interest http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/798/all en-US 3 Sources of Fast Cash Besides Your 401K http://www.wisebread.com/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handling_cash_780905671.jpg" alt="Finding sources of fast cash outside of 401K" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're in the middle of a remodeling project, and due to unforeseen circumstances, your money runs out early. You can't live with a half-completed kitchen, but you can't pay for it to be finished right now. And while you have plenty of equity in your home and a healthy retirement account, there's nothing in the bank.</p> <p>Once you've decided to take out a loan, what is the best source of funds? Are 401K loans or borrowing against home equity ever a good idea?</p> <p>&quot;The best option is of course is your parents,&quot; says financial planner Bob Goldman. But if you can't tap the bank of mom and dad for an interest-free loan, your other best options are probably a cash-out refinance, a secondary mortgage, a home equity line of credit, or a 401K loan. Deciding which one to use requires some number crunching and a hard look at your personal situation, including your job security, your repayment timeline, and your will power.</p> <h2>Cash-Out Refinance</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, making now a good time to think about refinancing. When you refinance your home, you are replacing your current loan with a brand-new one, preferably at a better interest rate. Depending on how much equity you have in your home, you may have the option of borrowing cash at the time of the refinance &mdash; so that once all the paperwork is done, you'll have a lump sum in your bank account, which you will pay back as part of your regular mortgage payments.</p> <h2>Cash-Out Refinance Pros</h2> <p>A cash-out refinance has a lot going for it.</p> <h3>1. Low Rate</h3> <p>A mortgage often offers the lowest interest rate you can get, outside of promotional offers. And because rates are near historic lows, a lot of people feel that locking in a low rate now for a long loan term is a good call.</p> <h3>2. Low Payments</h3> <p>Because the payback period will be long &mdash; generally 30 years &mdash; a cash-out refi can ease the month-to-month strain of repayment, especially if you are able to lower the interest rate. If you are paying, say, 5% interest on your mortgage and you are able to refinance to 3.77%, you could add $50,000 to your loan principal while only adding about $100 a month to your payment.</p> <h3>3. No Surprises</h3> <p>As long as you take out a fixed-rate mortgage, you know what your payment will be for the life of the loan.</p> <h3>4. Tax Benefit</h3> <p>The interest you pay on your refinanced mortgage will be tax deductible. According to this <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/do/hom09">mortgage tax savings calculator</a>, if you add $50,000 to a $200,000 mortgage, you could save about $10,000 in taxes over the life of the loan, more or less depending on your tax bracket and the interest rate.</p> <h2>Cash-Out Refinance Cons</h2> <p>As great as a cash-out refinance is, it's not free money.</p> <h3>1. Risk</h3> <p>Your home is on the line. For most people, your house is your biggest asset, and putting it even at slight risk isn't a decision to take lightly. Far too many homeowners ended up losing their homes during the financial crisis when they overborrowed against their homes' value.</p> <h3>2. Fees</h3> <p>You have to pay closing costs, which average about $1,800 on a $200,000 loan.</p> <h3>3. Qualifying</h3> <p>You need good credit, especially for the best rates.</p> <h3>4. Starting Over</h3> <p>One thing people often overlook when refinancing, Goldman says, is that taking out a new 30-year loan pushes out the date when you'll be done paying off your mortgage. &quot;You reset the clock on your mortgage,&quot; Goldman says. &quot;You're back to Day One, where you're paying mostly interest.&quot;</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of a Cash-Out Refinance?</h2> <p>Getting $50,000 this way would cost a typical borrower about $30,000 in interest and fees over the course of 30 years at current interest rates. I calculated this using a mortgage calculator to compare the lifetime cost of borrowing $200,000 versus $250,000, keeping in mind that getting cash out usually increases your interest rate by about ⅛ percent. I added $2,000 in closing costs and subtracted $10,000 in tax savings.</p> <h2>Home Equity Loan</h2> <p>A home-equity loan is so much like a mortgage that it's also known as a &quot;second mortgage.&quot; The only difference between this and a cash-out refinance is that instead of replacing your original mortgage with a new one, you're adding a second loan also using your home as collateral. But everything else &mdash; the fact that you're taking a fixed amount of money, usually at a set rate, and paying it back over time &mdash; remains the same.</p> <h2>Home Equity Loan Pros</h2> <p>A second mortgage is a lot like a cash out refi, but with some wrinkles.</p> <h3>1. Simplicity</h3> <p>If you have a great mortgage rate on your home and don't want to change it, this is a way to borrow money while leaving your original mortgage untouched.</p> <h3>2. Shorter Time</h3> <p>If you have a 30-year mortgage but only want to borrow money for five to 15 years, you can do that with a home-equity loan.</p> <h3>3. Tax Benefit</h3> <p>Like a regular mortgage, your interest is usually tax deductible.</p> <h2>Home Equity Loan Cons</h2> <p>You'll need to be sure you understand the downsides of this kind of loan.</p> <h3>1. Interest Rate</h3> <p>Data from Bankrate shows home equity loans averaging at least a percentage point higher than mortgage rates.</p> <h3>2. Qualifying</h3> <p>You need good credit, especially for the best rates.</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of a home-equity loan?</h2> <p>About $11,000 in interest and fees to borrow $50,000 for 10 years.</p> <p>If you borrow $50,000 for 10 years through a second mortgage, you would pay about $13,000 interest over the life of the loan. Closing costs would be similar to a mortgage refinance, about $2,000. During that time, the mortgage interest deduction could save you about $4,000 in taxes.</p> <h2>Home Equity Line of Credit</h2> <p>Like a home-equity loan, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a secondary loan that piggybacks on your original loan. As with both types of loans discussed above, your home is still the collateral. The big difference is that while you can get cash out of a first or second mortgage only once, a HELOC is a revolving credit line, meaning that you don't need to know upfront exactly how much you'll need over the life of the loan. You can borrow $10,000 this month for a new furnace, and then $5,000 another month for landscaping.</p> <h2>HELOC Pros</h2> <p>The key advantage of a HELOC is its flexibility, but there are others to consider, too.</p> <h3>1. Borrowing Flexibility</h3> <p>Experts recommend these loans for ongoing expenses such as college tuition, rather than a home repair that you might pay for in a lump sum. If you do a refinance and then realize you'll need to borrow more money, you would need to pay closing costs all over again and might not be able to lock in the same rate.</p> <h3>2. Tax Benefit</h3> <p>Like the above loans, the interest paid on a HELOC is usually tax deductible.</p> <h3>3. Payment Flexibility</h3> <p>Your loan may allow you to pay interest-only for a certain amount of time.</p> <h2>HELOC Cons</h2> <p>As with the other home loans discussed, a HELOC carries some costs.</p> <h3>1. Risk</h3> <p>Like both the above loans, your home is on the line.</p> <h3>2. Rate Uncertainty</h3> <p>Since HELOCs often have <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0227-home-equity-loans-and-credit-lines#lines">variable interest rates</a>, and rates are currently at historic lows, they will probably rise in the future. By law, how much the rates go up is capped &mdash; the lender must tell you the maximum potential rate when you take out the loan. The average HELOC rate at the moment is similar to home equity rates, or around a point above 30-year-mortgage rates.</p> <h3>3. Balloon Payments</h3> <p>Many HELOCs start out requiring only interest payments, then expect the borrower to pay the whole principal at the end. If you can't, Goldman said, you'll probably end up refinancing the debt into a much longer, more expensive loan.</p> <h3>4. Temptation</h3> <p>As with credit cards, having a line of credit to draw on can encourage overspending. &quot;It's one thing to be on a diet when the refrigerator is empty. It's another thing to be on a diet when the freezer is full of ice cream,&quot; Goldman said. &quot;You'll have this money available to you, so it will require a great deal of discipline to manage it.&quot;</p> <h3>5. Qualifying</h3> <p>You need good credit to qualify, especially for the best rates.</p> <h3>6. Fees</h3> <p>You may or may not have to pay closing costs, and may be charged ongoing fees such as annual maintenance fees and transaction fees.</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of a HELOC?</h2> <p>Rough estimate: $9,500. It's more difficult to predict the lifetime cost of a HELOC if the rate is adjustable and the amount you owe on it varies, but this <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/adjustable-rate-mortgage-calculator">adjustable mortgage calculator</a> figures that with steady, modest interest increases, a 10-year, $50,000 HELOC could cost $14,000 in interest. Fees vary, but if your bank charges a $50 annual fee, that adds $500 to the cost. Subtract an estimated $5,000 in tax savings.</p> <h2>Borrowing From Your 401K</h2> <p>If you have a 401K retirement account through your employer, you might have the option of &quot;borrowing&quot; from its balance. This is not a true loan, since the money in your 401K already belongs to you. In reality, what you're doing is getting an exemption from early withdrawal penalties and taxation, as long as you promise to put the money back and pay yourself an interest rate &mdash; generally one to two percentage points above the prime rate.</p> <p>Despite all those articles out there warning you to avoid borrowing from your 401K, Goldman says this can be a good option if conditions are right.</p> <p>&quot;If I had my choice, I would definitely borrow from a 401K,&quot; he said. Although neither borrowing against your home or borrowing against your retirement are without risk, at least if you fail to pay back your 401K loan, you're not out on the street.</p> <h2>401K Loan Pros</h2> <p>This type of loan may be the easiest of all to get &mdash; it's your money, after all!</p> <h3>1. Qualifying</h3> <p>You don't need good credit to qualify for a good rate, making this an attractive option for folks who wouldn't qualify for a regular loan.</p> <h3>2. Risk</h3> <p>If you fail to pay it back, it won't affect your credit score or send collection agents after you. You also don't risk having your home repossessed.</p> <h3>3. No Bank</h3> <p>You pay the interest to yourself, which is sort of like not paying interest at all.</p> <h2>401K Loan Cons</h2> <p>There are not too many downsides to borrowing from your 401K &mdash; but there's a big one you should think very carefully about.</p> <h3>1. Risk to Your Retirement Savings</h3> <p>Failure to pay back this loan could cause great harm to your retirement account. For instance, if your employment ends for any reason, the loan becomes due immediately. If you can't pay it, it's converted to a distribution, which means that you pay taxes and (if you are under age 59 &frac12;, a 10% penalty). So you're basically stuck at your job while you have a 401K loan out; you might end up turning down a new job offer if you don't have the cash to pay the loan. Worse, if you get fired and can't pay it, you could be out of a lot of money in addition to having no job.</p> <h3>2. Double Taxation</h3> <p>The disadvantage that people often don't consider with 401K loans is that while you filled your account with pretax dollars, you repay the loan with post-tax dollars &mdash; but you'll have to pay tax again on the money when you eventually withdraw it in retirement. How much you can get: While home loans let you borrow a percentage of your home equity, 401K loans are capped at $50,000 or half your balance, whichever is less.</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of Borrowing From Your 401K?</h2> <p>It would vary greatly depending on how close you are to retirement and how well the market does during your loan. Using <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/impact-of-borrowing-from-my-retirement-plan">this calculator</a>, I came up with an estimated cost of $25,000 in lost investment and tax benefits to borrow $50,000 for five years. That assumes your retirement account would have $10,246 less in it at the time of retirement, and that you lost out on $15,000 worth of tax benefits.</p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>By these calculations, home equity loans tend to be less costly than mortgage refis or 401K loans. You should run the numbers using your own circumstances before making that determination for yourself.