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How to Stay Financially Motivated When Times are Tough

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The following is a guest article from Lucy Oake, contributing writing at One Smart Dollar. Let’s face it – sometimes life throws you a curve ball. There are lots of situations when it feels like you’ll never be able to get ahead financially. Focusing on what you can’t control will only bog you down with negativity. Instead, focus on what you can control – including your finances. When times are tough, here are some of the best ways to keep your momentum and stay positive. Start – or update – your budget There are a bunch of different way to budget out there. What worked for you six months ago may not work as well if something has changed in your life. Relationships, jobs, and savings priorities can all be good reasons to take a fresh look at your budget. Sticking to a budget can be hugely rewarding because no matter what type you use, a good budget will help you reach your goals. So take a look at some of the most common budgeting methods and see if your budget needs a makeover. Make your goals visual A budget is a great financial tool, but sometimes it’s not very … Read more

20 Things I Like To Do

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I was reading this post at my blogging friend’s site, Surviving and Thriving, about 15 things she likes to do.  She mentions that she got the idea from a 20 things list that my other blogging buddy made over on his site, Get Rich Slowly. And sex was right up there with both of them (#1 for Donna – hubba, hubba…those puns must really work).  😉 Well, let’s see what I can come up with pretty quickly: Intimate Time with my Husband I do like sex.  But I also rate snuggling way up there.  And I enjoy the times we just tell each other about our day and make plans for the next one.  Pretty much, I’m lumping all my hubby relationship stuff together. Hang Out with Close Friends My close friends are like my counselors and adopted family combined.  I’m not sure they know how truly important they are to me.  10 years ago, I didn’t have that.  It was my husband, some acquaintances, and our families.  Now we have this amazing support network.  Board gaming and blogging are the two hobbies that truly opened up the world to my hubby and me. Family Time Our support network kicks … Read more

What You Need to Consider When Renting a Car on Your Next Vacation

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The long overdue vacation is finally booked. Plane tickets are bought, and you found someone to watch your plants, take care of your pets, and retrieve the mail. All that’s left are the final details of the trip itself, including possibly renting a vehicle. One of the big questions when renting a vehicle is whether to purchase rental insurance. You know they’re going to ask you at the rental car counter, but you should have some information in hand before you answer that question. See what coverage you already have If you have already have cheap car insurance and you’re planning a trip, the first thing you should do before traveling is look at your car insurance policy. “If you’ll be using a rental vehicle, make sure your policy affords coverage for a rental vehicle,” said Dan Rosenow, associate director of compliance for Dairyland Auto®. “You may have to endorse your policy with rental vehicle coverage, or you may want to take out coverage at the rental vehicle facility.” Whether a rental vehicle is covered can vary from policy to policy, so the only way to know for sure is to call your insurance carrier, read your policy in full, … Read more

Our Current Monthly Nut

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I haven’t kept up with a monthly budget in several years.  I do keep an eye on our credit card totals at the end of each month before paying them off in full to make sure we aren’t losing our minds.  Since our expenses are lower than our income, and we are hitting our annual savings goals, I have been pretty laid back about the specifics.   But our daughter in due in June, we’ll both be taking a few weeks off at least, and I wanted to know how much per month we actually spend. Our Monthly Spending Has Changed But Not Increased Surprisingly, it’s about the same as the last time I worked out our numbers.  Our medical premiums went down but we increased our monthly mortgage payments.  Cell phone bills have decreased by about 50% with Ting but car payments went up.  Our gasoline needs have decreased but our water rates increased, so those balanced each other out.  We no longer have housekeeping services but our property taxes increased when our values rose, and that ate the extra. Our Monthly Nut is Between $5500-$7000 In short, we still need about $5500 a month to simply cover our monthly … Read more

Property Tax Appraisals Matter

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For the last few years, I’ve been getting more involved in my local community mainly through Nextdoor.com and our neighborhood’s Facebook group.  I wanted to feel more connected to the people who exist around me.  What does this really mean?  I spend WAY too much time on social media.  AND, I get to see questions that I no longer see in personal finance blogs.  It can get a little stale preaching to the choir. Getting Blind-Sided by Property Taxes For example, one of my neighbors from Nextdoor.com got walloped by her bank for a couple of extra thousand dollars because her home’s appraised value zoomed up, she escrows, and the bank didn’t take enough every month last year to cover the property tax increase.  She knew in passing that the appraised value increased but didn’t know to protest it.  She also didn’t know what that would do to her property taxes.  So now she feels blind-sided. Crystal’s Take on Official Home Appraisals and Property Taxes Here was how I replied: It looks like a few people have already summarized the process. We receive our annual property tax appraisals from in the first 3rd of the year. They can increase the … Read more

Mantras for Getting Out of Debt

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If you can imagine it, you can do it. After all, everything human beings have ever created was first an inkling in someone’s imagination. Here’s the thing though, before you can do anything, you have to believe you can. In other words, the way we think ultimately determines our ability to achieve. This is true for many aspect of our lives, including eliminating debt. With that in mind, repeating these mantras for getting out of debt will help you learn to believe you can live free of debilitating financial obligations. “I Will Stop Borrowing Money.” This one is key. Making a conscious decision to stop financing your lifestyle with borrowed money will help you get rid of debt and stay out of it. This means no more signing up for “hot” credit card deals and no more buying furniture and appliances “on time”. Once you make the decision to live within your means, you’ll find many ways to enjoy a satisfying life without borrowing. “I Will Save at Least $1000 as an Emergency Fund.” We often wind up getting into debt to stave off an unexpected expense, such as a car accident for which we must pay a deductible or … Read more

Is It Enough: How Much Coverage Should You Have for Your Business?

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Even if your business is small, it’s generally recommended that you err on the side of being over-insured. One little gap in coverage can lead to collapse, particularly if you’re the sole owner of your business. If you want to avoid closing for good, the very first step is making sure you have the right amount of business insurance.   How Do You Determine Coverage? Look at the nature of your daily operations. What kind of business are you? If you have a store or restaurant, there are many opportunities for your employees to be injured, whether it’s a burn in the kitchen or a fall on a recently-mopped floor. Do you make or manufacture goods for sale? What would happen if your equipment failed, or you were unable to get the materials necessary to create your finished product? Here’s another place where insurance could be the difference between a major loss and a temporary setback. While it’s crucial to really work to identify every single scenario, which can pose a risk to your business, it’s equally as important to speak to an insurance agent. They’ll be more familiar with the laws where you live, which will tell them where … Read more