Posts in Category: tips

10 Back-to-School Money Saving Tips 

By: Daniel Jacinto
August 29, 2016 Categories: saving tips

Crowded stores, long lines, empty shelves…this all sounds kind of like the holiday shopping season when it isn’t! It’s the second largest consumer-spending season according to the National Retail Federation: back-to-school shopping. And it has gotten expensive!

The National Retail Federation foresees households of K-12 graders will spend an average of nearly $700 on clothes and accessories, electronics, shoes, and school supplies. For college students it’s closer to $900 when factoring in electronics.

This all sounds like a lot doesn’t it? That $700-$900 may not always be at your disposal and charging the credit card or taking out a small loan wouldn’t be the wisest idea either.

Below are 10 back-to-school money saving tips mentioned on that may help you and your family save some cash in the coming month:

1. Make a List
Some schools and colleges are good at giving students a list of necessary school supplies. Use those lists to stay on-track when shopping and avoid unnecessary purchases.

2. Check Closets and Drawers
Before you go shopping, take stock of what you already have! Look in your kids’ closets for wardrobes that still fit and sell any that don’t to make a quick buck. It’s also a good way to remove clutter from your home!

Don’t forget to check desk drawers. You may find pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, and more lurking around in your home.

3. Look for ‘Like New’ Supplies
With all the garage sales going on in the summer, you’re bound to find supplies at even cheaper prices. One student’s trash is another student’s treasure!

4. Clip Coupons
Check out coupons from retailers. Target is one retailer that offers their own store coupons and promotions for school supplies.

5. For College Students: Cheaper Textbooks
Don’t wait on that bookstore line to purchase overpriced books with little re-sell value. Rent books online on sites like or for over half the price of buying.

6. Bulk Up!
Got a big family or friends to share a jumbo size purchase with? Find great value at a warehouse club on school supplies.

7. Shop at Discount Stores
Have you shopped at discount stores like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx? Find good quality clothing and book bags for your child at great prices. College students can find discounted bedding and kitchen supplies.

8. Search for the Best Deal on Big-Ticket Items
Need to buy a big-ticket item like a computer? Check out sites like PriceGrabber and Nextag to find the best price. If you’re going to buy online check out RetailMeNot for coupon codes before checkout.

9. Wait Until September Clearance Sales
If you have enough to hold you over until the fall, do so. You’ll find amazing deals on clothing, book bags, and lunch bags after the first few weeks of the school year.

10. Just Say “No” to the Unnecessary
We’re all guilty of being caught by good in-store marketing that’ll get us to buy something we don’t need. This is why you should create a list to begin with to keep you on task! Don’t buy the fancy overpriced pencils, pens, folders, etc.

Also, don’t be influenced by your kids to get something that is also unnecessary. Stay on task!

How to Cope with Daylight Savings Time 

By Daniel Jacinto
March 09, 2016 Categories: saving tips

It’s that time of year again where the temperature warms up and the huge snow mounds left over from worse days are all or nearly melted. It’s also that time to spring forward! The clocks will change for Daylight Savings Time (DST) on March 13th this year at 2 a.m. The effects of this one-hour change will give you an extra hour of sunlight at the expense of one hour of glorious beauty sleep.

How can you cope with the change and avoid the grogginess when you lose your hour of sleep when the time changes? Here are a few tips to help with the adjustment:

Go to bed a little earlier the night before.

It’ll help you feel completely recharged the next morning! It’ll probably make it easy to not crush your snooze button first thing in the morning or snooze your various alarm clocks set up on your smartphone. Disclaimer: This is providing you aren’t already sleep deprived or consuming alcohol or caffeine before bedtime. But really, who isn’t already sleep deprived or with a nightcap before bedtime?

Reset your internal clock.

Light suppresses the secretion of the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. It’s important to spend as many hours in light during the day and limit your exposure to light in dark hours. Another added plus, a lower energy bill! WARNING: DO NOT live in complete pitch black darkness in your house. You might knock over your favorite coffee mug walking through the halls and ruin your Monday morning before it even starts. Please do have a night-light installed so you can see where you are going in your home.

Practice good sleep hygiene and create a sleep-friendly environment.

If you need to wake up early, don’t pick up your favorite alcoholic drink right before bed! I know it’s tempting, but Mondays are already difficult to take. Don’t make it worse. Also, don’t drink any caffeinated beverages right before bed. Why wake yourself up before getting ready to go to bed?

Practice some calming rituals before going to bed. Take a hot bath or wear (comfortable) earplugs and eye masks. It’s crucial you wake up at the same time every day as well.

So there you have it. Some easy ideas (I hope) to help your Monday morning after you spring forward!

How to Manage Money in Your 30s 

Make the Right Financial Decisions and Establish Good Habits During this Pivotal Decade
March 20, 2014 Categories: saving tips


Your 30s can be a pretty significant decade. It’s a transitional point in life in the wake of post-collegiate years where your career starts to take off and you begin to settle down a bit, maybe buying a home, getting married or having kids. Or you might be planning major life adventures, like travelling or writing that novel you always meant to pen. Or, perhaps, all of the above. Whatever your path, you likely face some significant money decisions, and the choices you make can end up impacting your finances for years to come.

A report released from the Pew Research Center earlier this month shows that millennials, the oldest of whom are just entering their 30s now, face higher student debt and unemployment levels along with lower income and wealth levels compared to previous generations at the same age. A tough hill to climb. At the same time, they are optimistic about their economic futures, with most (80%) saying they have enough money now or will one day to “lead the lives they want.”

To increase the chances that such an optimistic outlook comes to fruition, here are seven money moves from U.S. New & World Report that financial experts say you should consider in your third decade:

1. Save when you can.

“If you’ve gotten your salary up to the point where student loan debt is not wreaking havoc in your life anymore, but before you have a lot of responsibilities, that’s a great opportunity to super-charge your savings,” says Jean Chatzky, financial editor of the Today Show and author of “Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security.” When parenting responsibilities and mortgage costs take off, for example, it can be hard to save more. “You want to take advantage of the opportunities you have to sock away some money so when the leaner years come around, you don’t beat yourself up,” she adds.

2. Create solid habits.

It’s also time to establish financial habits that will serve you well for the rest of your life. Kerry Hannon, personal finance expert and author of “Great Jobs for Everyone 50+,” says in her 30s, she maxed out her retirement savings accounts and even set aside a portion of her extra freelance income for retirement. “Those funds have served me well over the years as mad money to help pay for vacations and more. I still save outside of retirement accounts religiously in my 50s, too. It's a habit I started back in my 30s,” she says.

3. Plan out your goals and priorities.

“Hopefully you’re starting to become established in your career and can begin to contribute, if you’re not already, to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and begin to think about other savings goals, too, like a home purchase or college savings,” says Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial.

Trent Hamm, founder of the personal finance Web site The Simple Dollar and a U.S. News My Money blogger, says at age 35, he’s now reflecting on his career goals for the next 30 years. “What would I like to be doing with my time and my life? I don’t want the rest of my life to be a repetition of what I’m doing now and then an abrupt retirement. I have dreams and goals, and right now is the best time to get started on them,” he says.

For many people, a financial advisor helps with that. Bart Astor, author of “AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life,” says your 30s is the ideal time to sit down with a financial advisor and talk, which is what he started doing in his mid-30s. He says he and his advisor met once a year to review savings and other financial goals, especially since he and his wife were meeting their goals. “When I hit 40, the plan showed that we should have about $188,000 in assets based on our salaries, and we had over $200,000, and boy, did that make us feel good,” he says.

4. Talk about money with your partner.

If you have a spouse or partner, then getting on track together and working out any disputes can prevent conflicts later. “People often comingle finances with their partner, and open communication is key. Make sure you talk about your finances and life goals with your partner, and align on how you will get there together,” de Baca urges.

5. Get comfortable with negotiation.

Nancy L. Anderson, 52, a certified financial planner in Park City, Utah, says while she did a lot of things right in her 30s, including investing 20% of her income, buying a home, investing in rental property, and saving for her child’s college education, she also wished she had negotiated her salary more assertively. “If I’d negotiated a higher salary each time I changed companies in my career, I’d be wealthier today,” she says. Since most people change jobs about 11 times in their careers, negotiating those transitions can end up making you more than $600,000 richer over your career, she adds.