</p> <p>Cost is not the only thing to consider when deciding how to borrow. There's also the degree of risk involved, and the amount of time you have to pay the money back. Again, personal circumstances will dictate your choice: If you only need the money for a short time, for instance, until your stock options vest next year, a 401K loan might be the best choice. If you can't afford to pay the loan off in the near-term, the refinance gives you the most time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401k borrowing HELOC home equity line of credit interest loans mortgages refinance second mortgage Wed, 02 Nov 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1825229 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_grad_debt_100645843.jpg" alt="New grad finding ways to pay off student debt faster" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Plenty of us face student debt payments every month. In fact, in the United States an <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-growing-student-loan-debt-crisis-2016-01-15">estimated 40 million people</a> have student loan debt. With the rising cost of education, loans are becoming an increasingly common way for people to pay for school.</p> <p>While compounding debt may feel overwhelming, paying off your student debt isn't impossible &mdash; and you may be able to pay it off faster than you think. There are a few advantages that come along with paying off your debt faster. The sooner you reduce those balances, the sooner you'll stop paying interest on them. And once your debts are all paid off, you can feel good about putting that money toward something else.</p> <p>Here are some easy steps you can take that will help you pay off your student debt faster, saving you money in the long run.</p> <h2>Refinance and Consolidate Your Loans</h2> <p>If you've never <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-s-the-difference-between-student-loan-refinancing-and-consolidation?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=student">refinanced your student loans</a>, consider that it may be a good way to save a lot of money and help you to pay off loans faster. With <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-private-lenders-that-can-really-save-you-money-on-your-student-loans?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=student">online lenders like CommonBond</a>, you can save thousands through lower APRs.</p> <p>You may also want to consolidate multiple loans so that you're making a single monthly payment. This will simplify your payment process, and you'll further benefit from a lower APR when it applies to all of your loans &mdash; not just one of them.</p> <h2>Pay Off Your Student Debt With a Credit Card</h2> <p>You can actually put your monthly loan payment on a credit card and earn rewards for cash or travel. But don't do this if you can't pay off your balance in full each month. You'll end up paying more in interest than any amount of rewards you could earn. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=student">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>Make an Extra Principal Payment</h2> <p>This is an extra payment that you can make on a schedule that you determine &mdash; every two weeks, for instance. If you're making extra payments, it will reduce the time it takes to pay off your loan in full.</p> <h2>Set a Goal and Stick to It</h2> <p>It's really important to figure out a budget that makes sense given your personal situation. You'll need to take into account monthly expenses, like rent, food, a car payment, etc.</p> <p>From there, consider how much money you can put toward paying off your student debt. Remember that the more money you pay toward your loan, the faster you'll be able to pay it off. So you should also consider how much time you'd like to take to pay off your loan. Then you can factor in the money you'll save in the long run by paying off your debt sooner rather than later.</p> <h2>Get a Second Job or Side Hustle</h2> <p>If your budget falls a bit short on cash, you can always look into getting a second job and put those funds toward paying off your student debt. The more time you spend working, the less free time you'll have to spend your money, anyhow. And the effort and discipline you expend on acquiring or perfecting a second income stream will serve your career path and finances well in the future.</p> <p><em>How are you paying off your student loans?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-travel-when-you-have-student-loans">6 Ways to Travel When You Have Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-get-trapped-by-these-higher-education-scams">Don&#039;t Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training APR consolidation debt interest monthly payments online lenders principal side jobs student loans Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Nick Wharton 1783722 at http://www.wisebread.com What Is Student Loan Forbearance, Anyway? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/education_costs_graduation_17985755.jpg" alt="Learning what student loan forbearance is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Struggling to make your student loan payments each month? You're in good company. According to a May story by CBS Moneywatch, members of the class of 2016 who took out student loans left college with an <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congrats-class-of-2016-youre-the-most-indebted-yet/">average of $37,173</a> in student loan debt. That's the highest average ever, and an increase of 6% from just one year earlier when such students graduated with an average debt of $35,051.</p> <p>If you're struggling to pay your student loans each month, you can apply for either forbearance or deferment of your federal student loan payments. Deferment and forbearance both put a temporary halt on your payments. That sounds good, and it can provide you with relief. But both programs come with limitations and neither does anything to <em>reduce </em>your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt" target="_blank">student loan debt</a>.</p> <p>Deferment and forbearance are worth investigating if your student loan payments have become a burden. But before you sign up for either program, here are the facts you need to know.</p> <h2>What Loans Qualify?</h2> <p>You can only apply for forbearance or deferment of federal student loans. Private loans are not eligible for these programs. If you are struggling to pay private student loans, you'll need to work directly with the lenders behind them.</p> <h2>Deferment</h2> <p>Deferment is the preferred option for a temporary halt on your payments. That's because in deferment, not only are your payments delayed, but the government might even pay the interest on your loan during this period if you are paying off Federal Perkins loans, direct subsidized loans, or subsidized Federal Stafford loans.</p> <p>The government won't pay interest on any of your unsubsidized or PLUS student loans. But even if the government doesn't pay this interest, you do not have to make interest payments on your own during the deferment period. If you don't, though, the interest that accumulated during the deferment period will be added to your principal balance when you do begin making payments again.</p> <h3>Who Qualifies for Deferment?</h3> <p>You are eligible for deferment if you are unemployed or have been unable to find full-time employment. You might also qualify if you are suffering through an economic hardship, such as a reduction in your full-time income.</p> <h3>You Will Have to Apply for Your Deferment</h3> <p>To start the process, call the loan servicer to which you mail your loan payments, unless you need deferment for Perkins loans. In this case, call the school you were attending when you took out the loan. You'll most likely have to fill out a form detailing the reasons why you can't afford your monthly payment.</p> <h2>Forbearance</h2> <p>In forbearance, your federal student loan payments will again be temporarily halted, usually for up to 12 months. But in forbearance the government will not pay your interest during the temporary halt, no matter what type of federal loan you are paying off.</p> <p>You can make the interest payments on your loans during forbearance or you can temporarily stop making these payments, too. Your interest will continue to accumulate during the forbearance period, though, and will be added to your principal balance when this halt ends. This means that the amount you owe after your forbearance period ends will be higher than when you started forbearance. This could make paying off your student loan debt even more challenging.</p> <h3>Who Qualifies for Forbearance</h3> <p>You can qualify for a discretionary forbearance because of illness or financial hardship. Again, you will have to start the process by contacting the lender to which you are sending your student loan payments each month.</p> <h3>Mandatory Forbearance</h3> <p>There are times when the federal government requires your lender to grant forbearance. This is known as mandatory forbearance. You might qualify for this if you are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, the total you owe in student loan payments is more than 20% of your total monthly gross income, you qualify for the U.S. Department of Defense's Student Loan Repayment System, or you are serving in a national service program.</p> <p>You might also qualify for mandatory forbearance if qualify for the teacher loan forgiveness program or you are a member of the U.S. National Guard and have been called to duty but don't qualify for a military deferment.</p> <p><em>Are you struggling to repay your student loans? Have you considered these options?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-student-loan-forbearance-anyway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Education & Training deferment federal government financial hardships forbearance interest principal student loans unemployed Tue, 02 Aug 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1762586 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_grad_broke_53019460.jpg" alt="Woman learning how student loans affect taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tax time can make many feel anxious, especially if they're already burdened by student loan debt. Many people might not even think about their student loans when it comes time to file, and that would be a huge mistake.</p> <p>Here are three big tax issues &mdash; and one <em>huge</em> tax benefit &mdash; you should be aware of if you have student loan debt.</p> <h2>You Can Deduct Loan Interest</h2> <p>Yes, you can deduct your <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch04.html">student loan interest</a>, reducing your income by up to $2,500. But to qualify for this deduction, you must earn less than $80,000 if single or $160,000 if you are filing jointly.</p> <p>If you paid more than $600 in interest on your student loan, you should automatically receive a Form 1098-E in the mail. However, if you do not receive this, you can still claim the interest you paid. Just request this form from your lender in January. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-pay-back-student-loans-faster?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Pay Back Student Loans Faster</a>)</p> <h2>Defaulting on Your Loan Could Cost You Your Tax Refund</h2> <p>If you default on your federal student loan, your tax refund could go straight to your lender. They are legally allowed to take 100% of your tax refund. For most federal loans, you will be considered in default if you have not made a payment in 270 days.</p> <h2>Filing Jointly Can Cost You More in Student Loans</h2> <p>Many couples will file jointly to save money on their taxes and have easier access to tax credits, like the child tax credit and the dependent care credit. However, filing jointly can also make you pay more in student loan repayment throughout the year.</p> <p>Many individuals pay for their student loans on an income-driven repayment plan, which calculates monthly payments based off earnings. Since your joint income will be significantly higher than your individual incomes, your loan payments are likely to be higher. To make smaller monthly payments on your loans, you should probably file separately.</p> <p>You want to understand how much money it will cost to file your taxes separately versus how much you'll make in additional monthly student loan payments if you file jointly. MagnifyMoney.com put together a simple example scenario of a married couple without children. In their example, the couple would have saved over $1,100 in federal taxes if they filed jointly, but they would have saved $6,816 on their student loan payments by filing separately.</p> <h2>Student Loan Forgiveness/Cancellation Could Mean More Taxes</h2> <p>Student loan forgiveness programs are a great way to offset some of your student loan debt. However, some student loan forgiveness programs also come with a hefty tax bill in the end.