In Five Minutes, You’ll Know Everything You Need about ISAs

I trust you. I know you’re not trying to cheat the taxman out of even one single penny. But, if you find a perfectly legal way to avoid paying taxes on some of your savings, you would jump at the opportunity, wouldn’t you? The good news is that here in the UK, there is a particular type of investment known as an ISA, which allows you to do just that. For some, it can be the ideal solution for their cash savings, as well as the repository for some of their


Carnival of Financial Camaraderie, Jan 18th Edition

My view as I work

There is a wealth of information in this week's Carnival of Financial Camaraderie. So, grab your favorite beverage and sit back for a long afternoon of reading.

This carnival is hosted every second week by My University Money and you can submit articles at Blogger Carnivals or Blog Carnival HQ.



GenY @ Gen Y Finances writes How To Increase Your Credit Score And Get What You Want - The other day we discussed why your credit score is important. Since I have probably scared some of you, now we will talk about ways to increase your credit score so that you can get the interest rates, jobs, and pricing that you want.


How to Cut Your Investment Costs in 2014

There are many choices to investing, perhaps more than ever before. Online resources provide real time updates on performance, while social media and news programs tout eye popping returns.

Since major indexes such as the S&P 500 and NASDAQ have soared in recent years, some investors are forgiving or oblivious of investment costs. These expenses are crucial to optimizing your returns through various market conditions.

The primary culprits are taxes, commissions and fees. Each of these investor expenses can be minimized through some planning and perspective.

Here are some best practices to consider:


You can reduce capital gains by how and when securities are sold. The higher short term gains rate is incentive to hold appreciated stock beyond 1 year.


America Saves Week 2014 - What is Your Savings Goal?

America Saves Week

As part of America Saves Week 2014 we plan to get a jumpstart on our savings goals for the new year. With two in college and retirement looming, our family has quite a few serious savings goals. The sheer magnitude of the amount we need for retirement can get overwhelming, but we're making great progress by following simple action plans.

What is America Saves Week?

America Saves Week is an opportunity each year for organizations and individuals to promote healthy savings habits by participating in online activities and local savings campaigns. Organizations can help fund and promote local programs while individuals can set savings goals and monitor their progress at


How to Stick to Your Holiday Budget

holiday shopping budget

Holiday shopping can put a huge ding in your budget if you aren't careful. Follow these strategies to help you stick to your shopping list and keep your savings in tact. 


Will You Qualify Under New 2014 Mortgage Rules?

new 2014 mortgage rules

In the wake of the subprime lending debacle mortgage lenders and borrowers will operate under a new set of rules. After January 10, 2014, lenders will be required to verify that you can afford to repay a loan prior to cutting a check. It sounds like common sense and in decades past, banks and other financial institutions followed guidelines very similar to the new rules in determining whether a borrower was a good credit risk. At some point over the past 30 years, profits trumped common sense requiring new rules to protect both consumers and lenders.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act not only establishes rules for determining a borrower's ability to pay, it also creates the Qualified Mortgage (QM), a new category of loan with more stable features. These rules will protect consumers and level the playing field for all lending institutions.


How to Prove you are a Good Credit Risk

More than your credit score

A high credit score can be a huge asset going into a loan application, but there are many factors that lenders look at when determining your creditworthiness and scoring high in those areas can help make up for a less than stellar credit score.

As a former bank lender and portfolio manager, I was trained to recognize any indication that someone may not be a good credit risk. It was our practice to go through the application and score several factors prior to requesting a credit report since each report cost the bank money. If we could determine the applicant was not a strong credit risk without a credit score, there was no need to go to the expense of ordering a report. On the other hand, strong scores in these other areas could help mitigate the damage done by a few late payments.


New FSA Rule will Help Prevent Loss of Savings

fsa rule change

The U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service passed down a ruling this past week that will help alleviate the mad rush at the end of year to use money set aside for qualified medical expenses in Flexible Savings Arrangements (FSA) rather than losing the pre-tax savings. This ruling is great news for the approximately 14 million families enrolled in FSA programs offered by their employers. They will now be able to carry over $500 of any remaining savings to the following year instead of losing it back to their employer.

In the past, employers have been able to offer a two and a half month extension as part of their program. They will now have the option to offer either the extension or the $500 carry over. They may not offer both and are not required to offer either. Ask your plan administrator if you don't know whether the extension is part of your current program.


Two kitchen tools that help save money on food

money-saving kitchen tools

I have been preparing our family's meals for more than 21 years and there are two tools I use that help me save more money on food than any other appliances or kitchen gadgets. I didn't always use these items, but since introducing them to my kitchen routine, I can't imagine running a home kitchen without them. A new sleek digital scale and food vacuum sealer have both quickly become my favorite kitchen tools.


Top Ten Grocery Coupon Sites

ConsumerFu top ten

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like to save money, but when it comes to clipping and organizing coupons the list gets a bit smaller. It seems not everyone is a fan of searching for, sorting and saving coupons. The great news for those reluctant coupon clippers is that there is plenty of help available.

We’ve scoured the Internet to find the coupon sites that provide access to great coupons, teach methods to keep coupons organized, have built a community where you can learn from other coupon shoppers and that provide valuable information through blogging. In our opinion these ten sites are among the best.


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