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Credit cards are often viewed as evil, as though they have lives of their own, and inherent personalities. However, credit cards are not sentient, and they are not evil. Like many tools — financial and otherwise — it’s all about how you use them. There are certainly pitfalls associated with credit cards, and it’s true that issuers and others in the credit card industry make it easy for you to rack up the debt, but…

Welcome to the TotallyMoney Blog Carnival by Totally Money. This week’s theme is Father’s since yesterday was Father’s day. Father’s take a lot of heat year round, and now it’s our time to praise them for all that they do. Without fathers we wouldn’t go camping, know the rules to football or have an grill. But there is a smaller amount of fathers today than decades past. President Barack Obama has acknowledged this and called it a…

One of the hardest things about budgeting is sticking to your plan. You have high ideals, preparing to live on a budget and keep your expenses down. But, after a while, you start to get tired of always having to pinch your pennies and keep track of everything. Soon enough, you are no longer following your budget. And you vow once more to get on track and stick to a budget. Before you make another…

One of the the things I’ve learned about personal finances is that there is a big difference between what you can do and what you should do. When my husband and I were shopping for a home, we were approved for more than twice what we ended up paying for our mortgage. According to the mortgage lender, our credit situation, and our income, qualified us for a home — and a loan — twice as…

Many of us assume that when we want to open a bank account, it’s a simple matter. After all, we aren’t borrowing anything; we should be able to open a deposit account with minimal fuss. While many financial institutions will let you open a deposit account with the identification information required by law, and by answering a few questions, others will add another step: Looking at your ChexSystems report. What is ChexSystems? ChexSystems is an…

Insurance is important if you want to properly protect your assets. However, there are a number of insurance policies vying for your attention. Before you get an insurance policy, make sure it’s something that you need, and that will truly benefit you. Here are some of the insurance policies that you should have: Health Insurance Health insurance is a necessity if you want to protect yourself from catastrophic problems. Even though health insurance can be…

It can be tempting, when creating a debt pay down plan, to start with the lowest balance first. This is because you tend to get an emotional boost when you pay off the debt. It can help you keep going. But, if you are looking at matters as they relate to saving money as you pay off your debt, you should consider starting with highest interest rate debt first. In some cases, your highest interest…

One of the products that has been pushed recently is the IRA CD. Many banks and credit unions have begun offering products labeled “IRA CD.” In some cases, an IRA CD can be a good deal. But it is important to remember that an IRA CD works like any other CD, and you should also realize that you can hold any CD in an IRA — it doesn’t have to be something specifically marketed as…

One of the things that has struck me as some gear up for what some believe will be the Rapture tomorrow, is that we really do want our assets cared for after we are gone. It’s why we get involved in estate planning. We write wills and form trusts in an effort to make sure that those we leave behind are cared for. As I’ve read stories of post-rapture services — especially pet care –…

There has been a lot of hand wringing lately by banks. Regulations are in effect, and soon, a debit fee interchange cap will be instituted. Big banks, which have been enjoying big profits since many of them repaid their TARP obligations, are complaining about lost revenues. And, in order to recover some of the money they say they are losing as a result of regulations and caps, they are starting look for ways to raise…

Buying a new car or truck is a major purchase. Unless you are in a position to pay cash upfront to the dealer, you will have to consider financing options. The terms and conditions associated with your loan will determine just how much you pay for your car. Just like other forms of credit, the interest rate for a car loan is calculated using your credit score. Buyers with higher credit scores will see more…

Many people automatically assume that interest is a bad thing. This is because many of us encounter interest in negative settings: We are often paying it on loans. Credit card interest seems like Exhibit A when it comes to decrying interest. However, interest isn’t all bad. In fact, interest can be your friend. The key is to earn it, rather than pay it. Earning Interest You can actually get on the good side of interest…

Almost everyone these days wants to know how you handle credit. Your credit history is increasingly viewed as a window into your life and personality — including whether or not you are responsible and reliable. It might not be fair, but that’s the reality. As a result, it is important to make sure that the information in your credit report is accurate. On top of that, it is just helpful to know what’s in there.…

One of the questions you need to ask yourself before you purchase something on sale, or take advantage of a “great bargain” is this: Am I really saving money? In so many instances, we think that we are saving money when what we are actually doing is spending it. If you really want to save money and build wealth, you have to get real about your spending and saving habits. Saving Money vs. Spending Less…

Applying for a mortgage requires that the lender runs a credit check to view your previous credit history. They will also obtain your FICO credit score to determine your eligibility for a mortgage loan. A mortgage loan is typically the biggest investment a borrower will make in their lifetime, so it is financially wise to come to the lender with the best credit profile possible when you are ready to apply for your loan (Read…

One of the biggest questions people ask about finances is what the 30% rule means for housing. Does it mean net or gross income? Is it just the mortgage plus interest, or does it include other expenses? You might get several different answers. The most generous answer, of course, is that you can “afford” to pay 30% of your gross income on mortgage and interest payments. While you might feel good about this plan, it…

Chase Freedom credit card is offering a pretty attractive credit card deal. They advertise that you can earn up to $1200 in bonus cash. Freed Credit Card Deal: Earn $100 Cash Back after you spend $500 in 3 Months. You can also earn 10% cash back when you shop online at select merchants using Chase. Earn an unlimited 1% Cash Back on all Purchases, Earn 5% Cash Back on select purchases (read “ad Copy” below…