</p> <p>Student loan forgiveness programs such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and other plans for teachers, health professionals, lawyers, or volunteers are all tax-free. If you follow the programs' rules for loan forgiveness, your loan will be forgiven without tax repercussions.</p> <p>Certain student loan forgiveness programs offered through individual states can be subjected to taxes. Many are not, but it is a good idea to do your research.</p> <p>If your student loan is cancelled or discharged, it can be considered taxable income. It might be cancelled or discharged for one of the following reasons:</p> <ul> <li>Cancellation for closed school;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cancellation for False Certification of the loan;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cancellation for unpaid refund of the loan;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Discharge for death or disability.</li> </ul> <p>Finally, if you sign up for repayment programs that offer loan forgiveness after a certain number of years, any unpaid amount which is forgiven is considered taxable income. This usually happens with the income-based repayment (IBR) plans and the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) repayment plan. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-student-loan-debt?ref=seealso"> 5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt</a>)</p> <p>Talk with a financial adviser that specializes in student loan debt for more help.</p> <p><em>Do you write off your student loan interest on taxes? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads">5 Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by College Grads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes deductions filing jointly filing single interest loan forgiveness refunds repayment student loans Thu, 09 Jun 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1725704 at http://www.wisebread.com 5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Stop Waiting for Tomorrow http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_binoculars_000029643960.jpg" alt="Woman learning to stop waiting for tomorrow with debt " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>[Editor's Note: This is the first part of a five-part series on debt reduction. To read more, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/5-day-debt-reduction-plan" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>.]</p> <p>Debt sucks. It ties up your resources, robs you of the ability to save, and can cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Still, debt is a big part of our society &mdash; so big that many don't realize the impact it has on their personal finances, even when they're struggling to keep up with payments.</p> <p>Some people stick their heads in the sand because it's easier to ignore debt than take responsibility. The consequences of overcharging and overspending eventually catch up &mdash; and that burden can lead to other consequences, like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-debt-is-killing-you-heres-the-cure?ref=5dayplan">physical and mental health issues</a> &mdash; but it doesn't have to.</p> <p>If your debt is out of control, <em>today </em>is the day to take control of your money.</p> <p>The good news is that you don't have to be a financial guru or have a ton of cash to succeed. Whether you have a little or a lot of disposable income, you can begin chipping away at your debt little by little each day when equipped with the correct set of tools and a handy guideline.</p> <p>See Also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan&amp;utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=5dayplan">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></p> <h2>Debt Reduction Starts With a Decision</h2> <p>Be honest, how long have you been talking about reducing debt? A few weeks? A few months? A few years?</p> <p>Now think back to the first time you expressed a desire to get rid of debt. Have you successfully paid off (or paid down) some of your balances? Or have your balances remained the same or increased?</p> <p>If you answered &quot;yes&quot; to the last question, you're not alone. Getting rid of debt has its challenges, and at times you might think it's impossible. The fact that you're reading this article demonstrates a desire to change your mindset and your situation. It doesn't matter what you've done (or haven't done) in the past; this can be a new beginning and the first day on your journey to eliminating debt.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today?ref=5dayplan">How to Start Fighting Debt &mdash;&nbsp;Today</a></p> <h2>You're Not the Only Person With Debt, But You Still Need to Address It</h2> <p>Some people say debt is a part of life and everyone should stop whining and accept debt for what it is. Don't let the naysayers get in your head.</p> <p>Yes, most of us have some sort of debt, but this doesn't mean we have to accept all types of debt. Student loans and mortgages are &quot;good&quot; debt. They are usually cheap (the interest rates are low), and both generally improve our financial lives (education helps us earn more; a home is a valuable asset).</p> <p>Credit card debt, on the other hand, can be a vicious monster. It's expensive and most of what we borrow for will not improve our financial lives. But the moment we confront the monster and say &quot;no more,&quot; the easier it is to break habits that keep us indebted.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today?ref=5dayplan">8 Signs You&rsquo;ve Crossed from &ldquo;Healthy&rdquo; Debt to &ldquo;Problem&rdquo; Debt</a></p> <h2>What Led to Your Debt?</h2> <p>There's not one particular bad habit, but rather several possible habits. Everyone has their own weakness &mdash; mine, for instance, is clothes shopping &mdash; and it's each person's responsibility to identify habits that keep them in a pattern of overspending.</p> <h3>Impulse Buying</h3> <p>Most of us are familiar with this type of buying. You go to the store with intentions of buying one item, but you walk out with three or four items &mdash; basically every trip to Target I've ever had; you know what I'm talking about. This behavior may seem innocent, but it can throw off your budget and increase the likelihood of debt.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money?ref=5dayplan">13 Creative Ways to Avoid Impulse Spending</a></p> <h3>Lack of a Budget</h3> <p>If you never budget, you probably have no idea where your money goes, which means you could be overspending on nonessentials and using credit cards as an extension of your income. Keeping a paper trail helps you visualize how much you're spending and where your money is going, and that alone can be a deterrent to spending more.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-to-start-budgeting-today?ref=5dayplan">One Simple Thing You Can Do to Start Budgeting Today</a></p> <h3>Keeping Up With the Joneses</h3> <p>If your best friend or neighbor buys a new car, you may feel pressure to keep up and prove you can hang with the big spenders. But in reality, you're digging a financial hole for yourself.</p> <p>We're all guilty of at least one of these bad financial habits. We're human, so we're going to make mistakes. But regardless of the habit(s) you're guilty of, you <em>can </em>break the cycle.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances?ref=5dayplan">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</a></p> <h3>Lack of Income</h3> <p>This isn't a habit, exactly, but whenever our income falls short of our expenses, and we've cut as much as we can, it's time to find more money. Whatever side job or career shift you choose, keep your debt reduction goals in mind. The extra money you earn should go first toward your debt reduction plan.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/100-ways-to-make-more-money-this-year?ref=5dayplan">100+ Ways to Make More Money This Year</a></p> <h2>The High Cost of Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>If you need help overcoming bad habits and breaking out of debt, it helps to have an understanding of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-valuable-thing-debt-takes-from-you-isnt-money-its-this?ref=5dayplan">true cost of debt</a>.</p> <p>Take for example a $5,000 credit card balance. If you're making $100 payments every month, in your mind, you should be able to pay off this debt in roughly 50 months (4 years). It's simple mathematics, right? Well, not exactly. There's this &quot;little&quot; thing called interest, which is what you pay for the privilege of using credit.</p> <p>Let's say the interest rate on that $5,000 is 18%. Making $100 payments every month, it will take almost eight years to pay off the balance, and you'll have paid over $4,000 in interest, for borrowing that $5,000. Think of how much interest you could <em>earn</em> if you invested that money instead.</p> <p>When you get a credit card statement, the amount due is typically between 1%-3% of the total balance. It will take a staggering amount of time to pay off your debt if you only make minimum payments. If you're just making the minimum payments, to pay off $5,000, it would take <strong>more than 39 years</strong>. You would have paid over $8,000 in interest.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It will take a discouragingly long time to pay off a debt if you stick to only minimum payments,&quot; says Julie Ford, a financial planner in New York City. &quot;Creditors want you to only pay the minimum amount so they can collect interest from you for as long as possible.&quot;</p> <p>The more money you give creditors, the less money you have available for building a rainy day fund. And of course, if you don't have a reserve, it only takes one emergency to put you deeper in debt.</p> <p>According to the American Household Credit Card Debt Study, the &quot;average U.S. household with debt carries $15,762 in credit card debt,&quot; and a recent Google Consumer Survey found that &quot;approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, and 21% don't even have a savings account.&quot; As a personal finance expert who has experienced debt myself, these statistics are sobering to say the least.</p> <p>When debt prevents saving for a rainy day fund, it may also interfere with your ability to save for retirement. Even if you have a 401K or an individual retirement account, you might only contribute the bare minimum, if anything. As a result, the prospect of working until you're literally on your deathbed is a real possibility.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=5dayplan">Everything You Didn&rsquo;t Understand About Credit Card Interest</a></p> <h2>Find Your Motivation &mdash; And Stay Motivated</h2> <p>The road to getting your bank accounts into the black can be rough. What's the motivating force driving your desire to reduce debt? If you don't have an end goal or a reason for eliminating debt, it's easy to give up as soon as you hit a bump in the road. I've seen it time and time again, especially from chronic spenders. To avoid this pitfall, brainstorm and write down what you hope to accomplish by reducing debt.</p> <ul> <li>Do you want to set a good example for your children?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are you tired of losing sleep and worrying about your debt?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do you want to buy a house, but fear debt will prevent qualifying for a mortgage?</li> </ul> <p>Of course, it isn't enough to know what motivates you, but rather you have to stay motivated. The best way to do this is to surround yourself with likeminded individuals &mdash; those who share your goal and can offer encouragement along the way &mdash; and avoid those people who encourage your negative spending habits, like your house-poor friends who spend all their disposable income on Thirsty Thursday shots and late-night tacos. (We all still have a few of 'em.)</p> <p>If your close friends and family are in debt and don't have a desire to reduce or eliminate their balances, don't expect these people to steer you in the right direction or provide the support you need. Look outside your inner circle and connect with people who share your mindset. For example, you can work with a financial planner, join a debt support group, or follow the debt success stories of personal finance bloggers.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt?ref=5dayplan">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a></p> <h2>Stop Procrastinating</h2> <p>Procrastination is the avoidance of starting or completing a task. It's a natural human tendency and we procrastinate for different reasons. These reasons might include the fear of failure, lack of interest, and even the fear of success. But with regard to debt, procrastination might have everything to do with lack of knowledge. You know you need to deal with your debt, but you don't know how, so you put it off.