A Personal Finance Blogger's Guide to the 2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

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If Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, what comes next? In my book, it's the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And before you roll your eyes, I do recognize the irony of a personal finance blogger spending money on (arguably) frivolous things. But just hear me out. I'm excited about the Nordstrom sale because it's the only one out there that discounts NEW merchandise, not old inventory. That means all the new fall and winter pieces...

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How to Get the Best Deal On Your New Car Without Being Manipulated

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Driving a new car is fun. But buying a new car...not so much. I think we can all agree that negotiating with a car salesperson can be a downright nightmare. And what's more frustrating than a salesperson assuming that (1) you don't know how to negotiate a car, and (2) you can be manipulated?! Let's fix that. By asking the right questions and showing a baseline knowledge of car buying, you can turn the situation in your favor. With these simple tips, you'll never have to feel overwhelmed or vulnerable at the dealership again.

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A Beginner's Guide to Investing Like a Pro | ModMoney

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I’m a firm believer that basic personal finance should be taught in school. So many college graduates emerge with nothing more than a vague idea of how to start investing for a secure future. And this is a huge problem because investing is actually an important part of building wealth! Sure, it may come with a few new vocabulary words, but investing doesn’t have to be that complicated. So let's break it down in a simple, bite-sized, approachable way. Because who doesn’t want to make money from their money, am I right? Here are all the investing basics you need to get started.

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10 Ways You're Wasting Money Without Realizing It | ModMoney

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I recognize the irony of writing a post on wasting money while on our European honeymoon. But even as a personal finance blogger who touts the importance of saving for the future, I'm all about approaching your finances with balance. For me, financial wellness doesn't mean stashing away every penny at the expense of your happiness today. It's about feeling empowered to save for the future and still enjoying the finer things.

Still, it's easy to fall into bad habits and waste money without realizing it. Upsetting these patterns can put a good chunk of change back in your pocket. So read on for...

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Get Paid When You Shop Online With Ebates | ModMoney

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I am fully on board with the online shopping trend...to a fault. I buy everything online: household goods, dog treats, workout gear, birthday gifts, wardrobe adds, and much, much more. Our recycling bin is consistently bursting with cardboard boxes. But there's a good reason for it! With an ecosystem of info at your fingertips, it is so much easier to compare prices, find deals and save money online than it is in-store. If you're like me and saving money excites and energizes you, Ebates is an app you...

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How to Choose the Perfect Credit Card | ModMoney

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Choosing the right credit card can be overwhelming, to say the least. With a Cheesecake Factory-length menu of options, the hardest part is just knowing where to start. So first things first, where do you spend most of your money? Understanding your spending persona will narrow the universe of card choices and lead you to one that fits your lifestyle. Whether you're a traveler or a student, a credit card novice or an online shopper, there's a card tailored to fit your needs. So consider this post your go-to resource for a curated collection of the best. Here are my featured card picks for every...

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Opening a Credit Card Can Actually Help Your Credit Score | ModMoney

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Most of us are skeptical when credit card companies overflow our mailboxes with promised perks and bonuses. “Sign up for this card and receive a 50,000-point bonus!" "Apply now and get your first year’s fee waived!” (As if we don’t already get enough mailers for discounted pizza pies and cleaning supplies.) But let’s get back to the core question. Should we really be adding new plastic to our wallets? The reality is, opening a new credit card that fits your lifestyle can actually be a good thing. Here’s why.

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5 Things to Know About Your 401(k) | ModMoney

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Saving for retirement can be a daunting and seemingly faraway concept for a young professional. After all, we're all navigating through busy lives and other more immediate obligations. Still, it's important to start saving early (here is the reason why), and a retirement account like a 401(k) is a compelling option. These are the 5 things you need to understand about your 401(k) to find the right balance between saving for your future AND preparing for short-term needs. Like paying off those student loans. Or...

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Wedding on a Budget | ModMoney

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Many of us grow up envisioning a lavish and dreamy wedding. But our budgets don’t always align to our childhood visions. According to a survey by The Knot, the average wedding costs over $35,000! If your budget doesn't align with that data point, you're not alone. You can still plan the wedding of your dreams with limited resources. I’ve taken lots of mental notes on the tips I learned to fit my wedding to my wallet, and I'm so excited to share them here.

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Uber Visa Local Offers | ModMoney

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It's no secret that Uber is a force to be reckoned with in the rideshare industry. While the company has faced backlash from traditional cab companies, riders just can't get enough of the streamlined app, friendly drivers, and effortless transport from Point A to Point B. Not to mention the playful banter that comes with friends comparing their Uber ratings. Between Uber's transportation and food delivery services, the company certainly deserves its own line item on my personal budget. If you can relate, then...

