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Back to School Shopping Tips

Back to school deals are everywhere
In most parts of the country school starts next month and that means it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping. A recent Deloitte survey concluded that most families can expect to spend an average of $501 per student this year. Of course that includes supplies and clothing but it all adds up and holiday spending isn’t too far ahead either.

Saving Money on Teen Drivers

Teenage Drivers
Having a teenager in the house is always challenging and one of the great rites of passage for any young person is getting a driver’s license and sometimes a car to go with it. While this frees the parents from having to drive their children everywhere with busy high school and extra-curricular schedules, it also creates a whole new set of worries and financial realities to deal with.

Tax Tips for the 2nd Half

Midyear Tax Tips
It probably feels like you just filed your taxes a few weeks ago but with the year half way over July is not a bad time to start thinking about taxes and see where you might be able to make some financial improvements for next year. Did you get a big refund this year? Remember that the government doesn’t pay interest and that was your money to begin with. If you owed taxes and especially if you owed penalties you should also review your finances to avoid being penalized again this year.

How to Make it in the “Gig Economy”

Short term real estate rentals for extra income
If you constantly find yourself scrambling each month to come up with extra cash after the bills have been paid or you don’t have enough money for investing and are looking to increase your earnings, you might be considering a “side-gig”. By some estimates 1 in 4 Americans have second jobs to bring in extra income.

Start Thinking About Holidays Now

Summer is a great time to plan for holidays
It might be hard to believe but as of tomorrow Christmas 2017 will be closer than last Christmas. In about 2 months some retailers will start decorating their aisles and selling merchandise and the bombardment of Black Friday advertising won’t be far behind.

Best Cities to Live in 2017

Rochester, MN - Best City to Live in 2017
When summer comes and the kids have a break from school many families spend some time evaluating their options in terms of careers and places to live. The possibilities are potentially endless and many people might be looking to improve their quality of living or just move somewhere with a lower cost of living. has conducted a study of more than 2,000 cities in the U.S.

What to Shop for This Month

Power tools and garage organization
School is out and most families are looking for ways to save money this month. Stores have already started advertising back-to-school savings but beyond that there are many ways to save in June with smart shopping and don’t forget, Amazon Prime Day is only 1 month away with savings on all kinds of products.

7 Ways to Save this Month:

Gift Ideas for Dad

Amazon Echo - perfect for Dad
Father’s Day is just a few weeks away so even if you scored points with Mom just a couple of weeks ago it’s time to start thinking about gifts again. What dad might want most is just a phone call or a card (even though he’ll never tell you that) you can really be a hero by picking up something terrific this year instead of the usual barbecue tools, necktie, or generic gift card.

Here are 6 great gift ideas to make dad proud on Father’s Day:

Stay Safe this Summer

Summer Safety
Summer is a great time to relax and slow down a bit. Whether you are staying home or going on vacation this summer, you still need to be vigilant about financial safety and protect your finances.

Here are 6 tips to protect your money this summer:

Refresh Your Home for Summer Guests

Outdoor living spaces increase your home's value
Summer is almost here and that means longer days and more time spent around the house and for many people, family visits and outdoor entertaining. This is a great time to be thinking about home improvement projects to make you home more enjoyable on those long, hot days.

Here are 6 great projects to consider getting started on over the long weekend ahead:

Summer Travel with Families

Beach trips make great family vacations
School will be out in just a few weeks and many families will hit the road or the airports in search of adventure. Family vacations are a rite of passage and with some planning they can be a great opportunity to unwind, spend time together, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Here are 5 tips for Summer traveling with your family:

Best Credit Card Tips for Grads

Graduate Credit Cards
The 2017 school year is coming to a close and that means graduation for millions of students across the country. While many will be headed off to college in the fall, a very large number of young people will be graduating from college over the next two months and starting out in the “real world”.

Should you pay off your mortgage early?

Paying off your mortgage
The average American carried a mortgage balance of just under $195,000 in 2016 according to TransUnion. Currently the average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage sits at 4.19%. Rates have been at historically low levels for the past several years. According to Nerdwallet the average APR on credit cards carrying a balance was 13.56% in 2016.

Organize for Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning - Trash, Donate, Sell
April showers might bring May flowers but with the changing seasons and longer days it is also a good time to organize and clean your home. Going through your home room by room and deciding what to throw out or donate might seems like a daunting task but you might find items you can sell and make the whole effort worth your time.

Throw Away, Donate, or Sell:

Throw Away:

Apps That Can Save Families Money

Amazon Prime Family saves money
If you are like most parents every day can seem like another trip around the hamster wheel. Getting kids off to school, getting through the work day, then after school activities, dinner, and homework leaves little time for financial planning. Kids also seem to get more expensive as they get older so having a family budget and ways to save money are important to all families.

