You can forget Christmas in July. A number of states across the country are offering sales-tax holidays primarily during the dog days of August. Seeing as state sales taxes can be as high as 7%, these newfangled holidays offer a great savings opportunity for back-to-school shoppers, perhaps also giving those planning to wait for sales following the start of school reason enough to move up their timeline. This is especially true since After all, most sales-tax holidays specifically target for popular back-to-school items such as clothing, footwear, electronics and sports equipment.
College opens many doors. Besides providing invaluable cultural experiences and the opportunity to build lifelong connections, a college education can lead to better job opportunities and increase future earning potential. And the more degree holders earn, the more tax dollars they contribute over time, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
One way to strengthen an economy, the EPI suggests, is to attract well-paying employers “by investing in education and increasing the number of well-educated workers.” In states where workers have the least schooling, for instance, the median wage is $15 an hour compared with $19 to $20 an hour in states where 40 percent or more of the working population hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Local governments appear to be catching on and maximizing the appeal of their cities to college graduates.
Big cities are getting even bigger — fast. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, large urban centers today are growing at nearly twice the rate recorded during the opening decade of the 21st century.
And the factors fueling greater population density seem obvious: Big cities epitomize opportunity, economic or otherwise, which appeals especially to young professionals seeking advancement in their careers and social lives. The other main draw? Easy access to diverse dining and entertainment options that are comparatively scarce in more rural settings.
Growing up can be hard. Without a stable home, positive role models and tools for success, many young Americans fall behind their peers and experience a rocky transition to adulthood. Today, about one in eight individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are neither working nor attending school. Others suffer from poor health conditions that hinder their ability to develop physically or socially.
Such issues not only affect young people later in life, but they also prove detrimental to society as a whole. According to a report from Mission: Readiness, for instance, 71 percent of young adults today are ineligible to join the U.S. military due primarily to a lack of basic academic skills, criminal records or health issues such as obesity and diabetes. Research shows that environments where such problems are most prevalent often increase an adolescent's risk of adverse outcomes, including economic hardship, early pregnancy and violence, especially in adulthood.
A credit card balance transfer is when you repay existing debt with a new credit card. This moves your balance to the new card but does not reduce the amount you owe. It can, however, get you a lower interest rate. And that would make your debt less expensive, allowing you to save money and pay off what you owe much faster.
Stress is inevitable. Everyone experiences some type and level of it. But it’s not always a bad thing. Certain kinds of stress can have positive effects on a person’s well-being — at least, in the right doses. According to Psychology Today, “A little bit of stress, known as ‘acute stress,’ can be exciting—it keeps us active and alert.”
When stress reaches an unmanageable level, however — that is, when it turns “chronic” — we become vulnerable to its damaging effects such as health problems and loss of productivity. In the U.S., stress affects more than 100 million people. The leading causes? Money tops the list, followed by work, family and relationships. By one estimate, workplace-related stress alone costs society more than $300 billion per year.
Buying a home for the first time is an exciting and important milestone for many Americans. As such, first-time home buyers must carefully consider a number of factors — what they want and need relative to what they can afford, for instance — before diving to the deep end of real estate.
Often, potential buyers begin searching for their dream homes and drafting their wish lists without a realistic idea of market prices, interest rates or even their eligibility to obtain a mortgage.
Understanding the credit card climate is important for two reasons. First, credit card offers change regularly, based on the health of the economy and issuers’ business objectives. So being able to see the bigger picture – averages, trends, etc. – gives you a baseline against which to compare offers. And that will help you find the best credit card deals as well as ultimately save more money.
Monitoring the credit card landscape can also tell you a lot about the health of the U.S. consumer. For example, 0% introductory APRs and initial rewards bonuses dried up during the Great Recession. And the decline in consumer credit quality during that period was a big reason why.
Taking good care of your cash is essential to reaching top WalletFitness®. But with the Federal Reserve raising interest rates from historical lows and the stock market regularly flirting with record highs, it’s fair to wonder where to put your money.
To help answer that question, WalletHub analyzed the rates, fees and features associated with more than 2,200 deposit accounts. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts and CDs from banks and credit unions across the country. You can check out our findings below.
Everyone knows you need auto insurance to drive. It’s the law, everywhere but New Hampshire. We also know that our credit scores dictate what types of credit cards and loans we can get. But most of us are in the dark about to the connection between credit scores and car insurance.
Get ready to crank up your air conditioner — and utility budget. July tends to be the hottest month of the year. So if your heat-averse body forces you to be more consumptive than conservative, this month’s higher-than-usual power bill could burn a hole through your wallet.
