Skip to content
You're better than monthly fees.  Get a Varo Bank Account today
Blog | Authors | Louis DeNicola
Louis DeNicola

Louis DeNicola

Louis DeNicola is a freelance finance writer based in Oakland, California. He specializes in consumer credit, personal finance, and small business finance, and loves helping people find ways to save money. In addition to Varo, Louis works with a variety of financial services firms, credit bureaus, and educational websites, including Credit Karma, Wirecutter, Funding Circle, and Experian.


Make This Your Best Holiday Ever on a Budget

Almost three-quarters of Americans said they failed to properly budget for the holidays last year, according to a Varo Bank survey. Here's a better way.
Louis DeNicolaDecember 21, 2022

The Smarter Way to Use Credit During the Holidays

It can easy to go into auto-pilot and spend too much during the holidays — and let credit card bills pile up. Here are some ideas to being strategic with credit.
Louis DeNicolaDecember 21, 2022

Did You Take on a Side Hustle? Think About Taxes Before 2021 Begins

There are certain tricks that every gig worker should know for optimizing their taxes.
Louis DeNicolaDecember 15, 2020

What The Biden Presidency Could Mean for Your Wallet

While there's still a lot of uncertainty to come, here's what the new president might mean for your money.
Louis DeNicolaNovember 19, 2020
credit card

Which of the Big Credit Card Companies Should You Go With?

This guide will help you figure out which credit card company issues a card to fit your needs.
Louis DeNicolaOctober 12, 2020

A Simple Guide to Debt Consolidation

Combining many debts into one loan can make managing debts easier and sometimes cheaper.
Louis DeNicolaSeptember 09, 2020

Passive Income: What It Is and 6 Ways to Start Earning

This is how a passion replaces your day job.
Louis DeNicolaJuly 29, 2020

If You’re Making More Money Right Now, Do This

Some are making more money than before from extra hours or increased unemployment benefits. If you’re lucky enough to be making a little extra, here’s ...

Louis DeNicolaMay 14, 2020

Kids Activities to Keep Them Busy and You Sane

With schools closed across the country, parents working from home, and especially if you’re under a shelter-in-place order, there’s a good chance the whole family ...
Louis DeNicolaMarch 23, 2020

Easy Meals with Staple Ingredients: What to Cook

You may have made a few grocery runs while preparing to hunker down as part of your city's effort to keep the coronavirus transmission. Now, ...

Louis DeNicolaMarch 20, 2020

How Do I Get Health Insurance If My Employer Doesn't Offer It?

Maybe you quit your job to turn your side hustle into a thriving business. Or, you may be between jobs or working part-time without ...
Louis DeNicolaMarch 09, 2020
varo 101

Pay Off Debt or Save—Which is Better?

Paying off debt and saving money can both help you build your nest egg and become financially secure. But choosing which thing to do with ...

Louis DeNicolaFebruary 24, 2020

How to Build Your Credit: A Quick Guide

You’re not alone if you checked your credit and think your score could be a little higher.

Experian found that the average American ...

Louis DeNicolaDecember 03, 2019

How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt in 5 Easy Steps

There’s more to paying off credit card debt than cutting back, earning more, and throwing every extra penny at your loans. (Although that ...

Louis DeNicolaNovember 08, 2019

A Weekly Savings Plan Starts on the Weekend: Here's What to Do

Between commuting, work, chores, and kids, the week can quickly become overwhelming. It’s certainly a lot to juggle, and that’s before you add in socializing, ...
Louis DeNicolaNovember 01, 2019

Benefits of Saving Money? Less Stress, More Freedom

Sticking to a budget is a core piece of advice in the personal finance world. It can also be the hardest to heed. Changing your ...

Louis DeNicolaSeptember 11, 2019

How to Borrow Money from Friends (And Stay Friends)

Links to external websites are not managed by Varo or The Bancorp Bank.

Ideally, borrowing money from friends or family members is an all-around win. ...

Louis DeNicolaAugust 08, 2019

Here’s Why It’s So Easy to Spend Money (Blame Your Brain) 

Ever arrive home from your regular commute without a clear picture of how you got there? You’re safe, thankfully, but you can’t remember making every ...

