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Question From Money Crashers Reader: What Should I Pay Off First?

By Erik Folgate

Here is a question from a Money Crashers reader. She is in a great situation, because she has a nice lump sum of money, but she doesn’t know what to do with it.

My home is worth about $375000 and I owe $62000 on it. My credit card debt is $21000 ($11000 at 3.99% for life of loan and $10000 at 10% until 11/08) and school loans of $10000. I am recently widowed and am struggling month to month with my bills. I have a lump sum of $80000. Should I pay off the credit cards and school loans which would decrease monthly payments by about $700? Thank you.

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Five Frugal Tips for Kitchen Remodeling

By Erik Folgate


We recently renovated a condo on a very tight budget. I started watching all of the HGTV shows to get ideas for ways to make the kitchen look good without spending a lot of money. I didn’t end up using many of the tips that I wrote down from asking friends, watching those TV shows, and reading books, but I thought that I would share them with you. Your kitchen is the most important room in your house. Selling your house hinges on the look and functionality of your kitchen. So, it’s in your best interest to start thinking about updating your kitchen if you ever think about selling the house or increasing its overall value.

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Are Smart People Bad With Money?

By Erik Folgate

A new study shows that people with high IQ’s tend to make more money, but they also spend their money more quickly and frivolously than those with lower IQ’s. Jay Zagorsky from Ohio State University looked at data from 7,400 Americans in their forties. It shows that every IQ point scored translated into about $200 to $600 a year. However, it showed that those with a low to average IQ accumulated more wealth over their lifetime, because they spent less and they lived a more simple life.

Zagorsky said this: “Those with low intelligence shouldn’t believe they are handicapped by it”.

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Last Minute Checklist For Filing Your Taxes

By Erik Folgate

So, you’re pulling an all-nighter to get your taxes done? The worst thing you can do is make a mistake that you don’t catch. Your cramming efforts will be washed away with one mistake. Here are some things to remember if you’re one of those procrastinators rushing to get your taxes filed by the end of tomorrow.

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  1. Be sure to fill in your social securiity number. The IRS only identifies you by your SSN.
  2. Sign and date your return. Make sure both you and your spouse sign it if you file jointly.

Help Me Take Down Paypal by Signing Up For Revolution Money Exchange

By Erik Folgate

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I hate Paypal. I think it’s the one of the most poorly run businesses on the planet, because they give no protection to the seller from credit card charge backs. A buyer could initiate a charge back on their credit card, and all they have to do is show a tracking number that they sent ANYTHING to the seller, and that the seller accepted the package. This is a huge scam that Paypal has never tried to fix from occurring, and their customer service is horrible. There are thousands of complaints out there from buyers as well, and then tack on the fact that their transaction fees are astronomical.

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An Easy Way to Save Money: Ask For a Discount

By Erik Folgate

I’m watching 20/20 right now on ABC, and they just had a segment about how to save a bunch of money while shopping. The formula was simple. Walk into the store, show interest in buying the item, and ask for a discount.

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Do We Always Need The Government Fixing The Economy?

By Erik Folgate

Fed Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, made a statement today in Richmond that struck me the wrong way. He said:

“We do not have the luxury of waiting for markets to stabilize before we think about the future,”

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Earn Extra Cash With a Craigslist Garage Sale

By Erik Folgate

It’s the spring and the weather is slowly getting warmer. I’m kind of the atypical guy when it comes to being clean. Generally, I like to keep the house clean, and I am a minimalist when it comes to stuff in the house. I don’t like hoarding things. So, my wife and I will go through little cleaning binges every six months or so we start selling stuff to get it out of the house.

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A Review Of The Updown.com Virtual Stock Application

By Erik Folgate

Recently, I started playing around with the virtual stock application at The Updown.com. I’ve never been a single stock buyer, so I rarely keep up with what individual stocks are doing in the market. So, I thought this would be a great way for me to start researching individual companies and test out different investing strategies. A virtual stock application is not a new concept. There have been a few other web applications out there that give you virtual money to play with the stock market at no risk. However, Up Down has a fun and exciting concept. You can earn REAL money for every month that your portfolio beats the S&P 500 and if you write detailed analyses on companies and the future performance of its stock. Also, there is a great social networking aspect of the site that allows you to interact with other amateur investors.

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31 Ways to Be Frugal And Save Money

By Erik Folgate

Lately, I’ve been hearing tips from friends about how they save money, reading articles about saving money, and trying to come up with ways to save some money around the house. So, I decided to put together a comprehensive list of ways that we save money around the house and in our daily lives. There are 31 suggestions, one for each day of the month.

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  1. Buy and install a programmable thermostat. Set the thermostat higher when you are gone during the day and cooler when you are at home at night.
  2. Use Coupons wisely. Only clip coupons for items that you consume on a regular basis.

Who Is Your Financial Mentor?

By Erik Folgate

Here’s the financial question of the day to bring us into the weekend. Ponder the question over the weekend, and post your answer in the comments section.

Who is Your Financial Mentor?

Name one person or a group of people that have influenced you in the way you manage your money. It could be a parent, a sibling, friend, pastor, or anyone else that has given you inspiration and motivation to manage your money wisely.

my answer:

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Don’t Count On Social Security For Your Retirement

By Erik Folgate

If you’re in your 40′s, 50′s, or 60′s, you’ll probably see the full social security benefits promised to you when you paid into the system throughout your working career. This article from CNN Money via Yahoo Finance, talks about the report that was released this week that Social Security funds will be tapped out by 2041 if it is not reformed.

So, that means that if you’re in your 20′s or 30′s, you’ll be funding social security for your parents, but you won’t get jack squat back when it’s your time to retire. The article goes on to talk about what the three presidential candidates would do to help reform the social security system. Here are the quotes from the article.

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What We Can Learn From the Bear Stearns Down Fall

By Erik Folgate

If you keep up with current events and/or financial news, then you probably heard about the demise of Bear Stearns, a once large investment brokerage firm. Many were shocked when the news came out that JP Morgan would be buying Bear Stearns at $2 a share, when months ago the stock was trading at $85 dollars a share. Then, JP Morgan realized that others were trying to compete to buy Bear and offering a higher price, so JP Morgan increased the buy-out to $10 a share. So, let’s take a look at why Bear Stearns crumbled overnight.

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Seven Ways to Save Your House From Foreclosure

By Erik Folgate

If you haven’t already noticed, the housing market is correcting itself right now. That’s what capitalistic markets do, they correct themselves. The government has intervened a little bit, but for the most part, you are seeing the housing market fix itself. Unfortunately, thousands of hard-working citizens are losing their homes. They bought during the boom, might have stumbled into a mortgage they didn’t understand, or they wanted to upgrade their house, but really couldn’t afford the new payment. Foreclosure is all over the place in states like Florida, Nevada, California, an New York. I live in Florida, and I can literally open up the newspaper and find hundreds of foreclosures every weekend. So, here are ten ways that I think you can save your house and avoid foreclosure. Some of these might seem out of reach, but it’s still an option.

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First-Time Homeowners, Consider Buying in 2008

By Erik Folgate

We all know that the housing market has crashed, and it is working to correct itself from the housing boom. Unfortunately, foreclosures and falling home prices are the result of the market correcting itself. However, as prices fall in your area and sellers become more desperate to dump the home they bought a few years ago at an extra-premium price, a great opportunity is being created for young couples and single professionals looking to buy their first home. Suze Orman writes an article about the opportunities for first-time buyers right now. She gives first-time buyers five tips for finding their first home. Let’s take a look at them.

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