Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson

Holly Johnson is a financial expert and award-winning writer who serves as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar. Holly runs her own website, ClubThrifty.com, and writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News, World Report Travel, The Indianapolis Star, and Wise Bread. She is the co-author of Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You'll Love.

  1. Should You Use Credit or Debit for Your Holiday Shopping This Year?

    Sticking to your holiday shopping budget can be tricky no matter how you pay. After all, you may have a dozen people on your holiday shopping list, and potentially more. Finding the perfect gift for everyone is hard enough, let alone finding gifts that are within your price range.

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  2. This Rewards Card Gives You 5 Percent Back on All Your Holiday Shopping

    If you’re gearing up for the holiday shopping season and looking for new ways to save, it always helps to think outside the box. Of course you’ll scoop up bargains on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but your deal-seeking doesn’t have to end there. With the right rewards credit card, you could get 5 percent cash back – or a 5 percent discount on most of your holiday gift-giving this year.

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  3. Best Rewards Cards for Black Friday 2017

    As usual, a lot of spending will take place on Black Friday, the notorious shopping holiday that takes place the day after Thanksgiving. As NRF figures show, more than 154 million individuals shopped in stores or online on Black Friday in 2016, spending about $290 each, on average.

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  4. Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards if You Have a Ton of Debt

    But, which balance transfer card should you get? If you have a small amount of debt that will only take a few months to pay off, nearly any 0 percent APR card could do the trick. If you’re drowning in debt and carrying more than average, on the other hand, a card with a long introductory offer and the best terms possible will leave you better off.

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  5. 5 Reasons My Kids Aren't

    With college costs and student loan debt soaring, I want to help my kids make smart decisions regarding their future. Since our kids were babies, we’ve been socking money away in their 529 savings plans. By the time they reach college, I estimate they’ll both have $50,000 to pay for any school of their choosing.

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  6. Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express Review: Earn Delta SkyMiles without an Annual

    Recently, Delta Air Lines and American Express partnered up to offer a brand new co-branded credit card – the Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. While the signup bonus on this card isn’t anything to write home about, it does offer one benefit many rewards consumers look for – no annual fee. Beyond its lack of an annual fee, this card also offers an interesting earning structure that could work well for consumers with certain spending habits.

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  7. Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: Do You Need Flood Insurance?

    As the water recedes in Houston and various waterfront communities across Texas, a startling financial reality continues to unfold. Where hurricane Harvey hit the hardest, 80 percent of homeowners and property owners lacked flood insurance coverage.

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  8. Earn 2x Points and $500 Cash: Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business Review

    Business owners who compare business credit cards face a common conundrum– they crave points they can redeem for travel, but may be put off by the egregious annual fees some business cards charge. Fortunately, at least one business credit card offers valuable rewards, a simple redemption process, and an annual fee nearly any business owner can stomach.

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  9. 5 Ways Millennials Can Use Credit Cards to their Advantage

    Millennials may be the largest living generation on Earth, but that doesn't mean they don't face their share of financial hurdles. For example, millennials face higher levels of student loan debt than ever before, rampant unemployment or underemployment, an increasingly expensive housing market, and a world where owning costly gadgets and technology is the norm.

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  10. Rewards Credit Cards to Score Before the Holidays Hit

    With summer behind us and fall on its way, it’s just a matter of time until the festive season hits. Once Halloween comes and goes, an explosion of twinkling lights and non-stop sales will last for months. Holiday shopping season will kick in, culminating on Black Friday followed by weeks of last-minute rushing to find the perfect gifts. It will be here before we know it, which is why you should really start planning now.

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  11. Yes, You Can Book All-Inclusive Vacations with Credit Card Rewards

    According to a recent survey from Allianz Travel Insurance, the average American may be spending more money on vacation than ever before - approximately $1,798 on average as of 2016. That’s a lot of dough to spend on travel, yet 50 percent of respondents to the Allianz study said they were confident they could pull it off.

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  12. How to Execute a Balance Transfer – and Actually Save Money

    If you have high interest credit card debt, personal loan debt, or other mounting bills, a balance transfer credit card could be the answer to your prayers. Once you qualify for a balance transfer credit card, you can score 0 percent APR on transferred balances for anywhere from 12 – 21 months. Best of all, some balance transfer credit cards offer low fees or even no fees to consumers who qualify.

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  13. Can Credit Cards Help You Become More Charitable?

    When it comes to credit cards, there are too many options to count. From cash-back rewards cards that let you earn rewards to balance transfer cards that help you save money on interest, there’s a card type to suit everyone regardless of their credit needs. And yes, that includes credit cards that can help you become more charitable. Believe it or not, some card issuers and programs make it easy to donate cash-back or miles instead of keeping your rewards for yourself.

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  14. A No-Fee Membership Rewards Card You'll Love: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

    While American Express is well known for their selection of premier travel credit cards, past and present Amex customers seem to have a lot of gripes. For starters, the card issuer’s top tier travel credit cards – the Platinum Card from American Express and the Business Platinum Card from American Express – come with outrageous annual fees of $550 and $450, respectively. Worse, both cards offer an earning tier of just 1 point per $1 spent outside of special bonus categories.