Wedding or New Home?

Wedding finances
If you are planning to or have recently become engaged to marry, first off congratulations are in order. Next, if you are like many couples you are probably trying to figure out what kind of wedding you want to have, where you want to live, and how you’re going to pay for it all.

The Secret to Excellent Credit Ratings

Excellent Credit
With interest rates on the rise it is more important than ever to maintain an excellent credit rating. While any score over 700 is enough to be considered “good”, only a select few manage to attain scores over 800, putting them in the “excellent” category, which gives you access to the best loan rates for everything from mortgages to new car leases.

How the Fed Rate Hike will Affect You

Car loans getting more expensive
This week the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 0.25 percentage points, signaling the third rate hike since the end of 2015. While this isn’t a huge increase by any means, it will have an effect on your wallet. The fed is also expected to increase rates at least two more times this year. If they get more aggressive the impact on consumers could take a toll on consumer finance.

5 ways the rate hike can affect you

5 Tips for Shopping for a New Credit Card

Credit Cards
If you’ve had the same credit card for many years that is good for your credit score but you might not be getting the best interest rates or rewards available. Now might be a good time to shop around for a new credit card.

Here are 5 tips for shopping for a new credit card:

Best Health Apps for Better Bodies

Apps for your health
We are more than two months into 2017 and even if you haven’t laced up your running shoes once or stepped foot in the gym there is still plenty of time left this year to achieve your health goals. Now might even be a better time to start getting in shape because loads of people have already stopped going to the gym and hitting the trails as their resolution resolve wore off.

Taxes, Red Flags You Should Avoid

Red flag warning
With less than two months between now and the due date for filing taxes most people are at least starting to get their paperwork together to compile receipts, add up expenses, and determine which deductions they will be able to take this year. And although only 0.7% of all individual returns were audited last year there are always things you should try to avoid in your return that increase your odds of an audit.

Here are 6 tax return red flags:

Self Employed? How to Plan for Retirement

Plan now for retirement
If you are self-employed, and running your own business or consulting for others, you probably already know all of the ins-and-outs of small business loans and venture capital. You may not have given much thought to retirement planning but even if you are stretching every paycheck you should still take some steps to plan for your future.

Tips for Teaching Kids About Personal Finance

Allowance for kids finance
Everyone wants their kids to grow up to be happy, successful, and productive adults. But how do you teach your kids about money so they have the best shot at success? Recent reports show that nearly half of American households report having less than a month’s income in an emergency fund and nearly 30% have no savings.

What to Do If Your Home Floods

Flooded streets
It’s only February and extreme weather has already taken a toll on much of the United States. This week, the groundhog saw his shadow, promising 6 more weeks of winter and there are no signs that the snow and rain will let up anytime soon. For most people winter storms are just an inconvenience, requiring extra clothing, extra time to get places, and maybe some extra cleaning or snow shoveling.

Five Winter Travel Destinations

Costa Rica
The holidays are over and there are still at least two months of winter weather ahead. This means two more months of snow shoveling, traffic, and bundling up in warm clothes. With any luck you won’t have any flood or storm damage to your home or property. Now that you have all of your holiday stuff put away, you might be ready for a vacation. The dollar is strong and this is a great time to get away. U.S.

How to Shop for Health Insurance

Get your health insurance now.
The window is closing soon for individuals to purchase health insurance during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act. You may still be able to get insurance later if you have a “qualifying event”, such as losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. The Special Enrollment Period lasts 60 days after the qualifying event. There are many options to consider when shopping so here are some things to keep in mind.

7 Ways to Pay Off Holiday Spending

Holiday bills add up; pay them down fast
If you’re like most Americans you are just starting to see the results of your holiday spending rolling into your mailbox with your credit card bills. U.S. retail sales were up 4% this past December compared to only a 1.5% increase in 2015.

How to Buy a Home This Year

Find your new home this year.
Is buying a home one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2017? Rents have been steadily increasing over the past few years and show no signs of letting up. Qualifying for a home mortgage can still be a challenge but there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and avoid or at least reduce disappointment in the process.

Here are Five Steps to Get Ready for Buying a Home:

New Year’s Financial Resolutions

New Year's Financial Resolutions
With one year ending and a new one beginning, now is the time to review the financial goals you had for this year and determine what your goals will be for next year. There’s no magic to starting on a financial path on the first of the year but it is as good a time as any.

Here are 6 tips for your New Year’s Financial Resolutions:

Don’t Get Scrooged By Unexpected Expenses

Holiday lights = added expense
The gifts are all wrapped under the tree and the stockings are hung and you are ready to celebrate with your family. You’ve carefully budgeted all of the gifts, decorations and food for the holiday and saved along the way. But what about unexpected or emergency bills? Are you aware of some of the unplanned expenses that can hit around the holidays?

