I see this possibly becoming a little bit of a tradition here at MoneyNing.com. This isn’t the first year I wrote this piece, but many of us sure need some good news this year so we are re-running the giveaway. What are you thankful for?

Dear readers,

I don’t like to stick my nose in other people’s business, so I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should even write this to you. But I know I’ll regret it if I don’t say anything — so here goes.

In the next 30 days or so, you’ll be bombarded with many seemingly wonderful ideas on how best to part ways with your hard-earned cash. A new TV, perhaps, a gorgeous handbag, or your dream pair of shoes — sold at a deep discount, no doubt.

But while these beautifully-designed products will give you a temporary high, the joy of ownership will fall by the wayside soon enough, just like everything else you’ve ever purchased. [ continue reading… ]

Americans have been cheering on low rates for years. This is especially true for those looking to buy a home or thinking of getting a bigger home. After all, lower rates lower the interest you pay on a mortgage and reduces the monthly burden. Plus, lower rates increase home values, and that makes just about everybody who owns a home happy.

Lower rates, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Or is it? I’ve been telling people that a lower rate isn’t as big of a benefit as people looking to buy a home think it is, but that was when rates go up and down a quarter percentage at a time. Does anything change with rates dropping from 4% to 3% practically overnight? How do lower rates change how much house you can afford when rates change so dramatically all of a sudden? Let’s take a look today. I’m interested to make the calculations myself and find out too.

On the surface, lower rates are always good because no one says no to paying less every month. However, a lower rate brings more buyers in and more demand means a higher price. Let’s take a look at how much of a difference these numbers make.

In our example, we will assume that a couple is trying to buy a home with a mortgage of $500,000. With a 4% 30-year fixed mortgage, the monthly payment is $2,387.08. If rates drop to 3%, that 30-year mortgage only costs $2,108.02 each month. Hooray! But here’s the wrinkle. We know that home prices will rise, so how much will the house value have to rise for affordability to become a wash?

With the rates now at 3%, the original monthly payment of $2,387.08 will pay for a mortgage of $566,190. In other words, the mortgage will have to rise more than 13% before a lower rate is bad for a potential homeowner.

But wait, there’s more.
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There’s plenty of advice about how to use your time more wisely — everything from creating routines to planning out your day the night before. But when you’re in the trenches and you feel the siren song of Candy Crush (or your distraction of choice) calling your name, no routine or well-planned to-do list can save you from yourself.

Those are the times when you need a great productivity hack to put you back on track. Do you want some help? Here are three ways you can force yourself to be more productive on your most procrastination-prone days:

1. Just start already (even if only for five minutes)

This first tip is one I picked up years ago from the home cleaning guru FlyLady (a.k.a. Marla Cilley). She tells her followers to commit to a daily five-minute room rescue and to do it now! We have all experienced the overwhelming sensation of seeing a sink piled with dishes or an overflowing inbox and deciding to deal with it “later.” FlyLady says to just commit to five minutes on whatever it is you’re dreading — and to do it right this minute.
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5 Easy Ways to Pay It Forward

by Jessica Sommerfield · 7 comments

Occasionally the news will feature a refreshingly positive story of someone who practiced a random act of kindness with the mindset to “pay it forward.” You’ve probably heard this phrase before. The movement developed from a book written by Catherine Ryan Hyde, which was then followed by a movie in 2000.

The basic concept is that instead of paying someone back for an act of kindness, you pay it “forward” with an act of kindness to someone else — usually a stranger. In our often selfish and materialistic culture, this is a challenge to get beyond ourselves and spend a little time (and money) to meet the needs of others and inspire them to do the same.

These simple acts don’t have to be expensive or elaborate, and they certainly won’t break your budget; money and time spent paying it forward would probably have been spent on yourself, anyway.

You’ve heard of this right? But have you tried it? You really ought to. Here are a few practical ways you can pay if forward in your everyday life.
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It’s never a good thing to watch stock market fluctuations like a hawk, but you are in good company this year. With coronavirus causing so much suffering and affecting so many major industries in a big way, the Federal Reserves worldwide doing what they can to combat the economic shocks, and a highly contested and competitive presidential election, there are many reasons for people to be worried about their portfolio.

I too have caught myself peaking at stock prices way too many times this year. And while we usually talk about how downtrends can negatively affecting our mood, an uptrend can affect us greatly as well. After all, watching your portfolio value zoom upwards can brighten our day quite a bit too.

The stock market has seen nothing but up, up, and up for the past two weeks, and I find myself feeling just a bit more relaxed these days after a pretty scary few months of volatility. Do you feel happier when stocks go up too? I mean, of course you do. Who wouldn’t? But is a bull market really something to be smiling about? Here are some reasons why you should temper your excitement when stocks go up because it may not be that great for you financially.
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One of the best ways to save money in the long term is to learn how to say “no.” Saying no to spending can help you get your priorities in order, as well as keep your finances on the right track.

Some have trouble saying no to themselves, but many don’t have that issue at all. I fall into the latter category. It’s easy for me to say no to most material possessions because the comfort of seeing the money in the bank account far outweighs the benefit of seeing a shiny new toy in front of me. Still, the story changes when it comes to our kids. When I look into their earnest little faces, pleading with me to buy a toy or take them to the movies, it’s sometimes hard to tell them no.

However, the reality is that sometimes you have to. Here’s how to do it:
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