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Money-Saving Secrets  | ModMoney

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It's been a long and toasty summer down here in Austin, which means plenty of time indoors for this girl. You know how it goes: gallons of iced mint tea, quarts of frozen yogurt, and hours of downtime to explore new money-saving apps for my readers. One of my discoveries is just too good not to share in its own post. It's a breeze to implement into your spending routine and will save you money on everyday purchases. At the risk of sounding dramatic, it has completely changed the way I shop and pay bills.

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Real-World Money Tips for New College Grads

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School's out for the summer! Instagram is overflowing with caps, gowns, diplomas, and celebrations as adrenaline flows through this year's college grads. It's an exciting time for rising young professionals, but many will face a reality check. Sure, graduating comes with a level of freedom and opportunity. But it also introduces the responsibility of navigating an adult world that looks a whole lot different. As you manage your money independently (perhaps for the first time), it's important to have a guide that will keep you grounded. These real world money tips will set you up to reach those...

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Money 101 by Erica Holland of ModMoney - Camille Styles

Summer is finally upon us here in Austin. It's sunny, 90 degrees, and just muggy enough to be slightly uncomfortable. No matter where you are, I hope you're shaking off the lingering chill and embracing the heat. As we welcome a new season, I'm excited to share a few pieces I've written for the Money 101 column on CamilleStyles.com.

Camille Styles is an Austin-based lifestyle site that brings a fresh approach to health, fitness, fashion, beauty, and professional goals. At its core, Camille's brand inspires healthy choices and happy lives. Financial wellness is an important part of a healthy...

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5 Simple Steps to Creating a Personal Budget | ModMoney

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Creating a budget is one of those items that always falls to the bottom of our to-do list. Perhaps because the mere term "budget" elicits a bitter sense of restriction. The problem is that we’re going about this all wrong. The right kind of budget should empower us rather than confine us. It should equip us to achieve our long-term goals rather than deprive us of enjoying the present. We should be allowed to spend money on things that make us happy, without guilt. These 5 steps will help you build a personal budget that does just that.

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Top self-help books for personal development

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It's difficult to make time for continuous learning and self-improvement. Sure, we learn "on the job." But the most effective learning happens when it's self-motivated and self-guided. At the risk of sounding cliché, reading self-improvement books has changed my life. It has changed the way I organize my time, approach my career, advance new skills, and value myself. In this post, I'm sharing the best self-help books I've read, plus some bonus tips (if you stick around til the end).

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Clean up your money habits to achieve your financial goals

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Last summer, I painstakingly decorated our new home. All the way down to the Q-tip canister in the guest bathroom—let’s just say I was a little neurotic about it. Well, that went out the window when one book made me rethink my entire living space. Y’all, the first chapter will have you schlepping bags of once-cherished belongings to the nearest Goodwill. There’s nothing like a deep clean to shake off the winter blues, but why stop at...

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HSA vs. FSA for qualified medical expenses

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Have you ever postponed a doctor visit because you dreaded paying for the inevitable onslaught of exams? It seems that every time I visit the doctor for a routine cold, I'm hit with a $150+ medical bill. Enough is enough! Today I'm sharing two tools that will help you manage out-of-pocket medical expenses so you actually feel good about getting the healthcare you need. There are two super compelling and tax-friendly ways you can save for doctor visits, prescriptions, surgeries, and any other medical expenses down the road. Let's break down the differences between a...

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How To Pay Down Debt Once And For All | ModMoney

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Living with high-interest rate debt is overwhelming. You feel exposed. You feel burdened. You feel like you’re crumbling under a weight that just keeps growing. Whether you took on student loans to get through school or swiped your credit card a few too many times, you can work through it. By shifting your mindset and breaking down action items, you can start tackling your debt today. Let’s get started!

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Options for rolling over an old 401(k)

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Think about the last time you started a new job. It was an exciting time, right? A new job is an opportunity to start fresh. It's the time to enter a new office, hone new skills, brew new coffee, greet new coworkers, and most importantly, open a new retirement plan. Many of us have started a new career and wondered what to do with the 401(k) from our last job. We worked hard to save and don't want to sacrifice it with an avoidable mistake. Here are three things you can do with your old 401(k) to keep your savings safe—and one thing to avoid.

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What you  need to know about the post-election stock market rally and how Wall Street views President Trump's policy goals

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Over the last few months, news agencies have peppered us with a variety of unusual headlines. However, one story has remained consistent—the stock market has shown strong gains since President Trump's election. With so much uncertainty posed by the new administration, a prolonged rally may seem surprising. So what is behind this streak? And more importantly, what should you do about it?