Year End Financial Advice

Year End Tips for Finances
With the year winding down and holiday spending in full swing now is the time to think about your finances so that you have a better shot at a real, “fresh start” when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Along with charitable contributions, there are several financial moves you can make this month to ensure a better start to the new year.

Tips for Holiday and Year End Charitable Giving

The end of the year is approaching fast and that means you should think about charitable donations, both to improve your taxes for next year and to give back to the community and do some good. As you plan out your giving remember that not all gifts are treated equally by the IRS.

Here are 6 tips for charitable giving:

Holiday Shopping Tips - 6 Ways to Save This Year

Christmas Tree at the Marketplace
Just like years-past Black Friday started on Thanksgiving again this year and if you were out in the crowds you may have already started shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holidays your family celebrates. Cyber Monday is almost here but stores will be offering plenty of deals all the way through the New Year.

Here are 6 tips to make the most of holiday shopping:

Holiday Tipping Guide

Holiday Tips to Spread some Cheer
The holidays are just around the corner and you still have a few weeks to plan your spending. Saving and budgeting for decorations and presents is just the beginning. Check out 7 Tips for Holiday Budgeting for some tips on planning and don’t forget that between Thanksgiving and Christmas there are many people that you should tip extra to show appreciation for their services all year.

Starting a Business? Should You Incorporate?

Startup Business
If you are getting ready to venture on your own and start selling a product or service with the hopes of building a business there are many things to consider. See our article 5 Tips for Starting Your Own Business for some of those items. Along with coming up with an idea, trying to line up funding, and building a team, you also have to decide what type of business you will set up.

Save More for the Holidays with These Apps

Digit Savings App for your Smart Phone
Even if you have a planned budget for holiday spending there are always opportunities to plan ahead for holiday savings. Some of the best tips are already in your pocket as apps for your mobile home. U.S. News & World Report has a list of the top 6 apps for savings. Here are the top 3 along with a few extras for discount shopping.

Money Savings Apps for the Holidays

Protect Your Home on Halloween

Halloween Decorations
Halloween can end up costing more than just the price of pumpkins and candy. If you aren’t careful some of the more sinister “ghouls” can really put a damper on your finances. Among the hordes of children and families roaming the streets in search of the good candy, there are people with less good-natured goals on the prowl for unlocked cars, homes, and unsuspecting victims.

5 Quick Financial Fixes

2016 W-4 - Check Your Withholdings
With the holidays fast approaching and daylight savings time coming to an end this is a great time to look over your finances and see where you can make changes to improve before the year is up. This will give you a bit of a head start to finish the year strong and be in a better position to meet next year’s goals.

5 Financial Fixes:

Tips for Fall Home Improvement

Seal Your Driveway This Fall
As the days get shorter and the holiday season approaches this is a great time of year to turn your attention to home improvement projects and maintenance to protect the value of your home and get your family safely through the winter months. Paying attention to the exterior and interior of your home can save you money in heating costs and prevent weather related damage to your home. It can also add value to your home over the long haul.

Fall RV Camping: 7 Tips for a Great Trip

This photo is used with the permission of El Monte RV Rentals
When was the last time you took a few days or even a week to get out and enjoy the outdoors with your family or friends? Fall is a perfect time of year to pile into the RV and hit the road. The leaves are changing colors, less people are on the roads, and the weather hasn’t turned sour quite yet unless you live on the east coast and it’s hurricane season.

Pay Attention to Recalls

Watch Out for Recalls
Between 2002 and 2015 nearly 100 million vehicles were sold with airbags manufactured by the parts supplier Takata. This became big news in 2015 as automaker after automaker expanded the number of vehicles with potentially defective airbag inflators that could cause injury or death in the event of an accident. Clearly, recalls with this much at stake are heeded by most car owners.

Pay Less Bills Each Month

Make the Call
You probably shop around for deals on everything from new car leases to low interest credit cards in an attempt to get more for less. However if you really want to save money you should take a look at your monthly bills and find places to save there.

Teenage Driver? Here’s what it will cost you.

Don't let your teen driver break the bank
After your kids blow out the candles on their 16th birthdays will they be getting a car? A driver’s license? Having a teenage driver in the house is not only nerve-wracking. It can cost you in real dollars as well.

What is Your Credit Score & What Does it Mean?

Check Your Credit Score
Everyone knows that getting loans for everything from cars to homes depends on having a solid credit score to get a good rate. You can check your credit score here. Once you have score in-hand, do you know what the number means? Here is a brief rundown of what each range typically means for your financial standing.

Get the Best Car Loan

2016 Audi A3
Labor Day is here and car dealers are ready to make big deals to get consumers in to buy or lease new cars. Summer is coming to an end, the third quarter is winding down, and new 2017 models are rolling into dealerships so there is a lot of incentives to be had for serious car shoppers.

