August 18th, 2011

Community Karma: Weathering a Financial Storm


**This summer, we’re excited to present “Community Karma,”a weekly series featuring people just like you sharing their financial stories, personal money tips, how they over overcame hardships, and more!**

If anybody knows how to weather the storms of financial crisis, it’s Amy Gatliff.

When she was young, her family lived on a school bus while her father built the family home. When the home was livable, they moved in. The house lacked indoor plumbing, so the family had to get creative. “When it came time for a bath, we kids would stand on the side porch steps in our underclothes for Mom to wash us down,” Amy describes.

As an adult, Amy married and had three children. The Gatliffs bought a home in 2002. But soon, a storm started brewing.

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August 11th, 2011

Community Karma: From Credit Calamity to Financial Freedom

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Kelly* thought her family was rich. She saw her parents spending money and assumed it was easy to come by. When she got her first credit card in high school, it seemed as if she had been proven right. That little piece of plastic was like an endless supply of money right at her fingertips. After college graduation, her credit card debt was manageable, but she kept charging without paying her balances in full.

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August 4th, 2011

Community Karma: Brandiann Bounces Back

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How do you bounce back from a foreclosure and bankruptcy?

That’s what we asked Brandiann Portillo, a 27-year-old stay at home mom. She’s come a long way, and shared her story with Credit Karma.

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July 28th, 2011

Community Karma: Elle’s Easy Investing Tips for Beginners

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Elle Kaplan first started thinking about investing money while she was watching “Mary Poppins” as a kid.

In one scene, Julie Andrews, portraying the iconic nanny, sings a lullaby called “Feed the Birds,” about a little old lady asking passersby to feed the pigeons surrounding St. Paul’s cathedral. A bag of birdfeed costs a tuppence. “They should’ve earned interest on the tuppence,” Elle recalls thinking during the scene.

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July 21st, 2011

Community Karma: Renee’s Painless Savings Strategies

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In 2002, Renee Prink and her husband bought a brand new Honda CRV, paid for in full with $24,000 in cash they saved up. The couple plans to do it again this fall, perhaps a Subaru this time.

With two kids-- aged 11 and 17-- to support, how do the Prinks save enough money to buy their cars in cash, keep a rainy day fund and build up their daughter’s college savings?

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July 14th, 2011

Community Karma: Investing in Himself

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Michael Cavacini can really talk your ear off. No, he doesn’t prattle on about the latest sports stats or spoil the hottest summer movie blockbuster before you get a chance to see it. He likes talking about saving for retirement. And at 26, he already has approximately $45,000 combined in retirement and savings accounts.

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July 7th, 2011

Community Karma: Dreaming—and Saving—Big

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Cyndi Finkle, 43, never imagined she’d be “a business or money person.” But she is, and she’s good at it. How else do you explain the fact that she’s expanded her company, Art Works, to a new second location, conquered her busy family’s budget, and managed to pay for her daughter’s $30,000 per year private school tuition?

And those are just a few of her accomplishments.

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June 30th, 2011

Community Karma: Sustainable—and Frugal—Living

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Jessica Reeder was living in the Bay Area with a comfortable job, car, and nice apartment. By all societal standards, she was doing well.

But something was missing. Jessica wanted to write for a living, and she longed for a simpler, more sustainable life. So she took drastic measures: she got rid of her car and all of her possessions and set out to backpack around the U.S. for a year and a half.

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June 23rd, 2011

Community Karma: Travel Tips from a Frugal Urbanite

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Mikey Rox knows how to make his dollar stretch in New York, known as the most expensive city the nation. In fact, he likes to make a game out of it.

“I like to shop,” the 30-year-old freelance writer says. “There’s nothing fun about paying retail for everything.” This “frugal game” has especially big payoffs when Mikey is traveling.

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June 16th, 2011

Community Karma: Christi’s Frugal and Fashionable Wedding

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When Christi and her finance began to plan their May wedding, they knew they’d have to do things differently. They didn’t have a huge budget, like the national average wedding price tag of $27,800, and they were shouldering much of the costs themselves.

So they faced a challenge: "How do we put on the wedding of our dreams at a low cost?"

The result: A beautiful and sneakily frugal wedding.

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