Cara Henis

Posts by Cara Henis

Living with credit

So this is what being unemployed is like

If you had asked three weeks ago, I would have told you my financial future was set. My belongings were boxed up, and I was on my way to law school with plenty of financial aid from Uncle Sam. But my plans changed, and like so many others, I found myself unemployed and unsure of how to meet expenses.

Things turned out well, and I learned an important lesson about the relative importance of what you know versus who you know.

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Living with credit, Protecting yourself

Learning to cook for cash

I never thought that learning what saute meant and how to do it would keep both me and my wallet from going hungry.

When paying my most recent credit card bills, I happily discovered I saved $30 in the past month alone by preparing a majority of meals at home rather than eating out. At this rate, I stand to save $360 per year if I keep clear of restaurants and continue to cook.

Maybe because of the $100,000 albatross (law school loans) I am about to hang from my neck, in the past month I’ve decided to try out thriftiness. And you know, I’m kind of liking it. Here’s how it’s going.

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Living with credit

Law school: Is my dream worth the debt?

If you lose thousands of dollars in the game Monopoly, you may very well wind up bankrupt. However, all financial ruin abates when you put the pieces away, with no harm done to your actual assets. That’s not the case with an investment in graduate school.

I’m about to borrow $150,000 to pay for my legal education, and I’m doing it far away from the safety of a game board. I know I stand to lose a lot more from this transaction than a utilities or a railroads card.

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Living with credit, Rewards

Do you know where your rewards are?

Here’s 10 $20 bills, and a $5 bill. Take them. They’re free. You want them?
Apparently you don’t.

In a time when saving is in vogue, it would seem that $200 is a sizable enough sum not to disregard. Yet the average household that participates in loyalty programs fails to redeem $205 of $622 in rewards each year, be it airline miles or points accrued from shopping and credit card use.

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Fine print, Research, regulation, industry reports

My disagreement with credit card agreements

I have yet another confession to make. Even though I often tell others to read their credit card agreements, I have never done so until now. And I’d be lying if I told you I got much further than the first page.

It’s not that I have an aversion to reading. In fact, I love a good book, editorial etc., but there is a reason that I don’t reach for my credit card agreement when I want to unwind. It’s seriously the most boring and tedious text I’ve ever tried to understand. And I think that says a lot coming from a recently graduated journalism/neuropsychology student.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has trouble stomaching the fine print. The average credit card agreement is written at a 12.37 grade level, making them incomprehensible to approximately 80 percent of Americans, according to a recent study by CreditCards.com.

I read above a 12th grade level. I’ve been tested. But even still, skimming my contract made me wonder whether or not I’m in need of some remedial classes. What tripped me up were the insanely long sentences and the feeling that traps lurk within every paragraph.

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