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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.

New Homeowner? Check Out These Must-Read Tips

tips for selling your home

  Have you just made the exciting but terrifying move into homeownership? Welcome to the club! No longer is your home a rental with limits. You can switch up your abode however you please. It’s time to really make it feel like home. To do this, check out our top tips for new homeowners. Install Ceiling Fans Ceiling fans are a low-energy way to keep up the airflow in a home. Instead of turning on a bulky air conditioner that will only cool down one area of the house at a great expense, consider ceiling fans as a low-cost and more efficient alternative. Because of how air circulates, you can keep your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and a few degrees lower in the winter, ultimately saving you even more money. Check the plumbing Before you hire a professional, do a survey of the plumbing before you settle in. Does the toilet leak? Do you have a leaky faucet? Are there any areas that faintly smell like mold? Repair any of these issues quickly; otherwise you’ll not only have water running, but money–out of your pocket. Plumbing issues can lead to problems with home insurance, so it ...

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Dental Insurance is a Rip Off

paying for dental care

  One of the worst things about self employment is insurance or lack thereof. After taking my daughter for her back to school dental visit and coming home with $125 less in my pocket, I decided to look into dental insurance. Maybe with all the recent changes in health care, there was a new affordable plan that might save money? Unfortunately, I came to the same verdict as I did after checking a few years ago, dental insurance is a rip off. If you are self employed or if your work doesn’t offer dental coverage, you can pick up an individual plan. I did not check every plan known to man and the cost varies by area, but I bet they are pretty similar wherever you live. Cost of Dental Insurance Looking at ehealthinsurance.com, Humana offers the cheapest plan at $37.98 per month or $455.76 a year for one adult and one child, non tobacco users. So what does this plan give us as far as benefits? Well, we get up to two free cleanings and one set of bitewing x-rays per year. Sweet! We already do that anyway. That sounds great to get it free, until you look at ...

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Book Amtrak With Points Before It’s Too Late!

redeem points for train trips

  Even though we just took a vacation, that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to begin planning the next trip. We have a couple of things already booked later in the year, including an all inclusive stay in Mexico, but when I heard that the Amtrak reward chart was about to be upended, I decided to book a train trip with points before it’s too late. Why Take the Train? For years, Jim has wanted to travel across the US on a train. I have not been as enthusiastic. While Amtrak travel is relatively cheap, and I thoroughly enjoyed our rail trip from Seattle to Portland a few years ago, spending 30+ hours on a train is a different story. I agreed but only if we could book a sleeper car. This was before we knew about points and miles, and I soon discovered that sleeper cars are not cheap. Our plans went on hold. After getting really into credit card churning and learning about all the various ways to use travel loyalty programs for trips, I discovered a way to make the train dream happen. You see, the Amtrak reward chart currently divides the US into three zones. That ...

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Reasons Not to Use a Payday Advance

Avoid Payday advances

An emergency can happen to anyone, and often those emergencies require quick cash. Low-income consumers often turn to payday loans in their time of need. The truth is, however, that payday loans are a type of predatory lending that’s outlawed in many states. Are payday advances really that bad? Read on to find out.  Cost of Borrowing is High Payday loans are typically charged at a fixed-dollar fee, such as $15 per every $100 borrowed. That’s an exceptionally high rate to pay. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, the average two-week payday loan has an annual interest rate between 391 and 521 percent.  Fees Quickly Add Up If, for some reason, you’re unable to repay the loan by your next payday, the fees begin to add up quickly. How quickly? Over a two-month period, an original loan of $325 can accumulate as much as $793 in fees in addition to the original loan amount. Payday advance lenders count on the continuation of the loans, though, because it brings in a lot of cash to the tune of $3.5 billion in fees each year.  It Encourages a Cycle of Debt Those triple digit interest rates can make a bad situation ...

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The Benefits of Automating the Financial Reporting Process

being self employed

If you run a business, you appreciate how vital accurate financial reporting is. You also know how time consuming the process can be, if the process is completed manually. Automated financial reporting helps improve speed and efficiency with no compromise on the standard of reporting. A comprehensive automated financial reporting solution, like that provided by Qvinci, allows you to save both time and money. These savings can be invested in the running of your enterprise or into your business planning process. Why Automation of Financial Reporting Makes Sense In a world where financial compliance is becoming increasingly stringent, it’s vital you have reliable and timely financial reporting processes in place. If you are currently using a manual process, it’s likely to be very time consuming. If you’re working on tight deadlines, this can sometimes mean you don’t have the time to invest in the review process, once the reporting is completed. This leaves your business open to an increased risk of errors going unrecognized. Automating your financial reporting allows more time for the review process. It also reduces the likelihood of errors being made in the first place, by eliminating the opportunity for human error. Businesses often continue using manual ...

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