The holiday season has become a commercial bonanza in which billions of dollars are spent on gifts and billions are added to our credit card debt tab. But that’s not what it’s really all about, and there’s no reason to feel pressured into spending more than you can afford. Because if your holiday budget isn’t as big as you’d like, there are plenty of presents you can give that cost absolutely nothing or close to it.
Below, you can find 16 low-cost or free holiday gift ideas that are sure to spread cheer without giving your wallet anything to fear. Happy holidays!
We’re each projected to spend about $1,007 on presents this holiday season. Plus, the average household already owes more than $8,600 in credit card debt – nearly a record amount and still rising. So it will be very important to keep a watchful eye on your wallet during this expensive time of year.
With that in mind, WalletHub’s editors prepared six holiday shopping tips to help you give more, spend less and worry about money as little as possible.
According to the Veterans Association, there are over 19.2 million veterans currently living in the U.S. These veterans often face a host of challenges when re-entering civilian life. Despite Uncle Sam’s promises to provide health care as well as housing, employment and educational assistance upon their return from service, some cannot secure healthcare, jobs or shelter.
Where veterans live can contribute to the problem. Although unemployment and homelessness have declined nationally for this group, such issues are simply worse in certain parts of America. Throughout the U.S., over 37,800 veterans still find themselves without a home. However, there is some good news on the healthcare front. Many VA hospitals have improved their conditions recently. In addition, a recent bill passed in the House of Representatives aims to make the VA’s website more accessible to veterans with disabilities.
Credit One Visa Review Summary: The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is one of the most popular credit cards for people with bad credit, largely because it’s one of the few unsecured cards that applicants with poor credit scores can get approved for. In addition to a $300 minimum credit line, Credit One’s Platinum Visa offers rewards and regular credit-limit increases, or at least the potential for both.
You’ll earn 1% cash back on at least some purchases as long as your account is not delinquent. You will be regularly considered for a higher credit limit, too, though you are by no means guaranteed to actually receive one. It all depends on how responsibly you use the card and how generous Credit One Bank is feeling.
You can get car insurance online, over the phone, or in person with an insurance agent. The best way to shop for car insurance is to compare quotes from different insurance companies online. That way, you can quickly find the lowest price for the coverage you need.
The way you choose to buy insurance is entirely up to your personal preference. Some people want the personal support of an agent, while others like the convenience of purchasing insurance online. No matter which method you choose, remember to verify your state’s car insurance requirements before purchasing a policy. Nearly all states have a minimum liability coverage requirement, which you are obligated to meet. You can also buy additional liability coverage if you want it.
Concerns over the proper role of taxation lie at the very foundation of American history. They haven’t gone away, either. President Donald Trump signed a new overhauled tax plan into effect in December 2017, which went into effect in the 2018 fiscal year. One of the largest changes in the plan was that the federal corporate income tax rate was permanently lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent. Republicans championed the tax plan as beneficial to business and consumers and Democrats claimed it would only increase the wealth of the already wealthy. That debate becomes even more relevant as the 2020 presidential election approaches, as the winner will have the power to sign future tax code adjustments into law.
With businesses enjoying their tax cuts, WalletHub analyzed annual reports for the S&P 100 — the largest and most established companies on the stock market — in order to determine the federal, state and international tax rates they paid in 2018. You can find the results, our detailed methodology and additional expert commentary below.
A no credit check loan is a type of loan that does not require a hard inquiry into your credit report during the application process. That means your credit history is not a factor in approval for the loan. Loans with no credit check do not guarantee approval, though. Whether or not you qualify depends on other things, like income or collateral to secure the loan, instead.
Yes, you can refinance a personal loan. Refinancing a personal loan entails taking out a new personal loan and using those funds to pay off the old loan. The point of refinancing a personal loan is to save money, so the new loan should have a lower interest rate. After you refinance, you’ll hold the same amount of debt but accrue less interest each month, making the loan less expensive in the long-term. That’s assuming the new loan has no origination fee. But even loans that do charge origination fees can be worthwhile if their APRs are low enough.
When the mercury drops, some Americans welcome the chill while others follow the sun. This year, the winter promises to be an intense one. The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecasts below-normal temperatures in many regions, along with strong storms bringing heavy rain, sleet and snow.
To help Americans plan their travels over the colder months, WalletHub developed a ranking of the cheapest U.S. destinations that are also the easiest to reach. In total we analyzed nearly 70 of the largest metro areas — grouped as “warm” or “cold” — based on 37 key metrics, including two weeks of flight data, safety indicators and weather predictions.
