This week’s money news

This week’s top story: 4 questions to ask before you buy a home or invest in 2023. In other news: How to make holiday returns with buy now, pay later, how to prepare for a winter storm, and 5 tasks for your year-end credit card checklist.

4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Home or Invest in 2023
Ask yourself the right questions first to guide your 2023 money goals.

How to Make Holiday Returns With Buy Now, Pay Later
Buy now, pay later returns can be tricky. Maximize your chances of making a successful BNPL return by following these steps.

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm
When a winter storm strikes, preparation means more than a trip to the store. Here’s how to storm-proof your finances.

5 Tasks for Your Year-End Credit Card Checklist
It’s a perfect time to make sure you’re maximizing your card benefits — and to review your spending habits in case you could do better with a different card.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Should you Buy Now, Pay Later for back-to-school? Also in the news: $6 billion in relief to defrauded students signals change ahead, six ways to support small businesses hit with inflation, and these online resources will help you find free college textbooks.

Should You Buy Now, Pay Later for Back-to-School?
You can use BNPL to cover back-to-school shopping, but limit it to one purchase at a time and look for other ways to save.

$6 Billion in Relief to Defrauded Students Signals Change Ahead
More than 200,000 federal student loan borrowers who were misled by their schools are in line for $6 billion worth of debt relief.

6 Ways to Support Small Businesses Hit With Inflation
Business owners explain how they’d like to see their community show up for them as prices rise.

These Online Resources Will Help You Find Free College Textbooks
Why spend hundreds on a hard copy when you can download the PDF for free?

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to keep your tax return from getting hung up. Also in the news: Why you might be rewarded if you can afford to wait to buy a home until late in the year, what to know before your business adds buy now, pay later, and how an airport car rental is more expensive than an off-airport car rental.

How to Keep Your Tax Return From Getting Hung Up
There may never be a good time to draw the IRS’ attention, but this year you really want to avoid extra scrutiny.

The Property Line: Higher Rates May Slow Down Rising Home Prices
Buyers who exercise patience might face less competition for homes later in the year.

What to Know Before Your Business Adds Buy Now, Pay Later
Here’s how much buy now, pay later costs, how it could impact your business and what to look for in a provider.

Is It Cheaper to Rent a Car at the Airport?
Fees charged to rental companies by the airport get passed on to consumers, often making on-site rentals pricier.

How buy now, pay later loans could alter credit

Expanding access to credit is a worthy goal. Too many people can’t get a mortgage or an emergency loan at a reasonable rate because they can’t show a solid credit history. They may pay more for insurance or make large security deposits to get utilities or rent an apartment.

Recently, the three major credit bureaus announced plans to incorporate “buy now, pay later” plans, a hugely popular type of point-of-sale financing that until now remained mostly outside the traditional credit ecosystem.

But no one should expect that their buy now, pay later purchases will instantly open the door to better credit. If you want reliable access to the largest number of lenders, building credit through traditional means is still the better route.

In my latest for the Associated Press, learn more about buy now, pay later loans and how to build better credit now.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to get more joy while giving to good causes. Also in the news: How a financial therapist can help shift your money mindset, a new episode of the Smart Money podcast on making your dream life, and 6 options for when you buy now and can’t pay later.

How to Get More Joy While Giving to Good Causes
Research shows that spending money on others is more likely to make us happy.

How a Financial Therapist Can Help Shift Your Money Mindset
A financial therapist can help you challenge your money fears and make progress in your investing journey.

Smart Money Podcast: Making Your Dream Life
Sean and Liz chat with travel Nerd Sam Kemmis about how he made his dream life possible.

6 Options for When You Buy Now and Can’t Pay Later
If you’ve taken on more buy now, pay later debt than you can handle, here are some options for easing the burden.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 4 common winter home insurance claims and how to prevent them. Also in the news: How long it will take to pay off your MBA debt, huge Disney park changes for 2022 and tips on how to fund your trip, and why the catch with Buy Now Pay Later could be your credit.

4 Common Winter Home Insurance Claims and How to Prevent Them
Winter-induced home damage can sometimes be prevented, but sufficient insurance coverage may cover even the most bitter disaster.

How Long Will It Take to Pay Off Your MBA Debt?
Your student loan repayment strategy will determine how long it takes to pay off your MBA debt.

Huge Disney Park Changes for 2022, and How to Fund Your Trip
Disney announced a slew of new rides and shows during its Destination D23 event in November at Walt Disney World.

The Catch With Buy Now, Pay Later Could Be Your Credit
Buy now, pay later plans promise no interest or hidden fees, but they don’t typically help you build credit.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Care about your credit score? Get strategic with card limits. Also in the news: Buy now, pay later traps, and what to know about bitcoin as it approaches $70,000.

Care About Your Credit Score? Get Strategic With Card Limits
Actively managing how much of your credit limits you are using can make a big impact on your credit score.

Watch Out for These Buy Now, Pay Later Traps
Among its pitfalls, buy now, pay later can tempt you to take on too much debt, and it may not help your credit.

What to Know About Bitcoin as It Approaches $70,000
Bitcoin is trading near all-time highs and crossed a record $68,000 at the beginning of this week.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to get the best Amazon Black Friday 2021 deals. Also in the news: Buy Now Pay Later loans, October’s mortgage outlook, and is the IRS about to tax your Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App transactions.

How to Get the Best Amazon Black Friday 2021 Deals
The earliest-ever Amazon Black Friday sale is on. Get Apple AirPods Pro for $179.

Buy Now, Pay Later Is Everywhere. Should You Opt In?
Buy now, pay later plans are offered at major retailers. Learn how these plans work and whether you should use one.

Mortgage Outlook: Falling Leaves, Rising Rates in October
Rates are on the rise.

Is the IRS Really About to Tax Your Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App Transactions?
Transactions of $600 or more are coming under scrutiny.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What Mastercard’s new Buy Now, Pay Later feature means for cardholders. Also in the news: How to find out if a destination is safe for travel, how the pandemic has changed the financial advice business, and how to get your credit card’s annual fee refunded.

What Mastercard’s New ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Feature Means for Cardholders
Mastercard Installments will partner with a handful of card issuers to offer payment plans you can opt in to wherever Mastercard is accepted.

How to Find Out if a Destination Is Safe for Travel
You can use all sorts of online resources, as well as word of mouth, to find out how safe your destination is.

How the pandemic has changed the financial advice business
It’s a different ballgame.

Is Your Credit Card Annual Fee Refundable?
The answer may surprise you.