Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Mortgage outlook for August. Also in the news: Why graduate students need to mind their mental health this fall, your best shot at lowering the cost of private student loans, and how to get help with missing coronavirus relief payments.

Mortgage Outlook: Recession Presses Down on August Rates
Likely record lows for the third consecutive month.

Graduate Students: Mind Your Mental Health This Fall
Recognizing stressors and using university resources may help during this time of uncertainty.

Refinancing now is your best shot at lowering the cost of private student loans
Take advantage of record low interest rates.

Get Help With Missing Coronavirus Relief Payments
What to do if you still haven’t received your check.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why student loan borrowers shouldn’t wait on Congress for more relief. Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on safe travel and handling old debts, how to make sure a contract tracer isn’t a scammer, and what to do if your health insurance drops your monthly prescription.

Smart Money Podcast: How to Travel Safely, and How to Handle Old Debts
Traveling take caution.

Student Loan Borrowers: Don’t Wait on Congress for More Relief
Don’t hold your breath.

How to make sure a contract tracer isn’t a scammer
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/you-get-a-call-that-youve-been-exposed-to-coronavirus-how-to-make-sure-a-contract-tracer-isnt-a-scammer-2020-08-03
Here’s what to look for, and what a legitimate contract tracer will never ask you

What to Do if Your Health Insurance Drops Your Monthly Prescription
Looking at your options.

Can you have too much credit?

People who care about their credit scores tend to obsess about some things they probably shouldn’t, such as the possibility they might have too much credit.

Let’s bust that myth right upfront: The leading credit scoring formulas, FICO and VantageScore, don’t punish people for having too many accounts. And right now, having access to credit could be a lifeline.

In my latest for the Associated Press, find out why it’s not how many cards you have, but how you use them.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to increase your chances of credit card approval. Also in the news: How to transition from work-at-home novice to pro, why the weak dollar is good for your investments, and why champagne sales have gone flat.

How to Increase Your Chances of Credit Card Approval
Boost your odds by focusing on your credit scores.

Transition From Work-at-Home Novice to Pro
A check-in can help you get productivity, health and balance dialed in for the long run.

Why the Weak Dollar Is Good for Your Investments
The pandemic and low interest rates have weakened the dollar.

Champagne sales flattened by social distancing amid global pandemic
Not much to celebrate.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to save on back-to-school shopping amid uncertainty. Also in the news: 5 things to know about gold’s record-breaking run, experts say new investors should quit stock-picking, and how this week’s fed meetings may impact your wallet.

Back-to-School Shopping in 2020: How to Save Amid Uncertainty
Whether your kids are learning in the classroom or living room, here’s how to save on back-to-school shopping.

5 Things to Know About Gold’s Record-Breaking Run
As COVID-19 concerns continue to rattle markets, investors are turning to one of the world’s oldest currencies.

New Investors: Quit Stock-Picking and Do This, Expert Says
Recent market turmoil has new investors chasing company stock picks

How This Week’s Fed Meetings May Impact Your Wallet
Expect interest rates to stay low.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 ways to finance your home improvement project. Also in the news: The dwindling power of Pell Grants to help at-need students, ‘Gamify’ your savings with a prize-linked bank account, and upcoming sales tax holidays.

6 Ways to Finance Your Home Improvement Project
A breakdown of loan options.

Pell Grants: Dwindling Power to Help At-Need Students
The maximum grant now covers less than 60% of expenses.

‘Gamify’ Your Savings With a Prize-Linked Bank Account
Introducing Yotta.

Sales tax holidays are coming up. Here’s where your state stands
More than a dozen states are offering a back-to-school break.

Can you trust your mobile payment app?

Money transfer apps including Venmo, Cash App and PayPal have surged in popularity during the pandemic as people seek safe, contactless ways to send and receive money. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the limitations of these payment platforms or how they can put someone’s finances at risk.

Like over-the-counter medicines, payment apps can be safe when used as directed — but people often don’t read the directions, says James E. Lee, chief operating officer for the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit that provides victim assistance and public education about identity theft.

In my latest for the Associated Press, how to make sure you’re using the right one.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What to do when your $600 weekly unemployment check expires. Also in the news: Which hotels have handled COVID-19 the best, how COVID-19 is changing the way families save for college costs, and the U.S. Mint asks for help getting coins back in circulation.

What to Do When Your $600 Weekly Unemployment Check Expires
The $600 pandemic assistance ends this week.

Which Hotels Have Handled COVID-19 the Best?
Grading hotel brands on their health and social distancing policies, along with their flexibility on bookings.

How COVID-19 Is Changing the Way Families Save for College Costs
Shifting priorities.

U.S. Mint asks for help getting coins back in circulation
The Mint wants your couch change.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Smart money moves when cash is tighter than time. Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on losing your health insurance and setting financial goals, how a gap year might haunt you financially, and how to boost your credit score with on-time Netflix payments.

Smart Money Moves When Cash Is Tighter Than Time
A lot of extra time on our hands, but not extra cash.

Smart Money Podcast: Losing Your Health Insurance, and Setting Financial Goals
Putting your health first.

How a Gap Year Might Haunt You Financially
It could cost you up to $90K in the long run.

Boost Your Credit Score With On-Time Netflix Payments
Your binge watching could boost your credit score.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to tell if that ‘contact tracer’ is really a scammer. Also in the news: Don’t wait to refinance these student loans, why you should aim for 1% credit utilization, and the $600 unemployment boost is likely ending. Here’s how you can access cash now.

Is That ‘Contact Tracer’ Really a Scammer? How to Tell
How to keep yourself.

Don’t Wait to Refinance These Student Loans
You could save money on your private loans.

Why You Should Aim for 1% Credit Utilization
The lower the better.

The $600 unemployment boost is likely ending. Here’s how you can access cash now
Barring an extension from Congress, the boost will end this week.