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  15. Credit cards offer a slew of benefits that make them valuable for just about anyone. With a credit card in-hand, you can score valuable consumer protections like purchase protection, zero fraud liability, and guaranteed returns. And, let’s not forget about the many rewards programs that help you rack up cash back, gift cards, or free travel.

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  16. 5 Clever Reasons to Refinance Your Mortgage (and 3 Reasons Not to)

    With interest rates near record lows so long that rising rates seem imminent, it’s smart to at least consider refinancing your home mortgage. A lower interest rate could give you plenty of advantages, after all. While loan outcomes vary, lower interest rates can easily lead to lower monthly mortgage payments and interest savings. Under the right circumstances, you could even shorten the repayment timeline for your loan and pay off your home faster.

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  17. Myth Busted: No, Opening New Credit Cards Won't Bomb Your Credit Score

    Credit card signup bonuses are often considered the holy grail of affordable travel. Sign up for a new rewards credit card or travel credit card, hit a minimum spending requirement, and earn a bonus big enough to pay for several hotel nights or a free round-trip flight. If you’re into cash-back instead, you can also parlay your rewards into several hundred dollars in statement credits instead.

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  18. 6 Reasons Cheap Rural Living May Be a Better Deal Than You Realize

    Is big-city living all it’s cracked up to be? Or, would you be better off in a quieter, slower-paced rural environment? While this question has been debated for years, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer that suits everyone. The truth is, some people prefer the close-knit quarters of an urban existence while others crave more space.

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  19. Hate the Idea of Student Loans? Here are 8 Ways to Borrow Less for College

    While higher education is typically a good investment, the surging costs of a college degree have been blurring the line for years. Sure, college graduates tend to earn more, but they’re also facing growing debt loads, too. According to Student Loan Hero, the average 2016 college graduate left school with more than $37,000 in student loan debt.

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  20. 10 Highest-Paying Careers for 2017-18 College Graduates

    Graduating with a college degree requires a sincere commitment to academics and a laser-focus on achieving one’s goals. Many top degree programs require four years of rigorous coursework at the very least, while some of the highest-paying fields require eight or more years in school along with a residency and/or on-the-job training.

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  21. Bachelor's Degrees Jobs with the Best ROI for 2017-2018

    According to a recent analysis from USA Today, using data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute, a college degree is one of the best financial investments anyone can make. In 2015, college graduates earned 56 percent more than high school graduates. Non-degreed adults also face higher unemployment rates and fewer opportunities over all, mostly due to lost manufacturing jobs from the last decade.

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  22. 9 European Cities You Can Actually Afford to Visit This Year

    A European getaway is on nearly everyone’s bucket list, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s budget is equipped to handle the expense. Flights alone can be cost-prohibitive. Truth be told, most round-trip flights to Europe from the U.S. start at $1,000 and only go up from there.

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  23. 10 College Degrees with Awesome ROI for 2017-2018

    Despite the growing costs of higher education, a college degree is usually the best way to get ahead. With a degree in an in-demand and profitable industry, workers can get their foot in the door, climb the career ladder, and continue improving their skills.

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  24. 9 Cheap Beach Towns You Can Actually Afford to Visit This Year

    If you have kids, you’re probably well aware that beach vacations are the ultimate gateway to frugal fun. Beyond transportation and lodging, you’ll pay very little to keep the kids busy all day. Head out to the beach from your hotel or rental, bring along a cooler of drinks and snacks, and your kids will use nature’s bounty – surf, sand, and sea life - to entertain themselves.

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  25. Chase Freedom Review: A First-Hand Account

    My original foray into credit card rewards stemmed from a targeted mailer for the Chase Freedom® card. I was in my late 20’s and money was tight. With the Chase Freedom® card, I learned, I could score an initial signup bonus ($100 at the time) and earn 1-5 percent cash back for every dollar I spent. Needless to say, I was pumped to try it out.

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  26. Best Credit Cards for a Large Purchase

    If you have a large purchase coming up and don’t have the cash, you have myriad options at your disposal. You could spend months saving small sums to reach your goal, or you could take out a personal loan. If neither of those options seem appealing, you could sign up for a new credit card instead.

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  27. Should You Pay Your Card’s Annual Fee? Here’s How to Decide

    The best travel and rewards credit cards really can offer the unthinkable – something for nothing. By using your card for all your purchases, you can earn points redeemable for cash back, travel rewards, gift cards, or merchandise. The catch, however, is that you must avoid carrying a balance if you want to avoid credit card interest.

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  28. Rewards Credit Cards Overview: 5 Types of Cards and How They Work

    If you have ever wanted to travel the world, earn cash back for a rainy day, or rack up points good for gift cards or merchandise, a rewards credit card might be exactly what you need. After signing up a for rewards card, you can easily earn 1-5 points worth of cash back, gift cards, merchandise, or travel rewards for each dollar you spend.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Information in these articles is brought to you by CreditSoup. Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles.