1040 U.S. Tax form and assorted American currency

5 Smart Things to do with Your Tax Refund

It’s always tempting to see a tax refund as a windfall to be used for something fun and frivolous, like a shopping spree or throwing a big party. But remember, the government isn’t giving you anything that wasn’t yours all along. It’s not really ‘free’ money, so why treat it that way? Make the most of your tax refund by using it one (...


hospital emergency room entrance sign

Emergency Savings and Peace of Mind

Next week is America Saves Week, sponsored by our friends at America Saves. Their goal is to get people to take the Savings Pledge and start saving a little bit at a time with their eye on a bigger goal. It’s an idea we support whole-heartedly.                                                                     ...


Monthly budget worksheet with a sharpened pencil

Your 2015 Financial Goals

Whether or not you make New Year’s Resolutions, the New Year is a good time to take stock of important milestones, including your personal financial situation. Did you run up some holiday debt you’d like to pay off quickly? Are you falling short of having $3,000 in your emergency fund? Or maybe you’re thinking it’s time to quit relying o...


Broken piggy bank waiting to be filled with money

Are You Financially Fragile?

Are you familiar with the phrase ‘financially fragile?’ It’s a phrase economists use to describe people who would not be able to pull together $2,000 in cash within 30 days. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that more than a quarter of Americans fall into the financially fragile category. Even former Vice Pre...


How to Create a Workable Budget

One of the most effective tools for managing your personal finances is also the most overlooked. It’s the personal budget, which simply measures the amount of money coming in and the amount going out. At Take Charge America, we have found that individuals who maintain regular budgets are more likely to recognize and reverse bad spending habits...


Mother and teen daughter reviewing savings progress on a cell phone

Small Life Changes that Make a Big Difference

You may be sitting on hundreds of extra dollars each month – without even knowing it. In today’s economy, that extra cash cushion could mean the difference between financial security and financial distress. Many people think the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle is their only option, yet it is possible to save more money on the same income. The...


envelope to hold cash for an emergency fund

How to Build an Emergency Fund

Imagine. It's nine days before your next paycheck, and your bank account is close to nil. That's okay for now – you've already paid your mortgage, insurance and water bills, and you have a few bucks in your wallet for pizza delivery, a trip to the gas station, and other such "necessities." But wait. The next day, your refrigerator goes out. As Mu...