to think about creating and using a budget. After all, February is a short month so the money ... Wait Until The Check Is Actually In The Mail Based on news reports from Washington, D.C., there is reason to think that millions of Americans will receive tax "rebates" before the end of this year. The 2008 Economic Stimulus Plan will send $600 - $1200 to approximately 117 million American families. Regardless of the final details of the legislation, this money is intended to boost the diminishing U.S. economy. If it does its job, it will keep America from falling into a recession this year. In spite of the potential ... Nothing Else Is Quite The “Same As Cash” It is virtually impossible to watch television or read newspapers without seeing ads for "same as cash" financing options. On first look, those options seem very appealing, especially for large purchases. In fact, there doesn't SEEM to be a downside to "same as cash" promotions. What's not to like about no down payment, 0% interest, and deferred payments? Maybe nothing. Before you sign one of these great deals, however, be sure to understand all aspects of the agreement. Once you ... How much are you worth? If someone put an actual "price tag" on you, what would it read? In other words, how much, in dollars and cents, are you actually worth? If you don't know the answer to that question, there is a way you can find out. A "personal balance sheet" is a financial document that defines the actual bottom line. Creating a personal balance sheet is not a difficult process. Here's 3 quick steps that will help you put one together today!A ... Finding and Fixing “Cash Leaks” When reviewing your bank account, do you find that more money is gone than you thought? Do you struggle to remember where and when the money was spent? If so, chances are good that you are leaking money. Not, literally, leaking money. Leaking money, rather, in ways that can be changed. If you find that your cash is leaking, these are some areas that you can evaluate quickly and easily fix. Late payments - Payments that are late, even ... Online Banking: 8 Reasons To Love It! When midnight struck and calendars were flipped from December 31, 1999, there was great concern about whether or not banking systems and computers would make the transition to the new century. Thoughts of widespread use of online banking were definitely few and far between. Today, just 8 short years later, online banking is used, in some form, by the majority of bank customers in America. Online banking options are necessary for banks to grow and compete. Not to mention, there are lots ... Q & A: Is “cashless” really where we want to go? I admit it. Since debit cards have become readily accepted, I rarely have cash. I like the fact that I can use a debit card for $3.51 or $351, whatever the situation calls for. And I like NOT having to think about whether or not I need to go to the bank before I go somewhere to purchase something. I stop short, though, when I hear talk of conversion to a "cashless" society. There is something about that idea that just ... Discovering The Danger In A Debit Card According to the Federal Reserve, the number of debit card transactions is increasing by more than 20% each year. Debit cards seem to be the ideal balance between carrying cash and using credit cards (i.e. increased debt and interest charges). After all, don't debit cards look, act and get accepted like credit cards? Yes, but it does not change the fact that they are NOT credit cards! There are some very significant differences, even potentially dangerous ones, between credit ... Deal With Debt Differently It's the time of year when DEBT becomes a "four letter" word. Consumers that spent more than they should have for Christmas gifts are dreading the arrival of the next credit card bills. This dread and a promise to not get into this financial situation "ever again" has become an annual event, just like decorating the tree and finding full stockings on Christmas morning. What if there was no "holiday debt dread" to deal with at the beginning of ...