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Celebrating Memorial Day 2013 and Links

Memorial Day is a great long weekend for most people in the United States.

But the point isn’t to take a day off just to go to the lake for a cookout.

Memorial Day, originally titled Decoration Day, is to honor and remember the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who died during their service.  Take some time to think about that this weekend as you enjoy your time off.

Having an extra day off is a great time to get your finances straightened out. Here are some good reads for that:

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Blue Cash Preferred ® Card from American Express Review – More Cash Back and Free Amazon Prime

Does it seem like you spend a ton on groceries and gas these days?

Yeah….me, too.  Here’s a card that helps ease the pain of that spending with some great cash back rewards on gas, department stores, and the best we’ve seen on groceries.

It’s the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express credit card, another card in the “Blue” family of American Express cards.

They’re offering a decent Welcome Bonus right now, too – if you charge $1,000 to the card in the first three months, you get 100 in Reward Dollars.  AND you can also get a free year of Amazon Prime if you satisfy the bonus requirement.  Nice!

Now Let’s Dig Deeper Into the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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What Is A Secured Credit Card?

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Just like bank loans, where there is secured and unsecured borrowing by businesses, credit cards as a form of consumer debt can also be either secured or unsecured.

Credit cards, as most of us know and use, are unsecured.

The money is lent to card users without any collateral against it and it is up to consumers to pay back the account balance later and if not, the card issuer loses (well, they will go after you but there is no guarantee they get their money back).

When the possibility of not paying back by a credit card holder becomes a serious concern, either because of the applicant’s bad credit in the past or no established credit at all, a card issuer would require certain amount of funds to be deposited as collateral before a credit line can be issued.
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How to Start an Emergency Fund

One of the best things you can do for your personal economy is to start an emergency fund.

Your emergency fund can help protect you against financial setbacks, since it provides you with a little extra cushion to draw on.  Rather than turning to debt, you can use money in your emergency fund to cover unexpected costs.

Experts recommend that you save at least six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund.  So, if you spend $3,000 a month, you need to have $18,000 in an emergency fund.

That’s a daunting task.

How can you get started when you have that huge amount of money hanging over your head?

Here’s How to Start an Emergency Fund

Break It Down

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Second Marriage? Have a Financial Date Before You Tie the Knot

With a divorce rate that is commonly quoted as being 50%, second marriages are common. 

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, many experts cite the divorce rate of second marriages to be 40%.

Second marriages come with more baggage — ex-spouses, stepchildren who may or may not like the new step parent, and, of course, financial complications including spousal support and first family obligations, just to name a few.

It’s no secret that money disagreements can be one of the top causes of divorce.

According to a study conducted by Jeff Dew of Utah State University, “Couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month” (The New York Times).

So how do those in second marriages, who perhaps bring more money issues and baggage into their marriage with them than they did their first marriage, avoid financial conflict?

One strategy is to have a financial meeting before they marry (and some may argue before they even get engaged).

Make sure to consider these financial topics before that next marriage:

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Credit Score – What Does It Mean?

Credit Score Ranges

What Is A Credit Score?

You’ve heard that a credit score is important, haven’t you?  You may have even heard how you should protect your credit score.  But a lot of people are still unsure of what a credit score actually is.

Let’s take a look at credit scores and what they mean.  This way you know once and for all what they are and how they are used.

A credit score is a calculation based on information from a credit report which gives a representation of how credit-worthy a person is or how likely a person is to default on their loan.

Let’s take a quick step back, shall we?  We’re talking about credit scores but it’s important to understand what a credit report is all well.  Your credit report is basically a listing of all the credit accounts you have and your history paying your credit, or debt, off.  Sometimes the report is referred to as your credit history.  The information comes from the lenders who report your activity to the three major credit bureaus.

To quickly sum up — your credit report gives information and a history of your credit accounts.  Now back to credit scores…

Your credit score gives a number range to quickly sum up the information from your credit report.

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Is it Better to Rent Or Buy Stuff? – Renting Items To Save Money

My friend’s parents were recently locked in a marital battle.

They wanted to travel from Michigan to Florida for a wedding, and she wanted to fly for free using frequent flier miles they had accrued.  The transportation cost for the trip would be limited to the car they would rent for three days when in Florida.

He, on the other hand, thought it was silly to rent a car when theirs worked perfectly fine.  He wanted to make the 24 hour drive down to Florida for their three day trip.  He was sure this was the cheaper way to travel, even though they would have to pay for gas and put wear and tear on the car.

Ah, the rental battle.

Is it worthwhile to pay for a rental?  The answer, in all honesty, is often that it depends.  However, in this case, simple math would have shown him that her plan would have been the cost saver.

Marital battle aside, we Americans don’t often think of renting outside of cars and apartments.  Instead, our first thought tends to go to ownership.

There are just a few things we automatically think of renting–of course, cars when we are traveling, tuxedos when our children are going to prom or when men get married, apartments, sure.  But for most other temporary needs, we tend to buy instead of rent.

However, if we could let go of this mindset, we may save a substantial amount of money.

How to Determine If It Is Better to Rent or Buy

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