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Valencia Higuera
Valencia Higuera is a personal finance junkie who enjoys reading articles on budgeting, saving money, and credit cards. She has written personal finance articles and blogs for several online publications. She holds a B.A in English from Old Dominion University and currently lives in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Should I Pay Off Debt or Save Money First?

By Valencia Higuera

will you save your money or pay off your debt?Living paycheck-to-paycheck greatly impacts your financial choices. You may face high credit card balances but have no way to pay down the debt, or you may wish to save for college or retirement but barely be able meet your monthly bills. However, if you land a new job that pays well or obtain an additional income source, the extra money could provide enough disposable income to pay off your debt or start saving. But which do you do first?

Opinions among financial experts vary, and there are benefits to both approaches. Consider the various reasons for both methods to figure out which would work best for you.

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10 Easy Ways to Trim Your Entertainment Budget

By Valencia Higuera

save on entertainmentWhether it’s going to the movies or checking out a new restaurant, I’m always looking for an excuse to get out of the house and explore the town. However, if I don’t keep my personal budget in check, my spending can easily spiral out of control, and paying off my credit card bill at the end of the month becomes an unpleasant experience.

Between unemployment and higher gas prices, I can understand why some people might cut entertainment entirely from their spending. But before you swear off fun altogether, consider ways to trim your entertainment budget without sacrificing it.

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15-Year vs. 30-Year Mortgage – Comparison, Pros & Cons

By Valencia Higuera

choose between a 15-year and a 30-year mortgageThere is no shortage of decisions to be made when applying for a new mortgage loan. You have to select a lender and decide between a fixed or an adjustable rate – and then you must make the biggest decision of all.

Paying on a mortgage loan for 30 years is typical, and in fact, many homebuyers assume they need to accept a 30-year mortgage term. However, this standard mortgage length is not written in stone, and you can choose to pay off your mortgage sooner with a 15-year loan.

Advantages of a 15-Year Mortgage

There are several benefits of a 15-year term:

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6 Signs That You’re Carrying Too Much Debt

By Valencia Higuera

man too much debtMany financial experts report that the average household carries at least $10,000 in credit card debt. In addition to this debt, many people take out upside down car loans and overextend themselves on home purchases. While debt is generally an unfortunate part of life, if you decide to buy a house or car, it shouldn’t be an excuse to rack up huge credit card bills or take out unnecessary loans.

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6 Tips to Get Approved for a Home Mortgage Loan

By Valencia Higuera

mortgage loan approvedSome people don’t know the first thing about getting a mortgage loan. They hear reports of dropping interest rates and lower home prices and hastily decide to jump into home ownership. But the process of getting a home loan differs from getting a car loan or renting an apartment, and applicants who don’t recognize these key differences are often disappointed when a lender denies their mortgage loan application.

Educating yourself is key, and there are a number of ways to avoid this heartache and disappointment when applying for a mortgage loan.

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How to Break an Apartment Lease Agreement Without Penalty

By Valencia Higuera

breaking a leaseLeases are legally binding contracts, and vacating a rental property before your lease expires can have serious consequences. But what are you supposed to do if you can’t make rent? You can skip the payment and dodge your landlord until you’re able to drum up the cash. However, this method rarely works and some landlords begin the eviction process once payments are 15 days past due.

In this situation your choices are few – either break your lease early, or risk having your belongings tossed out on the street. There are a number of consequences you may face by breaking a lease, but there are still ways to handle the situation tactfully and avoid major penalties.

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How to Pay Off Your Car Loan Early

By Valencia Higuera

paying off a car loanLike most everyone, I hate debt, and the thought of paying off a car loan for a number of years has always left a bad taste in my mouth. While I realize that loans can be necessary to purchase a house or pay for a college education, I take issue with the idea of financing items that unequivocally lose value.

For this reason, I’ve always resolved to pay off my car loans early. Not only does this improve my monthly cash flow, but it improves my credit score as well.

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