Life Kit: Money

By Life Kit from NPR

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Being in control of your money leads to great things. From dealing with debt or student loans, to how to buy a house, NPR wants to help. Subscribe to get episodes from Life Kit on money and personal finance.

Episode Date
Mortgage Secrets That Will Save You Money
1530
It's hard to imagine a more boring (and dreaded) word than "mortgage." But if you know where to look, you might find a mortgage that will save you thousands of dollars a year or discover that you qualify for a loan when you didn't think you could.
Oct 02, 2019
Paperwork, Appointments And Repairs: Managing Adult Responsibilities
1005
Life seems full of ever-increasing piles of paperwork – bills to pay, appointments to make, school forms to sign, carpools to organize. Here's how to conquer all the responsibilities on your to-do list so you can get back to real life.
Sep 25, 2019
How To Save For Your Kid's College Education
1667
Don't let the sticker price of college paralyze you. This episode gives you smart saving strategies — including how to prioritize your own retirement savings, choosing a 529 plan and what financial aid offices really look at — so you can start saving for your child's college tuition.
Sep 11, 2019
Rx For Medical Debt
1409
One in 5 Americans struggles with medical bills. Here are things you do to get medical bills reduced — or even forgiven.
Aug 09, 2019
Crush Debt Fast (While Staying Motivated)
1368
It is possible to get out of debt fast, but it's a gritty marathon to get to a better place. Here's how to keep up the momentum.
Aug 07, 2019
7 Strategies For Digging Out Of Debt
1598
If you're in debt, you're not alone. Here's how to make a plan and get yourself out.
Aug 05, 2019
Millennials And Money
2239
In this special episode, Sam Sanders of NPR's "It's Been A Minute" talks with financial journalist Hannah Seligson and Aminatou Sow from the podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" about why millennials are so financially intertwined with their parents.
Jul 16, 2019
Paying For College: What To Know Before You Go
1829
Don't let college anxiety rush you into a financial mistake that could haunt you for years. This Life Kit episode lays out the do's and don'ts of paying for college so that you don't have to mortgage your future before you get there.
Here's what to remember:
- Consider attending community college before transferring to a more expensive four-year school.
- Don't let a school's high price deter you — you may only have to pay a fraction of the advertised price.
- The FAFSA form is the gatekeeper to most student financial aid, so don't put it off.
- Find free money, from federal Pell Grants to college-based aid to scholarships for left-handed tuba players.
- If you or your parents have to borrow beyond federal student lending limits, the degree might not be worth the debt.
- Relax! You don't have to attend an elite school to be happy.
Jun 14, 2019
Survive College When You're Paying Your Own Way
1415
You've taken the leap and enrolled in college! But money issues don't end when you accept your financial aid. Paying your way through school can be stressful, but lots of folks have made it work and they have advice for how you, too, can navigate your years in college.
Here's what to remember:
- Find out what resources your college offers for students — you may have to do some digging.
- It's OK to get a job, but try to find one that's related to what you want to do.
- Make a budget. And don't miss out on that free food!
- When being thrifty isn't enough and you have no more hours for a job, talk to the financial aid office about taking out small federal loans.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help.
- Take care of yourself. You've made it to college: You belong there!
Jun 12, 2019
Pay Off Student Loans The Smart Way
1730
Paying off student loans can be a financial nightmare. But if you know how to navigate the system, you can find a payment plan that's more affordable. Plus, if you qualify for loan forgiveness, you might get tens of thousands of dollars of debt wiped out.
Here's what to remember:
- Download a list of all your federal loans.
- If you get an income-driven repayment plan, stay in it!
- Don't trust your loan servicer. Do the research, find your payment plan and get it in writing.
- Take a personal day or make a date with a friend to tackle student-loan paperwork.
- Consider a full frontal assault on your loans to pay them down quickly.
- Loan consolidation or refinancing might make sense for you, but might also lead to financial disaster.
Jun 10, 2019
Boost Your Credit Card IQ
1220
If you use credit cards in a intentional way, you can free up some valuable perks. We geek out on strategies to make credit cards work for you.
Apr 28, 2019
Never Pay An Unnecessary Fee Again
1202
Don't get caught in a cycle of unnecessary overdraft fees, credit card interest and high-cost loans. A few simple tools can help you hold onto those hard-earned dollars.

Here's what to remember:
- Automation is your friend. Set your bills on autopay.
- Overdraft protection is deceptive. Link your checking account to a savings account to avoid overdraft fees.
- Set up a buffer savings account with automatic deposits.
- Don't use credit cards for emergency spending.
- If you do have an emergency, try asking your employer for your already-earned wages.
- Balance transfer checks can help with high-interest debt, but read the fine print.
Apr 28, 2019
Be The Master Of Your Budget
1309
To many, it's a dreaded task: making a budget to keep track of money. Guess what? You can do it, and we show you some tools that can help — maybe even make it fun. The founder of the popular budgeting software You Need A Budget tells us how to track your spending.

Here's what to remember:
- Don't budget just because you should: Set a goal.
- Leverage anxiety from a life change and turn it into motivation.
- Follow the 50-30-20 method.
- Use the power of scarcity.
- A roommate is worth 1,000 coffees.
- Find the budgeting technique that works for you. Here's a worksheet to get you started: https://bit.ly/2umlqex.
Apr 28, 2019
Should You Pay For Financial Advice?
1283
We help you understand whether you need an adviser, and if you do want one, how to find someone who will act in your best interest.

Here's what to remember:
- Many people don't need to pay for financial advice.
- Use a "fee-only" adviser, not a "fee-based" adviser.
- Consider low-cost options like robo-advisers or Vanguard.
- You might need to break up with your adviser — but you can still be friends.
- Two online resources can help you find an adviser: NAPFA and Kent on Money.
Apr 28, 2019
Your Cheat Sheet For Smarter Investing
1331
Investing doesn't have to be hard. We explain how to grow a nice nest egg and avoid that four-letter word that starts with F ... fees.

Here's what to remember:
- Don't pick your own stocks.
- Don't sell stocks if the market crashes.
- Diversify your portfolio.
- Don't pay too much in fees.
- Invest in index funds, not actively managed funds.
- Rebalance your portfolio every year — then leave it alone.
Apr 28, 2019
Get Started Saving
1005
If you're not good at saving money, it's not your fault: Humans are hard-wired to focus on the present. But there's a way to beat evolution and build for your future.

Here's what to remember:
- Make savings automatic.
- Save, even if you have student loans.
- Participate in your employer's matching plan.
- Reward yourself for saving.
- Envision your future self.
- Start saving young.
Apr 26, 2019