Advantages & Disadvantages of Credit Cards – Do They Help or Hurt You?

If you ever want to start an argument in a financial forum, all you have to do is bring up the topic of credit cards. It seems that everyone either loves them or hates them.

Some financial gurus, most notably Dave Ramsey, see credit cards as pure evil. Ramsey states that “responsible credit card use does not exist,” and maintains that there is simply no good reason for anyone to use one, ever. But others, such as Jeffrey Strain of the investing site The Street, argue just as passionately in their favor. Strain calls credit cards “an excellent financial tool” on account of their convenience and the protections they offer consumers.

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12 Issues That Can Reduce Your Rental Security Deposit Refund

If you’ve ever lived in rental housing, you’ve almost certainly put down a security deposit. Every U.S. state permits landlords to collect security deposits from new tenants. Deposits typically range from one to two months’ rent, and about half of all states impose an upper cap (usually expressed in rent-months) on deposit size. Some states require landlords to keep deposits in a separate escrow account, while others permit landlords to deposit them into regular accounts, commingling their funds with rent and other monies.

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Opening a Joint Bank Account & Merging Finances After Marriage – Pros & Cons

Creating, managing, and sticking to a household budget requires a good deal of time and mental energy, even if you live by yourself and don’t have expensive tastes. You need to account for your monthly rent or mortgage, keep up on those insurance payments, stay current on your credit card balances, and remember to keep your pantry well-stocked with groceries. And after all that, you’ve got to make sure you have enough left over to keep your emergency reserve and long-term savings funded.

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Family Cross-Country Trips With Kids – Fly or Drive?

Though my husband and I live on the East Coast, he’s originally from California, and we aim to visit his family out there at least once a year. Unfortunately, traveling across the country has become expensive.

Several years ago, before we had kids, we were so frustrated by the lack of affordable flights that we mapped out a plan to head from the New York City area to San Diego by car. However, when we crunched the numbers, we realized that we’d wind up spending nearly the same amount on gas, tolls, and lodging, minus the convenience of getting there faster, and opted to just fly instead.

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Landscaping With Native Plants – Benefits & How to Plan Your Yard

When it comes to landscape plants, there are a few old standbys that gardeners everywhere seem to rely on. Japanese red maples, with their colorful leaves, are a favorite. Hybrid tea roses and yellow forsythia bushes add a splash of color. For ground covers, Japanese pachysandra and English ivy are popular choices.

Aside from looking nice, all these plants have one other thing in common: they’re not native to North America. They have their origins in Europe or East Asia – as you can tell in some cases from their names – and were imported to this country by settlers from other parts of the world.

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What Is Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) – Types & How to Get Started

Deciding how to invest your money is a complicated business. There are many factors to consider, such as risk and return, taxes, inflation, dividends, and diversification. Just figuring out how to get the best return on your money takes a lot of thought and planning.

Yet there are some investors who deliberately choose to make it even more complicated. When they choose stocks to invest in, they don’t just worry about how financially stable a company is and whether its stock is selling at a good price – they also ask whether it’s a company that helps to make the world a better place.

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National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) – History, Role & Function

Since the financial crisis of the late 2000s, banks have become decidedly less friendly to consumers and small business owners. Even as they’re raking in record profits and benefiting from new legal protections that lessen external risks to their business, U.S.-based banks are charging customers higher fees, paying them lower interest rates, and burdening them with stricter requirements.

Fed up with unfriendly banks, many customers are moving their cash to credit unions – not-for-profit deposit institutions that share many similarities with for-profit banks, but tend to be more customer-friendly. According to the World Council of Credit Unions, there are nearly 6,500 credit unions and more than 100 million individual credit union members in the United States alone.

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How Much Can You Save by Bringing Your Own Lunch Food to Work?

When I first started working in an office full-time, my favorite part of the day was walking around Midtown Manhattan and marveling at the food choices available to me. Within a three-block radius, there were more than 20 eateries from which I could buy breakfast, lunch, or coffee – and for my first few weeks on the job, that’s precisely what I did.

I’d start each day with a pit stop at the nearby Starbucks for a morning latte. At lunchtime, I’d wander into a different deli or to-go cafe and buy whatever tempted me – sometimes soup, sometimes salad, and sometimes both.

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Staycation Ideas – How to Plan a Low-Cost Vacation Near Home

I love road trips and travel as much as the next person. However, as anyone who has taken a trip knows, it’s common to return from a vacation feeling worn out. This is the beauty of a staycation, a vacation in which you stay at home or enjoy nearby tourist destinations. You can rest, relax, restore – and save your money.

In fact, according to Google, searches for “staycation” are on the rise. People searched for the term 10% more often in 2014 than they did in 2013, despite an improving economy.

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How to Teach Kids Good Manners – 6 Benefits of Proper Etiquette

“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” Those words of American economist Thomas Sowell from his book “A Conflict of Visions” sometimes offend new parents who, looking at their precious bundle of joy, can’t imagine the stubbornness and temper tantrums that await them. Infants are born demanding their parents’ full attention. They are easily frustrated and often defiant. Fortunately, as they grow, they are capable of learning empathy, cooperation, and sharing – skills that are essential as they mature and interact with others.

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