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August 2011

Founded in 1951, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the largest serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. Find various topics in this blog, including personal finance, credit counseling, housing, budgeting and student loan help. Click here to speak with an NFCC-certified Consumer Credit Counselor.

10 Fees You Shouldn’t Be Paying

It’s easy to overlook fees when they’re just a couple of bucks. But even the small ones quickly add up. However, most of the time you can avoid being nickel and dimed. With the help of BillShrink — a free cost-savings site — we created a list of 10 fees you can escape. 1. ‘Free’ checking fee. Some banks are starting to attach more strings to their free checking accounts. …Read More

Keep Costs Down on Getaways

Are you going away for Labor Day? Have fun, but remember that even little weekend adventures can get expensive fast. Here are some tips to help you cut everything loose except for the purse strings: • If your hotel parking lot is empty, try to negotiate a better rate or upgrade: a higher floor, a better view, a suite with a hot tub. Hotel staff are usually happy to do …Read More

Financial Costs of Caring for Your Parents

By Jason Alderman Senior Director, Visa Inc. Kudos to the millions of “sandwich-generation” Americans. These exhausted souls spend their time and money caring for and supporting not only their own children (and sometimes, grandchildren), but their parents as well. All while trying to advance their own careers and plan for the future. No wonder so many people caught in this situation have trouble paying their bills and saving for retirement. …Read More

HUD Announces New Strong Cities, Strong Communities Fellowship Program

$2.5 million available to help place committed ‘social innovators’ into struggling cities The US Department of Housing and Urban Development today published a notice seeking a qualified partner to help launch, and then manage, a pilot fellowship program to support the Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative. Initially funded through a $2.5 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation, HUD’s partner will select, train, and place public service-minded ‘social innovators’ to …Read More

Your Standard Paper Shredder May Not Prevent Identity Theft

By the AllClear ID team Vanessa here from AllClear ID.  As we’ve mentioned many times before, paper shredders are a key component of identity theft protection, but there’s a new “unshredding” technology that makes it easier to restore shredded documents which could undermine your identity theft protection efforts. The new technology was put in the spotlight a couple of years ago when financier R. Allen Stanford was accused of running …Read More

Fast Ways to Save

Having extra cash on hand is a smart idea in this economy, whether you need it for an emergency fund or an extra investment in the market while prices are low. But recent studies have shown that half of Americans would have a tough time coming up with even an extra $2,000. The following are five ways to save that much – and more – over a year. Moving into a plan …Read More

Is A Credit Card A Must For College Students?

Parents across the country are having the talk with their young adult as he or she heads out the door to college. This year, however, the talk isn’t about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Instead, it’s about whether or not the student should apply for a credit card. The recently passed CARD Act requires a person less than 21 years of age to either document their ability to repay the …Read More

Back-to-School Budgeting Tips

By Jason Alderman Senior Director, Visa Inc. The days when you could send your kids off to the first day of school with a lunchbox and a hug are long gone. Today’s back-to-school preparations likely include filing out piles of pre-enrollment paperwork, lining up carpools and, of course, the dreaded shopping excursions for clothes and school supplies. If you’re new to this game or simply need a refresher course, here …Read More

Tips For American Drivers: Keeping Your Credit And Your Car Tuned Up

As you gear up for your final vacation getaways this summer the NFCC recommends several preventative automotive care measures to keep your credit and your car tuned up: Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. Maintaining your car will help keep repair costs down, prolong the life of the automobile and allow the vehicle to continue to use fuel efficiently. Analyze your current auto expenses. Gather monthly operating and ownership costs including …Read More

Should I Buy a House Because the Rates Are So Low?

Home values have plummeted across the country.  Mortgage interest rates continue to hover between 4 and 5%, a historical low.  Both seem to suggest it’s a good time to buy a house.  So, is now the time to pull the trigger on a new mortgage? There are a few things you should consider before you start looking for a house.  First, how comfortable would you be if you were to …Read More