How to Pay Off Your Debts

Erase Your Debt Faster
Most people are carrying some type of debt these days. In fact, for U.S. households that carry any debt, the average total is just under $131,000. This includes credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and student loans. However for households with a mortgage the average jumps to over $168,000. Most financial experts agree that paying off debt is one of the best things you can do for your finances but not all debt is created equal.

Here are 8 tips for paying off your debts:

4 Financial Myths to Avoid Falling For

No Magic Lamps for Finance
Anytime you turn on the news or open a newspaper there seems to be a financial guru offering advice and much of it is presented as if it were Gospel truth. Of course not every strategy works for every person or situation but it’s also true that a lot of the so called, “financial truths” are in fact myths and shouldn’t be followed at all. These four financial myths should be discounted in favor of more reasoned measures.

Make the Most of Rewards Programs

Use Your Rewards
These days it seems as though everywhere you shop there are rewards programs where you can earn points, miles, or cash back just for spending your hard-earned cash at the same place more frequently. You might even be carrying a rewards credit card to accelerate the benefits.

Should You Ship Your Luggage?

Shipping Luggage can Cost Less
Regardless of how frequently you travel you have almost certainly noticed an increase in fees when it comes to nearly everything related to flying. In order to compensate for trying to keep fares competitive the airlines have resorted to charging for seat selection, snacks, and most of all…luggage. Currently Southwest and JetBlue are the only airlines in the U.S. that let “bags fly free” on domestic flights.

Save Money on Your Summer Move

Moving Day
Summer is the busiest time of year for moving companies as people wind down the school year and start new jobs after summer vacations. While it is a busy time for moving, there are ways to plan ahead to save money and heartache on your move. Whether you’re moving across country or across town these tips will help make your move as smooth as possible.

Get More Money from a Job Offer

Get more from a job offer
You’ve had the phone interviews, you’ve met with the HR person, the hiring manager, and maybe a few more people. You smiled, shook hands, and made great first, and second, impressions. The company wants you for the position and offers it to you but the pay isn’t quite what you hoped for. What do you do now? The first thing to do is not get discouraged. In any business transaction people want to get the best deal they can for the best price possible so the offer isn’t personal, it’s business.

OpenHouse - Real Estate Search Made Simple

OpenHouse Data-Driven Home Shopping
If you are shopping for a new home you surely know by now how easy it is to find basic home listings and pricing online through an assortment of different web sites and apps. Many of these sites will just show you the homes that are currently on the market along with some comparable prices for recently sold homes in the area. What’s missing from most sites is deeper information about the community and the people that live there. After all, neighbors are what really make the neighborhood.

7 Best Apps for Personal Finance Money Manager
The year is nearly halfway over so if you set goals to make this a better year for your finances you still have time but you need to act soon. The good news is you no longer need to spend hours with a ledger and a calculator to keep track of accounts, spending, and saving. There are plenty of iOS and Android applications that make managing your finances much simpler.

Here are the 7 Best Personal Finance Apps:

Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business?

Ready to charge for your photos?
If you have a hobby that you enjoy and you are good at it, you’ve probably wondered if you could make a living at it. At the very least well-meaning friends and family have probably asked why you don’t sell your creations or charge for your services. Before you “quit your day job” and start your own business you need to start with some basic questions to determine if you indeed have a business opportunity or if you’d be better off enjoying your hobby in your spare time.

Tips for Renting Your Home

Short term rental for extra summer cash
With summer on it’s way you are probably looking for Cash for Summer and might be thinking about renting your home or a room in your home to generate some extra income over the next few months. The average Airbnb host in the US earns an extra $7,000 a year and some bring in much, much more. Here are six tips to consider the maximize the revenue potential of your home and avoid pitfalls.

Save on Summer Travel – 6 Tips to Save More

Vacation Getaway
It’s Memorial Day weekend and while you’re cleaning off the BBQ and making your home safer for summer, you are probably also thinking about all of the friends and family you’d like to visit and places you’d like to go this summer. Getting away is one of the best parts of summer and it doesn’t have to break the bank.

Here are 6 tips to save on summer travel this year:

Cash for Summer

Summer Travel Savings
If you’re like most people Memorial Day weekend opens the door to a season of BBQs, outdoor activities, and summer travel. Even if you only plan to hang out at home you might still need some funds to update your backyard or pick up meat for the grill. Of course if your funding needs are only short-term you might consider a Payday Loan just to get you through to your next check.

Shopping for a Recreational Vehicle (RV)

Class C RV
With Memorial Day coming up fast as the “Unofficial Start of Summer” you might be thinking about hitting the road in a recreational vehicle or RV. While you certainly can rent a motorhome if you don’t plan to use it very often for trips, buying one makes sense if you’ll use it more often and you might even be able to get a tax break as a second home.

