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Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen holds master's degrees in Library and Information Science, Theological Studies, and Divinity, and spent five years working in regulatory compliance for a major education publisher. A lifetime Chicagoian, she recently spent almost a year living in the woods of Southern Oregon before deciding to head back home to her family and friends.

Why You Still Need Paper Checks and How to Use Them Safely

By Lainie Petersen

checkUntil about five years ago, I used to carry my checkbook everywhere. In fact, some of my purses even had a special compartment that provided easy access to my oft-used pad of checks.¬†Nowadays, however, I leave my checkbook at home. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I wrote a paper check.

This change in consumer behavior is the result of several factors, including the introduction of more convenient payment methods, the growth in online shopping, concerns about fraud and identity theft, and a desire to avoid bounced check fees. For many people, it is faster and simpler to swipe a debit or credit card than it is to write out a check while shopping at brick and mortar establishments. Many online merchants only accept credit and debit cards. Online bill payment services make sending payments easier by automating the process.

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What Is Coworking – Pros & Cons, Hidden Costs of Shared Office Space

By Lainie Petersen

coworkingAs telecommuting and freelancing become more common, coworking is turning into a viable alternative to working from home or a traditional office. While there are several advantages to coworking, including increased social interaction, access to conference rooms, and the ability to establish a better work-life balance, sharing office space can be more expensive than you think.

If you’re considering making the switch to coworking, consider all of the costs before diving in.

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How to Identify Elder Financial Abuse – Types, Signs & Prevention

By Lainie Petersen

elder careIt seems that every few months, the media reports a case about an elderly person who was bilked out of his or her savings, investments, or home by an unscrupulous caretaker, family member, or garden-variety con artist. In fact, the American Psychological Association claims that there are at least four million cases of elder abuse and neglect each year, with as many as 23 unreported cases for every case that comes to the attention of the authorities.

Preventing and addressing financial elder abuse is a major concern, and one that is only going to grow as the population ages.

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How to Make the Best Use of Online Reviews of Products & Services

By Lainie Petersen

checking online reviewsIf you’re planning on buying a computer, dining at a restaurant, or hiring a contractor, you’re also probably planning to check out online reviews of the various options beforehand. While this can be a great way of verifying the quality or legitimacy of a product or service, some sites (and the reviews they contain) are better and more accurate than others. It’s important to think critically about the reviews you read – don’t let your excitement about making a purchase compromise your ability to make good decisions.

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How to Save Money on Hair, Beauty & Nail Salon Services

By Lainie Petersen

save money on beauty servicesWhile many people think of beauty and grooming services as frivolous expenditures, the truth is that your personal appearance can make a huge difference in your finances. When you look and feel attractive, you have more self-confidence, which is something that employers and colleagues alike will pick up on.

Still, maintaining a beauty or grooming routine can get pricey, particularly if you regularly make use of several different types of beauty services or patronize high-end salons. Fortunately, there are also several ways to save money on beauty services, including patronizing school clinics, taking advantage of coupons, and even performing some services for yourself.

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6 Home Office Organization Ideas & Tips

By Lainie Petersen

optimize your home office spaceWhen you work at home, you are your own office manager. Computer malfunctions, working with utility repairers, and keeping your printer paper stocked is entirely your responsibility.

If you work from home, it is essential that you protect your workspace and your business by developing an office management plan. Whether it’s sourcing ergonomically correct home office furniture or developing a backup plan in case of computer and Internet malfunctions, good home office management will establish your professionalism and increase your profits.

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Tips for Moving on a Budget – Guide to Packing & Moving Costs

By Lainie Petersen

movingBack in 2008, I began what was a series of five moves over the coming three years. Three of the moves were local, and two cross-country. During this time, I learned a great deal about relocating – particularly how expensive it can be. I also learned quite a bit about how to save money when changing homes.

While many expenses are unavoidable, there are plenty of ways to keep costs down by planning ahead, comparing prices, and rethinking your presumptions about your moving options and expenses.

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6 Inexpensive, Romantic Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

By Lainie Petersen

valentine's dayWhile you may not want to feel like a cheapskate on Valentine’s Day, there are other things to consider – such as sticking to your budget and not adding to personal debt. It’s important to make your spouse or partner feel special on this day, but sometimes personal spending limitations can put a damper on the best of intentions.

Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to research inexpensive (and even free) entertainment options in your area, as well as low-cost, high-quality restaurants. With some planning, you should be able to enjoy a memorable evening that won’t leave you in the red until payday.

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“The New Frugality” by Chris Farrell – Book Review

By Lainie Petersen

the new frugality book coverDifficult economic times are trying for everyone, making a gentle voice welcoming in a media atmosphere of harsh words, finger-pointing, and predictions of doom.

Chris Farrell, author of “The New Frugality,” is the economics editor and personal finance expert for American Public Media’s Marketplace Money. He advocates sustainable, careful financial planning that is also psychologically healthy.

Farrell recognizes the importance of interpersonal relationships and personal fulfillment as they relate to the notion of financial health, and his book reflects this. His tone is respectful and honest, yet gentle, and offers a balanced consideration of various financial choices that many people must make throughout their lives.

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Second-Hand Shopping: How to Save at Thrift Stores & Consignment Shops

By Lainie Petersen

clothes saleThe strategies of extreme couponing, waiting for sales, and shopping at your local dollar store can save you money on products you need. Don’t overlook the humble second-hand store as a great way to also save a lot of money on brand name items. Effective thrift store shopping takes time, but you can find beautiful, functional items for your home and wardrobe without breaking the bank. In addition, when you shop at charity thrift stores, you can support worthy organizations that help your less fortunate neighbors.

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6 Unforeseen Challenges of Working from Home – How to Avoid Home Business Doom

By Lainie Petersen

casual business man work from homeHome business ads consistently emphasize the dream of working from home in your pajamas and not having any boss but yourself. They also promise that you can earn “as much as you want, when you want.” As a self-employed person, I can tell you that this just isn’t the way things work.

I make a decent living, but it’s not because I follow the work protocols promoted by these ads. I’ve learned the hard way that “tiresome” workplace policies like dress codes and standard working hours aren’t in place because managers and executives like to vex their workers. Instead, these policies help employees work efficiently and make companies profitable. Moreover, I now have a greater appreciation than ever for all the administrative tasks I previously could ignore when working for a larger company.

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Help with Landlord Tenant Security Deposits – Laws for Refunds & Deductions

By Lainie Petersen

apartments rentAh, the joys of moving to a new rental apartment or house! Not only do you have to get packed up and move, but you also have to save up the cash to make a deposit on a new place and wait for your current landlord to return the deposit you paid when you first moved in.

Security deposits can make moving less affordable and may be difficult to get back. But if you understand your rights as a tenant, take good care of your home, and follow up with your landlord after you move, you can keep your security deposit safe.

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Psych Yourself Rich Book Review and Farnoosh Torabi Interview

By Lainie Petersen

psych yourself rich book coverHow much personal finance information do people really need? After all, the Internet is chock full of free personal finance advice, ranging from suggestions on consumer rights and how to avoid scams from the Federal Trade Commission, to targeted investment advice over at the The Motley Fool. For many, the problem isn’t ignorance of smart money management, it’s actually taking the initiative to put that knowledge into practice. For example, many people understand that credit card balances need to stay below 30% of the limit to achieve a decent credit score, but they still manage to max out the cards anyway.

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5 Common Problems & Issues of Looking for a Roommate – How to Protect Yourself

By Lainie Petersen

roommate argumentWhen money gets tight, taking on a roommate becomes a temptation. Roommates can help pay your rent or mortgage, utility bills, and maybe even your food costs.

But watch out: While many roommate arrangements typically start off with a cordial handshake, once a roommate moves into your home, the arrangement takes on legal significance under state and local landlord and tenant laws. This can make getting rid of a troublesome roommate difficult.

Here are a few of the common dangers of taking in a boarder, and ways to avoid or minimize problems.

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Style on a Shoestring Book Review By Andy Paige – Develop Your Cents of Style

By Lainie Petersen

style on a shoestring bookIt’s a vicious cycle and a catch-22: You’re cash-poor and don’t want to rack up a lot of credit card debt, so you skimp out on buying quality clothes. Unfortunately, your ill-fitting, cheap-looking wardrobe doesn’t earn you respect at work or do much for your self-confidence, so you get passed over for opportunities that could get you a raise. But without career advancement, you won’t get the money you need to afford clothes that can make a good impression on your boss and coworkers. Sound familiar?

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The content on Money Crashers is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers.
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