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Special report

Year-end money guide

Surprise yourself this holiday season. Give yourself a gift.
The gift? Time. Take time to look over all your monthly, big-ticket expenses, such as your mortgage and credit card bills, to see where you can slash your monthly costs. Now, that's a present.

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Holiday gifts especially for you
Get rid of PMI early
Sometimes, homeowners can drop private mortgage insurance earlier than the normal rules allow.
 
Is your refi deal as good as new?
If you're refinancing, you'd better check to make sure your deal is as good as the one a new buyer gets.
 
Transferring a credit card balance can save cash
Be wise. Before moving to another card, read the fine print. Watch out for transfer fees and other traps.
 
Fee focus: Is your bank a big softie or a big punisher?
Banking fees keep rising and there's no end in sight. Check out these tips to keep more money in your pocket.
 
Passbook and statement savings rates hit record lows
Interest rates on these accounts are at an all-time low. Here are some alternatives.
 
Pay less tax with flexible spending accounts
Cafeteria plans take a bite out of your tax bill.
 
Zero-finance deals will stay around
Some automakers extend their offers for those with good credit.
 
Refinance your car and reap rewards!
With rates at or near historic lows, auto refinancing can put enough money in your pocket to make it worth the hassle.
 
Credit scoring 101
If you want a loan, a job or an apartment, you'd better know about credit scoring and credit reports.
 
-- Posted: Nov. 30, 2001
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