5 Ways to Automate Your Finances

No matter how busy our lives can become, it’s critical to keep track of our personal finances. With the technology available today, there’s no excuse to forget a bill payment or a contribution to your retirement savings. Wisebread.com came up with a list of 5 easy ways you can automate your finances to avoid these costly mistakes.

Read the full article here: 5 Ways to Automate Your Finances

4 Times It Makes Sense to Close a Credit Card

Many of us have accumulated a number of credit cards over the years and find that they no longer fit our needs or that there are better card options out there. According to an article published by Money, four reasons you may want to close your card are because:

  • The annual fee isn’t worth it
  • You’re unhappy with the issuer
  • Rates and fees are no longer competitive
  • You have more credit cards than you can manage


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What Happens If You Swipe Your Debit Card as ‘Credit’?

Debit card and credit cards look identical on the outside, but are in fact, two very different instruments. Time and time again, we come across cashiers who ask us ‘debit or credit’ when we hand them over our little piece of plastic. Most of us answer without knowing the real distinction between the two processes. This article published in Money – “What Happens If I Swipe My Debit Card as Credit”, explains the real differences between picking one over the other.
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10 Free Tools for Creating a New 2015 Budget

Now that the holiday season is over, it’s a good time to get back on track and create a smart budget for 2015. Lots of us tend to ignore our financial goals after we create a new budget, but there are some great personal financial management tools out there that make sticking to your budget easier. In this article from Money you can learn about different tools that make maintaining a budget hassle-free.

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What You Can Do with Your Unwanted Gift Cards

As the holidays come to an end, many of us are left with small pieces of plastic (that were given to us by our unaware relatives) that we have little use for. Instead of letting unwanted gift cards rot away in your kitchen’s junk drawer there are other options that can provide you with greater utility this holiday season. According to this article published by Money, you can:

  1. Trade them in
  2. Sell them
  3. Make a Donation

Read the full article to learn more!

How to Get the Best Prices on Holiday Gifts

Money just published an article that provides several online tools that can help you money this holiday season, both in stores and online.

  • PriceBlink: Use this browser plugin that identifies the product you’re shopping for and provides a same page list of competitor prices for easy comparison
  • TrackIf: This site that allows you to set price alerts on a specific product and sends you an email alert if any price drops
  • Coupons at Checkout: Install this browser plugin to find out if there are any relevant coupons to your purchase as you go through checkout online


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10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before the End of the Year

The new year is just around the corner and it’s a good time to start wrapping up your end-of-the-year finances. According to WiseBread.com, some top moves to make before the end of the year include:

  • Double Checking Your Federal Tax Withholdings
  • Maximizing Your Retirement Account Contributions
  • Using Up Health Insurance Benefit Levels
  • Requesting and Reviewing Your Free Credit Reports
  • Using Up Your Flexible Spending Account
  • Taking Your Minimum Required Distribution
  • And more!


Click this link to read all 10: 10 Money Moves You Need to Make Before the End of the Year

This Is Why Prepaid Cards Are Still Risky

The number of households that use prepaid cards in the United States has increased to 12% as of last year, according to an article published by Money. Most of this group are millennials and low income households. The use of prepaid cards are popular among these segments of consumers because their an alternative solution to checking accounts and credit cards. In addition to not qualifying for a traditional checking accounts, distrust in financial institutions is one of the top reasons these cards are appealing. In 2011 after the financial crisis, the government created an independent agency, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to basically protect consumers against various divisions within the financial sector (e.g., banks, debt collectors, mortgage-servicing companies, etc.).

With the increasing use of prepaid debit cards, the CFPB is now seeking to implement protective regulations for prepaid card holders. Since these cards are being used as primary checking accounts that holders use make major purchases, pay bills and receive pay checks, the CFPB is fighting to protect these cards from fraudulent charges, similar to how credit cards are protected. In addition, they’re also pushing these prepaid companies to do a better job of exposing fees and communicating balances through monthly statements.

Click here to read more on the risks of prepaid cards

Claiming Your Lost Money

According to this New York Times article, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed property funds that states oversee. This includes stock dividends, tax refunds, bank accounts and other funds that property owners have forgotten about. Most states in the U.S. don’t do a great job of letting people know about their unclaimed money, but there are sites like missingmoney.org and unclaimed.org that can help you search for forgotten funds.


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The Best Banks in America (acc. to Money)

Research shows that while most American’s aren’t likely to switch banks all that frequently, there are lots of checking account options that are worth looking at more closely. Money ranked six “best banks” in America and scored them by a number of factors including: monthly fees, interest earned on balances, ATM fees. Read the full article below to see which banks made the list!

Full article: Best Banks in America