6. Be a good role model.

For those 30-somethings who are already parents, Beth Kobliner, author of “Get a Financial Life” and member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, says it’s important to model smart financial choices for the little eyes watching you. “You lose all credibility lecturing your little kids about not needing every new toy or tech gadget if you, behind closed doors, have loud arguments with your spouse about not being able to keep up with your credit card bills,” she says. You don’t have to be a money genius, she adds, but it’s important to talk about money—making financial discussions as commonplace as soccer practice or Sunday dinner.

7. Shore up your cash reserves.

While many experts emphasize long-term investing and retirement savings, Tim Maurer, director of personal finance for the BAM Alliance of independent advisors, says he wishes he had kept more money in pure cash savings to give himself a better buffer for unexpected needs and expenses. “Much, maybe too much, financial planning is focused exclusively on the long, long-term," he says, "and while it’s true that real estate can be a great way to build wealth and one should start saving as early as possible for retirement, it’s the unexpected changes in life that often derail 30-something households. Our financial plans should address the short-term, too.”

Maurer points out that your 30s are often a time of “volcanic change” in your personal and professional life, and having a nicely padded bank account can help smooth over some of those transitions.

Saving May be Tough but Here’s How to Get a Handle on It 

February 24, 2014 Categories: saving tips

Getting on top of your finances can be a real chore. Sure, on paper the idea sounds simple, but in reality, it’s much easier said than done.

There’s a lot to it. By the time you pay down your consumer debt, chip away at student loans, dole out money for the mortgage, what’s left for saving for your kid’s college education, not to mention your own retirement? The list of demands for your savings is long, yet online tools and advice from advisors suggest we can make it work—we just need to rethink our approach, according to FOX Business.

The word “budget” has the same emotional response as the word “diet”, according to financial psychologist Brad Klontz; we see it as denying ourselves of things we want and desire. Then there’s the tug-of-war between the here-and-now and the distant future (should I buy these shoes today or some relatively-unknown reward 30 years down the road?).

Indeed, it is a struggle. While experts recommend saving at least 10% to 15% of income for retirement yearly, a recent survey shows 44% of respondents who haven’t retired are saving 10% or less of their annual income. Another 21% aren’t saving at all.

Not only are we not saving enough, we are living longer, increasing our retirement fund needs. The survey shows 72% of respondents don’t know whether their retirement plan has a lifetime income option. Even Millennials, who take saving seriously especially when it comes to pegging savings with the needs of their current life stage, seem relatively unconcerned about retirement, according to MassMutual’s 2013 State of the American Family study. The 401(k) may be a reality for them, but more than half have not yet figured out how much money they’ll need to retire.

Above all, the MassMutual study says younger generations are more concerned with taking care of their aging parents and scratching their heads about how they will do it.

Good intentions notwithstanding, experts agree the saving vs. spending conundrum is potentially overwhelming. Here are some FOX Business expert tips to get a healthy handle on saving:

Get real. If retirement sounds far away and “a rainy day fund” sounds kind of depressing, it’s time to rename these goals, advises Klontz. For short-term savings objectives, identify what you want to buy, be it a dream vacation to Hawaii or your youngster ensconced at your alma mater. The same extends to retirement. What does retirement look like to you: a house near the ocean, writing the next great novel, or helping kids in Africa? Visualize it. Then put a picture on your fridge so you can see it, Klontz recommends. “Do whatever to get the emotional part of your brain excited.”

Much like when you’re dieting, being specific leads to progress. Saying you’ll start saving Jan. 1 will likely get you nowhere, says Jamie Rosen, founder and CEO of dietbetter. Saying you’ll save $2.00 a week over the next month is likely to get results.

Ravi Dhar, director of the Yale Center for Customer Insights, recommends identifying how much money you want to have socked away at various ages. Sixty-five may be hard to visualize, but intermediate goals targeted to 30, 40, and 50 will shorten your timeframes, making them more measurable.

Get started. The decision to save is based on a cumulative series of prudent choices, says Dhar. “You tell yourself you’ll save tomorrow and tomorrow never comes.” Any one month that you don’t save is not terrible, but a series of those choices over your lifetime has consequences

And, starting early pays off, says Amy Podzius, a financial consultant at TIAA-CREF. While it’s important to save as much as you can, don’t think you have to stash away lots of money to shore up your savings or start investing, says Daniel Keady, a certified financial planner and senior director of financial planning at TIAA-CREF. Little bits work, and online tools and calculators will make the concept more real for you.