Shopping Tips for Buying an RV

Five Tips for Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home
The American housing market is a seller’s market and has been for some time. There aren’t enough new houses to meet demand and many home owners wait to find a new home to purchase before they’ll put theirs on the market and that can lead to fewer homes on the market. The good news is when you are ready to sell there are plenty of tips to maximize the value of the sale.

5 Tips to Sell Your Home

Tips for Buying a Sailboat

Weekend Sailboat
As spring flowers begin to bloom and warmer days lie ahead many people turn their thoughts toward vacations and weekends on the water. If sailing is in your blood you might even be thinking about shopping for a sailboat. Assuming you’ve already made the choice of sailboat vs.

Should You Downsize Your Home?

Studio Home
Many people when faced with major life events like losing a job, divorce, retirement, or even sending kids off to college consider moving to a smaller home for a variety of reasons. According to the latest Census the average home in America has grown in size almost 3 x from less than 1,000 square feet in 1950 to just under 2,700 square feet. At the same time, families are smaller now and downsizing can allow you to save money and simplify your life.

Tips to Save Energy this Spring

Maintain your A/C to save money
Although the snow is just starting to melt in some parts of the country this is a great time of year to think about saving energy. For the next month or two temperatures should be mild and heating won’t be as much of an issue but summer is traditionally the time of year when power bills soar and you don’t want to wait until then to get started.

5 Last Minute Tax Tips

Time for Taxes
It’s not April Fool’s anymore. Tax returns are due very soon and this is your last chance to take advantage of last minute tax tips to save yourself some money and not end up standing in a long line on April 18th. That’s right, this year you have three extra days to get your returns in. This is because of a Washington D.C.

Maximize Your Health Savings Account This Year

Health Saving Accounts
If you are already maxing out your 401K and are looking for additional ways to set aside money for retirement you may not realize that your health savings account offers substantial tax savings and can help you contribute more towards your retirement. Provided you have a deductible of at least $1,250 or $2,500 for families, you can contribute up to $3,350 as an individual or $6,750 as a family each year and the contributions are made with pre-tax dollars.

How to Make it Through Unemployment

Job Search from Home
Even though the U.S. unemployment rate dipped below 5% last month and is officially the lowest that it has been since 2008, people still get laid off or fired every month. Unless you are already retired it is always a good idea to have some idea (and an emergency fund) of how you will make it through the time it takes to land your next job.

Spring Cleaning Tips to Improve Your Home Value

New Closet
Just a month ago the groundhog saw his shadow predicting that winter would arrive 6 weeks early this year and the official start of spring is less than three weeks from now. And Daylight Savings Time starts a week before spring does. This means longer days and more time to get things done around the house. For a lot of people this also means spring cleaning.

Do You Have Enough Insurance?

Time for Flood Insurance?
Open enrollment for health insurance ended on January 31 but if you have special circumstances you may qualify for a special enrollment period. While health insurance is certainly very important to your personal financial standing winter is a good time to make sure that you are properly covered against damage and loss.

Tips for Funding Your Startup

Startup Business Funding
Despite the success of entrepreneurs on shows like “Shark Tank” most startup businesses have to be a lot more creative when funding their enterprises. Unless you already have huge revenues with a successful product you aren’t going to have investors lining up to throw money at you. Here are 7 tips to fund a new venture.

How to Meet Your Financial Goals for 2016

Hit Your Goals Dead On.
Even if you’ve already given up on your resolution to hit the gym every day or train for a marathon you can still achieve some of your financial goals for 2016 if you start now. February is a great month to start taking steps towards goals because the pressure of the New Year is off and you still have almost 11 months to get there. These seven tips will point you in the right direction:

Credit Card Tips for Better Finances

Use Credit Cards Wisely
Over a third of all U.S. households carry at least some credit card debt and those households generally have more debt overall than those that pay their credit cards in full every month. According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card debt for balance-carrying households was $15,779 in 2015, compared to the national average of $5,700 debt for all households.

Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Shred documents for protection
Identity theft is a crime that can have devastating consequences for the victims, who often bear the burden of proving that they are not responsible for purchases and debt in their name. Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to prevent identity theft and the Federal Trade Commission even has a web site with loads of information and articles related to identity theft.

Checklist For RV Camping in the Winter

Winter Camping
The holidays are over but there are still a few months of winter weather left before the snow melts and the days get longer. Despite the cold, it’s still a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. It just might take a little bit more planning and preparation to have an enjoyable getaway.

Prepare Your Home for the Rainy Season

Get ready for rain
In certain parts of the country a rainy spring is a near certainty while in the drought ridden southwest forecasts of a wet winter and spring due to El Nino have many homeowners scrambling to prepare for the possibility of storm damage and flooding. Here are 6 home maintenance tips to get through the rainy season.

End of year financial tips – last chance

New Year Planning
There are only a few days left in 2015 and now is your chance to make the most of these days to improve your finances and be one step ahead of everyone else on New Year’s Resolutions. First off, check out this article, Year End Personal Finance Tips, and then follow these additional 5 tips to start off 2016 better than you ever have before.

6 Year End Tax Tips

Tax Savings
With the end of the year approaching fast now is the time to take advantage of the time that is left to make some last minute financial moves to save some money on your 2015 tax liabilities. With a bit of planning and some action you could set yourself up to start off the New Year in better shape than ever. Here are 6 tips to lower your taxes for 2015

How to Maximize your Holiday Bonus

Holiday Bonuses
If you work for one of the roughly three quarters of companies awarding holiday bonuses this year congratulations. You are probably already planning what to do with the extra money and year end activities could certainly eat into the amount. Most companies report bonuses as “supplementary income” on your W-2 and withhold taxes accordingly.

Tips for Holiday Tipping

Small bills for tipping well
Holidays may be joyful but they can also be filled with anxiety and stress as people navigate the complexities of holiday shopping and especially determining whether or not (and how much) to tip service folks that help you out on a regular basis. There are countless articles around this topic and nearly all of them agree that the first place to start when determining holiday “gratitude” is your own budget.

Holiday Shopping Tips

Plan ahead for Holiday Shopping
Now that black Friday sales start before Halloween and continue past “Cyber Monday” it pays to have a plan for holiday shopping. Every tip list starts with “make a list” or “make a budget” for shopping so those are pretty much given. Here are 5 more tips to help you get through holiday shopping with your wallet and sanity intact.

Outlive Your Retirement Savings?

Retirement lake house
Are you saving enough for retirement? Even if you don’t plan to live forever you still may be underestimating how much money you’ll need after you stop working. According to a report released in May by the Government Accountability Office nearly 29% of households with members 55 or older have no retirement savings and no pension plan and another 23% have a pension but no retirement savings.

Finance Tips for Cohabiting Couples

Couple Moving In Together
With the holiday season just around the corner lots of couples will be taking the plunge of living together either before or after the big holidays. Many will jump right in and forget about the tough, real conversations they should have regarding money before things get more complicated. Finances are one of the top reasons that couples break up and honest communication is the best way to avoid problems before they even start.

Tips for Getting Student Financial Aid

Financial Aid to pay for Ivy League
Although the fall semester of college is well underway, it is never too early to start making a plan to pay for the 2016-17 school year, especially if you have a graduating high school senior at home. Applications for early admission to colleges are already coming due and normal application deadlines will apply in just a few weeks.

The 10 Best U.S. Cities for Building Wealth

Houston, TX
If you are like most people you probably live in one of two places, the city you were born in or the place you went to college. Of course many others move wherever their jobs send them. If you really want to be financially successful you might consider where you live as a factor in building wealth. Thankfully Fortune Magazine has listed the The 10 best U.S. cities to build wealth.

Avoid ATM Fees and Keep More of Your Money

ATM Machine
If you’ve traveled anywhere in the U.S. lately and needed to withdraw cash from an ATM that wasn’t in your bank’s network you certainly noticed that fees are on the rise. According to the average cost of using an out-of-network ATM is now a record $4.52. This is due to an average ATM surcharge of $2.88 plus $1.64 for using another bank’s ATM. This is all for the “convenience” of accessing your own cash. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid paying these steep fees.

5 Biggest Personal Finance Mistakes

Money mistakes
With the fourth quarter of 2015 well underway there is still time to make better financial decisions and even possibly avoid making one of the top 5 personal finance mistakes that many people fall into and later wish they hadn’t. These tips will help you keep more of your money and plan for better finances in the long run.

Top 5 Personal Finance Mistakes

5 Fall Home Improvement Ideas

Repair roof leaks and tiles before winter
There’s no need to wait until the holiday season is bearing down on us to get started on all of those home improvement projects you wanted to do last year and put off all summer. This is the perfect time of year to get things done with cooler weather and everyone settling in to their fall schedules. Here are 5 home improvement ideas to get you started.

Best Places to Work 2015

Google - Best Place to Work for 6 Years
If you are reading this post you may very well already work for one of the companies on Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the top 100 companies to work for. Of course if you aren’t lucky enough to work for Google or any of the other companies on this list you might want to do a little research and land a job working for one of them or find one to move to from where you are now.

Bankrate Financial Security Index Shows Optimism in September

Nest egg
Bankrate’s monthly Financial Security Index reports its strongest reading since June with a score of 102.6 for September, 2015. Respondents reported improvement in all five categories of the survey: job security, savings, debt, net worth, and overall finances.

