What Should You Do With a Cash Windfall?

What should you do with a cash windfall?

Quick—if you got a serious cash windfall what would you do with it?

What’s a serious cash windfall?  That number is different for everyone but I think any amount that would make a significant dent in your life (or more).  I’m thinking an amount starting at $1,000 and going up from there.

It’s fun to think about this question, not the least of which since windfalls do happen, at least from time to time.  And when they do come, it never hurts to have some ideas or a plan for what you’d do with it.  This way when the money comes you can act rationally.  A cash windfall is a great opportunity that you don’t want wasted.

The way I see it, there are three basic choices—spend it, save or invest it, or use it to pay down (or pay off) debt.

Which you choose depends on your circumstances.

Let’s take a look at three options for a cash windfall:

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Extreme Couponing: Do You Really Save or is it a Waste of Time?

Is Extreme Couponing Worth It?

Extreme couponing has become quite the craze and there’s no denying there can be significant savings to be had; but at what cost?

This sounds like an oxymoron – but depending on the circumstances, couponing can come with a hefty price tag.  There are some great deals to be had out there and there is no debate that coupons can save you a bit of money but let’s closely examination this activity. Continue Reading

Your Guide to College Student Credit Cards and the Best Cards Out There

Your guide to student credit cards

Should a college student get a credit card?  That’s certainly a heated question.

One the one hand, it’s terribly easy for a young adult to get themselves into credit card debt they may regret years after they graduate. Students loans are bad enough without other debt looming over you.

On the other hand, a credit card can be a great tool to help a college student with their cash flow as well as be a means to build up their credit history early on.  Used wisely a credit card can help a student achieve an excellent credit history and score by the time they graduate.

Sure a student can use cash or a debit card to make payments.  It’s probably a good idea most of the time.  But neither of those options help a student build up a credit history.

Once a college student hits the “real world,” and maybe even before, they may find that their credit score can be used for things as diverse as getting a job, getting a cell phone, or renting an apartment.  Building up excellent credit early on is a clear incentive to have a credit card in college.

It’s Tougher for Students to Get Credit Cards These Days

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The Best Online Discount Brokerages for Cheap Trades – Investing Doesn’t Need to Be Expensive

Consider this when opening a brokerage account

Do you recall the days when you needed to call up a stock broker in order to make a stock trade?

And you needed to make the trade in a “round lot” (you had to buy 100 shares)?  Did I just date myself? 

Thanks to the internet that’s no longer the case and it’s easy for anyone to invest in stocks with an online brokerage (like, you can do it on your smartphone easy).  And not only is it easy but it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get started.

“So which account do I open,” you ask?

There are a number of places to go these days thanks to the rise of online trading and brokerages.  I want to make sure you find one that works well for you.

I’m going to tell you about some great brokerages but I want you to first understand what you should look for before you open up an online brokerage account.

Consider the Following When Opening a Brokerage Account

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Use Google Calendar To Pay Your Bills On Time

Set up Google Calendar for bill pay

Have you ever realized you had a bill sitting around that was due today?

Or worse, yesterday?

If you are lucky you can pay the bill online but that’s not always an option (I’ve found that some companies have a cut-off time).

There was a time when I had a lot of credit card debt.  Digging out of it was tough but what made it harder was paying late fees because I would miss the credit card due date by a few days or so.

There is just about nothing more frustrating than looking through your bills and realizing one was already past due!

I definitely needed a bill/pay calendar system that would work for me!

Keep reading and I’ll tell you about a few systems I’ve used to pay bills on time including how to set up one of my favorites — Google Calendar.

How to Set Up Google Calendar Reminders to Pay Your Bills on Time

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Discover it® Chrome Review – A Good On-The-Road Travel Card, and Still Good to the Consumer

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A while back Discover decided to re-brand their cards.

They essentially started from scratch to create credit cards that were fair for the consumer.

The Discover it® series of cards was born.

They recently tinkered around with their cards again and have released some new additions to the “it” family: Discover it® Chrome.  These new cards make cash back a little simpler, especially if you eat out and drive often.  Follow along below and I’ll tell you all you need to know about the Discover it Chrome cards.

Discover it Chrome Card – Eating Out, Driving, and Still Fair to the Consumer

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Your 4 Step Guide on How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Your guide on how to stop living paycheck to paycheck

For more than a decade, wages, in real terms, have been pretty much stagnant.

Even as productivity has increased among the middle class, wages have failed to improve to match.  So, even though the recession has been over for more than five years, many Americans still feel the pinch.

Recent research suggests that more than 25 million middle class Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

According to a study from the Brookings Institution, 66 percent of the American households living “hand-to-mouth” are families with median incomes of around $41,000.

This means that, even though there is an economic recovery underway (albeit is rather lukewarm recovery), millions of Americans — many of them with jobs — aren’t reaping the benefits of the recovery.

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you don’t usually have liquid assets, such as savings accounts.  The research finds that these Americans do have homes and retirement accounts, but, even then, the median net worth is still only $41,000.

To get beyond living paycheck to paycheck, the Americans in this study needed an income of $51,000 a year, and had assets of $116,000.

But that doesn’t mean that you are doomed to live paycheck to paycheck, no matter how much (or little) you make.  You can stop living paycheck to paycheck, if you are willing to make changes to the way you handle your budget.

Here’s How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

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