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3 Tips To Keep In Mind When Filing Your Taxes | ModMoney

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You know, it's really unfair. We get to spend December frolicking in the cool air, surrounded by the lights and frivolity of the holidays. We even keep our homes lit until January, holding on to this bliss until the last minute. Then, the gaiety ends. And the worst part? It's replaced with tax season. But honestly, filing taxes doesn't have to be a dreadful chore if you use the right resources. Plus, there are a few things you can do today to lower your tax bill or increase your refund. Here are some tips that will make filing your taxes a smooth process this year.

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Roth vs. Traditional IRA

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Confession: when I graduated from college, I did not know the first thing about a Roth IRA, much less how it differed from a traditional IRA or a 401(k). It took countless phone calls to my parents and a few "Roth vs. Traditional IRA" Google searches for me to finally get it down. In fact, a Roth IRA may be one of the most baffling personal finance concepts for millennials. And this is a serious problem because a Roth IRA is actually a helpful, tax-efficient way to save for retirement. Especially for young people!

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5 Credit Card Rules You Should Definitely Be Following | ModMoney

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You know those people who pull out a different credit card each time they make a purchase? Admittedly, I'm guilty. I have several cards in my wallet that I use interchangeably to maximize reward categories. But it's important to note that I slowly built my way up to this point.

Spending on a credit card is a great way to earn cash back, travel rewards, and other perks. But if you're not diligent, you can do yourself and your credit history a disservice. Conscientious cardholders use their cards to build up their credit score and earn a return on purchases they already make. However, there is a...

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6 Ways To Save Money When You Work Out | ModMoney

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January is a great month to be a health club. Gyms rake in membership fees as new clients set fitness resolutions with the greatest of intentions. January 1 starts a clean slate, and it feels good to start off with a new diet or fitness regimen.

There's no doubt that working out is a healthy habit, but it can also be an expensive one. Especially if you overpay for a gym membership you don't actually use! With many of you looking for ways to stay healthy and happy this year, I'm sharing 6 tips to help you work out without breaking the bank.

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5 Financial Resolutions You Should Keep This Year | ModMoney

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Happy new year, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a relaxing holiday with friends and family. Now that it's officially 2017, I have to admit that I have never been good at keeping New Year's resolutions. I tend to focus more on lofty end goals and less on the habits I need to adopt to get there. Inevitably, I lose track, get overwhelmed, and give up within the first month or two. Anyone else in the same boat?

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for dreaming big. But you also have to be mindful of the journey it will take to get there. This year, I'm resolving to think about my resolutions in a...

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Last Minute Christmas Gifts Under $100 | ModMoney

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Every year I plan to stay ahead of my holiday shopping. On Cyber Monday, I'm ready to knock out my whole gift list. But I never seem to make it all the way through! I either get distracted and move to another task, or I add to my list later on. As I sit here 4 days before Christmas, I still have a few last minute gifts to purchase. Please tell me I'm not alone! For those of you who are in the same boat, I thought it would be helpful to round up some of my favorite go-to gifts under $100 this week. And the best part? All of them are...

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Does Canceling A Credit Card Hurt Your FICO Score? | ModMoney

Many of us have that unused credit card that sits in the back of our wallets. Now be honest. Have you ever been tempted to cancel it? After all, doesn't cleaning up old credit make sense in theory? It is a common misconception that canceling an old credit card helps your FICO score. In reality, the opposite is true. Closing an old card can have a detrimental impact! And here's why.

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Should You Open That Retail Store Credit Card? | ModMoney

We've all been through this before. After exiting the dressing room, you approach the cash register with a few items in hand. You're already thinking about ripping off the tags and wearing your new clothes to dinner that evening. (Is that just me?) As you fumble for your credit card, the sales associate says, "You know, if you open up a store card, you can save an extra 15% today." What do you do? This sounds like an enticing offer! And you'll get instant gratification with a discount today. But before you reach for that shiny new retail card, there are a few factors to consider.

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Best Emergency Savings Accounts

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A recurring theme around ModMoney is the importance of saving early to build wealth. The ability of time to exponentially grow your nest egg is a real thing!

Most of us already save through a retirement account like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA. But your savings should not stop there! Since you can't withdraw from these accounts...

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5 Apps That Will Save You Time & Money This Holiday Season | ModMoney

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I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving week! Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and a plethora of holiday travel are fast approaching. The holiday season can be chaotic and expensive, so I love to find new ways to save myself stress, time, and money. There are a few apps and tools I rely on to help me do that, and I'm excited to share them with you today! The first three apps are travel-focused and are essential for savvy flying. These will provide you with a smooth, comfortable, and well-priced travel experience. The last two involve holiday shopping and will help you save money and maximize the dollars...

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How to Save Money Automatically With Digit | ModMoney

This post may contain affiliate links. Saving money while you're young is one of the surest ways to build wealth. I talked about the importance of saving early in this post, but here's a quick refresher. When you put money into a savings account, your dollars earn interest. As time passes, you earn interest on your original balance AND on the interest you have accumulated. Earning interest on interest allows your savings to grow exponentially each year.

