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Andrew Schrage
Guide since 2013

About.com Financial Planning

Debt Management

Although the down economy may have inspired you to reduce spending and start saving, the average American still carries more than $7,000 in credit card debt. Now is the time to get started by selling your stuff for extra cash.

Further Reading

5 Common Money Leaks and How to Eliminate Them

A big drain on your finances is bad money management. When it comes to monthly expenses, it can be difficult to identify financial leaks, but it's the first step when it comes to saving. Find out what to look out for here!

Financial Planning Spotlight10

Financial Planning

5 Things You Need to Know About the World of Couponing

Thursday December 12, 2013

Couponing is a great way to cut costs on groceries, and by arming yourself with as much information as possible, you can maximize your savings. Here are the essential tips you need to know when it comes to extreme couponing:

1. Stack Coupons
The idea here is to make the most of the coupons you have. An example of stacking involves using a cents-off coupon combined with a grocer's doubling offer or a mailed coupon for $5 off your total purchase. Some grocers let you stack coupons, some do not. Ask the customer service rep at your grocer - or better yet, just try it.

2. "Expired" Doesn't Always Mean Expired
Back in the day, nobody even noticed if a coupon had passed its use-by date. Alas, those days are gone - largely. Ask the managers at your favorite markets if they will honor expired coupons, and you might be surprised. The worst they can tell you is no.

3. Some Grocers Don't Accept Online Coupons
Internet-based printable coupons, like those you find at Coupon Clippers, are everywhere nowadays. But whether you can use them remains to be seen. If you already do your shopping at discounted grocers, it's probably a no-go, though most major supermarket chains will welcome them.

4. Some Coupons Aren't Good Deals
If you're perusing the Sunday paper and see big discounts on things you don't use, don't clip. When you buy something you're not likely to use because you think it's a good deal, there's a good chance it will just grow moldy in your fridge - which means you've lost money. Limit your coupon use only to those items you regularly buy.

5. There Are Ceilings to Doubling Coupons
The time of no-limit double coupons is behind us. Some markets draw the line at 50-cent-off coupons. But you never know unless you ask.

How to Create an Organizational System for Your Finances

Thursday June 6, 2013

paper filingThe first step to effectively managing your finances is to see what kind of financial shape you're currently in. And the first step to determining that is to get organized. Financial organization means, in part, that every bill, policy, statement, and receipt has its place.

Where to File
The place you keep your financial documents could be in many folders in a file cabinet, or in folders on your computer or online. Pick what you feel most comfortable with. But if you choose to file online or on your hard drive, be prepared to either upload paper documents or have a physical file location for documents you can't access online. For example, you may choose to save receipts in an accordion folder labeled by month or category if you don't want to bother scanning them to your hard drive or snapping a photo and uploading to the cloud. Also, if the system you implement isn't working, it's okay to be flexible. After all, in order to get the most out of your organizational system, you need to find one you can stick to.


Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Care About Your Finances

Thursday June 6, 2013

finance helpWhat happens when you don't take care of your finances? Just look at our country -- you spend irresponsibly, get in debt up to your eyeballs, and stress about how you're going to make ends meet. The difference is that you don't have a glut of taxpayers to bail you out of your bad decisions.

But if that's not enough motivation to make managing your finances a top priority, consider the following reasons to do so:

1. Because You're the Only One Who Will
The harsh reality is that it's up to you to improve your financial situation now and prepare for your future. Not all debt is so easily wiped out by bankruptcy and it's not likely you can look forward to a company pension when you retire. If you don't start dealing with your financial problems, you'll suffer for it now and into the future.


Financing Your Child's Education

Monday April 30, 2012

Did you know that a four year degree at a public university may cost upwards of $100,000 in 18 years? That's bad news for new parents who expect their kids to go to school, but fortunately it isn't that hard to save up the money needed for college if you start early. Time is on your site if you start early, but it becomes your enemy if you wait too long. So, here's how to finance your child's education.

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