After a string of nine interest-rate increases that took the Federal Reserve’s target rate from near zero in December 2015 up to a range of 2.25% - 2.5% in December 2018, the Fed is now poised to reduce rates for the third time since the Great Recession. Exactly what impact such a move will have on consumers’ wallets and the economy more broadly remains to be seen. But the hope is that lower rates will prolong what is already the longest economic expansion on record. At the very least, we can expect people with credit card debt to save hundreds of millions of dollars on interest.
To help shed some light on what we can expect from interest rates in the near future and how Americans feel about the prospect of a Fed rate cut, WalletHub analyzed historical data and conducted a nationally representative survey of more than 550 people on October 26.
A personal loan APR, or “annual percentage rate,” is the loan’s interest rate plus the cost of any fees. It represents the total annual cost of borrowing, and it’s expressed as a percentage or range of percentages. For example, a lender’s APR range could be 6.99% to 29.99%, and a borrower could receive any rate within that range, based on their creditworthiness. In general, the minimum and maximum personal loan APRs lie between 6% and 36%. You may find the occasional lender with even cheaper rates, however, and some “bad credit” lenders offer personal loans with incredibly high APRs of 100%+.
Urbanization might be the trend for much of the population, but not everyone craves the bright lights and crowded spaces of big cities. In fact, city growth is slowing down while suburbanization is rising. Small-city life can be best for those who appreciate more wiggle room, fewer degrees of separation and shorter commutes, to name just a few of its advantages. Granted, these little urban areas demand some tradeoffs, too, such as fewer restaurant options or shorter business hours.
But one of the best perks of living in a city with a relatively smaller population? Affordability. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the cost of living for a two-parent, two-child family in Hanford, California, for instance, would be $6,221 per month, compared with nearly double at $12,370 for the same family in San Francisco.
Stacked auto insurance is a way to maximize medical coverage in the event of an accident caused by an uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM). The practice of “stacking” insurance refers to combining the UM/UIM coverage limits from multiple policies to force a higher cap on what carriers will pay out for post-injury care. Stacked car insurance is available to drivers in about 30 states – including Texas, New York, and Florida – who insure more than one vehicle or have more than one insurance policy on a single car.
When you have unstacked insurance, combining policy limits is not possible. This is the case for drivers who only own one policy on a single car, as well as for those who own multiple cars but are prohibited from stacking either by state law or their insurance carrier. Unlike with stacked insurance, unstacked drivers may file medical claims only on the actual car involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have enough insurance coverage. Premiums tend to be lower with unstacked insurance as a result.
A credit-builder loan is a loan whose only purpose is to help you increase your credit score. Credit-builder loans function the complete opposite way of a regular loan – you pay money to the lender in installments (which go into a savings account), and then you receive the money at the end. During the process, the lender reports your payments to the credit bureaus to help you build credit. Think of it is as a series of savings deposits that help improve your credit standing. However, you’ll owe the lender interest, and may need to pay a fee to open an account.
A signature loan is a type of personal loan that does not require collateral other than the borrower’s signature, which represents their “good faith” promise to repay the loan. In other words, a signature loan is the same thing as an unsecured personal loan. The borrower’s signature on a signature loan makes the loan a legally binding agreement.
More than 7 in 10 0% balance transfer credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, according to WalletHub data. The average fee is equal to about 2.92% of the amount transferred. And that would cost the average household over $200, if they were to transfer their nearly $8,000 in credit card debt.
What does it take to be a true baseball fan? Mostly a lot of patience and sometimes a lot of money, depending on how closely you want to follow the sport. In this slow-paced ballgame, hits and home runs are less frequent than strikes and misses. Yet baseball claims the title of Americans’ third most popular sport, after football and basketball.
Fans are willing to pay top dollar to see a game, too, especially during the highly anticipated World Series that kicks off every October. Of course, tickets are kinder to the wallet during the regular season. But to see Game 1 of the 115th World Series on Oct. 22, for instance, the cheapest seat at Minute Maid Park in Houston would cost $471, according to TicketIQ. For Game 7 on Oct. 30 at the same stadium, the damage would range from a starting price of $559 all the way to a whopping $16,450, as of Oct. 23. That doesn’t leave much room for peanuts and cracker jacks. And that’s not mentioning the hundreds of millions of dollars wagered by the betting market every year.