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Is American Poverty As Bad As We Think It Is?

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A few years ago during the Great Recession, my mom would lament about how scary times were and how it was similar to the Great Depression.

Without a doubt, the Great Recession was hard on many families.

People lost jobs, and sometimes it took them months or even years to find a new one.  Some people lost their homes, and many others were underwater.  Still, to say that times were as hard as those during the Great Depression was a gross exaggeration.

Let’s Put American Poverty in Perspective

Poverty in the United States During the Great Depression

The site Ohio.gov has gathered stories from the elderly recounting their life during the Great Depression.  If you’re a history buff, you could spend hours reading the material.  By recounting their lives during that time, we get an excellent glimpse into how difficult times really were.
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Stocks Reach New Highs and Links

I thought the economy was still in shambles?

Isn’t unemployment a little higher than we’d like?  Isn’t the Fed going to end stimulus and the economy is going to tank?

Don’t tell it to Wall Street.

The stock markets are breaching new highs it seems every week.  This leads to fear in some investors and greed in others.  Some see opportunity and others see the market only has one way to go — down.

But investing based on your emotions and “gut feeling” of the market won’t work.  You need an investing plan that you will stick to.  Sticking to any financial plan will help you weather the ups and downs of life and the stock markets.  You still might react a little bit, but if you hold close to the plan you are less likely to make vast changes that ultimately will hurt you more than they help you.

Here are some great reads this week. Use them to put together your financial plan:

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What’s This Federal Reserve and Why Is It In the News All the Time?

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We hear about “the Fed” or the Federal Reserve doing various things in the news, but what exactly is the Fed?

How can one institution be responsible for rising and falling interest rates, and why does the stock market bounce around every time the Federal Reserve Chairman speaks?

Understanding the Federal Reserve System

How can you understand a quasi-Federal agency that is still independent, has mysterious meetings that impact the nation’s economy, and can cause the stock market to go wild?

Here are some key areas to understanding what the Federal Reserve is, what it does, and the tools it uses to achieve its goals.

What is a Central Bank?

The Federal Reserve is the United States’ Central Bank.  A central bank is a quasi-government institution that manages its country’s money supply and interest rates.  Most central banks also are in charge of regulating the banking environment of the country.
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Buying Municipal Bonds: Do You Understand the Risk?

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One of the more popular investment strategies during tough economic times is to turn to bonds.

Bonds are considered relatively safe, when you invest in entities that are highly rated and stable.  Since you are supposed to get your principal back (barring a default), plus a small amount of interest, many people like the idea of bonds.

A type of bond that has seen an increase in popularity recently is the municipal bond.

Municipal bonds are issued by localities.  They often come with higher yields than Treasury securities and even many corporate bonds.  On top of that, there are tax advantages to investing in municipal bonds.

But before you decide to take the plunge with municipal bonds, make sure that you understand how they work, and the types of risks involved.

How Do Municipal Bonds Work?

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Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card Review – Unlimited Cash Back and More

Hey, did you know there is a brand new credit card that can get you a lot of cash back?

It’s the Capital One Quicksilver® card.  They’re offering a welcome bonus of $100 right now, too.

Here are the basics of what you get with this card:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • One-time $100 BONUS (once you spend $500 in the first three months)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees like all other Capital One cards
  • No Annual Fee
  • No rotating bonus categories, no sign-ups required, no limit on the cash back earned and no expiration date for rewards

That’s a pretty good start but let’s look a little deeper at the Capital One Quicksilver now…

Get Rewarded with Cash

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Keep the Kids from Being Bored With These Free or Inexpensive Summer Activities

Summer is here and children are out of school. 

If your kids are like mine, they count down the days until school ends, and they revel in their newfound freedom — for a week or two.  Then, the inevitable sibling bickering and the whines of “I’m booooored” begin.

By mid-July at the peak of summer when they’re most bored and the temperatures are soaring, things can seem pretty grim.  Parents may begin counting down the days until school is BACK in session.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are plenty of things you and the kids can do to have a fun, educational summer.  (All the better if they don’t realize they’re learning while they’re having fun!)

Best of all, many of these activities are cheap or free!

Fun Trips to Take

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Fourth (4th) of July Deals, Freebies, and Discounts 2013

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For the last several years, companies have generously offered freebies as a way to get new customers in the door (and perhaps spend more money with the business offering the freebie).  A wise consumer may choose to take advantage of the freebie and not necessarily buy more.

If you are looking for some frugal fun on the days leading up to the 4th and on the 4th itself, check out some of these 4th of July freebies and deals:

Restaurant Freebies and Deals

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Have a great 4th of July and enjoy these great deals!

Most people don’t spend the Fourth of July inside a restaurant, so several restaurants have offered some good deals to entice you to visit them.

Here are some of the best deals:

  • It’s BOGO (that’s buy one, get one free) smoothies at Jamba Juice through July 7th. Use this Jamba Juice coupon.
  • Spaghetti Warehouse is offering $5 off any two entrees.  Head over to this Spaghetti Warehouse Facebook page and Like them for the coupon.
  • Boston Market is offering 50% off any of their Family Meals on the 4th of July with this coupon.  This is a great way to get the cook of the family out of the kitchen so he or she can enjoy Independence Day.
  • Head over to Outback Steakhouse and say “Let Freedom Bloom!” and get a free Bloomin’ Onion.

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