9 Ways to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation – Spending Less When You Earn More

overspendingMany of us can think back to a time when the idea of making a steady salary and having “nice things” was a bit of a pipe dream. After my husband and I were married, he was working two jobs while we lived in a tiny basement apartment, shared a car, and ate a lot of ramen noodles. It was difficult to ever imagine anything different – we thought we’d be in that apartment forever.

Of course, fast-forward 10 years, a couple of kids, and two lucrative career paths later, and our newlywed lifestyle is a distant memory. As we’ve aged and improved our earning potential, we are now more concerned about mortgages and retirement savings than stretching our grocery dollar and making rent.

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10 Bad Financial Habits You Need to Break to Get Out of Debt

debtWe all have our creature comforts – those habits that, for better or worse, we indulge on a daily basis. However, while a regular morning latte or a new pair of shoes might seem harmless, you’ve got to consider their effect on your bottom line. A dollar here and a dollar there add up over time – and, despite your efforts in other areas, they could be one of many reasons you’re still mired in debt.

Those of us who find ourselves experiencing chronic debt problems often share similar behaviors and financial habits. If you catch them early enough, you can avoid trouble. But even if you’re already in the red, recognizing and adjusting these behaviors can help you get back on track.

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9 Reasons to Break Up With Your Bank – When Changing Makes Sense

bankMy husband and I have been mulling over a refinance over the last few months. Our mortgage was rolled over to another banking institution when Washington Mutual folded, and I’ve never really enjoyed the service. The clincher came when I called to talk about options and interest rates. I did my homework: I checked rates online, pulled my credit report, and ran a quick home valuation so I could approach them with solid numbers. Unfortunately, the rate they offered me was nowhere near their best.

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12 Online Shopping Mistakes That Could Cost You & Put You at Risk

online shoppingOnline shopping can seem like the ultimate in instant gratification. However, while the ability to buy pretty much anything you want from the comfort of your own home presents incredible benefits, it can also get out of hand pretty quickly. Overspending and draining your bank account is one of the more common pitfalls – but it might not even be the worst, particularly when you consider how shopping online can jeopardize your identity.

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10 Small Business & Entrepreneur Tips From “Shark Tank”

shark tankOn ABC’s “Shark Tank,” five extremely successful millionaires and billionaires – the “sharks” – hear pitches from business owners and occasionally vie with each other to invest. If the business owners play their cards right, they can score much-needed venture capital funding and strategic partners who practically guarantee them future success. If they’re weak, they’re sent packing with little fanfare and plenty of regrets.

I probably have about six episodes of “Shark Tank” saved on my DVR at any given time – but it’s not purely for entertainment value. The show teaches us all a great deal about business subjects such as investing, royalties, and licensing.

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What Is Big Data Analytics and What Does It Mean for Consumers?

big dataOnce upon a time, the most that businesses could hope to know about you boiled down to the information you’d use to obtain a mortgage: essentially, your credit score, household size, and household income. Of course, the more information businesses have about you, the better they can tailor their marketing strategy to target you. Today, with the ability to monitor your habits and access sensitive personal information, businesses have access to a veritable gold mine.

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How to Work With and Manage Millennials (Generation Y)

generation yDefined as those born between 1982 and 1999, “millennials” have been given a slew of additional monikers – and not all of them are flattering. From the “me generation” to the more benign “Generation Y,” the “boomerang generation,” and “generation now,” there’s no shortage of labels for what currently makes up a large portion of the professional workforce. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that by 2018, half of those working are going to be millennials.

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What to Do After a Car Accident – Injuries, Damages & Insurance Claims

car accident aftermathI’ve had a valid driver’s license for 11 years with a perfectly clean record – no accidents, no speeding tickets, and not even a warning – so I was completely blindsided the day my SUV was rocked by the sound of a truck colliding into my driver’s side door, almost taking off the front bumper of my car. My kids and I were completely fine, but since it was my first accident, I was in a state of shock as I pulled my car into a nearby parking lot. Oddly, it wasn’t the fear of getting hurt, or the concern for my car that stands out about that day, but the disconcerting feeling of being in unfamiliar territory with no idea what to do. Immediately the other driver was out of his car and at my door, which wouldn’t open from the inside. I had to climb out of the passenger-side door to meet him, and he was ready for a fight. It was then that I had my “baptism by fire” and had to learn how to deal with car accidents, auto insurance, and other drivers.

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