4 Things to Know if You’ve Never Budgeted BeforeWe’ve entered a new year and a new decade. Not surprisingly, this fresh start has probably brought new goals to mind — like money management.If you’re planning to start balancing your income and spending, here are four things to keep in mind before you dive headfirst into budgeting in 2020.1. Budgets aren’t just a New Year’s resolutionIf budgeting is one of your New Year’s resolutions, maybe it’s time to think about it differently.“My personal…

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How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Debt ResolutionPaying off debt in the new year is a common resolution. But resolving to do something and actually doing it are two different things.Taking a smart approach to building good habits, however, can help you master your debt in the coming year.Jon Bailey, professor emeritus in the psychology department at Florida State University, suggests applying some principles of behavioral psychology to help you create sustainable habits.“Our general approach is really from the…

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Why You Should Hit the Store on the Day After ChristmasCustomer service desks will be packed on the day after Christmas with consumers requesting refunds and exchanges, but store aisles will be packed with something else — deals.Here’s why you should venture out on Dec. 26, and how to emerge with a bargain instead of a headache.Seasonal staples will be on saleAfter-Christmas shopping used to be mostly about returns and exchanges, according to Howard Forman, a marketing professor at California State University, Fullerton.…

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Black Friday: If No Price Match, Go for Cash Back On almost any day of the year, consumers can shop around, compare sale prices and ask one retailer to match a lower price at another retailer. Black Friday is usually an exception to that rule. When price matching isn’t an option, cash-back websites, apps and credit cards can still ensure you’re getting a good Black Friday deal. Price matching exclusions In most cases, you won’t be able to price match…

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How to Budget for December Holidays in OctoberYou might have pumpkins on your porch, but it’s already time to make room for the year-end holidays in your budget.“I was at Costco the other day, and I already saw Christmas trees, [so] we need to be thinking about it right now,” says Nick Givogri, a California-based regional executive for investment service Merrill Edge.Here’s how to get started.Work backwardYour past holiday spending is the best indicator of what you’ll spend this season,…

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Will You Be a Scam Artist’s Next Target? Believing that fraud can’t happen to us — because we’re too smart, logical or informed — may make us more vulnerable. Successful scam artists skillfully overcome our defenses and get us into emotional states that override logical thinking, says Kathy Stokes, AARP’s director of fraud prevention programs. “Scammers call it getting the victim under the ether,” she says. Various studies have tried to identify characteristics that make people more susceptible to fraud.…

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Ace Back-to-School Shopping With 6 Smart MovesBack-to-school shopping is an expensive chore. And if you shop local sales, it’s a chore you’ll share with thousands of other parents in the vicinity. If it’s big savings you’re after when you brave the crowds, sales flyers won’t cut it. You’ve got to get creative.“Back-to-school shopping can put a big strain on family budgets, but planning ahead to take advantage of discounts, setting a budget, and only buying what your child actually needs…

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Enjoy Your Summer Vacation — Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards By Eric Jorgensen School is out, and summer is upon us. It’s time to let loose and have some fun. That sounds great in theory, but it can be horrible for our finances if we aren’t careful — especially when it comes to taking summer vacations. For many people, travel is a significant part of their summer budget, but reckless spending while on vacation can wreak havoc on their…

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How to Take the Heat Off Your Summer BudgetSummertime brings more than sunburns and barbecues — it can also send your monthly expenses through the roof. But with a little work now, you can enjoy the hot season and avoid pinching pennies in the fall.“Ideally, one saves a little bit of money in each of the cooler months and then spends down those funds in the summer,” says Michael Schupak, founder of Schupak Financial Advisors in West New York, New…

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A College Education Isn’t PricelessCollege-bound high school seniors of America: You are about to embark on one of the most formative periods of your life, full of new friendships, personal growth and overcaffeinated conversations on the nature of humanity.Keep “ruinous student debt” off the list.At this point, while you’re working on applications and deciding which schools most excite you, you may be hearing that college debt is “good debt.” That an education is priceless, and if you’re going to borrow…

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How to Resist Online Ads and Keep Your MoneyOnline ads are like salespeople. Sometimes they’re helpful — and sometimes they trail you while you shop, make suggestions, “check in” on you, and all but shove you to the checkout.Those online ads “chase you around the internet,” says Neeru Paharia, associate professor of marketing at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. They get in your face to convince you to spend.And while online advertising isn’t all bad — it can expose…

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Your House Isn’t a Piggy Bank Your home equity could keep you afloat in retirement or bail you out in an emergency — but not if you spend it first. U.S. homeowners are sitting on nearly $6 trillion of home value they could tap as of May 2018, according to data provider Black Knight. Lenders are eager to help many do just that through home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and cash-out refinancing. The rates are often lower…

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