Louis DeNicolaJuly 03, 2019

How to Save Money on Gas? Stacking Rewards is the Key

Imagine never having to worry about the price of gas.

This isn’t a pitch for buying an electric vehicle or exchanging your car for ...

Louis DeNicolaJune 12, 2019

A Checklist for Life After Graduation

Commencement speeches can fill anyone with hope and optimism. But as with any period of transition, taking the next step and entering the real ...

Louis DeNicolaJune 06, 2019

Juggling High-Interest Debts? A Debt Consolidation Loan Might Help

Taking out one loan to pay off another loan often gets a bad rap. And you do need to be careful to not get into ...

Louis DeNicolaMay 07, 2019

Yes, Disability Insurance Is Kinda Boring. No, That Doesn’t Mean You Should Ignore It.

We get it. Insurance isn’t exactly an exciting topic. But imagine you get in an accident and are out of work for a few months—or ...

Louis DeNicolaApril 24, 2019

How to Make a Budget: The Easy Way

The b word—b*dget—is an instant turn-off for many people. It’s one of those things that you know you’re “supposed” to do but never get around ...

Louis DeNicolaApril 24, 2019

What to Do When the Stock Market Drops

Even if you ignore the news’ daily recap of changes in the stock market, it’s almost impossible to avoid the headlines when there are big ...

Louis DeNicolaApril 24, 2019

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The Secret to Developing a Saver Mindset

You probably know who among your friends is a saver or a spender.

Take your friend Jenny who shows up to a meal with ...

Louis DeNicolaApril 09, 2019

What’s the Difference Between a Soft and Hard Credit Check?

Looking for a pre-approval for a personal loan or student loan refinancing? That's likely a soft credit check. Submitting a mortgage application or opening a ...

Louis DeNicolaApril 09, 2019

What to Do When Your Tax Refund is The Worst

For some households, an annual tax refund is a much-needed infusion of cash that allows them to pay off debt or invest in home or ...

Louis DeNicolaMarch 26, 2019

4 Things That You Need to Know About Money in Your 20s

It can be a lot to figure out a money plan when you’re starting out. Even though there isn’t a magic bullet for building your ...

Louis DeNicolaMarch 14, 2019

What Is the Difference Between a Money Market and Savings Account?

Money market accounts and savings accounts can both be good options for savers who are looking for somewhere to stash their cash.

Both ...

Louis DeNicolaFebruary 11, 2019

How to Do Your Own Taxes

As tax season approaches, there’s a good chance you may already have some ideas for how you’re going to spend (or save!) the money. ...

Louis DeNicolaJanuary 29, 2019

Learn New Skills Without Taking Out Student Loans

The new year offers an opportunity to hit the refresh button, set new goals, and learn new skills.

While saving money was a top ...

Louis DeNicolaJanuary 22, 2019

How to Make the Most of Black Friday Deals

Black Friday makes headlines every year. But are the deals really worth it—and is the name even accurate anymore?


In-store sales have crept into Thanksgiving Thursday, ...

Louis DeNicolaNovember 13, 2018

Roommate Wanted: 5 Tips for Renting an Apartment

Moving into your own place for the first time is an accomplishment that can come with a great sense of freedom.

You’ll have new control ...

Louis DeNicolaNovember 08, 2018

Should You Spend Less or Earn More to Increase Your Leftover Money?

For most of us, we’d probably like to have a little more of it—leftover money that is.

Your leftover money is money you can spend ...

Louis DeNicolaNovember 02, 2018

What Is APY? And Why Is There Such a Wide Range of Available Rates?

Have you ever looked at a few banks and wondered why the rates, or Annual Percentage Yield (APY), are different from place to place?

According ...

Louis DeNicolaOctober 18, 2018

3 Things to Look For When Choosing a New Bank Account

Your first bank account could depend more on your parents than anything else. They likely helped you decide where to open your account, and you ...

Louis DeNicolaOctober 15, 2018

Even Millionaires Struggle Financially

If you’ve ever imagined yourself winning the lottery, you’ve probably dreamt up a variety of ways in which you’d switch up your lifestyle to be ...

Louis DeNicolaSeptember 25, 2018

How to Understand Financial Aid Options and Save Money

Back in school this fall? That’s awesome. Paying that tuition bill. Well, that’s probably going to feel less awesome.

