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How To Find Free Money Today

By Erik Folgate

Do you need some extra cash? You may be entitled to some, but never knew it. There is such a thing as free money, well it’s not free, but it feels like it’s free because you never knew it was there waiting for you to claim it. Each state should have a bureau for unclaimed property, and many of them allow you to search by your name to see if you have unclaimed money to recover.

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How To Save Money In Your Fantasy Football League

By Erik Folgate

It’s that time of year again. Football season. Can you smell it in the air? I went to my first football of the season this past Saturday. We went to the Florida Gators vs. Hawaii Warriors, and the gators kicked butt. If you didn’t know, I’m a huge gator fan. All you bulldogs, volunteers, tigers, and seminoles can still read this blog, but realize that I don’t like you on Saturdays. Anyway, football season is here, and that means your fantasy football leagues are here as well. It is by far the most popular fantasy league of the year. Some of you might be asked by several different people to join their league, but there’s only so much time in a day! Offices around the country will suffer, but you don’t care. If you’re going to join some fantasy leagues this year, here are some tips for saving money this year.

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Good News About the Economy!

By Erik Folgate

Finally, there’s some good news to report about the economy, and I’m happy that the media isn’t ignoring it. If you didn’t notice, the stock market shot up today, but it’s been doing that a lot lately, and then the next day is drops like a rock, again. Here’s a run-down of the good economic news:

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  • Decline in Jobless Claims: the amount of people who filed claims for being laid-off dropped by 10,000 claim files this week, and declined for the third week in a row.

Question of the Day: Which Presidential Candidate Will Be Better For Our Economy?

By Erik Folgate

Please, keep this civil. I’m interested to know which candidate’s economic plan will be better for our country? Don’t know their differing plans? I’m not going to go through all of it here, so research it on your own.

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Is The Credit Crunch The Next Bubble To Burst?

By Erik Folgate

JLP from All Financial Matters made a great insight about the next financial bubble we face in the United States.

Much like sub prime mortgages are packaged together and sold to large financial institutions to earn from the interest of the borrowers, credit card debt is also packaged together and sold off to larger financial institutions to reap the benefits of the hefty interest rates that borrowers pay. if you think that unscrupulous lending practices were taking place in the sub prime mortgage sector, you don’t even want to know about the credit card lenders. Credit card lenders send applications to ANYONE and EVERYONE. Dead people, dogs, people with zero money to their name, children, and any other social security number they can get their hands on. Credit card companies have spent the last thirty years literally trying to financially drive this country into the ground. We’ve seen the statistics of $600 billion dollars of credit card debt in this country, and it is no joke. This is a bubble waiting to happen.

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Mortgage Fees You Should Not Pay

By Erik Folgate

My wife and I are in the process of buying a home, and I have been frustrated lately at the hidden mortgage fees that brokers try to pass off as “necessary” to close the loan. When in fact, there are so many fees that don’t need to be paid by borrowers with good credit and stable income.

Here are list of some of the negotiable fees in a closing statement:

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Kids and Money: The Teenage Years

By Erik Folgate

This week we’ve been talking about kids and money. Don’t gloss over these articles, even if you don’t have kids, because you most likely will someday. Lack of financial education is the number one reason why we have so much credit card debt and outrageous foreclosure statistics as a nation. We don’t receive financial education as young children, as teenagers, or as college students. Schools figure that parents will teach their kids how to handle money, but the the problem is that many parents don’t know how to handle their own money. Parents figure that schools will teach kids how to handle money. So, there’s an obvious deficiet of financial education in our country, and the only organizations that do give out free financial education are credit card companies. Can you guess how they teach how to handle money? It starts and ends with a lot of plastic.

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Watch Out For Sneaky Overdraft and Bank Fees

By Erik Folgate

Yahoo Finance has an article courtesy of Smart Money describing five sneaky overdraft traps that banks use on customers.

