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  1. These financial experts share their secrets on deals, paying off mortgages, shopping, banking and more! 
  2. "My dad always said you should try to earn money while you sleep. You can generate income by contributing to a workplace retirement plan, an IRA or a taxable brokerage account. Invest 15 percent of your gross income. If you start when you're young, setting aside just $50 a week can give you close to a million dollars for retirement."—Laura Adams, smartmovestogrowrich.com 
  3. "The biggest lesson I learned from being $10,000 in debt? I had to be willing and able to take care of myself. The first step was I found 26 ways —one for each letter of the alphabet—either to cut down on or eliminate spending. My ideas ranged from comparison-shopping and using more coupons to adjusting my haircut schedule (from every four weeks to every six).
  4. "The best advice I ever got was to go easy on myself when I didn't get the absolute lowest price. Missed the best deal? The next time you'll compare more. Forgot your coupons at home? Let that be a lesson to keep them in your purse or car. If you berate yourself or obsess over every misstep, you waste valuable time and energy.
  5. "My wife and I were $18,000 in consumer debt when our daughter was born in 2008. We decided to embrace a minimalist attitude toward our finances. We started using a 30-day list. Try it: The next time you want a tech gadget or a new purse, write it down along with the date. Thirty days later, revisit the list and ask yourself, 'Do I really need this?' Today we are out of debt, and we don't buy anything without really thinking it through."—Adam Baker, manvsdebt.com     
  6. "I've learned that couples who openly discuss money seem to be more connected and have more respect for each other than couples who don't. I have seen couples who keep separate bank accounts eventually get to the point where they even sleep in separate bedrooms. Make it a priority to sit down together with your spouse at least once a month for a 'money huddle' to talk through your household finances."—Bethany Palmer, themoneycouple.com     
  7. "One year as Christmas approached, my younger brother and I had a particularly severe case of 'I want.' Every day we let our mother know about yet another toy that Santa just had to bring us. After days of listening, Mom finally had enough. 'That's going to cost a lot of money,' she said. 'What does that matter? Santa will bring it all,' we told her. Not missing a beat, she informed us, 'Santa sends a bill to me and your father.' Oh. That made a difference. There was a price to pay, even on Dec. 25. We learned to prioritize our wants. And you know what?
  8. "My grandpa constantly told my dad, 'Never go into debt for anything—except a house.' My dad followed that advice, then he took it one step further. My parents paid off their house, saved aggressively, sold that house and moved us into a rundown trailer for seven months while we built a home in the country debt-free!
  9. "As a stay-at-home mom to three young children, I have had to learn to live a frugal life. In 2007 my husband and I were $37,000 in debt. We decided enough was enough, and we sat down to hammer out a budget. We also resolved to always shop with cash. When you use cash exclusively, you cannot overspend, because you have only a set amount of money in your pocket. The strategy also opens the door to negotiating for appliances and other big-ticket items.
  10. "After I paid off the last of my divorce-related debt, I decided to automate my savings. After all, if I didn't have access to it, I couldn't spend it. An online savings bank now takes a set amount from my checking account every month. I'm so excited to watch my savings grow that I look for other ways to boost the balance. I sometimes forgo an indulgence—do I really need to buy pizza when there are leftovers in the fridge?—and add that money to my savings.
  11. "I'm a big bargain hunter, but one lesson I've learned is that cheaper is not always better. A few years ago I paid $90 for a new pair of sunglasses. Extravagant, yes, but they were high-quality frames that fit my face like a dream. I easily could have purchased multiple cheaper sunglasses for the same amount during the past three years, but I wear the $90 pair almost every day, and they're still going strong. My initial investment was worth it."—Tara Kuczykowski, dealseekingmom.com  
  12. "When I was a kid, my mom worked at home as the bookkeeper for my father's neighborhood newspaper. I was probably 9 or 10 when she 'hired' me to do office tasks, like stuffing and stamping envelopes. She insisted on paying me minimum wage—far more than I earned baby-sitting. But my mom explained what minimum wage was and why my skills were worth it. That gave me my first sense of my own value. It also helped me learn to earn and save. Those lessons have stayed with me."—M.P. Dunleavey, editor in chief, dailyworth.com  
  13. Watch for parabens, para-dichlorobenzene and phthalates in your bathroom. The scary sounding toxics are commonly found in products you use everyday like toothpaste (parabens), air freshners (para-dichlorobenzene) and moisturizers (phthalates).