Make savings planning a family affair. Leaving a legacy is not just about providing an inheritance to your children. It’s also about passing down values, says Klontz. The money scripts we teach our children can be beneficial or crippling, even when we say we want our children to be well-prepared to manage their finances. Tracy Shaw, an assistant vice president at MassMutual, advises having money conversations as a family and across generations to set spending and saving goals to keep everyone budget conscious.

Put your savings on autopilot. We’re leaving money on the table when we don’t contribute the maximum allowable amount to our retirement plan, says Podzius.

A precommittment to increase your 401(k) contribution by a percentage equivalent to your yearly raise will help you grow your pretax dollars before the money even hits your wallet, adds Dhar. Eliminating temptation is also important and he recommends daily strategies like less mall visits, carrying only a small amount of cash in your wallet or leaving your credit cards at home to reduce spending.

Hold your feet to the fire. When you do spend, ask yourself what else you could have done with the money, suggests Dhar. Making this a practice enables you to track your purchases and better analyze your spending habits.

Commitments also carry more weight when we make them known to others, says Rosen, especially if we tack on a penalty for noncompliance. Bet on yourself. For example, if excessive dining out has burned a hole in your pocket, announce you’ll limit yourself to say, two dinners out a week for the next month. If you fail, tell your friend you’ll pony up $100. “It's all stick and no carrot but it's effective. People hate losing their hard-earned money.”

Go social. Sharing money-saving ideas or picking up tips from pen-pal like social media acquaintances on free sites like and Moneyning can keep the process exciting. You might even consider injecting some enjoyable healthy competition, suggests Dhar.

Starting a money-saving competition not only holds you accountable, says Rosen. It also makes you more likely to stick with a savings plan and helps take your mind off your struggles.

The Millennial's Guide to Personal Finance 

January 07, 2014 Categories: financial literacy tips

The need for financial literacy is finally catching on at the high school level across the country, but what about for those in the “Millenial” generation who missed out on this new proliferation of required personal finance classes?

For starters, understanding basic financial terms can help this, and any generation, make the most informed choices about their fiscal path.

In a recent article, Mashable, a leading source for news, information, and resources for the “Connected Generation”, which includes Millenials, listed commonly used terms and their definitions that Millenials can use to navigate their personal finance world:

A popular retirement plan offered by many employers, a 401(k) allows you to set aside a certain percentage of your paycheck into a retirement fund, before taxes.

Some companies will match a portion of your yearly 401(k) savings as an incentive for participating in the program. The funds in your 401(k) are then invested into different ventures, such as bonds, money market accounts, and stocks. However, you will not lose your savings if your employer files for bankruptcy.

You will receive the money as an annuity once you retire, but if you choose to withdraw the funds before turning 59.5 years old, you will have to pay taxes on it.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the rate of charge or interest, usually as it applies to credit cards. Different cards have different APRs. It's important to know which rate you're agreeing to, since it will affect the price you have to pay. Credit card companies can apply APRs to late payments, purchases, and cash advances.

"APR financing" refers to the price you pay with the APR rate included, a price added on top of taxes, essentially. For example, if an ad indicates a car costs $30,000 with 0% APR for 60 months, it means your payment (with taxes, dealer's fees, and tags included) will not include APR during those first 60 months, as you pay off the car. If the deal instead comes with an APR rate of 0.8%, you'd add about $2,400 to the lease, which will be integrated into the car payments.

An annuity is a continuing, fixed annual payment for a certain amount of time. You can receive annuities from insurance companies or retirement funds. For example, one may receive an annuity from a deceased family member's life insurance policy.

Assets are anything you own that can be sold or converted into cash. Some assets include real estate or personal property, cars and other vehicles, jewelry, or investments, such as a 401(k). Unless your stamp collection or old action figures are super rare, those don't count as assets, however.

Credit Score
Your credit score indicates to lenders how trustworthy you are, in other words, how likely you are to pay back your loans and debts (and do so on time). Your credit score can affect your ability to make bigger purchases down the road, such as cars or houses.

