Skimm Money·

Skimm Money: Back-to-School Sales, Bills, and Emergency Funds

Women own less, save less, carry more debt, and are less financially literate than men. That changes now.

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How the news affects your finances.

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Bills, Bills, Bills

Despite inflation slowing down a bit, many Americans are still struggling to keep up with sky-high bills. See: The rising costs of rent, utilities, and groceries. To add to the financial stress, student loan payments are set to resume for many in October (friendly reminder: interest will start accruing on Sept. 1). Not to mention, Americans’ collective credit card debt recently reached a new high of over $1 trillion. If you’re struggling to pay your bills, here are some things you can do.

Your move:

  • Negotiate. If you have bills you’re not able to pay, negotiate. Yes, you *can* contact utility companies (hi, gas, power, and internet provider), lenders (think: your credit card issuer and your student loan carrier), and even your landlord to try to get a better deal.

  • Avoid bad debt. When you’re in a tough spot, taking on high-interest debt that compounds daily, like credit card debt, can be tempting. But those high interest rates can mean carrying a balance is even more expensive and can make your minimum payments even larger.

  • Apply to SAVE. Applications to the new income-driven student loan repayment plan known as SAVE are officially open. Borrowers who qualify could see their payments slashed to as little as $0 per month, while others could save around $1,000 per year.

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market update

The Wall Street trends to know this week.

The S&P 500 ticked up this morning thanks to comments made by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Friday. He said the fight against inflation isn’t over but hinted that the Fed would “proceed carefully” with any future rate hikes. Prepare for a potentially bumpy week ahead as the markets digest the news.

5-minute money tip

Small step now, big payoff later.

woman sitting on couch with laptop and binder

Reevaluate your emergency fund.

Generally, experts say you should save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. So if your monthly expenses change (ex: you move to an apartment with a higher rent), you’ll need to adjust your fund accordingly. Pro tip: Automate contributions to your EF out of each paycheck to make your life easier, and put your $$$ in a high-yield savings account to give it an extra boost. And if your EF is already flush, it’s time to start investing.

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