Woman writing out a check

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Know What You Can Afford
Live by this rule, Suze says: "If you can't write a check for it, you can't afford it." With the exception of large purchases such as cars or real estate, that rule applies to most things, she says. Suze offers advice to help you determine if you can afford those purchases:

  • Real Estate: You need at least 20 percent down with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and have an eight-month emergency fund of living expenses and no credit card debt to afford a home, Suze says.
  • Car: If you have to take out a loan for more than three years to finance a car, Suze says you cannot afford it.
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