Amy has been researching and writing about smarter ways to save and spend money since 2013. She is always on the lookout for practical tips and information she can share to help people get organized, save money and reach their financial goals.
how to adjust your budget for rising prices

How to Adjust Your Budget for Rising Prices

If it seems like you’re spending more lately on food, clothing, gas, and other essentials, you’re not imagining it. The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average price of goods in the U.S., rose by 5.4% from June 2020 to June 2021 — the most rapid rise since 2008. That means just about everything you’re buying is more expensive. If y...


seven types of student loan deferment

The Seven Types of Student Loan Deferment

After several extensions, COVID-19 relief for federal student loans is scheduled to end on September 30, 2021. What does that mean for borrowers? If your loans were current when the special forbearance went into effect, you should plan to resume making payments. If your federal student loans were delinquent or in default at the time, collection eff...

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woman with hands over her mouth

5 Things to Never Say During a Job Interview

Whether you’re interviewing for your dream job or just trying to pay the bills, job interviews can be stressful. If you’ve left a job interview wondering if you said the wrong thing, you’ll want to keep reading. Let’s learn the five things you should never say during a job interview. “How much vacation time would I have?” Benefits, i...


elementary school children enjoying a free summer lunch program

How to Find Free Summer Lunch Programs for Kids

Families who rely on free or reduced school lunch programs during the year often worry about what’s going to happen during the summer when school is out. Fortunately, there are several ways kids under 18 can enjoy free summer lunch programs, provided you know where to look. Let’s review the details. What are these programs called? Depending ...


a backyard deck is an excellent use of home equity

5 Smart Ways to Use Home Equity

One of the many benefits of owning a home is the opportunity to use the equity in your home to make home improvements. Whether you are planning to sell and want to maximize your selling price, or you simply want to enhance your home for your own enjoyment, let’s look at the home upgrades that add the most value.                   Kitch...


woman completing online credit counseling

Online or Phone Credit Counseling — What’s Right for You?

Credit Counseling is a free service offered by nonprofit credit counseling agencies that helps consumers find solutions to credit card debt. The process includes reviewing a consumer’s income, expenses and debts, formulating a workable budget and developing an action plan. At Take Charge America, you may complete this process on the phone with a ...


a backyard water park is a fun staycation idea

5 Super-Fun and Frugal Staycation Ideas

As we head into a post-pandemic summer, you're ready to take a break from the daily grind. But you might not be ready — or have the funds — to travel for a full vacation. The good news is, staying close to home doesn't have to mean sticking to the same old routines. Here are some easy, cheap and really fun staycation ideas: Movie Marathon If ...


young couple working with the real estate agent on their home buying team

Who’s Who On Your Homebuying Team

Unlike most purchases, buying a home requires a whole team of people to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. As a first-time homebuyer all those people may seem overwhelming, and you might wonder if it’s even necessary to have everyone involved. Let’s take a look at who’s who on your homebuying team and how they can help you.     Housing...