Smart Money Page 14

  • 6 Tools to Help You Tackle a Budget

    6 Tools to Help You Tackle a Budget

    When it comes to budgeting personal finances, some have a natural knack while others have a dreadful disdain. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, budgeting can benefit multiple areas of your life, including your credit, savings, stress levels and future big purchase plans. It’s especially helpful in the military’s constantly changing circumstances. While many people know the theory behind a budget, not ev…

  • Don’t Throw Money Down The Drain: Remember to Pay Yourself First

    Don’t Throw Money Down The Drain: Remember to Pay Yourself First

    Saving is the backbone to any sound financial plan. As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned, but sometimes just finding that penny to save can feel like a challenge. Many who struggle to start saving for their future find the “pay yourself first” method to be a simple yet powerful approach. While most people will go through their monthly expenses and try to save what is left over, the pay yoursel…

  • 5 Things to Know about Balance-Transfer Checks

    5 Things to Know about Balance-Transfer Checks

    This is the sixth and final day of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. From time to time, credit card bills show up with what looks like a personal check. This is typically a balance-transfer check, which is intended to help you pay off a balance with another creditor who charges you a higher interest rate. The holiday season is a good time of year for creditors to tempt customer…

  • 2 Credit Card Spending Phenomena You May Experience

    2 Credit Card Spending Phenomena You May Experience

    This is day five of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. Holiday shopping takes a toll on credit cards and pocketbooks nationwide. Sales for the 2011 holiday shopping season have increased 2.8 percent compared to 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s a healthy sign for an economy that depends on its consumers, but budget-conscious military and veteran spenders …

  • Risky Decisions with Rent-To-Own

    Risky Decisions with Rent-To-Own

    This is day four of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. For those struggling to get credit, a rent-to-own store may seem like the best option for big purchases such as appliances, furniture and televisions. But rent-to-own programs are a trap along the lines of payday loans that you should avoid. How They Work Rent-to-own programs involve the consumer receiving an item in excha…

  • What to Know about Layaway

    What to Know about Layaway

    This is day three of our series about holiday budgeting, Put a Bow on Your Budget: 6 Days of Advice. It seems like there are credit alternatives lurking around every corner, promising the benefits without any potential damage to your score. Unfortunately, many of these options can be just as harmful to your financial stability as purchasing with a credit card, even when they are advertised as the solution to al…

  • 4 Ways to Earn Credit Card Rewards During Holiday Shopping

    4 Ways to Earn Credit Card Rewards During Holiday Shopping

    This marks day two of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. The holiday spending season is already booming. Sales were up 16 percent during this year’s Black Friday weekend compared to 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. Consumers spent nearly $400 on average over that four-day holiday stretch, with a third of that in online purchases. Credit cards will continue to …

  • 6 Tips to Prevent Overspending This Holiday Season

    6 Tips to Prevent Overspending This Holiday Season

    This marks day one of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. It’s a season for giving, but it’s also a season for spending. This year’s edition of the commercial madness that is Black Friday brought 226 million shoppers to retailers nationwide, a 6-percent increase from 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s becoming increasingly easy for consumers to get car…

  • 5 Cell Phone Fees You Shouldn't Be Paying

    5 Cell Phone Fees You Shouldn’t Be Paying

    With all the taxes, insurance, weird add-ons and other items, your cell phone bill can easily become a tough-to-follow and utterly confusing mess. But the one thing it shouldn’t be is a surprise. It’s important at the outset to try and root out any potential hidden fees or unnecessary charges before signing a contract. But it’s always a good idea to scour your monthly statement and search for charges that…

  • Considerations for the Post-Military Route to Retirement

    Considerations for the Post-Military Route to Retirement

    When you enlist in the military, it doesn’t take long to start taking advantage of perks like allowances, tax breaks, insurance and more. One perk that requires a lot more patience to acquire is retirement. Currently, the 20-year stipulation for eligibility still stands, although there has been debate over future changes. The decision to enlist for 20 years is a big one with a lot of contributing factors—esp…