The easiest way to build credit is to qualify for a credit card and pay off the balances on time. The most common score is the FICO score, which is determined by payment history, credit use, types of credit use, length of credit history and applications for credit. The score ranges from 300-850.

The three major official reporting companies are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You are allowed, by law, to receive one free credit report a year. If you need to check it more than once, be wary of "free" credit score sites that might ask for a credit card and include hidden charges/fees.

Your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio is especially important for mortgages. There are two types of DTI: the front-end ratio and the back-end ratio. The front-end is the percentage of your income that would go to paying housing-related costs, such as mortgage and real estate taxes, while the back-end represents how much of your income is going to other debts, such as credit card bills and car payments. If either of these ratios is too high, it might keep you from getting a mortgage.

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a retirement plan that is not sponsored by an employer. Since you are solely responsible for adding money to an IRA, you have a wider ranger of investment options. Like the 401(k), most IRAs are tax-deductible.

A liability means you owe money or payments to another person or establishment. For example, student loans are a liability—you have to pay back the sum of the loan, plus interest.

Liquidity is the degree to which you can sell or convert your assets into money, when needed. Liquid assets refer to those assets that can be easily bought and sold, making them easy to convert. It's often smarter to invest in liquid assets, like bonds and stocks, than assets that can take longer to sell, called illiquid assets (real estate, huge blocks of stocks, collectibles).

Net Worth
While the concept seems a little abstract, every person is worth a monetary sum. Your net worth is actually your value if you were to sell all your assets and pay off all your debts. It can be useful to know how much you're worth when considering big financial decisions.

Calculate net worth by subtracting your total debt from the sum of your total assets. If you get a negative number, you have more debts than income (don’t worry if this happens; this is typical for many recent grads). A positive number means you're making or have more than your debts, meaning you have more of a budget for paying off loans.

Savings Account
A savings account works a little differently than a checking account. While your money is still accessible, there are often fees and time delays associated with savings withdrawals. The advantage of having a savings account, however, is that you compound interest (and you are less inclined to take money out, and more inclined to let it alone).

Common types of savings accounts include basic, certificate of deposit (CD), and money market. The basic savings account allows your money to grow at a set interest rate, though often a relatively low one. The CD account has a high, usually fixed rate of interest, but it also has to grow for a set amount of time. If you take money out of the account before the appointed time, you will have to pay a penalty. It's best used for saving money for a big expense down the road, like buying a car or returning to school. A money market savings account will have a high rate of interest that will vary with the market, and your withdrawals from this account may be limited.

Life is Full of Tough Financial Decisions...Some Tips on How to Make the Right Ones 

November 26, 2013 Categories: tips


Life is full of tough financial decisions. In this Fox Business video, author Jack Otter gives some advice on the best choices.

Concerned About Rising Interest Rates? Looking to Refi, Buy a Car, Etc? 

Check Out CNN Money's "5 Things to Know About Rising Rates"
July 24, 2013 Categories: credit tips

After years of decline to rock-bottom levels, interest rates on the rise. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage was recently 4.35%, more than a point about the 2012 low of 3.3%

Interest rates are one of the prime factors in making a financial decision. Check out CNN Money's tips on how to prepare for rising interests and also how to save yourself some money. 

Five Ways to Protect Yourself in Five Minutes 

March 08, 2013 Categories: protect yourself tips

A recent article by Matt Brownwell on highlighted Five Ways Consumers Can Protect Themselves in Five Minutes. The article was part of Consumer Protection Week, when a group of nonprofits and government agencies come together to highlight critical issues ranging from identity theft to dodgy debt collector practices.

According to the article, most consumer protection tips are reactive, but there are proactive steps you can take to protect yourself as a consumer.

Here are the five things you can do in five minutes to help protect yourself:

