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Lessons From My Father: Bartering skills

When I was young, I often accompanied my father to work on air conditioning units. He specialized in all things HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). Sometimes I found that the customers wouldn't pay him. Once I asked why, and he explained that they simply repaid him with goods or services of their own. Never once has anyone in my family paid for a car repair because of deals like this that he has in place. Growing up I enjoyed the spoils of bartering in ways you couldn't imagine.

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Payday Loans: How a short-term loan can have long-term consequences

A payday loan is marketed as an advance on your paycheck -- it's a short-term loan (around two weeks) that typically ranges from $50 to $500, plus a fee.

I know what you're thinking…that doesn't seem so bad. So, what's to fear? I worked for a payday lender right after I graduated college. Sure, many people were able to get a loan, pay it off right away, and be on their way. Unfortunately, I witnessed many others who experienced the negative effects of payday loans.

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Track Your Finances: 10 money management apps that can help you save

Track spending to the dime, browse your investment portfolio and save for that trip to Europe, all while standing in line at the post office. Hundreds of finance apps on the market today turn your smartphone into a powerful financial tool, ideal for seizing control of your bottom line. Here's a sampling of some apps you'll love.

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Hidden Apartment Fees: Additional costs to expect when moving into a new place

By on January 24th, 2014 • Budgeting, fees, Hidden fees, Moving, New Apartment, New city, New home

Searching for an apartment can be stressful. You’re trying to find the best location, a reputable management company, a great apartment, and all while staying in budget. The apartment you choose drastically can affect your finances. But keep in mind that it isn’t just the monthly rent that you’ll be paying for. There are actually many other costs that you might not realize right away. Here are some hidden fees you may encounter while renting an apartment:

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How I Moved to Europe for Six Months: Part 2

After seven years, I'd saved $13,000 to go to Europe for six months. And though I was leaving my job as the development director at a small literary arts center, I offered to continue writing grants for them over the summer. This was a win for all involved; the new development person wouldn't have to worry initially about grant applications, and I'd have additional income.

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How I Moved to Europe for Six Months: Part 1

As many do, I became enamored of travel when I studied abroad in college—for me, it was a month in Rome studying poetry. I knew I would want to return to Europe for an extended period of time. I had lived in the same city, Seattle, for most of my life. And I wanted to stay there; I loved it! But my time in Rome helped me realize how much, emotionally and intellectually, there is to gain from learning a new city from the ground up.

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First Paycheck Breakdown: How you should be spending your first paycheck

Whether it's a $30,000 salary or $130,000, your first "real job" is probably the biggest income change you'll experience. Sure we'll get gradual raises here and there, and maybe even a major promotion or two, but going from an income of nothing to a full time salary is quite a jump.

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Dress Professionally Without Breaking the Bank

In a perfect world, we could all wear yoga pants to work--not just because they’re comfortable, but also because they’re a lot cheaper than a suit.

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The Hidden Costs of Studying Abroad

I recently financed a three-week study abroad trip to Italy -- a complete stay with weekend trips to Venice and the Amafli Coast -- entirely by waiting tables at a restaurant.

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Are Your Valuables Covered?

By on October 21st, 2013 • Budgeting, College & Career, Housing, Renter's insurance, Life

Many incoming students move to campus fearing the terrible fates that could possibly befall their personal property. To inadvertently add to the anxiety, your parents may flood you with questions about your college's insurance policies. What's covered? What if the fire alarm isn't indicating a drill? What if a sneaky roommate snatches something? What if a pipe bursts?

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