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How to Find Lost Money | ModMoney

You know that feeling when you find $20 in an old pair of jeans? Or in a handbag collecting dust in the back of your closet? Discovering lost money, in any amount, is a joyous occasion. Today, I'm sharing a website that creates a similar story line. This site helps you find unclaimed money you never knew you lost.

I know what you're thinking. How can I possibly have money floating around that I don't know about? Well, remember when you paid a security deposit on that new apartment lease? Did you ever get it back? How about that savings account your grandfather opened for you? Or that Certificate of Deposit you received from your great aunt when you turned thirteen? Maybe you never even knew you had these funds! Other forms of unclaimed property can include uncashed payroll...

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How to Maximize Your Online Shopping | ModMoney

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How many of you are online shoppers? I have to admit, I will do anything to avoid fighting weekend traffic at the mall. My mother used to beg me to go to the mall with her anytime I needed new clothes. In fact, shopping became a punishment for me. When my sisters misbehaved, they went to time-out. When I misbehaved, I went to the mall.

Not much has changed - I still much prefer to shop online. But now I have a nice collection of tools I use to maximize those purchases. Here's how you can join me in saving money and getting paid just for spending money online.

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How Technology Is Changing Investing | ModMoney

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We've all come to terms with the fact that technology is changing our world. Toddlers have iPads, respectable adults play Pokemon Go, and robots perform human jobs. Well, the investing landscape is no different. Technology is fundamentally changing the way we invest.

It matters because it's important to have a long-term investing strategy, especially at a young age! Your 20s and 30s are when you can afford to take on some risk and allow your nest egg to grow exponentially (thank you,...

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The Best Credit Card for Travel Rewards | ModMoney

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A few months ago, Chase had the universe of credit card nerds (yes, that exists) going crazy over the release of its newest card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can think of this as an upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Preferred (a must-have card until this new release). Y'all, the Reserve has all of the credit card nerds energized for a reason. In my opinion, it is the best travel rewards card on the market.

A quick caveat: I don't recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve to a credit card beginner....

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Creative Ways to Decorate Your Home on a Budget | ModMoney

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For me, personal finance goes beyond understanding how to save and invest responsibly. It has everything to do with feeling good about managing my money, and that includes having fun spending it! A few weeks ago, Chris and I moved into a 2-bedroom apartment, which has been an exciting start for both of us. Of course, along with a new chapter should come new furniture and a fresh look, am I right?

In typical fashion, I must admit to spending hours planning furniture and decor purchases...

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The Importance of Saving Early | ModMoney

We’ve all heard it time and time again. We should start saving as much as we can, as early as we can. But why? As a 22-year-old in my first real job, I was tempted to contribute just a minimal amount to my retirement fund every month. After all, for every dollar I contribute, that’s one less dollar I can spend today on things that are way more fun than a 401k (Soulcycle and brunch are expensive, y’all!). Plus, I’ve got the rest of my life to save, right? This thought process is so common among young professionals who don’t fully understand the value of compound interest.

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The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your FICO Score | ModMoney

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Credit card spending is a great way to earn cash back, rewards, awesome travel perks, and lucrative sign-up bonuses. But to fully enjoy these benefits, you need a solid credit score. So, what does that mean? How is it calculated, and how can you find yours? Read on for everything you need to know about your credit score.

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AmEx Platinum Travel Benefits in Mexico

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After a few hours of navigating through flight cancellations and delays, Chris and I finally arrived in Punta Mita, Mexico for a few days of R&R. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy planning and booking trips because I see it as an opportunity to get extra value for my dollar. Plus, booking a sweet travel deal is so much more rewarding than purchasing a discounted coffee table. I have a few go-to credit cards...

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A Note from Erica

It’s a beautiful day in Austin, Texas. After a 5:45am spin class, I have an hour of quiet time before I head into the office. With a large coffee in hand and endorphins kicking in, I’m sitting down to write my first ModMoney post. As a finance professional, I like to read fashion and lifestyle blogs as an escape from working behind spreadsheets and creating presentations. The nerdier side of me (let’s be honest, it makes up most of me) also enjoys reading about maximizing credit card points, managing money, long-term investing (have I lost you yet?), and other enthralling content (sarcastic, but not really).

Graduating from college and entering the real world was daunting. I’m a born-and-bred Texas girl who left the state (gasp!) to...

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Erica is an Austin local, Duke grad, and creator of ModMoney, a platform bringing a fresh perspective to personal finance. She believes financial health is an important part of living well and hopes to empower others to make informed, proactive choices with their money. Find out more.

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