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3 Types of Savings You Should Have Right Now: Emergency, Retirement & Personal

By Michelle Smith

saving moneyMoney is a leading cause of stress, there’s no arguing it. The almighty dollar worries us more than work, family, and even our health, according to the American Psychological Association. Money-related stress isn’t just aggravating though. It has actually been linked to negative effects on health and longevity, and is also believed to contribute to poor decision-making.

Why do so many of us succumb to money-related stress? If we’re not handling our finances to the best of our abilities, the shortcomings are often related to our saving habits. We spend too much and save too little, or don’t save anything at all. Every working-age adult should be able to lay claim to three types of savings, and should be committed to ensuring each of those accounts is properly funded.

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Meet “The Compact,” a Frugal Group Dedicated to Buying Secondhand Only

By Amy Livingston

thriftOne of the keys to living a frugal lifestyle is to shop secondhand. Each person has different rules about what they will or won’t buy used: For example, some are okay with used clothes but won’t buy used shoes, while others buy used DVDs but only new DVD players. But just about everyone who wants to save money shops secondhand for at least a few items, because it’s so much cheaper than buying new.

But scattered across the country, there’s a group of people who have taken secondhand shopping to its ultimate extreme. They buy everything used. Unless it’s a consumable product, such as food or medicine, they just will not buy it new.

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Join Us on Twitter for a Chat About What You Should Know Before Hiring an Advisor on June 26th at 4PM EST

By Money Crashers

katie-brewerThis Friday, we will be holding a TweetChat with the topic of What You Should Know Before Hiring a Financial Advisor in mind from 4-5pm EST. Our guests will be Katie Brewer.

Simply follow @MoneyCrashers and participate in the chat with hashtag #MCchat on Twitter and you will be entered in the prize draw (two winners for $15 Amazon gift cards).

An easy way to follow along and participate in #MCchat is by using our Twitter Chat Room at http://www.twubs.com/MCchat. We hope to see you there!

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What Is a Tool-Lending Library – Benefits & How to Start Your Own

By Amy Livingston

toolsOne of the most frustrating things about home improvement is having to shell out money for a new tool that you only expect to use once. For example, if your bathroom needs re-tiling, you can’t reasonably do the job without a wet saw, which costs anywhere from $100 to $750. But unless you have another bathroom to re-tile after this one, that expensive tool is just going to sit in your garage gathering dust once you’re finished with the job.

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Living on Minimum Wage – Is It Possible? (Live the Wage Challenge)

By Amy Livingston

minimum wageIn the summer of 2014, several prominent politicians made an unusual choice. For one week, they all voluntarily set aside their generous salaries and tried to live on just $7.25 an hour – the federal minimum wage.

No, they weren’t crazy. They were taking the Live the Wage Challenge.

This challenge was created as part of a campaign to raise the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t increased since 2009. The campaign encouraged politicians, bloggers, and others to try living for one week on minimum wage and write about it. The organizers set up a discussion on Twitter at #LiveTheWage for people to share their experiences. Their goal was to show people firsthand how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour and encourage them to support the wage hike.

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Wine Buying Guide – Tasting Basics, Types, What to Spend On

By Ellen Gans

wineChoosing a wine is like choosing a book: There are a million different options. You can get recommendations from a friend, but unless you really dive in and know what to look for, you’re taking a gamble on whether or not you’ll enjoy your selection.

Even if you rarely imbibe, it’s not a bad idea to get acquainted with wine. According to a Gallup poll, of the 64% of Americans who report having occasion to drink alcohol, 31% of them choose wine most often. That figure trails beer (you can thank the rise of craft breweries and home brewing for that), but solidly beats out liquor.

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How to Prepare Your House for Sale – 5 Home Staging Tips & Ideas

By Katherine Grayson

home staging kitchenProfessional home stagers are worth their weight in gold, and they know it. By making your home more appealing to prospective buyers, they can help sell it quickly and at a substantially higher price than an empty, white-walled, undecorated property would fetch.

But what if you don’t want to shell out the dollars required to nab a professional stager? Believe it or not, it is possible to do the job yourself – as long as you’re armed with the right knowledge. Whether your home is FSBO (“for sale by owner”) or you’re working with a real estate professional, use these steps to quickly and easily manage the staging process on your own, for far less outlay.

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What Is Umbrella Insurance – Do I Need a Policy?

