If you received a gift card over the holidays, chances are you’re happy about it. After all, what’s not to like? Gift cards allow recipients to buy stuff without taking money out of their pocket — at least in theory. But gift cards can be a mixed blessing. Forget you have one and it can … Continued

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“Ask Brianna” is a column for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna@nerdwallet.com. This week’s question: “I’m overwhelmed … Continued

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Spending less than you earn is one sure path to financial security. But that doesn’t have to mean a spartan lifestyle. You can still enjoy yourself while living small. Focus on the benefits. Having a financial buffer makes you the boss of your money, instead of someone who scrambles until payday. It gives you the … Continued

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