Get the RV Out for Fall Colors

Fall is about to start and there’s no better time to get the RV out and hit the road for a seasonal trip to enjoy harvests, leaves changing color, and even Halloween festivities. The air is cooler and a lot of people are in school so the crowds are smaller in most places. These 5 tips will help you get even more enjoyment out of your RV this fall.

Best & Worst States to Make a Living

Texas - Best state to make a living
Fall might not be the most opportune time to consider moving to another state if you have a family and schools to consider but 4th quarter is almost here and many companies start hiring this time of year to use up budgets and keep headcount intact so for some people this is a great time to consider a move.

Fall Budget Advice - 6 Tips for Fall Savings

Fall planning
With Labor Day upon us as the, “unofficial end of summer”, this is a great time to start thinking about fall budgeting. Along with colder weather comes a number of holidays and other budget buster and the third quarter is a good time to catch up on your budget goals.

6 Tips for Fall Savings:

Money Saving Tips for Students

Cheaper textbooks
With many students heading back to school this month and even more in September parents and students alike will be spending money on tuition, books, and back-to-school necessities. With all of these added expenses here are 8 money saving tips for students so you can worry less about finance and more about studying.

Travel Tips for Setting Sail

Get ready to set sail
With just a month left in the summer of 2015 some folks are finally getting around to taking some time off for a summer getaway. If you are one of those people you might be considering a sailing vacation. Perhaps you already own a boat, perhaps you are thinking about buying a boat, or maybe you just want to rent a charter for a week.

Beat the Heat with these Energy Saving Tips

Hotter days ahead.
The beginning of fall is still several weeks away and even then temperatures aren’t expected to cool down for most of the country until closer to October. Even places like Southern California have been hit with record temperatures and humidity this summer and consumers are struggling to beat the heat without breaking the bank.

Here are 7 Energy Saving Tips to Help You Stay Cool:

Travel Tips to Take Advantage of the Strong Dollar

A strong dollar is good for International travel
If your summer plans include international travel you will be happy to know that the dollar is stronger than it has been in some time against many international currencies, up 23 against the Euro from 2014, 21% against the Yen and Peso, and 16% against the Canadian Dollar. Along with that airfare prices are down slightly due to lower oil prices so traveling outside of the U.S. can be a better deal than it has been for several years.

Best New Cars for Students

With back-to-school shopping out of the way, or at least underway, many parents of high school and college aged students will be turning their attention to one of the more pressing issues in modern life, transportation. When it comes to cars for students there are a lot of options and the key is to find the best combination of affordability, functionality, safety, and of course fun.

Best Advice for Back-To-School Shopping

Back to School Shopping
Anyone who has kids knows that school starts again next month in most places (after Labor Day for a lucky few kids) and that means that prime-time television will again be filled with never ending commercials for school supplies and clothing. It’s the time of year many parents dread because the supplies parents are expected to provide continues to expand with new things like flash drives and dry erase markers making the list for younger students.

Safety Tips for Mobile Banking

Mobile banking
Smart phones have made a lot of things easier and faster but not without risks. While it’s certainly convenient to pay for your Starbucks with the Starbucks Mobile App or pay some bills while you are waiting for a table at your favorite restaurant, you could risk exposing personal financial information in the process. For too many people this results in identity theft and all of the hassles that come with it.

5 Tips for Better Summer Travels

Summer Vacation
Summer vacation is already halfway over for most families and that usually means if you haven’t already taken a trip to visit family or check out some of America’s favorite destinations and attractions, you are probably planning to go somewhere over the next few weeks.

How Much Car Can You Buy?

2015 Chevy Corvette Z06
It seems as though every day you are bombarded with ads touting all of the benefits of buying a new car. Many dealers even advertise $0 down and leases starting as low as $199 a month.

Time to Review Your Insurance Coverage?

Reviewing Insurance Coverage
There are many types of insurance and June is a great time to review your coverages to be sure that you have the right kinds and enough coverage to assist you in the event you need it. These tips will help you in your reviews.

Car Maintenance Tips for Summer

Get your car ready for summer
Tomorrow is the summer solstice, which means that the days will actually start to get a little shorter each week even as the temperatures rise (at least in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere). If you are planning to take a summer road trip you should be sure that your car is ready for the road. With higher temperatures and longer drives there are several things you should check before you load up the car.

Here are 6 maintenance tips to get your car through the summer:

Best Graduation Gifts for High School and College

Graduation ceremonies abound this time of year
Summer is only a week away and that means graduations are happening nearly every weekend. You’ve probably been getting notices in the mail for weeks from high school and college students nearing the end of their educational journeys and ready to celebrate. The big question for friends, parents, and other relatives is what are the most appropriate (and appreciated) gifts to bestow upon these young people as they move on to the next phase in their lives.