</p> <p>If you want to overcome procrastination, you have to learn ways to make debt reduction a reality. It's a step-by-step process that can take months or years. But the process is easier than you think when you have realistic expectations and set small, manageable goals for yourself</p> <p>But before you can get to that point, you need to first find out how much you owe and learn strategies to monitor your debt. Check back tomorrow, and we'll take that first step by Adding It Up.</p> <h2>Debt Management Resources</h2> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-debt-in-10-minutes-a-week?ref=5dayplan">How to Manage Your Debt in 10 Minutes a Week</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-debt-management-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask?ref=5dayplan">5 Debt Management Questions You&rsquo;re Too Embarrassed to Ask</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools?ref=5dayplan">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-reasons-your-debt-isnt-diminishing?ref=5dayplan">12 Reasons Your Debt Isn&rsquo;t Diminishing</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-debt-reduction-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=5dayplan">8 Debt Reduction Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-use-peer-to-peer-lending-to-pay-down-credit-card-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Use Peer-to-Peer Lending to Pay Down Credit Card Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them?ref=5dayplan">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks -- And How to Beat Them</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-steps-to-eliminating-your-debt-painlessly?ref=5dayplan">6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-organizations-that-really-can-help-you-with-your-debt?ref=5dayplan">8 Organizations That REALLY Can Help You With Your Debt</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sell-your-home-to-pay-down-debt?ref=5dayplan">Should You Sell Your Home to Pay Down Debt?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taming-your-debt-aggressive-repayment-strategies?ref=5dayplan">Taming Your Debt: Aggressive Repayment Strategies</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-credit-card-debt-elimination-strategies?ref=5dayplan">7 Best Credit Card Debt Elimination Strategies</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-stop-waiting-for-tomorrow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-the-paycheck-to-paycheck-cycle">How to Escape the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-common-debt-reduction-roadblocks-and-how-to-beat-them">6 Common Debt Reduction Roadblocks — And How to Beat Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management 5 day debt reduction plan budgeting impulse spending income interest keeping up with the joneses Mon, 06 Jun 2016 10:30:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1723444 at http://www.wisebread.com Never Borrow Money for These 5 Buys http://www.wisebread.com/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/friends_boat_ride_000021453043.jpg" alt="Friends talking about what they should never borrow money for" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While there is a time and a place for credit &mdash; most of us won't ever be able to pay cash for a home, a college education, or even a car &mdash; there are also times when it should be avoided, at all costs.</p> <p>It's difficult to delay gratification. It doesn't help that there's always a credit card or personal loan application in the mail. Still, there are certain times when it absolutely does not make sense to borrow money to make a purchase. For these big ticket items, think hard before you swipe your card or apply for that credit line. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-pride-is-keeping-you-poor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways Pride Is Keeping You Poor</a>)</p> <h2>1. A Boat</h2> <p>Depending on the boat purchased, a payment could equal the cost of a new car payment or &mdash; for a more luxurious option &mdash; the cost of a mortgage. At the same time, <a href="http://www.boatus.com/boatloans/">current boat loan rates</a> range from about 4.5% for a $350,000 boat to as high as 6.25% for a $25,000 boat. That means that over a 15-year term, a modest $25,000 boat could end up costing $38,584. That's $13,584 more than the original sticker price.</p> <p>When it comes to boating, though, the cost of the vessel is often the cheapest part of ownership. Additional costs to consider are state taxes, slip fees, winter storage, registration and licensing, fuel, insurance, and maintenance. Mint recently estimated the annual cost of a $20,000 boat upkeep at $4,300 per year or $358 per month.</p> <h2>2. Your Wedding</h2> <p>Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a young person's life, and yet&hellip; many don't fully realize all the costs that come after embarking on a new life together. Not everyone makes the same life choices, of course, but houses, children, college tuition, retirement accounts, and even new cars are expensive life items that many new couples choose to buy or fund as they build their lives together.</p> <p>Starting a journey together with a pricey loan with a high interest rate is an expensive way to handicap yourself as you work to build a financially stable life together. When planning a wedding, it can be helpful to remember that it's just a big party. You'll have the memories when it's over, but it's the foundation that the marriage is built upon that's really most important. And that doesn't cost a dime.</p> <h2>3. Jewelry</h2> <p>High-end jewelry like engagement rings or tennis bracelets are expensive enough without adding in the financing costs. It may seem like good news that many jewelry stores are willing to help defray the costs by offering zero interest if the purchase is paid off within six or 12 months (depending on the store) but beware, there's usually a catch.</p> <p>Miss one payment or fail to pay off the balance before the due date and, for most of the stores, interest will become due for the <em>entire </em>original balance &mdash; and it's usually at a rate that's somewhere between 23% and 29%. That means that a $5,200 ring (the average wedding ring cost) could end up costing an additional $1,461 in interest payments alone, assuming a 25% interest rate and a two-year term.</p> <h2>4. Furniture and Consumer Electronics</h2> <p>Store issued credit cards are common upsells at the cash register and, if you're buying a big ticket item like a new sofa or flat screen TV, it's easy to be tempted by the seemingly attractive financing terms. What many credit consumers don't realize is that store cards typically work in a similar way as jewelry financing, as described above.</p> <p>The offer may state 12-months, zero APR (or 12-months, same as cash), but miss a payment and you'll reset the clock, finding yourself responsible for interest payments from the date of purchase, not from the date when the payment was missed. For a $4,000 furniture purchase, a missed payment could add $1,400 in interest to the bill, assuming a 24.99% interest rate and a 24-month term. In other words, that financed furniture (or computer or refrigerator or&hellip; well, you get the idea) could end up costing you a lot more than you expected.</p> <h2>5. Vacation</h2> <p>Most vacations last a week or less but, if you take out a personal loan or swipe a credit card to fund the getaway, it won't just be the memories that last a lifetime. Earlier this year, MarketWatch determined that you could <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-long-does-it-take-to-clear-a-2000-credit-card-with-minimum-payments-2015-07-07">raise a child from infancy</a> to adulthood before you could repay a $2,000 credit card balance with a 18% annual rate, if you're making just the monthly minimum payment. That's 30 years in repayment, based on their analysis, and an extra $4,931 in interest payments.</p> <p>For many purchases, buying on credit can cause a lot of financial strain. Before you buy, it's important to understand the full cost of the purchase, including the cost of credit. Most times, you'd be much better served by saving up, instead of swiping your card. Think before you borrow. Your wallet will thank you.</p> <p><em>What purchases do you refuse to make on credit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-borrow-money-for-these-5-buys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-after-the-holidays-moves-your-credit-score-will-thank-you-for">5 After the Holidays Moves Your Credit Score Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-debt-faster">5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Debt Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting bad money moves boats borrowing money credit history debt furniture interest jewelry loans travel weddings Tue, 24 May 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1711683 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Expect When You're Expecting a Huge Credit Card Bill http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_writing_bills_000083882473.jpg" alt="Woman learning what to expect with a huge credit card bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've been splurging the last few months &mdash; dining out, ordering online gifts, and booking a vacation you sorely need. And you put all of these purchases on your credit card.</p> <p>You know you won't be able to pay off this debt within a few months, but you've justified it by reasoning you <em>can </em>pay it off <em>very soon</em>. But these purchases you've made &mdash; well they couldn't wait until you could actually afford them.</p> <p>Maybe that's true. Maybe an unexpected but critical expense came up. Maybe everyone was booking flights for your family vacation and you had to commit. A little debt isn't going to kill your finances, right? Okay, so you'll just pay a little in interest.</p> <p>Unfortunately, it's likely to be more than a little interest &mdash; and there's a lot more at stake than paying more interest.</p> <p>Consider these financial challenges that you might not be expecting with a big credit card bill. You'll struggle with each of them until you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">eliminate your credit card debt</a>.</p> <h2>Tons of Interest</h2> <p>The biggest problem with credit cards? All that interest you'll pay if you carry a balance each month. Say you owe $5,000 on your credit card at an interest rate of 16.5%. If you make a payment of $100 every month on that debt, it will take you 86 months, or more than seven years, to pay off that $5,000.</p> <p>Why so long? Because of interest. By paying just $100 a month, you'll pay an additional $3,517 in interest alone before you erase your debt. This means you'll pay a total of more than $8,500 to pay off $5,000 worth of charges.</p> <p>The lesson here is simple: The interest you'll pay is never worth the instant gratification of getting something when you can't afford it. It'll just start a never-ending cycle of not being able to afford the <em>next</em> thing you want because you're still trying to pay off that other thing you bought. If you must carry a balance for a period of time, pay as much as you can (not just the minimum) to avoid more interest piling on (interest gets calculated based on your daily balance so get it down as much as possible, as quickly as possible).</p> <p>Even better &mdash; if you know you'll have to make a large purchase but can't pay it off right away, get a credit card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases">0% promotional APR for purchases</a>. That will buy you some time, but you still have to pay it off before the promotional period ends. If you already have a balance you're paying interest on, try a credit card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">0% APR for balance transfers</a>.</p> <h2>No More Grace Period</h2> <p>Most credit cards offer a grace period to pay off your purchases before they charge interest. Pay off your balance during this grace period and you're golden &mdash; you've borrowed money for free, and perhaps even made a little if you used a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash back credit card</a>. But when you leave a balance, you'll not only get hit with interest for those purchases, you lose your grace period on all future purchases. Meaning, the minute a charge gets through, interest can start accruing.</p> <p>It'll take several billing cycles before your grace period is reinstated, so make sure you don't lose it in the first place.</p> <h2>A Lower Credit Score</h2> <p>If you have too much credit card debt, your credit score will suffer. That's because lenders consider you more of a risk to not pay back your debts when you are saddled with high amounts of credit card debt.</p> <p>Something called your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">credit-utilization ratio is a key factor</a> here. If you use too much of your available credit, your credit score will drop. For instance, if you have $20,000 worth of credit available to you and you owe a total of $17,000 on your credit card accounts, you have a credit utilization ratio that is far too high. A high ratio will drop your credit score.