Month: January 2013

Winter Finances: How to Save on Heating Costs

It’s been a rough winter for the U.S. Temperatures have dropped into the sub-zeros this week in the Midwest and Northeast, and even southern states like Tennessee and North Carolina are experiencing freezing rain conditions. Unfortunately, the weather forecast isn’t likely to improve next week. Families struggling to pay their bills have resorted to dangerous alternatives like leaving the stove on or starting a small fire in their home. Don’t risk your health and safety to keep costs low. Follow the tips below to stay warm this winter.

1. Turn down the water heater.


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How Does the Debt Ceiling Affect Me?

On January 18, 2013, House Republicans agreed to lift the debt ceiling for three months, stipulating that Congress pass a budget focusing on long-term debt reduction in the meantime. While this agreement is a sigh of relief for those fearing a national debt default, others are still weary of the temporary deal and its remaining threats to the average consumer.

For those in need of a debt ceiling refresher course, these are the basics:

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Retirement Planning — 401k Woes to Avoid

Planning for retirement is imperative when it comes to long-term financial security; yet, few Americans prepare themselves well. According to a study conducted by LIMRA, a trade association for the financial services industry, half of all working Americans are not saving for retirement. That’s right — zilch.

For those who are saving, 401k plans are the most common type of savings vehicle. Employers often match contributions, providing free money to their employees. What could be better, right?

Despite the obvious perks, think twice before resigning yourself to investment complacency. Like any other vehicle, 401ks come with their own list of risks. Read on to avoid the big ones. Your retirement planning is worth the added effort.

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How to Keep Your Credit Resolutions

We’ve begun the New Year the right way — by talking about the value of credit repair as a New Year’s resolution. Sure, you might have the desire to improve your financial future, but do you have the motivation to stick to it? Read on to learn some helpful strategies to keep you on the right track in the months ahead. A little planning could turn your resolutions into tangible results.

1. Set some goals.

If you hope to achieve some goals this year, begin by establishing their parameters. Instead of saying, “I want to work on credit repair,” create a plan of action that includes smaller steps. For example, if you want to raise your credit score by 15 points before June, your goal might include the following strategies:

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Repairing Credit the Girl Scout Way — What We Can All Learn

The Girl Scouts have been an American institution since 1912, with a mission to “build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.” Last year, they took their mission a step further by developing merit badges that focus on personal finance. Repairing credit is no longer a task for adults only. Girl Scouts have had a taste of monetary responsibility since cookie sales began in 1933. Cookie sales, producing $760 million in annual revenue, helps girls ages 6 to 18 learn how to budget their time, collect and manage funds, and generate revenue to fund the programs and initiatives that their organization enjoys. By learning these essentials early, these youngsters stand a better chance of avoiding financial trouble altogether in their adult lives.

We can all learn from the new merit badges that each girl is expected to earn. If repairing credit is on your to-do list, take a lesson from the Girl Scouts and focus on:

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