Monday’s need-to-know money news

downloadToday’s top story: How to apply for a credit card after bankruptcy. Also in the news: Avoiding stress while paying down debt, the biggest tax “break” you shouldn’t forget, and how to slash your cable bill.

Applying for a Credit Card After Bankruptcy
Starting over.

Avoid Over-Stressing Your Budget When Paying Down Debt
Be patient with yourself.

The Single Biggest Tax Break You Shouldn’t Forget
Shrinking your capital gains tax.

7 Tips for Slashing Your Cable Bill From Guys Who Do It for a Living
Meet the BillFixers.

Q&A: State tax breaks for 529 plans

Dear Liz: You recently answered a question from grandparents who were contributing $20,000 to their grandson’s college education. You correctly told them they did not qualify fdownloador federal education tax credits or deductions because he was not a dependent. You might let grandparents know, however, that they may get a state tax break for contributing to a 529 college savings plan.

Answer: Most states that have state income taxes offer some sort of a tax break for 529 college savings plan contributions. (The exceptions are California, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey and North Carolina, according to SavingForCollege.com. Tennessee has a tax on interest and dividends but no 529 tax break.) In some states, even short-term contributions qualify for a deduction, so grandparents could contribute money that’s quickly withdrawn to pay qualified higher education expenses and still get the break. SavingForCollege has details on each state’s tax benefits.