</p> <p>You may not think much about your credit score until you need it. If you're hoping to buy a house, a car, or even a new job, your credit score may determine whether you get it or not.</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=seealso">15 Surprising Ways a Bad Credit Score Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>No matter how much credit available you have, it's never a good idea to use it all up at any one time. Spread out your purchases and pay them down quickly.</p> <h2>A High Debt-to-Income Ratio</h2> <p>In addition to your credit score, lenders rely on your debt-to-income ratio. This ratio examines the relationship between your monthly debts and your gross monthly income. Lenders factor in your minimum required monthly credit card payments as part of your debt obligations. If these minimum payments are high, it could throw your debt-to-income ratio out of whack.</p> <p>For instance, if you're applying for a mortgage loan, lenders want your monthly debts &mdash; including your estimated new mortgage payments &mdash; to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your credit card payments push that ratio up past 43%, you might not qualify for that home loan.</p> <h2>Sky-High Interest Rates</h2> <p>With a large credit card debt and a low credit score, you can expect to pay higher interest rates on whatever loans &mdash; including auto and mortgage &mdash; for which you do qualify. Lenders charge higher rates to borrowers whom they deem higher risks. If your score is low &mdash; in part because of your huge credit card bill &mdash; get ready to be hit with interest rates higher than the market average.</p> <p>That's too bad. Higher rates can make a significant difference in the amount you pay each month on loans. Say you take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 to finance a new home. If your interest rate is 3.95%, you'll pay about $949 each month, not counting whatever you'll need to pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>If you have a lower score your interest rate on the same loan could be more like 5.5%, which means you'll pay about $1,135 each month, again not including insurance and taxes.</p> <p>That's a difference of $186 each month or $2,232 a year, simply because you owe too much on your credit cards.</p> <h2>More Hurdles to Renting</h2> <p>Even if you don't want to finance a home or a new car, high credit card debt can cause problems. Say you want to rent an apartment, your possible landlord will run your credit. If this search turns up high credit card debt, a landlord might hesitate before leasing you an apartment. The landlord might worry that with all the debt you're already facing, you won't be able to pay your monthly rent on time.</p> <h2>Contain the Pain</h2> <p>The first step is to curtail spending, but if the horse is out of the barn, here are a few steps to take to minimize the sting.</p> <h3>1. Stop Digging</h3> <p>Stop spending more than you can pay off every month! You can't begin to chip away at your debt balance if you keep adding to it.</p> <h3>2. Pay More Than the Minimum</h3> <p>Paying the minimum maximizes the amount you pay in interest over time. Whittle away at your debt overhang by paying more of it off, whenever you can. Changes to the law a few years ago mean that any extra you pay will go toward the highest interest debt on the account.</p> <h3>3. Make Multiple Payments Per Month</h3> <p>You can ease the burn of bill paying day by breaking up your payments as your paychecks or income arrive. Since your interest charge is based on your daily balance, cutting down your balance whenever you have funds available, rather than waiting until the bill is due, can help reduce the interest you pay, too.</p> <p><em>Have you ever dreaded the arrival of a credit card bill? Did it change your behavior?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-mistakes-while-rebuilding-your-credit">Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes While Rebuilding Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-to-make-before-cutting-up-your-credit-card">6 Moves to Make Before Cutting Up Your Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bills credit history credit score debt debt to income ratio interest Wed, 27 Apr 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Dan Rafter 1696224 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000048349718_Large.jpg" alt="wasting money on his commute" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="126" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Commuting to work can be a real hassle, but have you ever added up what it's costing you financially?</p> <p>With gas prices on the low side right now, it's easy to lose sight of the cost of driving. But if you have a commute and choose to drive, you may be losing out on hundreds of dollars a year and potentially <em>hundreds of thousands of dollars</em> over the course of your working life.</p> <p>How is that possible? Well, let's crunch some numbers.</p> <p>According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the mean <a href="https://www.census.gov/hhes/commuting/files/2012/Paper-Poster_Megacommuting%20in%20the%20US.pdf">commuting distance in America</a> is about 38 miles. There are some parts of the country where commuters travel much further, and some mega commuters are known to average more than 200 miles each day.</p> <p>Let's assume you're an average person driving that average 38 miles to and from work each day. And let's also assume you're paying an average amount for gas, which is currently about $2 per gallon. If you drive a car that gets 30 miles per gallon, you're spending about $2.50 a day on gas, or about $12.50 a week. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-the-high-cost-of-cheap-gas-hurts-you?ref=seealso">This Is How the High Cost of Cheap Gas Hurts You</a>)</p> <p>Assuming you may take a couple weeks off throughout the year from driving, this adds up to $625 annually.</p> <p>That's a nice chunk of change, but it's not the end of the story.</p> <h2>Compound Interest Is Your Friend</h2> <p>Having an extra $625 in your pocket at the end of the year is great. But you could actually end up with a lot more, without doing a thing.</p> <p>If you put that extra money away in a run-of-the-mill savings account with a 1% interest rate, that could be $631 by year's end. Okay, so just $6. No big deal. But extrapolate that out to 30 years and you end up with $842. And if you put in $625 every year during that period, it's a whopping $22,000, thanks in large part to interest compounding on itself.</p> <h2>Invest and Build True Wealth</h2> <p>So now we're at $22,000. That seems like a nice addition to the nest egg. But imagine tripling that total.</p> <p>If you take $625 annually and place it in an index fund or another investment that mirrors the broader stock market, you can boost your savings significantly. Assuming a typical annual return of 7% from the S&amp;P 500, <em>you'll end up with nearly $68,000 at the end of 30 years</em><strong>. </strong></p> <p>That's $68,000 by not spending money on gas, even with prices as low as they are now. And that's just for an average commuter. Someone who drives 60 miles round trip for work could save $108,000 over 30 years. A long-distance commuter who goes 90 miles a day could save $163,000.</p> <h2>Total Commuting Costs</h2> <p>Keep in mind, too, that gas is not the only expenditure when you commute. The Citi ThankYou Commuter Index last year said the average American <a href="http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/citi-thankyou-premier-commuter-index-reveals-us-consumers-spend-an-average-of-2600-per-year-on-their-commute-300095179.html?tc=eml_cleartime">spent $2,600 a year commuting</a>. This includes people who might pay for public transit, and also factors in the cost of repairs and depreciation on your car.</p> <p>Using the same calculations as above, that $2,600 could turn into $3,504 over 30 years if placed in a savings account. And $2,600 placed annually in an index fund could turn into $281,000 within three decades.</p> <p>Keep all of this in mind when figuring out how you'll get to work, what job to take, and whether you can get away with working from home or even being self-employed.</p> <p><em>How much are you spending on a daily commute to work? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-driving">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Driving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-the-high-cost-of-cheap-gas-hurts-you">This Is How the High Cost of Cheap Gas Hurts You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/behind-the-times-i-learn-about-keep-the-change">Behind the Times - I learn about Keep the Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-a-walkable-neighborhood">The Benefits of a Walkable Neighborhood</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-25-free-for-opening-a-savings-account-with-5-05-interest">Get $25 FREE for opening a savings account with 5.05% interest. - UPDATED</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars and Transportation Investment compound interest gas index funds interest savings Mon, 11 Apr 2016 09:30:25 +0000 Tim Lemke 1687442 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Tax Tricks to Try if You're Stuck With Student Loans http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/college_grad_cash_000049202136.jpg" alt="New grad stuck with student loans trying tax tricks " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're buried in student loan debt, it doesn't seem fair to be paying taxes. That's why it's important to get as much as you can back with your tax returns. Take advantage of deductions and credits, and if you're fortunate enough to be able to do so, use your returns to pay down a big chunk of your debt. Here's what you should be looking for while filling out your return.</p> <h2>1. Deduct Interest Paid</h2> <p>You can deduct the interest you pay on your debt. At least this way you recoup some of what you spent.</p> <p>You'll file the deduction as an adjustment to income. The maximum amount you can deduct is $2,500. If you've paid more than $600 in interest in the past year, you should receive form 1098-E from your lender. Box #1 will tell you how much interest you paid.</p> <p>If you paid less than $600, you'll have to check records to see how much to deduct. There's an income ceiling &mdash; after you make $80,000 a year, you're exempt. See the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc456.html">IRS page</a> on this topic.</p> <p>Are you still in school? I recommend not deferring your interest payment. If you do defer, your lender simply tacks that interest onto the principal of your loan. Then, you end up paying interest on the interest.</p> <h2>2. Deduct Tuition and Fees</h2> <p>This deduction adjusts the amount of income on which you're taxed. It's good for up to $4,000 per year. If you're a dependent on someone else's tax return or you are married and filing separately, you don't qualify. Like the interest deduction, if you earn a certain amount, you're exempt. Also, if you want to claim either of the education tax credits (see &quot;Stay in School&quot; below), you can't claim the <a href="https://www.taxslayer.com/support/knowledgebasearticle187.aspx">Tuition and Fees Deduction</a>.</p> <h2>3. Get the Earned Income Tax Credit</h2> <p>If you qualify for it, get it. The EITC, or EIC, is for those of us with low income. Surprisingly, only about 80% of workers who qualify for the credit claim it. If you're married, don't file separately &mdash; this will disqualify you. If you're single, to get this credit you have to make less than $14,820 in a year. If you're married and/or have kids the <a href="http://www.efile.com/what-is-the-earned-income-tax-credit-eitc-eic-eligibility-schedule-calculator/">qualification ceiling goes up</a>.</p> <h2>4. Take on Freelance Work</h2> <p>Not only will freelancing earn you more money towards paying off your debt, you'll also be able to write off a number of expenses. These deductions include work materials, such as a laptop or tablet you use exclusively for freelance writing. You can write off meals and snacks you eat in the course of your workday. You can also write off expenses related directly and indirectly to the space you use for work. Yes it's a hassle, but make sure to document your expenses if you want to qualify for deductions.</p> <h2>5. Stay in School</h2> <p>Is graduation in sight but you're nervous about your post-graduate plans? You may want to stay in school. Here's the logic behind this: College students can be eligible for some great <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/four-major-student-tax-breaks-2013-1">tax breaks</a>:</p> <ul> <li><em>American Opportunity Credit</em> &mdash; Up to $2,500 for tuition, fees, books, and other equipment<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><em>Lifetime Learning Credit</em> &mdash; Up to $2,000 for education-related expenses</li> </ul> <p>You can only claim one of these credits. To get the American Opportunity Credit, you have to be at least a part-time student, and you can only claim it for the first four years of college. It's refundable by up to $1,000, meaning you could see that money go right back into your pocket.