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Win a Trip to Hawaii From Personal Capital

win a free trip

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Personal Capital is giving away a trip to Hawaii for new users! It’s really simple to enter. Sign up for a free Personal Capital Account Link your financial accounts. That’s all. The contest runs until February 14th, and the odds of winning obviously depend on how many people sign up. You can read the official rules here, but basically the winner gets two $1,000 gift cards for airfare on Hawaiian Airlines and a $1,000 gift card to Airbnb. This could fully fund a trip or not, depending on where you live, when you want to travel, and how picky you are about accommodations. Regardless, the odds for winning are much better than buying a lottery ticket. If you’ve been on the fence about signing up, now is the time. Why Sign up for Personal Capital? Tracking your finances is perfectly doable without using an automated program, but it’s much more time consuming. I like Personal Capital for a number of reasons. Their dashboard is easy to read and understand. It gives you an honest picture of spending, earning, and net worth. They have an awesome retirement calculator. You get weekly emails that let you know if ...

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What Is the Best Way to Pay for Braces?

paying-for-braces

Orthodontia: the dreaded word every parent hopes will pass them by. One, it’s never fun to do something to your child that is uncomfortable, even if it is for their own good. Two, it takes tons of time to keep up with appointments. Three, it costs a fortune! We are beginning our journey into the world of orthodontics today, and to deal with issue number three; what is the best way to pay for braces? Deciding When to Get Braces If you or your child needs braces, it won’t come as an emergency expense. We’ve known since our daughter’s first dental visit around age three that she would likely need orthodontic treatment. Most orthodontists will start working with kids who are seven years old if their dentist recommends a consult, but the majority of patients we’ve seen at our local office are teenagers. That’s quite a bit of time for parents to prepare. Sure, there are always extra expenses that can and will take money if you let them, but it’s very important to start a “braces” fund if orthodontics will be necessary. In our case, we went in for a consult last year, which was free of charge, and ...

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Save Money on Transportation Costs

save on transportation

Unless home is in a major metropolitan area with great public transport, you probably need a car. I have no problem with vehicle ownership. There are two of them sitting in my garage right now, but it’s amazing to think that Americans spend over $9,000 a year on transportation costs. The good news is that you don’t have to spend that much to get from point A to point B. There is a simple way to save money on transportation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report recently outlining how Americans spend money. The typical consumer unit (defined as either families, single persons living alone or sharing a household with others but who are financially independent, or two or more persons living together who share expenses) takes home an average of $53,485 per year, and we spend almost all of it. Cars Are Our Biggest Expense After Housing Obviously, the biggest expense category was housing. In addition to mortgage or rent, water and electricity bills, insurance, furniture, and property taxes are lumped in to this category. Americans spend $17,798 a year or $1,483 per month on housing. That certainly  doesn’t seem like most of us are spending lavishly to have ...

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What’s the Best Way to Save for a New Car?

best savings accounts

Although we just got a new to us car earlier this year, our other vehicle is ten years old with over 150,000 miles. Unfortunately, it won’t run forever. It’s time to start planning our next vehicle purchase. What’s the best way to save for a new car? Buying Used Saves Thousands Actually, it won’t be a brand new car. We learned the hard way that factory fresh cars are usually a waste of money. I know there are many people who believe in buying new and driving the car for many years, but we think it’s smarter to buy vehicles that are a few years old with low miles. We bought Jim’s Toyota Tacoma back in 2006 when it was a year old with about 10,000 miles. It saved about $4,000 and was practically new. The truck still runs fine, and we hope to have at least two or three, maybe more years until we have to get something else. Just in case it’s sooner rather than later, we need to make plans. Taking on a Car Payment Mathematically speaking, with a low interest loan, having a car payment isn’t a bad idea. If we invest the chunk of change ...

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Hidden Budget Killers and How to Fix Them

how to control overspending and fees

Most of us are not perfect when it comes to money. It’s inevitable that financial hiccups will happen to even the most meticulous planners, but what about when money is really tight and there doesn’t seem to be room to save any more? It could be that you are spending out of habit and don’t even realize there are opportunities for improvement. Here are some hidden budget killers and how to fix them. Eating Out Eating out should be a special treat and not the normal way you sustain nourishment. I have a friend who is in dire straits about her financial situation and the amount of debt her family is carrying, yet, she buys lunch out almost every work day. What’s wrong with this picture? Don’t fool yourself into thinking it saves money by eating off the value menu or ordering the happy hour special. Bite for bite, eating out is always more expensive that cooking at home. Even if the amount of dollars is the same for a large home cooked meal vs a restaurant dinner, the home cooked meal usually provides several days of leftovers while take out container food will be soggy and smelly by the ...

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