By Amy Livingston

umbrella insuranceImagine that you’re just a few years away from a well-deserved retirement. You’ve got a sizable retirement account, plus a house and car that are fully paid off. Altogether, your assets amount to a little over a million dollars. In short, life is pretty good.

Then, one day, you get into a car crash. Fortunately, you’re not badly hurt, and the damage to your car is well within the limits of your auto insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the other car involved in the crash is full of executives from a large company – and their injuries, and the damage to the car, are much more serious.

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How to Become a Billionaire – 7 Characteristics of the Rich & Wealthy

By Michael Lewis

billionaireIn 1916, John D. Rockefeller, the father of the petroleum industry, became the world’s first billionaire. Nearly a century later in 2015, there were 536 American billionaires of a total 1,826 billionaires worldwide, according to Forbes. That number may in fact be low – the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census estimates there were 2,325 billionaires globally in 2014, including 609 Americans.

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Composting 101: How to Make Compost & Fertilizer at Home

By Amy Livingston

compostMy husband and I are avid composters. All our kitchen and yard waste goes into a bin we built ourselves, and we pull out enough finished compost each year to feed about half of our vegetable garden. When my husband tells friends and coworkers about our setup, though, they often respond with a sigh, “Gee, I wish I could do that.”

If he asks them why they can’t, some of them explain that they just don’t have the time to build and maintain a compost pile. Others say that their yard isn’t big enough, or they don’t have a yard at all. And occasionally, some add that setting up a compost bin is too expensive for the small amount of vegetable waste they have.

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Do It Yourself (DIY) or Hire a Contractor for Home Improvement Projects?

By Amy Livingston

renovationWhen you buy a home, the money you pay up front is just the beginning. You’re also on the hook for a whole slew of ongoing expenses, including property tax, homeowners insurance, utilities – and, of course, repairs. According to mortgage lender Wells Fargo, homeowners should expect to spend between 1% and 2% of their home’s total price on repairs each year.

Mind you, that’s just for routine maintenance. If you have any major remodeling jobs in mind, plan to tack on a whole lot more. HomeAdvisor, a site that matches homeowners with contractors, claims that it costs an average of $9,000 to remodel a bathroom, $15,000 for a basement, and $20,000 for a kitchen.

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Reselling vs. Donating Unwanted Items for a Tax Deduction – What’s Better?

By Patricia Poladian

selling onlinePlenty of us have extra stuff lying around we’d love to get rid of. The question is, what’s the best way to go about it?

In some cases, it may make financial sense to resell books, clothing, furniture, and electronics on eBay, Craigslist, or at a garage sale. Sometimes, you’re better off donating items and claiming a tax deduction. The right answer depends on a few factors: how much free time you have on your hands, what kind of goods you want to get rid of, and your ability to claim charitable deductions.

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32 Cheap & Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas to Show Dad You Care

By Mallory Hall

father's dayComing up with unique Father’s Day gift ideas can be difficult. Sure, you can always pick up another “Best Dad Ever” coffee mug or a tie to add to his ever-growing collection – but why not get him something fun and unique this year instead?

Fortunately, coming up with a way to show your dad, grandfather, or the father of your children that you care doesn’t have to drain your bank account. The following ideas are sure to fit into your budget and help turn this Father’s Day into more than just another day.

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Can Money Buy Happiness? – Understanding the Economics of Happiness

By Amy Livingston

can money buy happinessSuppose you’re looking for a job, and you have two offers on the table. Company A has offered you a salary of $100,000, but you happen to know that the average salary there is $200,000. Company B is willing to pay only $50,000, but the average worker there earns only $25,000.

If you prefer Company B, you’re not alone. According to a paper published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, more than half the respondents to a 1995 survey at the Harvard School of Public Health gave the same answer: They would rather make twice as much as their colleagues, even if it halved their actual income and buying power. This survey illustrates that in many cases, it’s not just what we have that makes us happier – it’s what we have compared to others.

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Is a Warehouse Store (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s) Membership Worth It? – Costs, Pros & Cons

By Amy Livingston

warehouse club, photo by Alastair WallaceSmart-shopping blogs and magazines are teeming with stories about the great deals you can get on nearly everything – groceries, tires, vacations – at warehouse stores. Some financial writers even claim there’s simply no excuse for not belonging to a warehouse club if you live within driving distance to one. But there’s one obvious snag: Before you can fill up your cart with these bargains, you have to pay an annual fee of around $50 just to get in the door.

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