</p> <p>The Lifetime Learning Credit applies to the student who wants to continue for more than four years, or go to graduate school.</p> <p>Combined with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-skip-these-8-tax-breaks-for-students" target="_blank">student loan interest deduction</a>, tax credits can save you a nice chunk of change to apply towards paying off your loans. Work a freelance job at the same time, get the freelancer deductions, and now you're talking tax strategy. But know you can't make more than $80,000 a year to get the American Opportunity Credit, and no more than $60,000 to get the Lifetime Learning Credit.</p> <h2>6. Look Into the Business Deduction for Work-Related Education</h2> <p>Here's a scenario. You're a writer and you're going to school to get a degree in English with some sort of writing emphasis. On the side, you do freelance writing to make a little extra cash. You can deduct your education expenses.</p> <p>Or, your employer can pay for your education and write it off on their taxes. Your degree has to go toward continuing in your employment field, and it can't be a degree toward meeting your employer's minimum educational requirements.</p> <p>Even if you're on a leave of absence from work, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc513.html">still deduct educational expenses</a>.</p> <h2>7. Paying for Child Care? The Child and Dependent Care Credit</h2> <p>You can get a credit of up to $3,000 for one child/dependent, or $6,000 for two children/dependents, per year. You have to be employed or seeking employment. If you're a full-time student, you qualify as being employed. Your income will determine your credit amount, but the nice thing is there is no income ceiling. You must provide your child care provider's information, as they must be a qualifying provider (not your spouse or one of your older kids). The <a href="http://www.taxcreditsforworkingfamilies.org/child-and-dependent-care-tax-credit/">Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit</a> is a nice boost, and combined with the other credits listed here, will definitely help you out come tax time.</p> <h2>8. Get Free Tax Prep</h2> <p>All of this is a lot to take in, and doing your own taxes can be frustrating, especially if you're pressed for resources. Is there a community college in your area? Under the IRS VITA program, low to moderate-income Americans can get tax help from volunteers at community colleges and other locations. Of course there are qualifications you have to meet, and materials you have to bring. You qualify if:</p> <ul> <li>You make $54,000 a year or less<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're elderly or incapable of preparing on your own taxes due to disability<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You speak limited English</li> </ul> <p>The IRS page on this topic will provide you with a tool for finding the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers">closest VITA tax-preparer</a>, and info on <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Checklist-for-Free-Tax-Return-Preparation">what to bring</a>.</p> <p>Happy tax prep!</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of these tax breaks for students?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/daniel-matthews">Daniel Matthews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unique-ways-millennials-are-dealing-with-student-loan-debt">7 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-rank-americas-colleges">A Better Way to Rank America&#039;s Colleges</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-graduate">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Graduate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Taxes college dependents interest student loans tax breaks tax deductions tuition Mon, 04 Apr 2016 09:30:34 +0000 Daniel Matthews 1683568 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008240280_Large.jpg" alt="the Easter bunny brought money instead of candy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2015, the <a href="https://nrf.com/media/press-releases/consumers-the-hunt-candy-new-spring-apparel-this-easter">average family spent about $140</a> on Easter-related goodies. That's a lot of cash for a lot of sugar. Is it a good idea to be spending so much on something that's gone by the end of the spring? (Aside from those immortal Peeps, of course.) Or is it better to save your dough and give them some lessons in personal finance instead?</p> <p>Now, I'm not going to be the one to suggest that the Easter Bunny forgo candy in favor of sensible financial gifts. It's the Easter Bunny, not the boring Easter Financial Planner, after all.</p> <p>But there may be ways to weave in personal finance lessons while letting your kids gorge on some treats. Here are some good &quot;financial&quot; alternatives to chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, and why they're so much sweeter as gifts than sugary, empty calories.</p> <h2>1. Kids Need an Early Lesson in Saving</h2> <p>Many banks offer savings accounts for people under age 18, with parents having joint custody and control. Other banks, including Wells Fargo, have some accounts allowing children over 13 to have full control. Your kids are free to use the savings account and learn about deposits and withdrawals, interest, and even how to use an ATM card.</p> <h2>2. Savings Bonds Teach the Power of Patience</h2> <p>It's easy to purchase U.S. Treasuries through Treasurydirect.gov and gift them to whomever you want. You can even have a gift certificate delivered with the bond. Savings bonds are very simple financial instruments that are virtually guaranteed to grow in value over time and teach children about interest. And if they are long-term bonds, they'll get lessons in patience, as well.</p> <h2>3. Becoming a Choco-Stock Holder Is Way More Fun Than Just Eating Chocolate</h2> <p>If you want to let your kids embrace chocolate, but give some financial lessons along the way, give them a few shares of a chocolate or candy company. Hershey [NYSE: NSY] is the largest chocolate company in North America. Its stock is a solid performer with a 2.5% dividend. Another solid option is Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company [NASDAQ: RMCF]. And it's also possible to invest in international chocolate makers including Nestle and Cadbury.</p> <h2>4. They Can Learn How to Build a Nest Egg</h2> <p>Let's say you take that $140 you're planning to spend on Easter and instead, place it in an index fund that mirrors the S&amp;P 500. If you do that every year for the next 10 years, you'll have more than $2,000 to give to your kiddos, according to most investment calculators. Do it for 20 years and you'll have more than $6,000. Do it for 30 years, and you'll have more than $14,000. Seems a lot better than cheap baskets and piles of fake grass, am I right?</p> <h2>5. Give Them an Early Start on Saving for College</h2> <p>It's hard to think about your kids going off to college when they still believe in the Easter Bunny. But college ain't cheap, and there may be no greater gift than helping them avoid thousands of dollars of debt when they graduate. A 529 college savings plan will allow you to put money into the stock market and have it grow tax-free, provided the funds are used for college later. And you may also get some additional tax breaks from your state. The annual cost of public college tuition in 2030 could top $40,000, while private school tuition might run you $90,000 or more, according to the College Board. Start saving now! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-best-state-529-college-savings-plans?ref=seealso">The 9 Best State 529 College Savings Plans</a>)</p> <h2>6. You Can Help Them Start a Business</h2> <p>When your kid is opening a Hershey bar, consider telling him the story of how Milton Hershey founded several businesses before hitting it big with chocolate. Your kid has great ideas. Why not help them see if they can turn their smarts and creativity into a money-making operation?</p> <p>You can help them craft a business plan, learn how to develop and market products, and even keep a balance sheet. Many schools offer real-world business lessons through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, so it's worth exploring whether the program is available in your area. Even if your child isn't ready to start a business now, giving them lessons in entrepreneurship can open up a world of opportunities later.</p> <h2>7. Make Chocolate With Them Instead of Buying It</h2> <p>Adults know it takes time to properly save for big ticket items like homes and cars, and that the most patient investors are the ones that come out ahead. By teaching your children to make chocolate instead of getting store-bought candy, they will learn the value of patience over immediate gratification. They'll also learn how to be frugal by exploring DIY options, rather than immediately spending money on pre-made, overpriced items. Because, after all, their homemade chocolate is bound to taste better than whatever the Easter Bunny drops off.</p> <h2>8. Give Them an Allowance &mdash; And a Budget to Buy the Chocolate</h2> <p>Depending on the child's age, it may be time to pay them for doing chores around the house. It's often recommended to give a child 50 cents a week for every year they've been alive. So a six-year-old might get $3 a week if they take care of their responsibilities. But the allowance should also come with lessons on spending. Set limits on what a child can spend each week, so they understand the power of accumulating savings. Who knows? Perhaps they'll realize they can afford even more than what was left on Easter morning.</p> <p><em>What other gifts should the Easter Bunny give other than candy? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-easter-baskets-that-cost-10-or-less">7 DIY Easter Baskets That Cost $10 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-frugal-winter-activities-to-keep-kids-busy-during-holiday-break">9 Frugal Winter Activities to Keep Kids Busy During Holiday Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-about-money-i-learned-after-having-twins">7 Lessons About Money I Learned After Having Twins</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family budgeting candy Easter interest kids saving Tue, 22 Mar 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1677120 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Tax Deductions New Homeowners Shouldn't Skip http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_moving_boxes_000029693370.jpg" alt="Couple taking tax deductions they shouldn&#039;t skip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You bought your first home this year. Even better, come tax day, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">owning a home</a> can provide you with big financial rewards. That's because homeowners can claim several tax breaks that can shave thousands off your tax bill.</p> <p>But they won't help you if you don't claim them. Here is a list of the most important tax breaks for homeowners. To claim these, you'll have to itemize your taxes using IRS Form 1014 and Schedule A. This means that you'll no longer be able to quickly fill out your income taxes with the 1040EZ form.</p> <p>You'll find, though, that the extra work usually pays off with solid savings.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Interest Deduction</h2> <p>When you first begin paying your mortgage, the bulk of your payments go toward interest, not the principal balance on your loan. The good news at tax time is that you can deduct the interest that you pay on your mortgage. These deductions can be sizable during your first years of owning a home.</p> <p>There is a limit, though, on interest deductions. You can't claim mortgage interest payments if your home loan is more than $1 million, but fortunately, that's not something that most new owners will have to worry about.</p> <p>Your lender will send you a Form 1098 each January. This form will list how much you paid in mortgage interest throughout the year. You then simply enter that number when filing your taxes.</p> <h2>2. Property Taxes</h2> <p>Depending on where you live, you might pay plenty in property taxes each year. Usually, you'll pay a portion of your yearly property taxes with each mortgage payment you make. You'll include extra dollars with your mortgage payment &mdash; in an amount determined by your lender &mdash; that your mortgage provider will then deposit in an escrow account. When your property taxes are due, your lender will pay them on your behalf from this account.</p> <p>Fortunately, you can deduct your property taxes each year, too. If you have an escrow arrangement with your mortgage lender, the amount you pay in property taxes will also be listed in the Form 1098 that they will send you in January.</p> <h2>3. Points</h2> <p>Did you pay your lender points to reduce your interest rate? If so, you might be able to deduct their cost, too.