Let’s be real: Nearly everyone these ...

Louis DeNicolaSeptember 10, 2018

3 Essential No-Fee Money Accounts for College Students

Life as a college or grad student is not exactly synonymous with having a lot of money or time.


And just because your net worth is ...

Louis DeNicolaSeptember 06, 2018

What To Know Before Opening a Secured Credit Card

Need to build your credit? A secured credit card could help you move the needle in the right direction.

A secured credit card looks just ...

Louis DeNicolaAugust 31, 2018

How Much Cash Should You Save Each Month?

We wish we could give one number and be done with it. But the reality is there is no simple answer to how much cash ...

Louis DeNicolaAugust 27, 2018

7 Personal Finance Podcasts to Up Your Money Game

The right podcast can transform your commute, workout, or even your chore-time at home. You can hear from leading experts, keep up on the news, ...

Louis DeNicolaAugust 20, 2018

Organize Your Life, Sell Your Stuff, Make Money. Questions?

You don’t need to wait until another season to get your home/apartment/room in order. (Procrastinate much?)

Seize the moment — and summer months — to ...

Louis DeNicolaJuly 27, 2018

How Do Taxes Change After Marriage?

Summer is the most popular time of the year to get what?

As newlyweds settle into their married life together, tax planning is likely ...

Louis DeNicolaJuly 18, 2018

5 Tips for a Cheap Summer Road Trip

Whether you’re moving across state lines this summer after graduation or just taking some time to cruise, chances are you’re going to find yourself in ...

Louis DeNicolaJuly 13, 2018

Why Varo Has No Overdraft Fees

Overdraft protection sounds pretty great. After all, it’s got the word protection right in the name.

But it might not actually provide the protection you’re ...

Louis DeNicolaJuly 11, 2018

These Apps Can Help You Relax and Meditate

Stress happens. Even in the summer. And, unfortunately, we don’t always make the best decisions when we’re stressed (it’s science).

While technology may ...

Louis DeNicolaJune 27, 2018

How to Build Your Credit Before You Borrow

You’re not alone if you checked your credit and think your score could be a little higher.

Experian found that the average American ...

Louis DeNicolaJune 15, 2018

How to Choose Your First Credit Card

Your next credit card could be your first step in building your credit score or traveling to an exotic destination with earned airline miles. But ...

Louis DeNicolaMay 29, 2018
personal finance

Start With Your Values to Build a Better Budget

You say you want to save money and get out of debt. Yet you find yourself buying yet another thing you probably don’t need. We ...

Louis DeNicolaMarch 30, 2018

Could You Use Your Tax Refund to Save or Make Money?

You may dread preparing your paperwork to file a tax return. But most taxpayers can rejoice a little—tax time also means extra income.

The ...
Louis DeNicolaFebruary 20, 2018

Be My Valentine: 5 Date Ideas for Under $50

Whether your date for Valentine's Day is your long-term love, a new sweetheart, or a good friend, the expectations for the evening may not match ...

Louis DeNicolaFebruary 12, 2018

The Importance of Enthusiasm During a Job Search

After hours of research, deep-dives through LinkedIn, and job board websites, you’ve found the perfect position. Your cover letter basically writes itself because you were ...

Louis DeNicolaJanuary 26, 2018

5 Great Ways to Use a Not-So-Great Gift Card

It may have been a well-meaning gift, but sometimes you receive a gift card to a store you don’t frequent and aren’t quite sure what ...

Louis DeNicolaJanuary 17, 2018
personal finance

Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in 2018

While you might feel that 2017 cannot end quickly enough, it’s important to take time to set yourself up for financial success before ringing in ...

Louis DeNicolaJanuary 08, 2018

Consider the Gift of Giving This Holiday

The holiday gift-giving season can bring immense joy. But it’s also filled with long lines, time spent double-checking lists, and sometimes a lingering feeling that ...

Louis DeNicolaDecember 07, 2017

Homeownership is a Common Goal and Here Is How You Can Make It Happen

Millennials may question if they can own a home and eat their cake — err, avocado toast, too. The price tag can be staggering, ...

Louis DeNicolaNovember 30, 2017