Keeping Your Home — And Your Budget — Cool

When summer weather finally settles in, there are plenty of draws on your pocketbook, from two-week summer vacations to spur-of-the-moment trips to the beach. Ice cream treats and tropical drinks tempt your taste buds and your wallet, while in-season fruits and vegetables are at their most affordable, but still a hefty chunk of change. And you just know that gas prices are going up the day before you want to drive anywhere. However, why bypass these indulgent expenses? Living for … Read more

Make the Most of Your Garage Sale

Whether you’re saving money for a vacation or just clearing your life of clutter, a garage sale serves the purpose and can often add the allure of a neighborhood social event. Regardless of your reasons, few will argue the satisfaction of a good cash return for the effort of days of hard work. Not only is money in your pocket a reward, it’s an indicator of the relative success of your event. Maximizing your profits is easy if you keep … Read more

Passive Income Streams

So you’re behind this month due to unexpected expenses. What’s your course of action? If you’re like many Americans, you may see about the possibility of putting extra hours at your job or adding a second job to extend your income. While it’s time-honored and effective for short-term situations, there’s a serious flaw in the concept. Whether your main job is salaried or hourly, you’re essentially selling your time. Certainly, your knowledge and expertise has value, but that may be … Read more

Homeowner’s Insurance Primer

If you own a home, you should have homeowner’s insurance, and if you have a mortgage on that home, your lender likely insists upon it. Insurance is one of those things that you may scramble for at the last minute when your home purchase is closing, or it may be something you renew without thought each year. There are things you need to know, however, to ensure you’re not caught short-handed when it comes to coverage. Today we’ll take a … Read more

Tips to Boost Your 2018 Tax Refund

With about one month to go before the filing deadline for the 2017 tax year, it’s too late to take advantage of some tax refund strategies, such as making your January 2018 mortgage payment in December 2017 to boost your mortgage interest deduction. Similarly, paying property taxes or self-employment taxes early can also generate tax savings, but those ships have sailed for this tax year. However, there are still things that the tax procrastinators can do to boost the tax … Read more

Tax Withholding — Check it Now for 2019

The Treasury Department released new income tax withholding tables in January, with updates to reflect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated personal exemptions, raised standard deductions and cut individual income taxes. These changes may affect your take-home pay as early as February 2018. However, the IRS is still working on updates to form W-4, that you complete to instruct your employer how much tax to withhold from your earnings. If you’re withholding too much, you can expect a … Read more

Save Money Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is an exciting time, when you’re making the biggest transaction of your financial life. It’s hard to stay emotionally detached from a home purchase, and many people before you have spent more than necessary, blinded by the attraction of that “perfect place.” When you’re not familiar with the home buying process, it’s easy to overlook, forget, or just plain not know about all the costs involved. Not only are you looking at the bottom line cost … Read more

The Tax Impact of Gifts

With Christmas just around the corner, gifts are on everyone’s mind, giving and receiving, so it’s a logical time to look at gifts from a taxation point-of-view. I’m not talking about the new game console you got your kids, but rather what the Internal Revenue Service considers a gift for tax purposes. Generally, any transfer to an individual is considered a gift when full monetary value isn’t received in return. By that definition, examples of gifts could be amounts of … Read more

Do Insurance Comparison Sites Really Work?

Saving money on insurance has a warm place in many people’s wallet, since it’s a purchase we hope not to use anyway. When you’re looking for auto insurance, for example, apples-and-oranges comparisons are difficult and confusing for most, who deal with the intricacies of insurance policies perhaps once a year, if that. So on the surface, using an insurance comparison website sounds like a great idea. Enter your information and have your needs shopped with companies who, in theory, compete … Read more

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

When you talk to an insurance agent, it might be easy sometimes to get the feeling that, if you haven’t bought life insurance by the time you’re 25, you’ve waited too long, it won’t be affordable, and you may not qualify. You’re caught in the sale close, the pressure that’s often exerted to get your money today. It makes sense, the longer an issuer collects your premiums, the more your payout is offset by earnings. However, from your point of … Read more