Times are tough for banks right now, so they’ll do anything to increase revenue, and bank fees are the easiest way to fatten their bottom line. According to the article, banks collected over $17.5 billion dollars in overdraft fees last year! That’s sick. It’s money thrown down the toilet on unnecessary bank fees. I have never paid an overdraft fee in my life. I’ve had it happen to me before. One time, I had three overdraft fees all at once, because of one of the traps that I will discuss later on. I just call up the Bank of America customer service, and they always end up taking off the fees. It pays to have an account with one bank for eight years.

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Applying For A Mortgage: Documentation Checklist

By Erik Folgate

My wife and I are in the process of buying a house. We’ve owned one other piece of property in the past, but this time is much different. The market is different, the amount is much more, and we don’t have a loan from her parents for a down payment. If you are in the market for buying, you need to start collecting your financial documentation right now. Here is a somewhat comprehensive checklist for the documents that you loan processor will need to get you approved for a loan.

Make clear, legible copies of all of these documents:

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College Savings Tip: Live Without A Car

By Erik Folgate

This might sound crazy to some of you, but I knew plenty of people who made it happen. The only drawback this is that it makes it tough to hold a job during college. I think all college students should working during their college career, but many jobs are either on campus or right around the corner. My senior year, I worked as a computer technician on campus, and I lived five blocks from campus. I drove my bike to work every day. Here are five reasons why living without a car can save you some significant cash.

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Financial Worksheet Downloads

By Erik Folgate

I found some good, free worksheets online the other day, and I thought that I would share them with you.

Here is a comprehensive budgeting worksheet in Excel format: Budget Worksheet

Here is a great debt elimination plan worksheet in Excel format: Debt Elimination Plan

Here is a nice comparison worksheet for the various different college savings funds out on the market: College Fund Comparison

Check them out and see what you think.

College Savings Tip: Set Up An Automatic Savings Plan

By Erik Folgate

I recommend the ING Direct Orange Savings account for college students. It earns 3.0% interest, and you can set up an automatic savings plan.

My biggest problem in college was that I had no cash cushion when something went wrong. When my car broke down, it went on a credit card. When I needed a security deposit for an apartment, cash advance on a credit card. My parents helped me a little bit with finances, but not with big expenses. And I suspect that many of you are in the same situation. In order to keep yourself from using your credit card as an emergency fund, set up an online savings account to automatically take out $25 dollars a week for your emergency fund. Then, when the worst happens, you’ll be prepared for it.

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College Savings Tips: Buy Used Text Books

By Erik Folgate

Many college students will be going back to school soon, so I decided to put together a series of savings tips for college students. Many of the tips that I share are ones that I used myself while I was in college. One of the largest expenses for college students other than rent and tuition, are the dreaded textbooks. The amount that publishers charge for textbooks is criminal. Plus, some of them package a textbook with the workbook and practice tests, so you are forced to buy the entire package or nothing at all. It’s sick, and college students know it. Here’s what you can do.

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How To Qualify For An FHA Mortgage

By Erik Folgate

The Federal Housing Administration offers a great mortgage product for those of you that don’t have much of a down payment for a house. It’s also good for those that need to live in a more expensive area, but don’t have a 10% down payment given the home prices in the area. Conventional loan lenders have tightened up quite a bit, especially in states such as Florida, Nevada, California, New York, and Arizona that boast a huge foreclosure rate. Bank of America won’t consider anyone for a loan in Florida without a 10% down payment, because they aren’t willing to take a risk on young buyers. Not having a huge down payment doesn’t always mean that you can’t afford a mortgage. The FHA has slightly more lenient underwriting guidelines, because they believe in the American Dream, and they realize that there are still many potential homeowners looking to buy with a solid financial picture.

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Is The Market Showing Signs Of Improvement?

By Erik Folgate

It’s too early to tell, and I don’t want to jump the gun the way that the media jumped the gun about saying we’re in a recession. They love to play off of our fears, and they rarely have anything POSITIVE to report. Here are a few things that are going on which show traces of improvement in the economy and the private sector itself.

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