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Author Archives: Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

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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Retirement Savings Wake Up Call

choosing to save for retirement

I read an interesting article in response to a question about the need for a retirement savings wake up call. I’ve always enjoyed advice columns, even though I realize they should be viewed more as entertainment than fact. Just like with reality shows; boring and normal don’t make for great entertainment. Anyhow, this letter was from a father nearing retirement age who was facing a financial conundrum because he knew he and his wife didn’t have adequate retirement savings, yet he wanted to help his pregnant daughter with her own financial crisis. You can read the entire letter and response. I don’t think the semantics are that important, but what did strike me was the advice columnist’s take on why people can’t save for retirement, a thought many of us have probably had at one time or another. “Man, we spend too much on stuff we don’t need. Oh well, as long as we figure this out by retirement, we’ll be OK. It’s not like it affects us right now. Don’t Think It Can’t Happen to You Bam! That’s exactly why, at one time, we couldn’t stop ourselves from spending too much to make retirement savings a priority. We hadn’t had ...

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Wasted Time, Wasted Money: Renovations to Reject When Selling Your Home

remodelling to sell a house

If you are thinking of selling your home, you may be tempted to start ripping out your old kitchen and putting in a more appealing one in an effort to make your property more appealing to potential buyers. A brand spanking new bathroom suite or an attic conversion can make a wonderful selling point when showing your home, but they could end up costing you thousands of pounds that you will not recoup after selling your property. Remodelling in order to add resale value to your home is rarely a good idea, and most homeowners end up with nothing more than dust, loud noise and a gaping hole in their finances. The following renovation projects should be avoided at all costs by those looking to increase the value of their home. Swimming Pool Possibly the worst renovation you can make to your home is installing an outdoor swimming pool in the back garden. Although pools tend to be the norm in some parts of America, they rarely get much use in the UK thanks to the unpredictable climate. Swimming pools can also cost upwards of £20,000 to install and rarely add a penny to the value of a property. Many ...

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Budgeting Checklist – Estimating Monthly Spending & Hidden Costs

budging for a new rental

You’re finally off on your own—ready to explore an unfamiliar city, make new friends and enjoy your new found independence. But before you immerse yourself in a new way of living, take some time to set up a foundation for your finances. Americans have been saving less each year since the mid-‘80s, with savings rates hitting as low as 2 percent in 2013. It’s almost like it’s engrained in our DNA to consume more, even when we don’t have the means to do so. Being on your own and getting an apartment is certainly an exciting new chapter of life to experience, but you need to outline all of your possible costs so you can still set money aside for that rainy day. Check out this apartment budgeting checklist for an overview of where your monthly spending will go, as well the hidden costs people often forget to incorporate into their budgets.  Start-Up Costs  Application fee – If you’re looking to rent a new apartment, versus joining an existing lease, there will probably be some kind of application fee. Don’t worry about budgeting for this, but don’t be surprised to have to pay $50 or more to have your credit ...

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Financial Literacy is Alive and Kicking

Arches National Park Hike

A wise man once said that a penny saved is a penny earned. Actually that wise man was Benjamin Franklin who was teaching financial literacy long before there was automated savings, online bill pay, and software to figure out how much money we need to retire. I was recently reacquainted with some of his other genius quotes by reading my daughter’s homework. Perfect Storm I will never claim to be more busy than anyone else. But this was one of those weeks where the perfect storm of after school activities, working late, having to make some difficult decisions, catching a cold, and an actual snow storm threatened to take me down. When the  time came to figure out a Friday post, my mind was blank. I decided to throw in the towel and skip today when I ran across a true gem from my third grader. Third Grade Entrepreneurs Believe it or not, financial literacy is being taught to some extend at my daughter’s school. Third grade is studying needs vs wants, budgets, and profits minus expenses. Their class even spent a half day running a restaurant using foods from the school garden that were made into brunch served to ...

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