Abby HayesAbby Hayes is a freelance copywriter and blogger who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three.

How to Use Google Docs to Track Your Cash Flow

My husband and I have used many budgeting tools over the years, including Mint and YNAB. We still use (and love!) YNAB, but it left a hole for us: cashflow planning. Unfortunately, we’re still not accustomed to YNAB’s month-ahead spending goal. And that means that at some points in the month, our checking account ebbs […]

Published or Updated: October 27, 2016

Is There a Difference Between Debt-to-Credit and Debt-to-Income?

When it comes to personal finance metrics, many important numbers are expressed as ratios. Two of the most common ratios you’ll hear are debt-to-credit and debt-to-income. They sound somewhat alike, so they’re easy to confuse. So, what do these terms mean? What’s the difference? And how are they used? Let’s check them both out. What […]

Published or Updated: October 22, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About the FICO Score 9

Did you know that credit scoring models are constantly evolving? Many consumers have an idea of what goes into a credit score–payment history, account balances, account mix, etc. But they don’t know that the way lenders look at these items is constantly fluctuating. As further evidence of this, we now have a brand new credit […]

Published or Updated: October 17, 2016

Will Checking Your Score More Often Actually Improve Your Credit?

Common wisdom is that if you want to improve your credit, you should first have an idea of where you stand. You need to know what your current credit score is and what you can do to improve it before you can take steps in the right direction. But one recent Discover survey revealed some […]

Published or Updated: October 20, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About FICO’s Auto Score 9XT

When you think of your credit score, what do you think about first? If you’re like most consumers, you probably think of just one single number. That number changes over time, but it’s still just one credit score, right? Except when you’re talking about the FICO® Auto Score9 XT. The fact is that your credit […]

Published or Updated: September 7, 2016

How to Keep One-Off Expenses from Breaking the Budget

Even if you’re a budgeting machine who has it all together, you may still get surprised once in awhile. Usually, you’ll be caught off guard by one-off expenses. These are items that you should technically expect, but they tend to sneak up on many of us. After all, it can be hard to remember expenses […]

Published or Updated: August 27, 2016

How to Value Your Non-Cash Donations Come Tax Time

Clutter can be overwhelming. It’s easy to let outgrown and unused things pile up over the years, especially if you’re not sure what to do with them. One way to clean out your closets, give back, and save money on your taxes is to donate non-cash items to charity. Whether you’re cleaning out your kids’ […]

Published or Updated: August 24, 2016

How to Save on Closing Costs When You Buy a Home

Many future homebuyers spend years saving and planning for a down payment. But when they get ready to actually purchase a home, they’re shocked at the amount of closing costs. On average, closing costs amount to between 2 and 5 percent of the total purchase price of a home. That can be a hefty fee, […]

Published or Updated: August 13, 2016

What to Do When You Made a Mistake on Your Taxes

I have an embarrassing confession to make: I forgot a W-2 on my 2015 taxes. True story. I write about this stuff for a living, and I completely left out an entire W-2 from my taxes. Oops. I discovered this mistake when my husband and I applied for a mortgage in April. I’d already filed the […]

Published or Updated: August 10, 2016

Advertising Disclosure: The credit card and savings account offers that appear on this site are from companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. does not include all credit card companies, banks, or all available offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation.