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Success Online Financial Education Newsletter
Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
SUCCESS NewsletterJanuary 17 newsletter
The trick to success that fits in your pocket 

The first step to financial success fits in your pocket

By Jesse Campbell, Copywriter

You may not want to hear this coming from the guy writing a weekly financial advice column that you’re kind enough to be reading, but my money strategies as a kid were abysmally misguided.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, you might be saying. No one knows good money habits until someone teaches them!

While I appreciate the supportive words (that I just put in your mouth right then), I don’t think you understand the depths of my former folly. You see, I didn’t blow all of my birthday money on Gobstoppers and comic books like a normal adolescent boy. I didn’t stash it away in a piggy bank, either.

My long-term financial strategy of choice? Hiding dollar bills and checks in books and envelopes and then intentionally losing them.

I think the idea was that I didn’t want to waste my rare and precious money on something frivolous; however, found money was a different story entirely. Found money was basically buried treasure and therefore supplemental income, to be used however I pleased. If a few stray bills stayed lost, well, that was the cost of doing business, I suppose. 

There was a simpler way, of course.  A handy little method that saved me untold money and fit in my back pocket...

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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Six money saving tips for traveling abroad

If you’re planning an overseas getaway this year, here are some tips on how to avoid financial stress during what should be a relaxing vacation.

  1. Call your bank. Make sure to contact your banks before you depart to let them know you’ll be out of the country. Banks will often cut off access to your card because they think it is being used fraudulently overseas.
  2. Bring at least two payment types. You’ve already called your banks to notify them you’ll be out of the country, but in case there are still issues you’ll want to be prepared with a backup payment method. Use cash whenever possible though and in the currency of the country. Merchants often charge a “currency conversion fee” and credit cards may charge “foreign transaction fees” too which will add up. With cash, you can pay a flat fee per withdraw from an ATM versus a percentage of what you spend with a card, but you’ll have to do some math to determine what will come out cheaper.
  3. Make copies of your important documents. It’s important that you have access to copies of your important documents such as your passport, credit cards, health insurance, etc. but if your belongings get stolen, it’s likely that printed copies may be stolen as well. My suggestion is to save your copies online in a password protected space. You’ll have access to these as long as you have access to the Internet.
  4. Look into booking vacation rentals over hotel rooms. Since vacation rentals are most often less expensive than hotel rooms, you’ll be able to save money on what can be your highest travel expense. Be sure to do extensive research before sending your payment, since you’ll likely be communicating directly with the property owner. 
  5. Plan how you’ll get to your final destination. Whether by taxi, shuttle, or public transportation, determine beforehand how you’ll arrive at your accommodations to save on unexpected expenses. Taxi drivers are known to take advantage of unknowing tourists so be aware of what your fare should be, and the less expensive shuttle services usually require reservations.
  6. Pack lightly. Not only will lighter luggage make your trek easier, but you can avoid checked baggage fees by packing a carry-on. Some airlines will charge you up to $35 per checked bag! For current fees, check out the airline baggage fees chart from

Lastly, enjoy yourself! You’ve planned well and deserve this much needed vacation..  

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