In the U.S., energy costs eat between 5 and 22 percent of families’ total after-tax income, with the poorest Americans, or 25 million households, paying the highest of that range. And lower energy prices don’t necessarily equate to savings. Where we live and how much energy we use are a big part of the equation. For instance, although electricity is relatively cheaper in Southern Louisiana, its scorching summer heat raises costs for residents compared with the temperate climate in more energy-expensive Northern California, where heating and cooling units stay idle most of the year.
Most Americans rely on cars to get around. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “87 percent of daily trips take place in personal vehicles.” And even with growing access to public transportation in U.S. cities, most people still choose to travel by car, mainly for reasons such as “comfort and reliability.”
In truth, however, driving is often a major hassle and expense. Drivers annually spend an average of 200 hours on the road, plus another 41 hours in gridlock. For a full-time worker, that’s the equivalent of a six-week vacation. Add the costs of wasted time and fuel due to traffic congestions, and our collective tab comes to about $124 billion annually, or $1,700 per household. That figure doesn’t even include the additional $515 expense for maintenance and repairs, which many of us are likely to spend given the poor quality of America’s roads — currently ranking No. 14 out of 140 economically developed nations, according to the World Economic Forum, and graded “D” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Running a city is a tall order. The governments of large cities, especially, can be more complex and difficult to manage than entire countries. In addition to representing the residents they serve, local leaders must balance the public’s diverse interests with the city’s limited resources. Consequently, not everyone’s needs can or will be met. Leaders must carefully consider which services are most essential, which agencies’ budgets to cut or boost, whether and how high to raise taxes, among other important decisions that affect the daily lives of city dwellers.
But how do we measure the effectiveness of local leadership? One way is by determining a city’s operating efficiency. In other words, we can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget.
Known for its storied past, rich musical culture, picture-perfect scenery and mouthwatering barbecue, Tennessee is a destination for the books. But Southern charm isn’t the state’s only selling point. Many visitors end up starting a new chapter of their lives here, where family-friendly qualities abound.
Staying active is not only good for your health; it’s also good for your wallet. And one of the best ways to maintain an active lifestyle is to choose a city that encourages and facilitates recreation. A wide range of leisure-time activities — indoor and outdoor — require varying levels of physical exertion and contribute to a city’s overall well-being and collective wealth.
Consider neighborhood parks, which are instrumental to building community cohesion, boosting property values, improving public health and reducing pollution. In Washington, for instance, close proximity to a park increases a home’s value by 5 percent while the same types of spaces in Sacramento, Calif., result in nearly $20 million in health care savings. “A regular vigorous run can cut medical costs by an average of $250 a year” per individual, according to The Trust for Public Land. Recognizing these benefits, 100 major U.S. cities together invested more than $7 billion in parks and recreation in 2016.
Starting a business is never easy. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, about a fifth of all startups typically don’t survive past year one of operation, and nearly half never make it to their fifth anniversary.
But startups fail for different reasons, a “bad location” among the most common. Choosing the right state for a business is therefore crucial to its success. A state that provides the ideal conditions for business creation — access to cash, human capital and affordable office space, for instance — can help new ventures not only take off but also thrive.
The Verdict: As a student (or perhaps a concerned parent) looking for a credit card, your top priority should be to find a no-annual-fee offer for which you have a high likelihood of approval. Beyond that, some rewards for using the card or 0% financing would be nice.
Well, the Discover it® for Students and its sibling, the Discover it® chrome for Students, check all those boxes. In addition to their lack of annual membership fees, these Discover student credit cards offer at least 1% cash back on all purchases and 0% interest on all new purchases for the first six months your account is open. Both will also double whatever rewards you earn during the first year.
That’s because it’s one of only 11 “bad credit” credit cards with no annual, monthly or processing fees and one of only nine that offer rewards. You’ll earn 2% cash back on the first $1,000 that you spend at restaurants and gas stations each quarter as well as 1% on everything else. Better still, Discover will double whatever rewards you rack up during the first year your account is open.
Bonus reward categories rotate, require quarterly signup and limit earnings
3% balance transfer fee
Potential for a very high regular APR
The Verdict: Discover it® - Cashback Match™ is a decent everyday credit card for people with excellent credit who want to earn rewards without paying an annual fee, yet might need more than a month to pay off certain expenses. In both respects, it’s particularly beneficial during the first year that you have it.
On the rewards front, it offers 5% cash back in bonus spending categories that change every three months, in addition to 1% cash back on everything else and a promotion that will double your first-year earnings. That’s a package with the potential to make the first 12 months quite profitable but probably not to the extent that you’d assume and with more effort than you might expect. Not only do you have to sign up for the new bonus categories each quarter in order to earn at a 5% rate, but that rate also applies to just the first $1,500 in qualifying purchases you make during that period. So even if the bonus categories complement your spending habits and you remember to enroll on schedule – both of which are far from guaranteed for most people – your ability to earn will still be limited.