Most people who end up in debt get there for different reasons. However, once you decide that you are tired of the bondage and uncertainty that comes with owing others money, it’s time to make a debt reduction plan that works for you. As you decide how to proceed, here are some tips to keep in mind as you create your debt plan:
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College student
College has become something of a Catch-22 for students. It’s impossible to secure even a mediocre job without a college degree, but the constantly spiraling costs of education make it nearly impossible to pay for that necessary degree.

For parents of students, it can be tempting to try to help out – by cosigning a loan, taking out a Parent PLUS loan, or even paying off a child’s individual student loan. However, as reasonable as it may be to want to help your child fulfill their academic potential, taking on their student debt in any way can seriously affect your bottom line.

Here are three reasons why it’s okay to let your child navigate the student debt issue on her own:

1. Co-signing a loan could leave you saddled with debt.

While federal student loans don’t need a co-signer, private student loans will often require one. That can be a huge burden for families. Federal loans offer many repayment options, but private loans are not required to help in any way.

This means that if your child has trouble finding steady or lucrative employment after college, you’ll be on the hook for any payments owed to the co-signed private loan.
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Even though my wife and I otherwise fall into fairly traditional roles when it comes to our finances – I’m the breadwinner while she mainly takes care of our family’s daily needs – we always had separate checking accounts.

What we do is that I send her a fixed amount at the beginning of each month and she uses the money as she pleases. If she spends too much one month, then she’ll have to be more frugal the next. If she saved a bit, then she can splurge a bit more. I take care of the family finances and mechanics of saving for the future, so she’s “living paycheck-to-paycheck” sort of speak. It’s a lovely arrangement for her though because the paychecks are dependable and she doesn’t worry at all about running out of money in the future. It works for me too because we avoid bickering about every little spending decision by keeping the focus on the big picture.

While some marriage and finance experts recommend sharing a joint checking account to ensure good marital communication about money, I find that we are far from the only ones who benefit from having separate checking accounts. I know a few other couples who use separate checking accounts to keep the family finances humming along. Here are five reasons why this works:
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Minimalism has a lot in common with frugality. The goal of both philosophies is to reduce waste so you can live and consume with intention. Frugal minimalists can happily incorporate ideas from each school of thought to create the lovely home and life they want while saving money.

However, there are places where minimalism parts ways with frugality — which can sometimes mean costly mistakes. Have you fallen victim to any of these three hidden costs to minimalism?

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Conventional wisdom states that borrowing money for education or a home is “good” debt. Unlike using a credit card or borrowing to buy a car, schooling and your home are things that stand the test of time. No one can take your education away from you. It’s unlikely that a cargo truck will clip your home and “total” it. Theoretically, both education and a home will appreciate in value.

However, we know all too well that we can’t take that value appreciation for granted. Who would have predicted that borrowers on mass could become underwater in their homes during the Great Recession? The students who graduated just as the economy took a nosedive don’t necessarily feel like the money they borrowed for their education is going to see a return on the investment. So does that mean we need to rethink the idea of good debt?
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Both of my kids are at a full-day camp this week and the house is soooo empty and quiet! They went out since 8 in the morning and won’t be back until 5 pm today. Thinking back, the kids haven’t been away while we were home for that many hours since my oldest was a full-day preschool. After all, I work at home, and paying for after-school care seems wasteful.

And let me tell you. In at least six years, I haven’t had this much time in my life. I had time to enjoy my lunch without interruptions. I had time to work with full concentration. I even had time to play without guilt. And guess what? The kids still aren’t back yet!

Look. I love my kids, but I love this temporary sanctuary too. So let’s talk about childcare cost savings today. Maybe you are like me and found a love for sending your kids to a professional so you can have more time working professionally. Maybe you are part of a dual-income household and need to work at an office so childcare is mandatory. This article is for you.
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