</p> <p>Buyers spend 1% of their home loan to buy a single point. Lenders allow buyers to purchase points as a way to lower their interest rate. The goal for buyers is to spend a bit upfront for a lower interest rate that guarantees them lower monthly payments for the life of their loan.</p> <p>If you did pay points, the amount you paid will again be listed in the Form 1098 that your lender sends to you.</p> <h2>4. Private Mortgage Insurance</h2> <p>Homeowners don't like paying for private mortgage insurance. This is no surprise. This insurance doesn't protect homeowners at all. Instead, it protects your mortgage lender in case you stop making your monthly payments.</p> <p>But you can deduct your private mortgage insurance premiums on your taxes, thanks to the new Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015. This recent piece of legislation preserves the deduction for private mortgage insurance for the 2015 and 2016 tax years.</p> <p>You'll have to pay for private mortgage insurance if the down payment you provided was less than 20% of your new home's purchase price. You can drop private mortgage insurance on conventional loans not insured by the federal government once your loan-to-value ratio hits 80%.</p> <p><em>Are you claiming all your real estate tax deductions?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-millenials-should-invest-in-a-home">4 Reasons Millenials Should Invest in a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Here&#039;s Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Taxes deductions interest new homeowners pmi points tax breaks Fri, 04 Mar 2016 10:30:43 +0000 Dan Rafter 1666375 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Tax Mistakes Millennials Make http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-mistakes-millennials-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-tax-mistakes-millennials-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_reading_stressed_000058019024.jpg" alt="Millennial man making common tax mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Claiming deductions and organizing receipts isn't fun for anyone &mdash; least of whom Millennials, who might be filing taxes for the first time or experiencing changes in their finances.</p> <p>And while making mistakes might at times be unavoidable, it's not a legitimate defense if the tax man comes knocking. Consider these eight common errors Millennials make when preparing and filing taxes.</p> <h2>1. Not Hiring a Tax Professional (If You Need One)</h2> <p>Not everyone needs a CPA or other tax professional. In fact, if your taxes are straightforward, you can easily file them yourself for free, or use low-cost services such as TurboTax. But not hiring a CPA is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if your taxes are complicated. Accounting professionals are all too familiar with legal loopholes, tax credits, and qualifiable exemptions, and they will work on your behalf to understand your particular situation and get you the maximum return.</p> <p>A simple rule of thumb: If your taxes seem too challenging to file on your own, they probably are. Seek expert guidance before you make costly mistakes.</p> <h2>2. Spending Tax Refunds</h2> <p>Before most people have received their tax refund, they've already decided how they're going to spend it. Most often it's on a depreciating asset like a car, clothes, or electronics. If tax season is exciting to you for this reason, you definitely should not be spending your refund. I know this not what people want to hear, but you should find more financially constructive uses for this money &mdash; such as investing, tackling debt, or making truly necessary purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-things-to-do-with-your-tax-refund?ref=seealso">8 Smart Things to Do With Your Tax Refund</a>)</p> <h2>3. Allowing High-Interest Debt to Linger</h2> <p>If you're carrying high-interest debt on anything &mdash; including car loans, student loans, or a mortgage &mdash; you may want to use your annual tax refund to knock it out fast. This just depends on your personal situation. First, see if you qualify for ways to reduce your interest rate and/or monthly payments, such as mortgage refinancing, a student loan forgiveness program or income-sensitive repayment. If you can't, paying the debt off quickly might make sense. Put your refund in a savings account, divide it by 12, and take small monthly withdrawals of this amount to include with your regular payments each month. Use this strategy for any debt you wish to repay early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-student-loan-refinancing-can-save-you-big?ref=seealso">4 Times Student Loan Refinancing Can Save You Big</a>)</p> <h2>4. Not Using Retirement Accounts to Lower Your Tax Bracket</h2> <p>Taxes are by far one of the biggest obstacles normal people face when trying to build wealth. If you don't believe me, here's a simple example. If $1 invested doubled every year for 20 years, it would end up being worth $1,048,576. If the same $1 invested doubled every year for 20 years and was subject to a 28% tax bracket, it would be worth a modest $51,353. Now you see the importance of investing to the max inside of tax-advantaged accounts such as 401Ks and 403Bs in order to reduce your tax bracket.</p> <h2>5. Forgetting to Claim Capital Losses</h2> <p>Whether you invest inside of your retirement accounts, or trade on investing platforms such as E*TRADE, if your capital losses offset your capital gains the difference can be claimed as a tax deduction. Let's say you decided to trade penny stocks &mdash; and I'm not saying penny stocks are necessarily a bad investment, but let's say this year you lost $2,000 with no other capital gains from other investments. Your $2,000 loss on risky stocks can be deducted from your other income. In fact, you can deduct up to $3,000 of Capital losses in any tax year. Anything over $3,000 can carryover to the following tax year.</p> <h2>6. Failing to Claim Student Loan or Mortgage Interest Payments</h2> <p>Mortgage and student loan interest payments are generally tax deductible, within certain limits. If you qualify for these deductions, don't forget to claim them. It could otherwise cost you thousands of dollars at tax time.</p> <h2>7. Not Using an FSA for Childcare Costs</h2> <p>If your employer offers an FSA, make sure to take advantage of it. The annual contribution limit to <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/flexible-spending-accounts/">Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)</a> is $2,550, and money saved inside a FSA is tax-advantaged and can be used for health-related costs and dependent care expenses. Any money saved inside your FSA is taken from your pre-tax income, reducing your annual income by the subsequent amount. However, there are time limits on using FSA funds so, be careful not to lose the money you've saved. In <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a>, I explain how to avoid losing your hard-earned dollars.</p> <h2>8. Not Claiming the Cost of Moving</h2> <p>Millennials move more than any other group. And the majority of them move due to career opportunities. Well, did you know that if you change residences due to work, you can claim the expense of your move as a tax deduction? The IRS states that if you meet certain requirements, the cost of your <a href="https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc455.html">work-related move</a> may be tax-deductible.</p> <p><em>Have you made any of these tax-time mistakes?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-mistakes-millennials-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-last-minute-ways-to-cut-your-2016-tax-bill">7 Last-Minute Ways to Cut Your 2016 Tax Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-when-you-move-back-home-with-your-parents">6 Money Moves to Make When You Move Back Home With Your Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tax-deductions-you-can-never-take">3 Tax Deductions You Can Never Take</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes capital losses debt interest millennials Mistakes refunds tax deductions Thu, 03 Mar 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1665767 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_new_house_000051793580.jpg" alt="Couple learning how a 30-year mortgage is a smart choice" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The pros of a 15 versus 30-year mortgage are simple. If you take out a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage loan, you&rsquo;ll pay far less interest over the life of your mortgage. But, if you take out a 30-year <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home">fixed-rate mortgage loan</a>, you&rsquo;ll have a smaller payment each month.</p> <p>Because of this, a 15-year loan would seem to be the smarter financial choice, as long as you can afford the higher monthly payment that comes with it. You&rsquo;ll be savings tens of thousands of dollars in interest by going this route, depending upon how long you hold onto this loan.</p> <p>But there are times when a 30-year loan is the better financial choice, even if the larger monthly payment of a 15-year loan fits within your budget. It all depends upon what you do with the dollars that you save each month thanks to that lower payment.</p> <p>&quot;Choosing a 30-year fixed-rate loan over a 15-year loan gives borrowers a safety net in case they suffer an economic setback,&quot; said Greg Cook, a mortgage consultant with Platinum Home Mortgage in Temecula, California. &quot;While things are good, they can always make the 15-year payment and revert to the 30 when things are tight.&quot;</p> <h2>You Gain Flexibility With a 30-Year Loan</h2> <p>A 30-year mortgage loan provides homeowners with the most flexibility. While this loan requires a lower monthly payment than a 15-year version, homeowners can pay extra each month toward principal if they have extra money available in a given month. This will allow them to pay down their loan at a quicker pace. And if they are having a tougher month, they can pay the lower required payment.</p> <p>&quot;When borrowers are not certain of their job stability, then having a lower minimum monthly payment can be a huge stress-reducer,&quot; said Casey Fleming, author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615980708/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0615980708&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LZERX5HC5JPGLATN">The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage</a><em>.</em></p> <p>The 30-year mortgage, because of its lower payment, also makes sense for borrowers who rely heavily on commissions or bonuses as part of their income. If they have a month in which they earn a big bonus, they can pay more on their home loan. If they have a month without a big bonus or commission check, they can instead pay the required lower payment.</p> <h2>But You Spend a Lot More Money Over Time</h2> <p>Going by the raw numbers alone, a 30-year loan rarely makes financial sense if you can afford the payment that comes with a 15-year mortgage.</p> <p>Say you take out a $300,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4%. If you took the full 30 years to pay off this loan, you'd end up paying a total of $515,608.52 in principal and interest. (This figure doesn't include what you would pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.) If you took out that same $300,000 as a 15-year fixed-rate loan with an interest rate of 4%, you'd pay a total in principal and interest of $399,431.48 if you took the full 15 years to pay off your loan.</p> <p>You'd save $116,177 by going with the 15-year loan. That's a significant amount of money.</p> <p>But mortgage professionals say that this doesn&rsquo;t automatically make the shorter-term mortgage the right choice. Robert Johnson, president and chief executive officer of The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, said that it makes sense for homeowners to go with a longer loan if they use the money that they'll save each month wisely, such as for boosting their retirement savings.</p> <p>In the above example, homeowners would pay about $786 less each month for a 30-year mortgage. If homeowners use these extra dollars to increase their retirement savings, taking out the longer-term loan might be a good financial decision, Johnson said.</p> <p>&quot;Too often, people stretch their limits and make their mortgage payments but not much else,&quot; Johnson said. &quot;Financial planners know that saving for financial goals is not linear. People need to plan for multiple goals at one time &mdash; making mortgage payments, saving for kids' college expenses, and saving for retirement.&quot;</p> <p>Those homeowners who are disciplined enough to invest their monthly savings are often good candidates for a longer-term mortgage, too.</p> <h2>Invest the Difference, Instead</h2> <p>Robert Greene, regional vice president of Austin, Texas-based The Solomon Group, said that homeowners who have about an extra $425 in savings each month because they are paying off a 30-year mortgage could invest that money in an interest-bearing account. If that account on average generated 8% interest, in 15 years those homeowners would have accumulated about $147,239 in savings. If homeowners continued to invest that same amount of money for 30 years at an average rate of return of 8%, they would have $634,147 in savings.