Amazon Prime Price Increase

We’ve known this was coming for a while, but now it’s official:

After nine years, Amazon is increasing its Amazon Prime membership fee from $79 to $99. Additionally, the cost of an Amazon Student membership will increase from $39 to $49 per year.

While a $20 increase may seem a bit jarring, Amazon Prime is still relatively inexpensive when you look at it on a monthly basis. A streaming plan on Netflix or Hulu Plus costs $7.99 per month. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime (which includes both streaming and free 2-day shipping) will cost $8.25 per month after the rate hike.

On the other hand, if you don’t actually use your Amazon Prime account on a regular basis, this may be a good time to re-evaluate whether or not you want to renew the service.

How do you feel about the price increase? Do you think Amazon Prime is still worth it?

How to Budget for a New Baby

Guest post by Naomi Shaw.

There is nothing sweeter than hearing the pitter-patter of little feet running across your floor and hearing the words “I love you” uttered from a tiny little being that you created.

If having children is something that you have always dreamed of, you are in store for a real treat. However, you should be aware that there is a lot of financial obligation that comes along with having a family. Children need a lot of things, and the cost of all of those things can really add up.

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Navigating Unemployment

It’s official: After five months of searching, my husband is officially back to work! The best part? He’s earning significantly more than he was at his previous job. Woot!

For those who are curious, here are some things that helped us stay afloat over the past few months:

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10 Frugal Laws of Living in a Rental

Guest post by Sorilbran Stone.

Although renting may only be a temporary situation, it’s still an excellent time to cut expenses and save up. Take a look at the unwritten laws every frugal renter should live by in order to set aside money for student loans, retirement or save up for a more permanent living situation.

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14 Tips for Paying Down Debt

As of 2013, it is estimated that the average college-educated millennial carries approximately $29,000 in student loan debt and another $2,700 in credit card debt.

Add in our relative lack of experience, mismatched skill sets, and the fact that there simply aren’t enough well-paying jobs to go around in today’s economy… and it’s easy to see why so many 20-somethings are struggling to become financially independent after graduation.

Despite these early challenges, it is possible to break free of debt and start your journey into the land of positive net worth. Here are 14 tips for paying down your debt in 2014:

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How to Build a Snack Stadium

This past weekend, my husband and I hosted our annual Super Bowl party with some of our closest friends… and always the over-achievers, we decided to build our very own snack stadium (or “snackadium”).

Here’s how we did it:

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Tax Credits & Deductions for 20-Somethings

Now that tax filing season has officially begun, it’s time to gather all of your tax forms and start looking for ways to increase your refund for 2013.

Not sure where to start? First, let’s go over the difference between a tax credit and a deduction:

Tax deductions are amounts subtracted from your taxable income. For example, if you earn $35,000 per year and are eligible for $10,000 in tax deductions, your taxable income would be $25,000. A $10,000 tax deduction at this income level would save you approximately $1,500 per year (15% tax bracket x $10,000).

Tax credits, on the other hand, are basically bonuses. If you qualify for a $500 tax credit, you will receive the full $500 regardless of your overall income situation.

Below is a list of tax credits and deductions that you may be eligible for this year.

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One Down, Eight to Go

Good News: As of this past week, we have officially paid off one of my husband’s student loans in full. One down, only eight more to go!

Bad News: A portion of the money used to pay off the loan came from cashing out my teacher retirement savings. :(

I know what you’re thinking: Dipping into retirement savings is the cardinal sin of the personal finance world. Shame on me for even considering it.

But before you tell me how stupid I am for not rolling the money over into a Roth IRA instead, consider the following: This money was not wasted. Far from it. Moving the money from an inactive retirement account directly towards debt provided a guaranteed 6.8% annual return on student loan interest. It also puts us that much closer to getting out of debt for good.

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5 Ways to Earn Money Online

When money gets tight, we are generally faced with two options: earn more or spend less.

A lot of the content on this blog focuses on ways to spend less money – or, at the very least, get the best value from the things you do buy. However, there is a limit to this approach. In other words, there are only so many things you can cut from your budget before you start feeling really miserable.

Once you’ve trimmed the fat from your budget, it’s time to start looking at ways to increase your income. You have much more control over this than you probably think. Even if you don’t have the time, energy, or means of transportation to pick up a traditional part-time job on top of your existing workload, there are more flexible options. You just have to be a little creative.

Here are five ways to earn income online from the comfort and convenience of your home:

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High-Deductible Health Plan Basics

The new year has begun, and it’s time for millions of Americans to start getting acclimated to their new health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). While there have been many changes over the past few years as a result of this legislation, one of the most significant is the increase in prevalence of high-deductible or catastrophic health plans, especially among 20-somethings who have aged out of their parents’ policies.

For those who are new to the world of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), here is a basic rundown of what you can expect from this type of plan – and a few tips for getting the most value from it:

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