Tackling big debts is hard, but preventing them isn't always easy. Here's how to protect yourself and to make sure your money is going toward the things you value most.
This post comes from Jane Young at Credit.com.
Staying out of debt is just as important as getting out of debt in the first place. And the first step toward staying out of debt is to understand your financial situation, and establish some goals on how you want to spend your money.
It might sound overwhelming, but small steps can make it easier. Start by reflecting on your values and what is truly important to you. Then, using this information, write down the goals you would like to accomplish over the next five to 10 years.
Initially, you should just brainstorm, and write your goals as they come to mind; don't analyze the practicality of each goal. Later, review your list of goals and prioritize those you'd really like to accomplish. This gives you a basis from which to make decisions on where to spend money.
But to realize these goals, you have to put what you have in writing into action. Here's how.
This summer find a pair of shades that suit your style but don't sacrifice durability and UV protection.
This post comes from Richard Moy at partner site Cheapism.com.
A cute, cheap pair of sunglasses is easy enough to find at a street fair or mall kiosk. But budget shades that will fully protect your eyes and stand up to the demands of summer sports? They can be as scarce as sunny days in Alaska.
Instead of adding to the pile of busted bargain sunglasses or investing in an expensive pair only to lose them, check out Cheapism's top picks for sunglasses on a budget.
JiMarti sunglasses are geared toward anyone itching to spend most of the summer outside. They win fans for their wraparound style and overall fit and comfort. Consumers posting reviews online comment that, at times, they forget they're even wearing these sunglasses. The line starts at $13 and stands out with a lifetime breakage warranty.
Sunbelt sunglasses excel at blocking out the sun without sacrificing fashion, according to online reviews. This brand offers a wide variety of styles. The sunglasses start at $20 and boast a limited lifetime warranty.
Use this test to find out if interest rates have risen too much for you to benefit from refinancing your mortgage.
Kicking yourself because rates are going up and you haven't refinanced yet? I know, I know. Me, too.
You and I thought ultralow interest rates would last a while longer. Now we're grinding our teeth at night. Should we lock in at 3.98% -- the average rate that Freddie Mac says that buyers paid this week? Or should we hang tight hoping rates will drop again?
Still a great deal
My lender's rep says that, in the past couple years, rates fell in summer and rose in winter, contrary to previous years when rates dropped in winter and rose in summer. So maybe, I'm thinking, they'll drop again to near the 3.5% all-time lows of last November and December. Is this magical thinking? You tell me. Where do you think rates are headed?
States are warning consumers about aggressive - and false - sales pitches for medical discount cards.
Enter medical discount cards. They're promoted in advertisements and telephone marketing campaigns as having no deductibles or co-pays and give the illusion that having one is the same as having health insurance.
Make no mistake, medical discount cards are not insurance. Several state attorneys general have issued warnings about the sales pitches.
What you think you know about credit might well be wrong. Watch our latest Undercover Secrets video and learn the truth about credit.
Credit -- good, bad, and ugly -- is a popular topic these days. And as such, there are lots of popular myths out there.
For example; is it true that credit bureaus must investigate problems on your credit report within 30 days? Is it really impossible to get rid of credit disputes? What do credit repair firms know that you don't?
And what about that free credit report. Scam or legit?
Watch this Undercover video and learn the truth behind the myths.
Sure you're trying to get out of debt, but it's the little things you do every day without thinking that conspire to keep you there.
It’s hard to get out of debt. Sometimes it’s easy to feel that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to pay off all your debt and expenses. While you might have reassessed your finances and figured out how to begin paying down your debt, it’s important to understand how to minimize debt in all areas of your life. For instance, you might not even realize that you have a variety of daily habits that are keeping you buried in debt despite your best intentions. The following are a few of the more common ones.
1. Spending more than you have
It’s easy to spend more money than you have whether it’s by writing a check, swiping a card, or willfully ignoring the decreasing amount of money in your bank account. Just because you have money in your bank account, it doesn’t mean you have to spend it as it many times has already been allocated for other recurring expenses. Fooling yourself into believing that if there is money in your bank account at the moment that it’s OK to spend it is an action that will continue to keep you in debt.
2. Impulse purchases
Impulse purchases are one of the worst habits keeping you in debt. You might really want to stop and get that pastry or that new tech gadget or piece of clothing, but actually buying those items on a whim is contributing to your debt. If you tend to make impulse purchases on a daily basis, you should take steps to seriously curb this habit so that you don’t put yourself into even more debt.
Senior citizens are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population filing for bankruptcy, according to one study. And the debt troubles don't stop there.
This post is by Steve Yoder, from partner site The Fiscal Times.
A study earlier this year from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that the percentage of households with credit card debt headed by someone age 75 or older doubled from 11% in 1998 to 22% in 2010. And a 2011 University of Michigan Law School study found that those 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population filing for bankruptcy, and they carry 50% more credit card debt than younger debtors.
In addition to credit card debt, today’s older Americans carry loans that were rare in the past for their age group. Fourth-quarter 2012 data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that 2.2 million adults age 60 and older have student loan debt -- with one in eight delinquent on payments. And since 1989, the proportion of those older than age 75 with mortgage debt has quadrupled.
Las Vegas takes title of cheapest US city for a night on the town in TripAdvisor's third anual index.
This post is by MSN Money editor Bev O'Shea.
Thinking of taking your sweetie out for a big date night? If money is no object and you're traveling without passports, think Honolulu. It's ranked as the nation's most expensive city for a night on the town, according to a report from TripAdvisor.
Trip Advisor's TripIndex 2013 tracks the cost of two martinis, a two-course dinner paired with a bottle of house wine, a room for two at a four-star hotel and a taxi to dinner and back to your luxurious accommodations (four miles round-trip).
In Honolulu, the total comes to $504.94 -- not counting airfare to get you there, of course. Honolulu jumped to the top from No. 4 last year. The next-most expensive cities for a night out were New York, Boston and San Francisco.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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