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Freelance writer & indie author sharing thoughts on creativity, productivity and success. https://karenbanes.com

The right to own a gun doesn’t make murder legal.

“Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I came across this comic strip on social media this week. It perfectly sums up for me what free speech is, and what it isn’t. But perhaps doesn’t go quite far enough. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you’re immune to the potentially illegal consequences of what you say. Just because you’re practicing free speech (which is legal) doesn’t mean you aren’t also breaking the law in the way you use it.


Most debt is bad. It’s time to face up to that.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels

One of the biggest reasons for financial stress I’m seeing recently is the normalization of debt. This leads to many young adults being financially overstretched, and loaded down with student loans and consumer debt, before they even start the real business of adulting.

I’m also hearing the phrase ‘good debt’ a lot in the personal finance space. But it’s being misused. …


Needs, wants, and alternative costs.

Image from Pixabay

Making a major purchase can be stressful or exciting. If most of yours feel stressful, it could be because you’re simply not at peace with the idea of spending that much money on that particular thing. Ask yourself these questions about any major purchase, to feel a lot more comfortable with your decision.

Do I Need It?

This is a much more complex question than it seems on the surface. There are so many things that are so entrenched in us as a basic need that we forget to question them. We need shelter, but the pros and cons of renting versus buying a…


Saving can be hard, but getting started isn’t.

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

If you’ve never been a saver, you might have no idea where to start when it comes to saving money rather than spending it. It sounds like it should be simple, but if it were, everyone would have savings, and according to Statista, almost half of Americans didn’t, even before the crisis year of 2020, complete with worldwide pandemic. If you’re one of the many people out there with no savings at all, there are a few tricks that might help you start that saving habit.

Begin By Doing Nothing

If you’ve read my previous work, you might know I’m a big fan of…


“Where’s the money?” can be harder to answer in digital businesses than in physical ones.

Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash

There are many forms an online business or side hustle can take. It’s not unusual for people to set up a blog, website, YouTube channel, or podcast for fun or personal interest, and only later think about monetizing it. If you’re one of those people, the last year may well have helped sharpen your focus. As other forms of income have been impacted, your side hustle may have become more important.

There are also plenty of people who sell a service or product online, but spend the majority of their time on peripheral activities that are related to their business…


Money problems cause arguments. So do money misunderstandings.

Photo by Nele Viaene on Unsplash

We’ve come a long way in recent years, and not every couple feels the need to completely merge their finances when they marry or set up a home together. However, it’s pretty hard to build a life together without addressing money and the many issues that surround it. If you’re going to work towards shared goals, maybe buy a home together, and possibly raise children together, there are some conversations you need to have.

What Does Money Mean To Us?

There’s a reason so many arguments between couples involve money. Money is a very emotional topic for many of us. When we talk about money as…


Stop paying your bank a fortune for the privilege of investing your money.

Photo by Roberto Hund from Pexels

Unexpected bank fees can come as a shock, especially if you don’t have much money to start with. And, of course, those with less money are actually more likely to find a bank charge they weren’t prepared for on their statement. Here are a few common bank charges, and how to avoid them.

Minimum Balance Fee

Most banks don’t go out of their way to draw attention to this, but if your balance goes below a certain amount, you can be charged a fee. Yes, they will actually take money from you as a penalty for not having enough money. The minimum balance…


Understanding this concept can help you improve your credit score easily.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

You may have heard that a high credit utilization rate hurts your credit score, but what does that mean? What exactly is a credit utilization rate? How much does it hurt your credit score? And what can you do about it?

Your credit utilization rate also referred to as your credit utilization ratio refers to the amount of credit you’re currently using out of the total amount of credit available to you. …


Some are more drastic than others.

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There’s no doubt that attending college can be expensive. So it’s not surprising that many potential students are looking for ways to save money on a college education. There are plenty of small moves you can make to do this, but there are also some more extreme options you could consider. Here are four of them:

Don’t Go

I don’t offer this advice lightly. It’s true that most people think the significant amount of money spent on college is worth it long-term and that the right degree can greatly increase your income over a lifetime. But is college 100% essential for 100%…


Credit card debt is bad. Responsible credit card usage is fine.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

We’re often told to avoid credit card debt, as it’s one of the most expensive kinds of debt there is. That’s good advice that should always be followed. Never run up credit card debt, under any circumstances.

Avoiding credit card debt, however, doesn’t always mean you have to avoid using credit cards. It’s possible to use them without ever going into debt, and if you’re disciplined about it, there are various ways that credit cards can be used to your advantage.

Credit building

There are various ways to build credit. Having a credit card that you use sparingly and pay off every…

Karen Banes

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