Guest Blog: Best Ways to Save at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

We’re thrilled to share this guest blog post from NerdWallet with you. Even though it’s Halloween, you can’t start planning for one of the year’s most expensive meals too soon. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones for a satisfying meal and kick off the holiday season. If you pay current prices for your menu items, though, you could blow a chunk of your holiday budget before you even get to the pumpkin pie. Continue Reading…

Guest Blog: Save Instead of Spend This Summer –And Have Fun Doing it!

Summer

 

This week we have a very special guest blog from our friends at BALANCE Financial Fitness!

Summer is a time when certain things are plentiful: the sun, your kids’ availability, and a myriad of ways to spend money. One thing that might not be so available is the cash to do all the things you want. Here are some ways to maximize your dollars over the summer and not break the bank doing it.

  • Consider taking a “staycation” instead of packing everyone up for a trip or spending money on pricey air travel and hotels. Get to know your city by going to museums, parks, and attractions nearby. If you do want to hit the road, consider a house-swap with a friend in another city, or road-trip it with camping, not hotels.
  • Summer camp is a great adventure for kids but it can also be expensive. You may be eligible use Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars through your employer to fund camps with pre-tax dollars (note that day camps are typically eligible for dependent care credit but sleep-away camps are not). Talk to your tax advisor to find out more.
  • Though it’s not considered “summer fun” necessarily, doing your own home energy audit could save you big all year round (a professional home energy audit can cost between $200-500). Create a checklist and look for air leaks around windows, doors, and other areas, check insulation, and take a close look at your heating and cooling equipment. If your children are age-appropriate, enlist their help with the audit. It will help reinforce the importance of saving money and DIY. Get more energy tips.
  • Another fun and frugal way to enjoy summer months is to plant vegetables and fruit plants at home. It will also give children the opportunity to plant, grow, and pick their own fruit and vegetables. Consider easy-to-grow items like lettuce, tomatoes, and berries. Bonus: you’ll also save on your grocery bills.

Have a garage sale. Summer is the perfect time to get rid of those old books, clothes, furniture, and anything else just taking up room. Not only will you free up more space, it’s an activity the whole family can participate in. The best part? You’ll get extra cash for some summer fun!

What will you do with your tax refund?

Tax Refund

According to CNN.com, nearly 80% of American taxpayers get a tax refund. We’re hoping you’re getting a refund this year! Whether it’s a little or a lot, every penny/dollar counts/helps. Many people reserve this money for vacations, padding for their savings, the purchase of a new car or home, and more. Continue Reading…

High Deductible Health Plans and Your Budget

High Deductible

Over the past few years, high deductible health plans (HDHPs) have been offered by employers at an increasing rate. You may have even signed up for one yourself, attracted by the low monthly premium. But no matter whether you have been signed up for a high deductible plan for years or you are just considering one, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of this healthcare coverage option.

Continue Reading…