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3 Commonly broken financial New Year’s resolutions (and how you can keep them)


According to Fidelity’ annual New Year’s Financial Resolutions Study, 51% of Americans who made financial New Year’s resolutions in 2014 said they were better off financially today. That means financial New Year’s resolutions might actually work!   Of course, that also leaves the 49% who either stuck to their resolutions and found themselves no better off than they were last year or (more likely) suffered a rare form of acute amnesia affecting the memory centers of the brain responsible for remembering New Year’s resolutions.   A year is a long time. Sticking to your financial resolutions is hard, but it’s even harder if you set impossible-to-reach goals and give up on them altogether. So if you’re determined to improve your financial health next year, resolve to take … [Read more...]

Holiday gift guide for your
money-conscious friend


They’re known by a variety of names (some more flattering than others): money-savvy, thrifty, cheap. They inspire you to make a budget, they frustrate you by never picking up the check, and they puzzle you when it comes holiday gifting. What do you buy for the person who hates spending? We can help.       1. I Will Teach You To Be Rich Ramit Sethi provides a no-frill approach to financial fitness. The book includes a 6-week plan for getting your finances in shape including sections on banking, saving, budgeting and investing. It’s the perfect gift for someone who’s just starting his/her financial journey and is looking to do a full overhaul.   2. Envelope system wallet To the extreme budgeter in your life, the envelope system is a sacred ritual. … [Read more...]

A Diet for Your Debt


Are you still feeling the impact of the holidays? That extra helping of turkey or that second or third cookie might have inspired you to make a resolution about losing weight.   But that's not the only place where we could use a little trimming. Our credit might also feel bloated and overweight after a Christmas season of extra spending. And when we get that credit card statement in the mail, it feels the same as adjusting your belt buckle – not good! So if you've been making a weight-related New Year's resolution, perhaps it's time to put your credit on a much-needed diet as well.   If your credit card statements are bulging, one of the first things you should do is make a plan to pay them off as quickly as possible. After all, failing to pay off your Christmas debt … [Read more...]

Good Credit Habits: The Gift that Keeps Giving


It's everyone's favorite season! The holidays are filled with cheer, goodwill and generosity — and so much candy! You've probably spent plenty of time thinking about what to get your children, spouse, family and friends …but have you considered what to get yourself?   I'm not talking about splurging on a big-screen TV, or cute new designer shoes. It can be tempting to treat yourself to something exciting since you're already out shopping for everyone else. However, there’s one gift you can give yourself now that you’ll enjoy for years to come: the gift of developing good credit habits that will lead to a strong FICO score.   Here are just a few reasons why you should give yourself the gift of good credit habits:   -Life often throws us unexpected … [Read more...]

8 Tips for Smart Holiday Spending


As the economy continues to sluggishly recover, each year around Black Friday retailers fret that shoppers will forgo holiday gift shopping, or drastically cut back on spending. However, a recent myFICO survey  indicated that while folks plan to flex their credit cards this holiday season, most are planning a modest budget — 65% of respondents said they’d expect to charge less than $500 on their credit cards this year. That’s good news for retailers and for shoppers’ credit health. But it’s one thing to plan not to overspend, and another thing to successfully execute said plan. How many of us plan not to overindulge on treats at holiday parties, but inadvertently wind up with a belly ache, a scattering of red & green crumbs around our shirt, wondering how we managed to pack in that … [Read more...]

Don’t Let Black Friday Darken Your FICO Score


Rev up your wallet! The holiday shopping season kicks off this Friday after Thanksgiving, and retailers hope to attract us with big sales events and special operating hours so we’ll buy, buy, buy.   In addition, many retailers will work hard to persuade you to open new credit card accounts. They may offer sweet enticements such as an extra 10% discount on all purchases you make that day - or they might give you a special gift just for applying.   It's easy to get caught up, as retailers make applying for store credit so convenient and easy.  Just give the sales clerk your name and address, and within seconds you’ll know if you've been approved for instant credit at your fingertips.   Unfortunately, many of us don’t understand that applying for credit can … [Read more...]

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