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Miranda Marquit

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[ad#Content 300×250]Everywhere you look, interest rates are low, low, low. Indeed, interest rates are so low that it is tempting to do any number of things that involve borrowing money. With car loan rates rather low, it is tempting to buy a new car — or even refinance your current auto loan. You might also find that the dropping mortgage rates provide an incentive to refinance the house (if you don’t plan to buy a…

Our heater kicked on for the first time this morning, reminding me that winter is on the way. (Hopefully we’ll get a few weeks of autumn first.) That means it’s time to start getting the house ready for colder weather. This is important if you want a warmer house — without extra high utility bills. You probably already know all about programmable thermostats. Here are some more simple tips for winterizing your home in a…

Now is a great time to start planning for the holidays. Indeed, now is a good time to work up a holiday budget — and look for ways to put a little extra money in your pocket. The good news is that there are some ways that you can get a little extra money together so that, by the time the holiday season is full swing, you can have a decent bit stashed away. It’s…

I’ve been seeing an increase in credit card offers in my mailbox recently. The increase of junk mail has got me thinking about whether or not I want a new credit card. I really don’t need one right now, and I am happy with my current cards. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider getting a new credit card — if the terms were attractive enough. Before you apply for a credit card, and receive…

[ad#Content 300×250]One of the ways that you can reduce the interest rate on your home mortgage loan is to pay points. A point is equal to 1% of the cost of your loan principal. If you get a mortgage for $180,000, each point is $1,800. You can usually get a reduction in your interest rate by up to 1/4 of a percent. (Some lenders will not offer such a discount, though.) So if you pay…

If you are in the market for a home mortgage, you might be in luck. Mortgage rates appear to be going down – again. Indeed, Freddie Mac reports that the average 30-year fixed rate mortgage is going for 3.25%. [ad#Content 300×250] But will mortgage rates fall even further? This is a question that many are asking. Not too long ago, it seemed as though mortgage rates hovering around 5% would be the bottom, and that…

The recession has many of us looking for ways to pinch pennies. We glory in small savings, and look for ways to shave a little more off the bill. Of course, small savings can add up to big savings down the road. But, in some cases, penny pinching does not actually result in big picture savings. Instead, we might find that we are being penny wise and pound foolish, introducing inefficient elements into our finances.…

When you are bargain hunting, it often seems to be just about the price. However, a true bargain is about more than just paying as little as possible. Sometimes even at a cheap price, you are paying more than you should. A true bargain is something that has long-lasting value. Even if you pay a little bit more for something, if it is of good value and likely to last longer, you could save money…

Tax season? Already? Even though tax season doesn’t really begin until the beginning of the year, you can reduce the stress related to tax season by getting ready now. If you haven’t been keeping track of your tax related information throughout the year, it is probably a good idea to start getting it organized now. You can get your documentation where you need it, and you can plan how to reduce your tax liability in…

Your credit is basic to your finances, and understanding it is important for your financial education. One of the myths you hear about when talking about credit is that checking your own score can damage it. This myth grew up because when some people check your credit score, it really does damage your score — even if you don’t end up being approved for your loan. This is because there is a difference between what…

When it comes to financial education, there are concerns that Americans do not know what they should. In order to rectify that situation, the U.S. Treasury has identified 5 “Core Competencies” of financial education. The idea is to put together a plan to help Americans assess whether or not they know what they should about money. Right now, the Treasury is accepting comments on the program, and comments will be open until September 12, 2010.…

Paper checks are in the process of disappearing from the financial landscape. And it’s no wonder: Plastic is much easier to carry around, and electronic payment options for bill pay are more convenient in many ways. The checks that you write for bills are not the only things disappearing. Many companies are moving away from issuing rebate checks in favor of issuing gift cards. The main issue that many have with the whole gift card…

It would be nice to think that the most recent recession was an aberration, but the truth is that it is not. Recessions come and go; it is part of the natural economic cycle. You can always expect there to be up cycles and down cycles. This means that once you get through this recession, it is a good idea to be ready for the next one. No, you do not have to stockpile gold…

Right now, interest rates are at record lows. This means that if you are going to borrow money, now is a good time to do it. (It is also a good time to pay down debt, since more of your payment will go to principal.) If you have been looking for a good time to make home improvements, this might be it, depending on your individual situation. Home equity loan rate and HELOC rates are…

We hear a lot about “passive income” when we discuss alternative income streams. For many, passive income is the Holy Grail of money making. The idea that you do nothing, and the income just comes to you is bewitching. However, is there really such a thing as passive income? I suppose that if you have some sort of inheritance that is managed on your behalf, that might qualify. However, much of the passive income that…

There has been a great deal of talk about the changes that many have made in response to the recent recession. Many have made financial changes, paying down credit card debt and building savings. A little more conscious spending is taking place. As a result, many people are now creating a better financial foundation, rather than overspending into a precarious situation. But will it last? It’s easy to make financial changes when you know that…