Difference Between Credit Cards vs Debit Cards – Which Is the Right Way to Go?

credit card vs debit cardIf you are able to keep your expenses in check and use credit cards wisely, paying for your daily expenses with credit or debit cards is a no-brainer. Using plastic can greatly facilitate budgeting, since sites like Mint.com can automatically track your purchases, and you can also avoid unsafely carrying large sums of money for regular purchases like groceries, gas, or entertainment.

Eventually a cashier will ask, “Will that be credit or debit?” What goes through your mind when you decide? Do you simply brush it off because it doesn’t matter to you? Do you think about whether one of the options will actually save you more money, or how your financial security will be affected by your choice?

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Small and Micro-Cap Stock Investing – Definition, Benefits & Risks

small cap stocks plantNowadays it seems like everyone has their favorite investing style. Nowhere is this more evident than Wall Street itself. Everywhere you turn, a different investment advisor or mutual fund is touting a new magic formula for market beating returns. Do they all deliver on their promises? Not even close. 66% of actively-traded funds fail to beat the market over any period in excess of 5 years, according to Time Magazine. When you factor in the expenses and sales loads of these advisors and mutual funds, it is safe to say that the percentage of the funds that fail to beat the market is even higher.

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Top 5 Famous Benjamin Franklin Quotes on Money – Personal Finance Wisdom & Lessons

benjamin frankin hundred dollar billBenjamin Franklin’s image is indelibly printed not only within the American psyche, but also on the largest issue of currency printed by the U.S. Treasury – the $100 bill. It would be hard to choose a more appropriate founding father to feature on the $100 bill, seeing as how prior to his tenure as one of the greatest and most famous statesmen of the American Revolution, Franklin was the founder and proprietor of a printing shop.

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Top 10 Green Energy Technologies & Solutions for Home Improvement

green energy earthBetween heating and cooling your home, gassing up your car and watering your lawn, energy costs are one of the most significant expenses that many of us face on a monthly and annual basis.

Thankfully, there are numerous ways to reduce both your carbon footprint and your recurring energy costs. Many of them are simple and common sense techniques that do not require major changes, construction, installation, or upfront expenses. In fact, there are a number of ways to save energy at home and slash your home energy consumption and costs by up to $2,500 a year without much effort. You can even significantly cut the cost of commuting to work without purchasing a new fuel-efficient car.

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Why You Need a Taxable Brokerage Account in Addition to an IRA & 401k

nest egg cashThose of us who are passionate about paying down debt, saving for the future, and investing  are no doubt familiar with traditional, tax sheltered investment accounts.

The usual suspects are: 401k retirement plans, which allow you to defer your tax burden until age 59 1/2 when withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income, and Roth IRAs or Roth 401ks, where you are able to contribute after tax earnings now and never pay additional taxes on the earnings or interest as long as withdrawals are deferred until age 59 1/2.

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10 Extreme Ideas to Cut the Cost of Commuting to Work

car commute blurHow much is your commute costing you? If you’re like most Americans, the amount is probably way too much.

According to ABC News, the average American worker lives 16 miles away from work, and with gas prices rising (currently at around $4 per gallon), your commuting budget is going to start running on fumes. For a normal 40-hour, five-day work week, and with a modern average of 20 MPG, rough math reveals that you’ll spend around $1,600 per year on fuel alone.

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Buying a House with Cash – Pros and Cons

house pay cashPicture this: You find the perfect house, forgo the bank and the associated mortgage paperwork, and break out your checkbook to purchase a home outright. While paying cash for a home is a still a far-fetched dream for many people,  it’s actually becoming more common in the real estate market. The National Association of Realtors reports that the number of homes bought with cash has increased to 32% in January of 2011 versus 26% in 2010.

The statistics are even more striking in some of the real estate markets hardest hit by the recession. In Southern California, for example, approximately 30% of home sales made in January were paid for in cash, while in cities like Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada that number is topping 50%.

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What Is Inflation Definition – Causes of Inflation Rate and How to Fight the Effects

inflation toilet paperIn 1980 in the United States – just over 30 years ago – a new home in this country cost an average of $76,000, and the median income was $17,710 per year. Compare that to 2011, when even after the recent recession, the median home price stood at $139,000, and median household income was $50,233 per year according to the US Census Bureau.

Why the vast difference in prices? One word: Inflation. Like aging or weight gain, the effects of inflation are both gradual and profound. Inflation creeps up on us over time, and as we continue our normal spending and consumption habits, the almost imperceptible increase of consumer prices doesn’t seem to make a huge difference in our day to day finances – which means it is all too often vastly underestimated.

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10 Ways for How to Save Energy at Home Now – Save $2,500 Per Year

energy efficient homeLet’s face it. Although you may want to reduce your carbon footprint and save the earth, it can be very difficult to know exactly how to do it without spending a fortune.

Sure, there are plenty of ways you can upgrade your home to be environmentally-friendly on a large scale with solar-power water heaters, solar-power generators for your rooftop, and energy star appliances – but that can get expensive very quickly.

Luckily, some of the best ways to reduce your utility usage and energy costs, are also the cheapest. They’re effective investments to make in order to reduce and save money on your utility bills.

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10 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund Money Wisely

cash envelope tax returnIf you’re expecting a tax refund this year, you need to have a good plan for your money. Maybe you already have the funds earmarked for some spending – but before you let your tax refund burn a hole in your pocket, remember that the government isn’t sending you a bonus check, but rather money that should have been yours all along.

In fact if you’re receiving a huge refund, you’re probably having too much withheld. Be sure to revisit your W-4 form and adjust your federal income tax withholding allowances.

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