One of the pieces of advice you hear over and over in the financial industry is, to not borrow money against your home for basically any reason.

There are some people who suggest that it’s OK to take out a home equity line of credit (or HELOC) so you can invest the funds, or make improvements on your home. But to pay off consumer debt? That’s a no-no. I always thought this was a wise piece of advice, but recently decided not follow it.

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Halloween is just around the corner, and for some people it’s one of the most anticipated holidays of the year. The National Retail Federation expects Halloween to cost the average person $77.52 this year* (including costumes, decor, and candy) which is up from $75.03 last year. This translates to over $7 billion nationwide.

This trend is as visible as the cropping up of exclusive “Halloween stores” that do 90% of their annual business in the month of October. With that much money being spent on one holiday, there are sure to be ways to save a money on Halloween costumes (while still having a whole lot of fun).

For instance, instead of looking for the best deal or piecing together a costume themselves, many people fall into the trap of paying top dollar for the exact costume they want. In our high-paced society, it’s convenient to wait until the last second and then buy a costume that doesn’t require any additional work or creativity. But what if you could save 50% or more simply by getting a little creative and planning ahead? 

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The vehicle registration notification came in the mail today — but I expected this. The amount on the bill to register the van we bought in January was a bit of a shock to the system, however. Before purchasing our new family car, we owned the same 2 vehicles for almost ten years. The yearly registration fee for them was $99, and had been so for as long as we could remember.

But this time, the registration for our new van was $342.

The fee for our van’s license tabs wasn’t something we’d given much thought to when we were buying our new car. It was a once-a-year type fee, so we just figured we could easily deal with it when the bill arrived. Unfortunately, coming up with several hundred dollars extra was a bit of a difficult task.

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Are you thinking of hosting Thanksgiving this year? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could throw a dinner party without busting your budget? Well, good news! You don’t need to spend a ton of money to host an amazing Thanksgiving dinner party. In fact, spending too much on the dinner can suck the joy right out of it.

Thanksgiving is a season for thanks and a time to appreciate each other, so there’s no need to lavishly spend money. There are only a few weeks left until Thanksgiving Day, so start planning now.

Doing so will ensure you have a frugal and fabulous Thanksgiving dinner celebration. Use these tips to host a Thanksgiving party without busting your budget.

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I’m comfortable with my level of debt,” said a long-time friend of mine not too long ago. He was explaining why he isn’t making an effort to aggressively pay down his credit card debt.

He makes a decent living, and most of his credit card debt is the result of youthful financial indiscretions. Since he can afford it, and he likes his current lifestyle, he sees no reason to sacrifice to pay it down faster. In other words, he’s comfortable.

In fact, in every other area of his financial life, he’s doing what we think would be the “right” thing. He’s contributing to an employer-sponsored retirement plan (complete with match!). He has an emergency fund with four months’ worth of expenses, and he usually spends within his means.

He even pays substantially more than the minimum payment on all of his credit cards. He’s just not interested in turbo-charging his debt pay down because he likes to indulge in traveling and eating out.

So he’s content with his level of debt (which doesn’t threaten to overwhelm his finances), and he’s cool with taking four or five years to pay it off. How do you feel about your debt? Are you comfortable with how your finances look? Here’s how to understand your acceptable level of debt.
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There are two primary reasons to visit your local dealership: either to buy a new car, or have your current car serviced. Do you dread the latter?

A few years ago my answer would have been “Yes”. Visits to the service department used to make me nervous. Each time I took the car in for a basic oil change or routine maintenance, the customer service rep would come back with a laundry list of repairs that needed to be done.

Sometimes, the figures on the page would be in the high hundreds. And I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of other items on my list that I would rather spend my money on.

One day, I grew tired of the anxiety attacks, and frequent drains on my wallet, and decided to see if I could solve my high auto repair bill once-and-for-all. Here are five actions I took to get my car repair bills under control:
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