Money Management

Money Management

When to Pay Extra on Your Mortgage

Everyone's personal financial plan should include a strategy to pay down existing debt. The big question is which debt should be paid down first?

In many households the single largest amount of debt is in the form of a mortgage. But just because it's the biggest and most obvious debt doesn't necessarily mean it should be the first to get paid down with any extra cash at the end of the month. After all, mortgage debt is both low interest and tax deductible.

on Sun, 2010-08-08 17:00

Beware of Overdraft Fees in Closed Accounts

Credit card users often choose to autopay their monthly credit card bills from a checking or online savings account . While this is a great way to make sure you never miss an on-time payment, it's important to remember that you could run into problems if you change banks, close your old checking account, and fail to remember you still have a recurring payment set up to draw on the account.

on Sun, 2010-07-25 17:00

Payroll Withholding: Time for a Mid-Year Assessment

We're halfway through the year, which means this is the perfect time to reassess how much you're withholding from your paycheck each month. Did you get a big tax refund last year? If so, shame on you! Wouldn't you have rather had that cash in YOUR pocket instead of giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan?

on Mon, 2010-07-05 17:00

CD Laddering: How it Works

If you're like many consumers these days, you're spending less and saving more. And while high-yield online savings accounts certainly make a great place to stash your savings, their interest rates are variable and thus subject to downward movements in the market. So if you're looking for a better way to make the most of your savings, you may want to consider building your very own CD ladder.

on Sun, 2010-04-18 17:00

Put Your Tax Refund to Good Use

If you aren't getting a tax refund this year, congrats—you successfully avoided giving the government an interest-free loan.

On the other hand, if you happen to be one of the millions entitled to a big fat refund check, then you're probably already thinking about what you'll do when the cash hits your bank account. Here are a few suggestions to help you put your refund to good use.

First, set aside a small amount to treat yourself or the family to something fun. Life needs to be more than just saving and paying the bills.

on Sun, 2010-03-07 16:00

Say No to Instant Tax Refunds

RALs, or refund anticipation loans, won't be as heavily advertised this tax season in an effort to avoid bad press. However, most major tax preparation chains will still be promoting these "instant" refunds behind the scenes.

on Sun, 2010-02-07 16:00

Pay the First Bill of 2010 to Yourself

Holiday cards from friends and family probably filled your mailbox in December. Unfortunately, something a lot less enjoyable and amusing to read may take their spot in January—the dreaded post-holiday bills.

However, if you entered this holiday season with a realistic budget and the determination to partake of the festivities while still living within your means, there should be room to squeeze one more bill at the top of the stack. That bill, the most important one of all, will be paid directly to yourself.

on Mon, 2009-12-28 16:00

Conduct a Year-End Credit Card Inventory

Did 2009 bring some unwanted changes to your credit cards' terms and conditions? If not, consider yourself lucky.

Skyrocketing interest rates, reduced credit limits, increased minimum payments, and account closures have left very few credit card users unaffected. That's why this time of year presents the perfect opportunity to conduct an annual inventory of your personal credit cards and determine exactly what has and hasn't changed in 2009.

on Mon, 2009-12-21 16:00

Do I Qualify for the Homebuyers Tax Credit?

If you didn't qualify before, your chances just got much better. The first-time homebuyers tax credit, which was scheduled to lapse on December 1, will now live on until at least June 30, 2010. And the good news is that President Obama not only signed an extension of the law, but also expanded the rules to include more eligible homebuyers.

on Sun, 2009-11-08 16:00

Give Your Holiday Budget a Boost

If there's any time of year when we could all use a few extra bucks in our budget, it's the holiday season. Let's face it, all those gifts, parties, expensive dinners and extra travel to visit friends and family can add up fast.

However, setting aside some extra cash over the next few months doesn't have to mean giving up your favorite shows on HBO or those Eggnog Lattes you've been longing for all year. Giving your budget a boost in time for the holidays can often be as simple as taking a closer look at your tax return.

on Sun, 2009-11-01 16:00