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There are emotional and financial challenges to staying home with a child. If you do it right, everyone will benefit.

By Thu 12:53 PM
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site on MSN MoneyWhether you're becoming a mom or dad for the first time or already parents to three kids, transitioning to a lifestyle with one full-time earner and a stay-at-home parent requires some serious adjustments. Not only do you change your approach to finances, you have to be prepared for the shift in family dynamics.

Sick child © Bananastock, age fotostockHaving a family with a stay-at-home parent has numerous benefits, but it's not a decision to make quickly or carelessly. To help you navigate the financial and emotional challenges families face in these situations, here are three ways to prepare.

1. Assess your current situation

Without knowing how you're faring right now, you likely can't make an informed decision about how best to handle the future. If you're not already tracking your spending and progress toward financial goals, you need to get in the habit of doing so before making a drastic change to your income status.

Tracking your spending allows you to see where your money is going and where it will be easiest to save. For example, food tends to be a common budget-killer, and by looking at your transaction history, you'll see the occasional dinners out soaking up tons of disposable income.


Test your knowledge. Can you score 100% on this insurance pop quiz?

By MSN Money Partner Thu 12:12 PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIt's time for a Money Talks News pop quiz, and this time, we're delving into the world of insurance.

You may be spending a lot of money on insurance each month, but is the company going to come through when you need it?

Let's see how many of these insurance questions you get right.


Shopping for -- and committing to buying -- a car can be a stressful experience. Sometimes, though, it makes a lot of sense.

By Thu 11:43 AM
This post comes from Gerri Detweiler at partner site on MSN MoneyAre you holding onto an older car or truck, hoping to squeeze a few more months (or a few more thousand miles) out of it, all the while wondering whether it’s time to start shopping for a newer one?

Calling for roadside assistance © Tom Merton/Photolibrary/PhotolibraryMaybe your vehicle is paid off and you aren’t anxious to have a car payment, or perhaps you are worried your credit may keep you from getting a good car loan. The average car payment is just under $350 a month, according to Experian Automotive. And payments on some vehicles can top $400 a month, so for most people it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

How do you know when it’s time to start looking for a new set of wheels? Here are three signs it may be time to start car shopping.


When you're out for a night of fun, the last thing you need is to worry about getting ripped off.

By Thu 11:35 AM
This post comes from Adam Levin at partner site on MSN MoneyYou’ve watched enough Tarantino to know you should only bring a knife to a gunfight if you’re Uma Thurman. Bringing a debit card to a bar is like the proverbial knife at a gunfight: a shoot-ready script for getting killed by the bill.

Credit card © Tetra Images, CorbisBar = party, but you don’t want to run up debt and wreck your credit, so you make a conscious effort to use a debit card. For most of us, cash and debit cards are pretty synonymous. Maybe your phone case doubles as a wallet.

Even a modest amount of cash is bulky for today’s skinny jean pockets, and if it falls out it's gone for good. Want a free drink from that tattoo-sleeved bartender? It’s not going to happen if you hand him or her sweat-damp legal tender that’s been stored in your sock.

But if you think you’re protected from losing cash by using a debit card, perhaps you need to rethink your definition of protection. Debit cards get scammed the same as credit cards, but that’s where the similarity ends.


A poll found that many Americans, especially older ones, do little or nothing to protect their credit scores and reports. See why you should check your credit history.

By QuinStreet Wed 6:01 PM

This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site

Of all the information that's available about you these days, none has as much impact as your credit history. This history will determine whether or not you can get credit, and how much you will pay for it. That being the case, don't you think you should know what that credit report says?

Worried man © CorbisThat might seem like common sense, but a poll conducted for by Op4G found that a third of Americans have not checked their credit reports within the past year. Furthermore, more than a fourth of Americans haven't taken even the most rudimentary steps to preserve the quality of their credit score.

Keeping current

The poll of 2,000 respondents found that 11.35 percent had never checked either their credit score or credit report. On top of that, 22.4 percent hadn't checked their credit scores in the past year, and 24.9 percent hadn't checked their credit reports in the past year.


They are expected to take in a record $2.25 billion in fees and surcharges this year.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 1:26 PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCha-ching. That's the sound of each surcharge on your next hotel bill. Better get used to that sound, because hotel customers are paying for a growing list of chargeable services, from storing luggage to Internet use.

Hotel maid © Simon Jarratt/CorbisAccording to The Associated Press:

Guaranteeing two queen beds or one king bed will cost you, as will checking in early or checking out late. Don't need the in-room safe? You're likely still paying. And the overpriced can of soda may be the least of your issues with the hotel minibar.

Hotel charges vary, even within the same chain, which can make it difficult to figure out the cost of a hotel stay.

But small surcharges add up to big revenue for hotels, which will rake in a record $2.25 billion from extra fees in 2014, according to study by Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. That's a 6 percent increase since last year and nearly double the revenue hotels took in from surcharges a decade ago.

"The study estimates that hotels can make a profit of roughly 80 percent to 90 percent on fees and surcharges, and that the amount collected has steadily climbed since charging fees became a widely embraced industry practice in the late 1990s," Time said.


A PayScale report identifies majors that produce graduates who are most likely to say they are underemployed.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 1:23 PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneySelecting a college major seems to be a difficult proposition for many students. Liz Freedman of Butler University reports that anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of newly enrolled college students are undeclared majors, and an estimated 3 out of 4 students will change majors at some point.

College diploma © CorbisWhile we hate to put any more pressure on stressed-out students, we can't help but point out that a recent report from compensation website PayScale finds some majors may be destined to be underperformers. They sound good -- "Liberal arts degrees are so flexible!" -- but the harsh reality is you may end up underemployed and unhappy.

Here are the 10 bachelor's degrees PayScale says might be dogs. The job titles represent the occupations commonly held by those with that college major who said they are underemployed.

1. Criminal justice

Percent who say they are underemployed -- 62.4 percent.
Starting median salary -- $34,500.
Common job titles -- paralegal/legal assistant, security guard, police officer. 

The Internet helps broadcast dubious remedies and phony "cures." These unproven treatments take your money and sometimes your health, too.

By MSN Money Partner Wed 12:39 PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News. 


Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe yearning for a cure is powerful, and poignant if you are struggling with illness. At those times, we can be most vulnerable to claims for cures that sometimes defy common sense.

The Internet is full of products that hold out hope when little or no scientific evidence supports it. Many of these products persist despite efforts by government agencies and scientists to debunk them.



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