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Do Something For Free On The Holiday Weekend

By Erik Folgate

As you all know, entertainment can be a very rough on your bank account if you aren’t budgeting out money specifically for it. We’ve become a very lazy culture, and we’ll pay quite a bit of money to be entertained. The fact is that you can have a great amount of fun with your family or friends without spending much money. Here are four things you can do that will not kill your wallet:

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Choosing The Right Mutual Funds For Your 401k and 403b

By Erik Folgate

Adjusting to your first “real” job can be a daunting task. First of all, you have to get into the routine of getting up early every day and being ON TIME every day. Then, you have the task of relating to your co-workers and boss. Then, you have the human resources meeting about your benefits package. If your brain isn’t scrambled after all of that information, then you are a much better person than me when it comes to processing information.

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Small Business: Do You Have a Blog?

By Erik Folgate

If you’re currently running a small business or a home-based business, but you are not writing or managing a blog for your business, there is a problem. Blogs are probably the easiest self-publishing tool to create on the internet. If you already have a website for your smalll business, then you’re already paying for a domain name and a web hosting package to house the domain and its content.

How to Set it Up:

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Protect Yourself From Identity Theft – Use Your Debit Card

By Erik Folgate

You’re in line to pay for some gas at the local gas station, and the cashier asks you, “Will this be debit or credit”. You’re saying to yourself, “I’m paying with a Visa debit card, does it really matter?”. The answer is YES. It does really matter what you choose when they ask you for debit or credit. There are two reasons why you need to make sure to choose debit if you are using your debit card to pay for a purchase.

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The Psychology Behind Why People Don’t Like Personal Finance

By Erik Folgate

If you are a frequent reader of this site, then you know that I am a big believer that behavior has much to do with having success with your financial future. My goal is to help you understand personal financial issues along with helping you identify the behavioral problems that hinder you from becoming wealthy. I identified my behavioral problems in college. I had no concept of what it meant to carry a balance on a credit card and I was horrible about saving money and looking for bargains. You can spit out every financial equation and explain how the stock market works, but that won’t make you wealthy. What will make you wealthy is focusing on the psychological aspect of changing the way you handle money. Saving first, demanding a better deal when you buy something, and always preparing a monthly budget are behavioral habits that will help you become wealthy.

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Choosing an ETF versus an Index Fund For Your Long Term Investments

By Erik Folgate

The ETF (Exchange Traded Fund): The ETF seems like it was created for those active traders that like the way mutual funds perform, but they hated the way they traded.

Liquidity: The ETF is very liquid. It trades like a regular, single stock. Whereas, a mutual fund can only be traded once a day. If you sell a mutual fund, you get the price that it ends in at the end of the day. Active traders that trade on a margin or short sell like the ETF and the way its liquidity.

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Understanding the Move That The Fed Made Last Week

By Erik Folgate

If you’re still confused about what the Fed did last week to supposedly “buy the economy some time” from going into a recession, then check out this article from Kiplinger’s Online. Kiplinger’s does a good job of answering the most frequently asked questions that may be on your mind about what the Fed actually did by cutting the discount rate and what it means to the economy and to us.

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Get Green Friendly by Viewing and Paying Bills Online

By Erik Folgate

Sanda Block, a personal finance columnist for USA Today, wrote this article about the environmental advantages of viewing and paying your bills online. There are many environmentally friendly things you can do such as recycling, using less utilities energy, and carpooling to work. Some changes are more sacrificial than others, but this one is effortless. Many large companies are now giving you the option to receive your monthly statements and bills online. Once the monthly statement is ready, you’ll receive an email in your inbox stating that your monthly statement is ready to view. Block’s column talks about how many people pay their bills online, but they still receive a hard copy of their statement in the mail. If you are one of those people that keeps every document that is sent to you, you can still save a copy of it on your hard drive. If you’re paranoid about saving important documentation on your computer, than you can print a copy of it, and you’ll still be helping out the environment by saving on fuel costs. It was one less thing for the post office to deliver.

