In the world of financial responsibility and saving money, our rewards come from achieving our goals. It can be a long journey, and not always a “fun” one, as we adapt our lifestyles to fit our budgets. But a number of financial organizations and other companies are seeking to inject some play into that process through the gamification of savings. Games are great motivators, after all, who doesn’t like to win? So if saving money is your game, you may be wondering where the prizes are.
There may come a time when you face a situation when you need money that is above and beyond your emergency funds. We may all face them at some point, whether it’s a medical emergency, car or house situation, or perhaps something with the kids like a huge tuition bill or family issue you need to help solve. What can you do? There are several solutions, but today I’d like to address a common but often misunderstood one, the home equity line of credit, or HELOC.
First, let’s talk about home equity. The equity is the difference between what you owe on your home to pay off any mortgage and the current market value of your home. For example:Continue reading“Home Equity Line of Credit: Is it for you?”
Unless you live in an urban area with ample public transportation, having a car or truck is practically a necessity. And if you own a car or truck, having some car insurance is a necessity by law here in the United States. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in 2012 the average cost of auto insurance was $815. My home state of New Jersey was the most expensive with a whopping average of $1,220. While you can’t avoid paying for it, there are ways to save on car insurance premiums and shrink your bill.
So many of us live our lives in debt. We see most people around us living in debt. We have mortgages, car payments, student loans, credit card debt, and we keep on charging more. As we make minimum payments (maybe a bit more, or even a bit less), we expect to have debt…forever. But it doesn’t have to be that way. For many of us, what it takes is a change in mindset and a willingness to start paying off debt now.
That change in mindset isn’t always a small thing, but it can be a revelation. Most of us can live off less than we can earn, and some of that difference can pay down our debt. #DebtIsNotForever. When you begin to think about getting out of debt, can you imagine what your life would be like without seeing interest on your credit cards each month? Without getting a mortgage or car payment bill? What could you be doing with all that money…Living out your dreams? Retiring early? Funding your children’s education? Remodeling your home? Travelling? Starting your own business? Donating to charity?
It’s that time again, when the year is drawing to a close and we begin to think about the better versions of our lives that we want for the future. And so we make new year’s resolutions as people have done since ancient times. These days we resolve to lose weight, to eat better and exercise more, to save money, to get out of debt, to drink less or to quit smoking, and just maybe to actually be a more loving person. But how resolved are we if these resolutions are infamous for being broken?
In a recent article, Money suggests that people making financial resolutions fared better than with other types of resolutions and that’s a start. But instead of just making resolutions, what if we made goals backed up by a plan?Continue reading“Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions, Do This Instead”
All of us think from time to time that we’ll just never get out from under our money issues. We look at our 30 year mortgages and see that we still owe thousands and thousands, our car payments never seem to end, and every month we may struggle to stay “in the black” because of habits we developed years ago of buying with credit or impulse buying. But there are a huge number of simple ways to save money in the short and long term.
Since saving money is my “mantra” as well as the purpose of this blog, let’s examine some ways you can increase your net income and save on your tax bill for 2014 and beyond. It’s really important to start now to review all the opportunities for saving money, since in most cases (for non-business), December 31st is the deadline for adjustments that you will report by tax day next April. If you itemize your deductions, many of these listed should be familiar.
Personal finance is about money, but more importantly, it’s personal. We each have our own financial history, motivations, values, goals, and circumstances. Today I’d like to tell you a bit about me personally, about why saving money is so important to me, and how that influences my finances as well as this blog.
I grew up in Philadelphia many long years ago. While my family didn’t have a lot, I was fortunate that we had enough. Both my parents worked, and with my mother as the shopper of the house, I learned that stretching your money as far as possible was important.Continue reading“Why Saving Money is So Important to Me”