For the Best Prepaid Card, Shop Carefully


Prepaid cards have become very popular. They may look like debit cards but they aren’t tied to a bank account. They can be used to pay bills, make purchases online and offline, and make withdrawals from an ATM. People use them for a variety of reasons, for example, to help with budgeting or to provide funds to teens or college students. Even though some cards have added features and reduced the fees, prepaid cards still have some drawbacks. If you don’t choose carefully, the fees—activation, monthly maintenance, reloading, ATM use—can mount up.

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Beware of Utility Billing Scams


There’s a billing scam making the rounds affecting consumers and businesses. Here’s how the scam works. You receive a phone call indicating that your account with the power company is past due and your electricity will be cut off if you don’t pay within a specific time frame, usually an hour. To pay, you need to get prepaid debit cards and call them back with the card number and PIN. Variations of the scam include requesting payment by debit card or credit card and coming to your door.

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Update: Federal Student Loan Legislation Signed Into Law

On August 9, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. This legislation reduces the interest rates on federal Stafford loans and is retroactive to July 1. Future loan rates will also be tied to the financial market.

What does this mean for students right now? For this academic year (2013-14) and the next (2014-15) for new subsidized federal loans, undergraduates will pay an interest rate of 3.86%, graduate students 5.41%, and parents (PLUS loans) 6.41%. The interest rate of the loan will remain fixed for the term of the loan.

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Taking a Road Trip?


It's summer and more people are taking a road trip. It doesn't matter how long your road trip is - a day, a weekend, a week or more - you and your vehicle need to be prepared. Before you head out, get your vehicle serviced. A smoothly running vehicle with properly inflated tires can give you peace of mind as well as better gas mileage.

The following resources provide lots of and information and tips that will help you before you leave and during your trip.

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Buying Sunscreen? Read This First.

Warmer weather is here and for many people that means spending more time in the sun, especially at the pool or beach. And sunscreen is a must for your shopping list. How do you know which sunscreen is best for you? This year sunscreens have to meet new testing and labeling requirements issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These new labels include:

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When Life is Like an Angry Monkey...

ie_remarsreport_aprilYou're cruising along just fine when it strikes; that Barnum & Bailey semi in front of you hits a bump, the trailer door breaks and out bounces a crate of circus monkeys.  And they're angry...

Now that you're on the edge of your seat, what's this have to do with anything? Nothing, other than lately my life has had difficulties I equate to the likeness of angry monkeys.  Life sometimes hurls unexpected circumstances at you; sometimes you can duck and avoid the bad stuff, but sometimes you can't.

My ducking skills have been better... I've faced the loss of my job and several other family, health and "old house" repair problems. Some of which I probably should have seen coming, other I could not. Am I looking for sympathy by telling you this? On the contrary, I want to tell you how I am coping with life.

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