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Credit Cards Are Giving Me a Free Vacation

One spectacular advantage of having no credit card debt is that you can use your credit cards as a tool to earn money and rewards for your family. If done correctly, using credit cards to pay your regular and necessary expenses can net you hundreds of dollars in free money. While you can use free money for anything, we’ve earmarked ours for travel. I’ve learned over the years that many things we purchased during our spending frenzy were not really meaningful. As we’ve changed our habits, I realize that vacations and sharing experiences is a very valuable commodity to our household. Now that we are walking the financial straight and narrow, we are going to let credit cards pay for our upcoming vacation. No, we aren’t charging the vacation on credit, but the credit companies are going to pay us to travel. Here’s how. Disclaimer If you currently carry a balance on your credit cards or are not able to use credit within your means, you first need to find out how to break the debt cycle. Once you make your way out of consumer debt, I totally get the need to use cash for everything if you don’t want ...

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Savings Advice I Would Give to My Friends

As a reformed over spender, I now realize the value of having back up savings and being free of consumer debt. Without money set aside, I might be forced to use credit cards in an emergency. Sometimes the personal finance geek inside of me wants to shout the virtues of saving money from the rooftops. Because that isn’t an option (I’m really clumsy), I’ll have to resort to simply sharing savings advice I would give my friends. Get An Emergency Fund If saving six to eight months of emergency money sounds impossible, start small. Get an easy access savings account and make it a goal to save $100. Anyone can save $100. Some ways to do this could be to stop smoking, drinking, or gambling, stop getting manicures, don’t  go out to eat for a couple of months, take your lunch to work, or cancel your cable. If you can sit down and figure out where all of your money is going, there is probably something you can change to keep more in your pocket. After you have the first $100, aim for $500. Then, increase the amount until you have a number that lets you sleep well at night.

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What Are Fixed Rate Bonds?

With all the options available for investing, it can be hard to decide what is right for your portfolio. While seasoned investors know that you need a mix of various stocks, bonds, cash, and other investments, new or conservative investors can get sidetracked by the amount of options available, especially within the bond market. If your risk tolerance is too low for stocks or bond funds, you might want to consider fixed rate bonds. What Are Fixed Rate Bonds? A fixed rate bond is exactly what it sounds like. It is a note that is secured by a bank or government that carries a guaranteed rate of interest if the bond is held for the specified maturity period. Maturity periods can vary, but generally the shortest available period is one year. As such, it is not subject to fluctuations in interest rates. You will not lose money on bonds if you hold them until maturity because the interest rate is stable. This can certainly appeal to conservative investors or retired individuals who can’t risk losing principal from their portfolio. However in today’s arena of low interest rates, bonds can actually lose money due to inflation. One way around this is ...

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Does Being Rude Get You Further in Life?

A couple of weeks ago, we had a patient that really got under my skin. At first I racked my brain to try and understand how I must have failed her. In the end, I know that my staff and I did the absolute best that we could, but this patient still went on the war path. I didn’t realize what her motivation might have been at the time, but it really started my thought process toward wondering if rude people get more breaks. Does being mean and nasty get you further in life?

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Eyes on the Dollar 20/20 Roundup #26-Germs Go Away

It has been a great week other than my husband having the flu and our older dog, Ralph, having some sort of a bone growth that we can really do much about. I’d have to say the dog was more of a good sport about being ill this week. I’ve been sanitizing the house, which it really needed anyway. Nothing like a nice virus to get you moving. I did get in a couple of days of cross country skiing, and it was fabulous. Sadly, I did not win my bracket in the Free Money Finance March Madness, but Pauline was a worthy opponent. If you feel bad you can always vote for me in the Top Personal Finance Blogs of 2012 at One Smart Dollar. There seems to be lots going on in the blogosphere this week.

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