Why It Doesn’t Cost $250,000 to Raise A Child

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As a parent to three little ones, I can tell you one thing – they can be expensive! Not really earth-shattering, I know, but there is always something they seem to need. As a parent, I want the best for my children. What parent worth their salt doesn’t want that?

However, when I hear that it costs nearly $250,000 to raise a child, I get a lump in my throat. That doesn’t even include the cost to attend college! That amount is simply to get them to the age of 18. If you’re considering starting a family or holding off because of statistics such as this, I have one thing to say…

Citibank Gets Hit With $700M Fine for Deceptive Practices

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If you were one of the 8.8 million consumers who enrolled in Citi’s identity theft and monitoring protection programs, you may be entitled to a refund. Recently, the CFPB slapped Citi with a hefty $700M fine for deceiving their customers. This is the second largest settlement in history, just $27M shy of Bank of America’s settlement in 2014 which was very similar to this case.

The good news is that you don’t have to download years of credit card statements to see if you enrolled in their phony add-on products. Citibank should have already notified you or will notify you directly, there is no needed action on your part.

However, if you didn’t get notified but still feel like you’re entitled a refund, you can contact Citibank directly. So What Exactly Was Citibank Selling?

Citibank was primarily selling three different financial products: credit and identity monitoring services, debt protection products, and expedited payment fees.

Traveling Internationally? Here Are a Few Ways I Saved Big

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The idea of dropping thousands of dollars on a trip abroad literally gives me hives. As a self-proclaimed money worrier, I have a tough time swallowing any large lump sum payment, and with travel, there’s usually nothing tangible to show for it afterwards.

However, travel is something I would have a tough time living without. It might not add to my financial stability, but it contributes greatly to my happiness and that to me is a good investment.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to attend a wedding in France last year, and spend a total of two weeks country-hopping before and after the event, I knew I would have to squash my anxiety and make it happen. But saving money still took center stage in the planning process and during the trip itself.

Here are a few ways I saved while still managing to make it the trip of a lifetime.

How Soon Should I Use A Credit Card After Paying Off Debt?

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“How soon should I use a credit card after paying off debt?” This is a question I’ve received lately after speaking with a few individuals about my personal debt payoff journey. While the debt I paid off covered both student loans and credit cards, it was the latter that was the bigger pill to swallow. Not only did it encapsulate the free-spending ways I had taken on in my college years, it was also the most shaming.

That being said, credit cards are a major part of our society and can be challenging to live without. You may find that you never plan on using credit cards again, but for those who aren’t ready to make that commitment, consider some of the following points before making your first post-debt credit card purchase.

4 Tricky Pricing Techniques That Are Costing You Money

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Picture this: you’re at the store with the intention of buying one particular item, let’s say a television. You’ve settled on a size, but there are three price points to choose from. How do you decide which one you’ll be taking home? And how do really know you’re paying a fair price to begin with?

We’re faced with pricing conundrums everyday, whether we’re shopping for produce at the grocery store or clothes at the mall. You would think that with all of the purchases we make, we would really know a deal when we spotted one.

The truth is, in our brain’s attempt to put numbers into context, we’re often duped into making one particular choice for no good reason at all. More importantly, everyone’s brain is hardwired to process these numbers and pricing techniques in a similar fashion – and retailers know just how to use it to their advantage.

Three Big Reasons You’re Broke (and What to Do About It!)

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Do you often feel like you’re living paycheck to paycheck? Does it feel like as soon as you get paid, you go right back to being broke?

If you’re feeling a bit hopeless about your financial situation, you’re not alone. More than 75% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, with approximately 68% having less than $800 in savings.

If you’re relying on your credit card to get you through emergencies, it’s not hard to understand why it feels like you can just never get ahead. It can be emotionally and mentally taxing to be living a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. But the good news is you can change it.

The chances are high that you’re making some serious mistakes that are prohibiting you from getting ahead financially. If you’re serious about getting out of the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle and are ready to make some big financial changes, then read on.

The Unexpected Ways Meal Planning Helped My Finances

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I’ve always been a lazy eater. This is something I’ve known since the first time I was tasked with packing my lunch for school. I might have craved a turkey sandwich with all the fixings, but I would opt for peanut butter and jelly instead.

Fast forward 20 years and I suddenly had to contend with the fact that the lazy food options generally weren’t the healthiest – or the cheapest. Instead of resigning to a life filled with pre-packaged food and trips to the drive-thru, I realized it was time to shift the way I thought about, purchased, and prepared food.

Enter the meal plan.

Reluctance followed me through each step of the process, but once I committed to the plan, I began noticing drastic differences – not just in how I looked and felt, but in how the rest of my life shifted in subtle ways as well.

Money Milestones of a 20-Something

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While I only have a few decades of life experience behind me, I can say the most substantial personal growth has occurred in the years between my early and late twenties. Relationships ended, new ones began, and a decade that started with certain career aspirations saw others come into fruition.

My beliefs and life directions have changed in substantial ways, but perhaps the largest change has occurred in my relationship with money. Looking back, I used to passively hoard money and now, with bigger dreams and more knowledge under my belt, I actively manage it instead.

Many of us enter the workforce strapped with student loan debt and very little knowledge of money – a double whammy when you consider how challenging the personal finance arena can be to navigate as it is. But while funds may be lacking, it’s the most important time to be proactive in deciding how we want to take charge of our money – instead of allowing our money to take charge of us.

What To Do When You Need Money for Rent

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I remember the day like it was yesterday, only it was nearly 20 years ago. My rent payment was less than a week away and I had no idea how I was going to make the rent payment.

I was in the middle of paying off debt and was barely scraping by to do even that. Becoming somewhat frantic, I was first tempted to avoid the situation altogether. That was not a realistic option and one that got tossed aside quickly. After some scrambling, I was able to make the payment – albeit it a little late. If you’re in a similar situation and need money for rent there are options available to you.

The Top Three Debt Consolidation Loan Companies Online

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A debt consolidation loan can offer you a way to get organized and pay off your debt faster. Put simply, it’s a loan from a company that pays off all your current debts and loans so that you have one fixed payment with a lower interest rate and longer payment term.

This isn’t always the best option for everyone, but for some, it can be the answer to paying less interest and getting rid of debt sooner.

You can use ReadyforZero to compare each loan or credit card that you have, their interest rates, what options you have for debt consolidation and whether it can save you time and money in the long run.

Once you’ve crunched the numbers and determined that debt consolidation is right for you, you then have to face the daunting task of finding a trustworthy company that offers debt consolidation loans. There are several different debt consolidation programs that might work for you, but reputable online lenders make the process quick and easy.