  1. Turn on Two-Step Verification on Your Email -- Email is in many ways your most important account. When you forget a password to one of your other accounts, the password reset link will be sent to your email. If someone takes over your email, they can reset all the passwords to your other accounts and take them over. Fortunately, email providers like Gmail now offer what's known as two-step verification. Enabling this feature means that if someone tries to access your email account from a different computer than you usually use, they'll need more than just your password—they'll also need a second one-time password that's sent to your mobile phone. The article recommends putting two-step verification in place for both your email and your financial accounts.
  2. Get on the Do-Not-Call List -- You can register up to three phone numbers in less than a minute at or by calling 888-382-1222. These three numbers include your cell phone and do not have to be renewed unless you get a new phone number. If you get an unsolicited phone call offering to add your number to the registry for a fee, it is actually a scammer. The government doesn't allow private companies to register people for the list, and registration is FREE.
  3. Get a Free Credit Report -- According to the FTC, 42 million U.S. consumers have errors on their credit reports they don't know about. Those errors can lower your score, reduce your eligibility for loans and credit cards, and cost you a good chunk of change on a home loan. You can't get rid of those errors until you know about them. Everyone is eligible for a free credit report once a year, to access your FREE credit report visit The article recommends that checking your report once a year isn't enough as you will want to dispute errors or erroneous items as quickly as possible. "We think checking your credit report once a year, an oft-recommended interval, is insufficient for most people," says Erik Larson of NextAdvisor, a site that reviews credit cards, Internet providers and other consumer services. "An identity thief can wreak havoc on your credit in a matter of days, much less an entire year." Larson recommends signing up for a credit-monitoring service, many of which provide identity theft protection and monthly updates on your credit score. As an alternative to a monitoring service, you can space out the three free credit reports you receive (one from each bureau), ordering one free report every four months. Not quite as proactive as a monitoring service, but still free.
  4. Set Up Alerts on Your Credit Union/Bank Accounts -- If there's a fraudulent charge on your bank account or credit card, you have 60 days to spot it and report it. According to the article, consumers are recommended to set up alerts on their credit union or bank accounts and credit cards to notify them of unexpected charges. Setting up custom alerts allows you to use your knowledge of your own spending habits to provide an extra layer of protection. For instance, if you never put more than $200 on your debit card, you can get a text or email in the event of any debit card charge over that amount. If you're conscientious about keeping account balances over a certain amount, you can set up an alert to trigger any time your balance falls below that level.
  5. Set Up a Google Alert for Your Name -- Credit monitoring and bank alerts can help secure you against threats to your finances, but what about threats to your reputation? Rather than Googling yourself every day looking for any incorrect (or incriminating) information about you, just take 30 seconds to set up a Google alert. Then, any time your name pops up on a blog, news site or other search result, you can get an email. If you find information about yourself that you'd rather not have floating around the Web, Google provides a basic primer on how to get it removed.

To read the full article by Brownell, please click here.

New Year, New You 

Why Not Include Getting Financially Fit on Your List of Resolutions
January 16, 2013 Categories: tips

Dieting and exercising top the list of New Year's resolutions for many, but in 2013, why not add being financially fit to that list as well. Getting your finances into shape won't require major lifestyles changes, according to an article published by Fox Business, the same diet rule of moderation also applies to getting a fit budget.

The article lists a set of steps that will help to get your finances in shape.

  1. Evaluate past mistakes. Whether you got hit with finance charges because of overdue bills or held on to a stock longer than you should have, the article, recommends identifying all the 2012 money mishaps and commit to not making the same mistakes in 2013.
  2. Review your investments to ensure you have the appropriate risk portfolio. Make sure you are investing appropriately for your age and goals. For instance, if you have 20 years to retirement, it's common to have more of your portfolio invested in stocks compared to being on the cusp of retirement where you might be considering bond investments.
  3. Reign in credit card use and overspending. Only use a maximum of two credit unions. To help limit unnecessary spending, the article advises rating everything you consider purchasing on a scale from one to five. If the item rates a one, two or three, don't buy it!
  4. Pay down debt. Learn ways to create more income and use those funds to pay down any debt.

Many credit unions have financial advisors on staff they may be able to advise you on ways you can become more financially fit or offer products or services they may help you complete some of you 2013 financial goals.

Good luck creating a new you in 2013!

Four Ways to Keep Your Checking Free 

November 05, 2012 Categories: checking fees tips

Yahoo recently published a article regarding ways to keep your checking account free. In an age where fees are on the rise in both amount and frequency, free checking could become a thing of the past.

Credit unions generally offer lower fees and better rates. Many credit unions also offer free checking accounts with no minimum balance required. Those that have fees tied to their checking accounts, usually the fees are minimal and don't put a large dent in already stretched budgets.

To read the full article and to get more tips on how to keep your checking account "free" click here.

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