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Democrats Weigh In On Solutions to Cleaning Up Mortgage Industry

By Erik Folgate

The Democrats are now diving into the discussion about cleaning up the mortgage industry and subprime lending. I’ve written quite a bit about the importance of avoiding the curse of being house poor. The rising foreclosure rate is due to two major factors. Mortgage lenders are loosely regulated and consumers made uneducated, selfish financial decisions. So now it’s the democrats to the rescue! I read the article from CNN Money, and i was a little surprised to see that I actually liked some of their ideas. I am definitely about capitalism, but financial agents need to have a fiduciary duty to their customers. It should not matter if it’s an insurance agent, mortgage lender, or stock broker. Christopher Dodd proposed these ideas to help regulate the subprime industry:

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Techniques to Avoid Foreclosure On Your House

By Erik Folgate

You’ve seen all of the articles and news segments about the skyrocketing percentage of homes going into foreclosure around the country. It’s not hard to figure out why the foreclosure rate has risen so drastically. Mortgage lenders took advantage of buyers, and buyers threw away all logic and reasoning when figuring out how much house they could afford. However, looking back at the past will not get us anywhere. The damage is done and now this country needs to clean up the housing market mess. Ask someone who has gone through a foreclosure how much fun it was. They will most likely tell you that it was an extremely emotionally draining time period in their life. Losing your home is a nightmare come true. However, there are ways to avoid the full foreclosure process. Here are two options to consider if you’ve found yourself in a position where you can’t pay your mortgage payment.

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Consumer Debt is Out of Control, So What Are You Going To Do About It?

By Erik Folgate

This article from Ken Bensinger from Smart Money, is refreshing to read knowing that other people are getting the hint that consumer debt is out of control. The part that I found most interesting is that he points out that so many Americans fall into the trap of paying off debt with more debt. The idea of refinancing a mortgage to roll debt into your mortgage or buying a HELOC to pay off credit cards or students loans is not solving the problem. Credit consolidation companies don’t solve the problem either. They help your situation, but they don’t solve your problem. If you’re swimming in debt that you can’t handle, the problem is YOU.

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George Monbiot’s Perspective About Green Consumerism

By Erik Folgate

Check out this article on consumerist.com about an interview with George Monbiot’s perspective on ethical shopping.

I think he hits the nail on the head and he says that trendy “green” consumerism is doing nothing more than dividing shopping into ethical products and unethical products, but it doesn’t actually do anything to help the environment. Doesn’t it seem like so much activism these days comes down to what he is saying? It ends up being more about the political statement rather than the actual cause.

Fed Does The Right Thing By Keeping Rates Steady

By Erik Folgate

For the latest statement by the Fed and a summary of their meeting, read this article by CNN Money.

The Fed met today, and for the first time in a year, they did not raise the interest rates. I think this is a smart move by the Fed. This shows that they are confident in our economy and the steady, consistent growth it has shown in the past few years. It is unprecedented that our economy has survived the most gruesome terrorist attack in American History, record oil prices, and a housing bubble that swelled up to the size of a hot air balloon and popped faster than you could say, “Do you want to buy my house?”. Much of this has to do with the Bush tax cuts that were put into effect in 2003. The tax revenue has been up, more jobs created, and more disposable income for consumers to save and spend.

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What To Do When Your Budget Does Not Cover All of Your Expenses

By Erik Folgate

You don’t need to feel ashamed or down on your luck if your budget is busted. You’ve taken the first step to financial recovery if you’ve taken the time to write down a budget and stick to it. Here are a few tips on what to do when your budget doesn’t cover all of your expenses.

Prioritize Your Life and Money

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Stay Away From The “90 Days, Same As Cash” Trap

By Erik Folgate

So you go out one weekend to look at furniture. That couch with the funky smell and the 1970′s style dining room table just aren’t cutting it anymore. You don’t really have the money to spend on new furniture, but you deserve it, right? You walk into the furniture store to the smell of fresh popcorn and oven-baked cookies, two of the most alluring smells on earth. You go and get yourself a snack and you start browing around the store with no real intent on buying anything today.

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