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Volume 3 Issue 9September 2012

 Avoiding The 'Freshman $15,000'


Ever heard of "the freshman 15," the weight gain that supposedly attaches itself to new college students? Try this on for size, so to speak: "the freshman $15,000," or the unnecessarily high expenditures of freedom-dazzled youngsters.That $15k figure isn't based on any actual debt amount; it's just a play on words that's floating around the blogosphere. But given how many students graduate tens of thousands of dollars in debt, it's not hard to imagine racking up $15k per year just on tuition, fees and books.
That's before we even get to problems like:
  • Too-frequent swipes of the debit card (hello, bank fees!).
  • Overspending on entertainment, dorm d�cor and meals out.
  • Abusing credit cards (despite the Credit CARD Act, the under-21 crowd can still get credit).
  • Not understanding that private student loan interest rates are variable.
  • Using "extra" loan money for a lavish lifestyle.

How to avoid these mistakes?



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Five Myths About Credit Scores And Insurance

Apply for auto or homeowner's insurance and chances are you'll find an inquiry on your credit report from the insurance company. Why and how do insurance companies use your credit information? Lamont Boyd, FICO's director of global scoring solutions for the insurance market, joined me for an interview on Talk Credit Radio to explain how credit information - specifically in FICO's case, the "credit-based insurance scores" they power - are used by insurers. Following are five "myths" he dispells about how your credit affects the insurance you get.

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In This Issue
Avoiding The 'Freshman $15K'
Five Myths About Credit Scores And Insurance
5 Unusual Saving Strategies
Money Lessons From Our Pets

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  5 Unusual Saving Strategies


As vexing as the task can seem, saving money amounts to one simple thing: spending less than you earn. But while the premise is simple, the execution is often anything but.

If you have struggled with the traditional methods of keeping a budget and paying yourself first, the slightly eccentric strategies that follow may help you finally build your emergency fund or retirement nest egg into what it should be.

While these tactics are not for everyone, if you find motivation in taking an unusual approach to a new challenge, they may give you the jump start you need to prioritize your savings.





Money Lessons From Our Pets

Usually when I write about pets, it's to chronicle the expenses they pose: "Will your pet bankrupt you?" and "What your fat pet is costing you" are just two recent examples.

As every pet owner knows, though, that's just one part of sharing a life with the furry (or feathered or finned or scaled) set. They're our companions, our comforters and sometimes our comedians.

They can be our teachers as well. Oh, sure, they impart important lessons in how to live life in the now and all that. But they also offer surprisingly good financial advice. Don't believe it? Click ahead for eight important money lessons you can learn from your pets.