Betsy Muse's blog

Mon
03
Feb

Top 10 Women Bloggers in Personal Finance Community

Women personal finance bloggers

The women writing in the personal finance genre defy the stereotype of women in business that is often portrayed by professional media. Journalists repeatedly portray woman as career saboteurs for other women. I simply have not found that to be the case here. Many of the women listed below have actively worked to help other women succeed in the personal finance community.

When I first started writing for ConsumerFu, it was natural for me to gravitate toward other blogs and websites written and run by women. When a person has walked in your shoes, it is much easier to trust that you can copy their success. 

The following personal finance writers are among the best of the best. They have worked hard to share relevant information with their readers and they've shown a willingness to go above the call by reaching out and helping other financial writers.

Sat
18
Jan

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.

 

BUDGETING

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.

Sun
22
Dec

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 AmericaSavesWeek.org.

Mon
16
Dec

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. 

Sun
24
Nov

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.

Sun
10
Nov

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.

Sat
02
Nov

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.

Sat
26
Oct

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.

Fri
18
Oct

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.

Sat
28
Sep

How long should I keep financial documents?

Important documents

With both daughters off at university I've started what has become known at our house as the great purge of 2013. Both attics are being cleaned out and I'm reevaluating items that were once too sentimental to toss. Bins of old files are being sorted and I now have reems of paper stacked in the office. As I was culling the files I found myself saying, "Hmm, I might need that," far too often. I've always kept tax documents for seven years and everything else for three except in a few areas. Looking back, I'm glad I broke that rule of thumb.

Two things happened this year that required I dig up documents dating back 15-20 years. Some I could find and some were long gone. I'm not suggesting that anyone keep every piece of paper or financial document for 20 years, but we need to keep enough to protect ourselves.

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