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How to use up Flexible Spending Account money by the end of the year

by Kristin Wong on November 12, 2013

You don't have to buy medicine to use up Flexible Spending Account money.If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you’re probably familiar with the dreaded “use it or lose it” rule. If unused by the end of the year, any money that remains in your account could be forfeited. So if you need to use up Flexible Spending Account money before the end of the year, what are your options?
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When do you need a financial adviser?

by Kristin Wong on November 11, 2013

Do you need a financial adviser?Not everyone needs a financial adviser or planner, but there have been a couple of times during my financial journey when a guide would’ve been nice. So when do you need a financial adviser necessary? I wasn’t sure, so I asked one.

“Everyone is different, so I can’t say yes or no to everyone having a financial planner,” says Matthew Watt, financial consultant at Heymont & Company in Los Angeles. “I would like to think everyone should want a financial planner, but that’s naive and biased of me. I provide value for people who are too busy to manage things on their own or need a second opinion.”

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Who needs a will? Pretty much everyone

by Kristin Wong on November 10, 2013

Who needs a will? You do, probablyIt’s obvious why wills are necessary for married people who have children and valuable assets, but for those of us who don’t have kids or large estates, a will is still important.

“Most people over the age of 18 need a will,” says Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore, an attorney in Hamden, Conn. “Single individuals often need a will even more so than a married person. For married people, in most jurisdictions, most property can pass to the surviving spouse upon the death of the other spouse. However, since an unmarried person does not have this option, their estates generally go through probate court.”

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Haven’t started budgeting for the holidays? Now’s the time

by Kristin Wong on November 02, 2013

If you don't start budgeting for the holidays until Black Friday, you may end up overspending.
Americans have a habit of getting buried in debt during the holidays.

In November 2011, Consumer Reports conducted a holiday spending survey and found that 14 million Americans were still paying off bills from the previous year’s holidays. That’s only about 6 percent of us, but the point is, we usually don’t start budgeting for the holidays until it’s too late, and that can lead to overspending and ultimately, debt.

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Cellphone insurance: Is it worth it?

by Kristin Wong on October 29, 2013

Is cellphone insurance worth it?When you buy a new cell phone, most companies take the opportunity to offer you insurance that’s supposed to protect you in case it breaks. But does it really help?

A couple of Christmases ago, I splurged and bought my boyfriend a smartphone. Because it seemed like a good idea at the time, I also paid for an insurance plan at about $10 a month.

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Can flying first class be frugal?

by Kristin Wong on October 28, 2013

Finding cheap first class flights just takes a little legworkWhile checking in to a flight recently, sheer curiosity led me to see how much it would cost to upgrade. I was surprised to find out that moving up to first class would only be fifty bucks. Granted, it was a two-hour flight, but first class for only $50 more than coach? That’s a decent deal, especially when you factor in the free drinks, lots of extra leg room and priority boarding and disembarking that typically come with a first class ticket.

Obviously, it’s cheaper not to upgrade at all. But if you’re looking for a little splurge or just want to try first class out, here are some ways to score cheap first class flights.
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How to get money back from a friend

by Kristin Wong on October 17, 2013

Ever have trouble getting money back from a friend?Ever loaned money to a friend? If so, then you’ve probably experienced some level of awkwardness, which usually kicks in when it comes to asking for your money back.

Last year, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that friends who borrow money remember the loan very differently than friends who lend the money. Sometimes, borrowers even remember the amount differently. Researchers call it “the blind spot.”

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Free layaway: Is it a good deal?

by Kristin Wong on October 16, 2013

Is free layaway actually a good deal?In the next few weeks, stores and online retailers will be bombarded with holiday shoppers. In an effort to encourage spending, some stores are offering free layaway programs.

Toys ‘R’ Us, for example, boasts, “No upfront fees!” on their website. And in August, Walmart introduced “free layaway with no opening fee,” according to a press release.

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