</p> <p>&quot;Would you rather grow equity in a home that is not liquid or equity outside the home that is?&quot; Greene asks.</p> <p>This assumes, however, that you will invest or save that extra money each month &mdash; and that it will earn a higher rate of return than you pay in interest on the mortgage. If you&rsquo;re more apt to spend those extra dollars and you can afford the payment that comes with a shorter-term loan, it might make more sense to go with that 15-year loan and reduce the amount of interest you&rsquo;ll pay.</p> <p><em>Are you taking advantage of the flexibility a 30-year loan offers?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip">4 Tax Deductions New Homeowners Shouldn&#039;t Skip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-need-to-know-when-renting-to-own-a-home">5 Things You Need to Know When Renting-to-Own a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-a-first-time-home-buyer-needs-to-buy-a-house">Everything a First-Time Home Buyer Needs to Buy a House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternative-housing-options-you-can-afford">5 Alternative Housing Options You Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing fixed-rate loans interest mortgages new homeowners Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:00:35 +0000 Dan Rafter 1618970 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house_payment_jenga_000057875522.jpg" alt="Learning ways to save for a down payment on a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've found the perfect home. You qualify for the mortgage, and you can afford the monthly payment. The only problem? You don't know how you're going to scrape together enough cash for a down payment.</p> <p>This is not a rare problem. Say you're buying a home for $200,000. A down payment of 10% is $20,000. A 20% down payment is a whopping $40,000. Even a modest down payment of 5% will run you $10,000. That's a lot of money. It's especially daunting if you're a first-time buyer who can't rely on the profits from the sale of a home to help cover that down payment.</p> <p>&quot;Whether you are buying a home for $200,000 or $2 million, the same problem with the down payment exists for everyone,&quot; said Peter Grabel, managing director of Luxury Mortgage Corp. in Stamford, Connecticut. &quot;People think that buyers who can spend a lot of money on a home don't have challenges getting a down payment. They do, too. Like everyone else, they can afford the monthly payments, but they have trouble getting the down payment together.&quot;</p> <p>There is good news, though. There are several ways to gather the funds for a down payment. One might work for you, lessening the blow of gathering up all this cash.</p> <h2>1. The Old-Fashioned Way</h2> <p>The most common way to save for a down payment is to start stashing money in a savings account <em>long </em>before you actually want to buy a home. This method will take time, but it's also effective. Say you put away $500 a month for a down payment. After one year, you'll have $6,000. After four? You'll have $24,000 stashed away.</p> <p>This method does require patience. You can't decide that you want to buy a house and then start shopping next month. But if you're a long-range planner, this might be the soundest way to save for that down payment.</p> <h2>2. Get a Gift From Family Members</h2> <p>It's not unusual for home buyers &mdash; especially first-timers &mdash; to receive part of their down payment in the form of a gift from their parents or other relatives. You might owe a down payment of $15,000, but your parents give you $10,000 to help soften the blow.</p> <p>Most lenders accept gifts. But there are rules that you need to follow. First, you'll need to provide the lender a written letter from the gift-givers stating that the money is actually a gift and not a loan that you will have to pay back. Secondly, you'll have to be able to show documentation proving that you deposited the gift into one of your bank accounts.</p> <p>&quot;Gifts are great, and most lenders accept them,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;But don't expect most lenders to let you use gift funds to cover all of your down payment. Lenders want to make sure that you do have enough financial stability to provide at least part of your own money for the down payment.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Borrowing From Your 401K Plan</h2> <p>You know that you should never withdraw money from your 401K plan before you hit the age of 59-and-a-half. If you do, you'll be taxed on your withdrawal, and you'll be hit with a penalty of 10%.</p> <p>There is an exception, though: You can withdraw up to 50% of the funds in your 401K plan &mdash; up to a maximum of $50,000 &mdash; to help finance the purchase of a home. You won't pay taxes on these dollars, nor will you face any penalty &mdash; even if you're younger than 59-and-a-half.</p> <p>This is a loan, though. You will have to pay it back, typically within five years. Usually, you'll set up a monthly payment, which is in addition to your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-things-you-must-know-about-the-new-mortgage-rules">new mortgage payment</a>.</p> <p>If you fail to pay back your loan, the money you withdrew will be treated as an early withdrawal. This means you'll be taxed on it,<em> and</em> you'll be hit with that 10% penalty. If you take out $20,000 for a down payment, that's a hefty $2,000. Still, taking out a loan responsibly can make sense.</p> <p>&quot;Borrowing from your 401K program for a down payment is not a bad thing to do,&quot; Grabel said. &quot;The tax laws make that quite a viable option.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Taking Out an FHA Loan</h2> <p>Typically, lenders originating traditional mortgage loans will require a down payment of at least 5%, though there are exceptions. But if you take out a loan insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Federal Housing Administration, better known as an FHA loan, you'll only have to come up with a down payment of 3.5% of your home's purchase price, if your FICO credit score is high enough.</p> <p>To qualify for that lower down payment, you'll need a FICO score of at least 580, a score that isn't overly difficult to earn. If you do qualify for the lower down payment, it won't be quite as hard to scrape together the funds you need: On a home costing $220,000, a down payment of 3.5% comes out to $7,700 &mdash; far more affordable than, say, the $22,000 you'd need for a down payment of 10%.</p> <p>Be aware, though, that FHA loans do come with the downside of required mortgage-insurance fees that can make them more expensive.</p> <p><em>How did you come up with the down payment on your house? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-shouldnt-buy-a-house-yet">5 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Buy a House (Yet)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-qualify-for-a-mortgage-with-a-small-downpayment">5 Ways to Qualify for a Mortgage With a Small Downpayment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-fha-home-loan-right-for-you">Is an FHA Home Loan Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Here&#039;s Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip">4 Tax Deductions New Homeowners Shouldn&#039;t Skip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing down payments fha loans interest new homebuyers saving money Tue, 08 Dec 2015 14:00:27 +0000 Dan Rafter 1618966 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is How Much a "Rent-to-Own" TV Really Costs http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-much-a-rent-to-own-tv-really-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-how-much-a-rent-to-own-tv-really-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_watching_tv_000049446604.jpg" alt="Family learning how much a rent-to-own TV costs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people would not be surprised to learn that rent-to-own is an expensive way to buy something, but I was shocked to learn how expensive this really is. Rent-to-own makes payday loans look like a bargain!</p> <h2>The Research</h2> <p>I did some digging into the cost of buying an item with a rent-to-own plan versus other methods. Let's consider an LG 60&quot; 4K TV, model 60UF7700. At my local rent-to-own store, the &quot;90 days same as cash&quot; price for this TV is $2,807.03, and I was presented with several payment options. I could make 117 weekly payments of $39.99, 54 semi-monthly payments of $86.57, or 27 monthly payments of $173.28. With any of these rent-to-own plans, the total of the payments equals around $4,678.83 to own this TV.</p> <p>Next stop, Amazon. I found the exact same LG TV model selling for $1,397.99. I also checked Best Buy and found this TV priced at $1399.99. With Best Buy's price match guarantee, I will use the price of $1,397.99 from Amazon.</p> <h2>How Much More Does Rent-to-Own Cost?</h2> <p>Using the Amazon price for the TV and the total payment of $4,678.83 over 27 months, the effective interest rate of the rent-to-own program is over 141%. Almost <em>any </em>method of payment would be less expensive than this!</p> <h3>Cash</h3> <p>Buying this TV from Amazon or Best Buy with cash instead of signing up for a rent-to-own plan would save $3280.84. The cost of a rent-to-own program is over three times more than paying with cash. At the weekly payment rate of $39.99, it would take about eight months to save up enough to buy the same TV with cash instead of making the $39.99 rent-to-own payment for 27 months.</p> <h3>Credit Card</h3> <p>If you have a credit card at 20% interest, you could charge the TV for the Amazon/Best Buy price of $1,397.99, make payments of $64.72 per month for 27 months, and pay it off (paying a total of $1747.44). This would save $2931.39 versus rent-to-own. If your credit card has an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">interest rate lower than 20%</a>, or you sign up for a credit card with 0% Intro APR, you would save even more.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with 0% APR</a></p> <h2>Smarter Ways to Buy</h2> <p>Why would anyone pay so much to buy something with rent-to-own? Rent-to-own does allow a person to buy things without credit. Even if you cannot obtain a credit card or loan, you can still sign up to purchase something with a rent-to-own plan. Unlike buying something using a credit card, you can stop making payments on a rent-to-own item and return it before you have finished paying for it. But even considering these unique features, rent-to-own is a very expensive way to buy.</p> <p>Here are some alternatives to rent-to-own that can save a significant amount of money:</p> <h3>1. Pay Cash</h3> <p>The downside of this approach is that you will need to wait until you have enough money to purchase the item, but you'll save a ton in doing so. Make a savings plan for your purchase goal. You'll find that with the proper motivation, you can save up that money in less time than you think.</p> <h3>2. Use a Credit Card</h3> <p>As we have seen, using a credit card &mdash; even one with high interest rates &mdash; is less expensive than rent-to-own. You can still get the item right away without having the money upfront, and you'll pay a lot less than you would making rent-to-own payments for years.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-fairaverage-credit?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for People with Fair/Average Credit</a></p> <h3>3. Buy Used</h3> <p>Instead of buying a brand new 4K TV, you could find a used 4K TV on Craigslist for about 30% to 50% cheaper.</p> <h3>4. Choose a Less Expensive Item</h3> <p>Instead of buying the state-of-the-art 4K TV, you could choose a less expensive HDTV for about half the cost.</p> <h3>5. Skip It</h3> <p>Can you do without buying a TV at all? Maybe you can use an old TV that you already have, or use your computer, laptop, or tablet to watch videos and DVRs instead of buying a large screen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-you-need-to-ask-yourself-before-every-major-purchase?ref=seealso">4 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Every Major Purchase</a>)</p> <p><em>Is there any upside to rent-to-own?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-much-a-rent-to-own-tv-really-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walmart-vs-sams-club-who-actually-has-the-better-deals">Walmart vs. Sam&#039;s Club: Who Actually Has the Better Deals?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-sneaky-online-price-changes">6 Ways to Avoid Sneaky Online Price Changes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-the-best-deals-on-groupon">7 Ways to Get the Best Deals on Groupon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping interest price comparisons rent to own television Tue, 08 Dec 2015 12:00:31 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1618942 at http://www.wisebread.com