7 Tips to Raise Your Credit Score

Photo credit:
How close are you to achieving your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015? The year is nearly halfway finished and if you are like most people your drive to reach those goals fizzled out sometime before Valentine’s Day. Now summer is almost here, gas prices are on the rise again, rent prices are going up, and there is talk that the Fed will raise interest rates for the first time in 9 years.

Summer Safety Tips for Your Home

Grills cause many summer accidents every year.
Longer, warmer days offer more opportunities to spend time outdoors enjoying your backyard or patio with family and friends. Often this also means grilling, swimming, and maybe even s’mores over a backyard fire pit.

Housing Affordability: Rent Price Increases Outpacing Home Prices

Apartments are getting less affordable
Typically a renter in the United States could expect to pay about 25% of their income on a median priced apartment. Over the past few years according to a report from Zillow that number has risen to 30% and more in many areas as rent prices increased at nearly twice the pace of wages. This appreciation doesn’t show any signs of slowing either.

7 Tips to Save on Summer Activities

Save money with memberships and annual passes for zoos and more
In just a few weeks most students will be out of school for the summer and parents will be looking for things to do to keep their kids occupied. Trying to fill each day with activities can get expensive but with a bit of planning and creativity you can save money.

Here are 7 tips to save money on summer activities this year:

Ways to Save Money on Gas

Better Fuel Economy from the 2015 Honda Civic
Summer is approaching fast, along with the end of school, and for many families this means piling into the car and hitting the road for visits with family or vacation getaways. This time of year is also when gas stations in many states start switching to “summer blend” gasoline to reduce emissions during the warmer months. This change and an increase in demand nearly always result in an increase in gas prices. Fortunately there are some things you can do to save money at the pump this summer.

Catch Up On Retirement Savings

Retire the way you want to
Experts say that by the time you reach your mid-50s to early 60s you should have between six and nine times your annual income saved for your retirement in order to maintain your current standard of living when you stop working. Many Americans not only don’t have enough retirement savings put away but they also believe that they are doing well financially. Planning ahead can help reduce the chance of a huge shock from not having enough money to cover your bills after you stop working.

Forbes - Best Places to Retire

Cape Coral, Florida
With over a quarter of the year behind us April is a great time of year for many people to start thinking about plans for the summer and for a lot of workers that means considering retirement. If you’ve got plenty of savings in your 401K Account and/or IRA then you might already be planning to retire.

Best Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

It's tax refund time!
For a lot of Americans filing their taxes means looking forward to a nice tax return that many see as a spring bonus. With e-filing you get the money faster than ever so it can be fun to plan out how you are going to spend that refund. Before you head to the mall to spend that money check out these tips for the best ways to use your refund.

Relocate or Remodel? Things to Consider

Kitchen updates add home value
At some point most people will walk into their home one day and think, “this isn’t where I want to spend the next 5, 10, or 15 years.” Maybe the kitchen isn’t big enough, or the closets, or even the bathrooms. This is when you have to decide whether to start looking for a new home or remodel your current home to better meet your needs. When trying to decide which is best, here are some things to consider:

College Grads – Buy, Rent, or Move Back Home

Leaving the dorm, rent, buy, or move home?
For most college graduates the most pressing issue after the graduation parties subside is finding their first “real” jobs. Of course once dorm life ends another very important decision is where to live. CNN Money recently tackled this question in their “Money Guide for Millenials” section.

Drive a New Car for Only $199 a Month

2015 Acura ILX
Some days it seems as though every time you turn on the TV or look at the newspaper you see dozens of ads touting new car leases with payments starting at just $199 per month. If this seems too good to be true it isn’t, but there are some things you need to consider before you sign on the dotted line and drive off in your new vehicle.

Tips to Start Saving and Set Aside an Emergency Fund

Don't break the bank. Set up an emergency fund.
Life doesn’t always go as planned and there are a lot of reasons to start setting aside money to build an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. Minor issues like car repairs or a broken home appliance can take a bite out of your finances and bigger issues like job loss, illness, or divorce can really send your finances off the rails. Having money set aside for these situations can help take some of the sting out of life’s annoyances.

Spring Cleaning Your RV

Clean RV
It’s been a long hard winter for most of the United States and with Spring just around the corner now is a good time to start thinking about getting your RV ready for the road. Once the snow melts and the roads thaw get that vehicle out and give it a good wash so you won’t have to spend time doing it when you want to get out and enjoy spring break.

Pay Down Debt; Two Methods to Pay it Off

Pay off one card at a time for a debt snowball
Spring is almost here and that means many people will be thinking about spring cleaning, making plans for spring break and summer vacation, and for too many people, paying off debt accrued over the past year and the holidays in particular.

Buying a Home is Getting Easier

Single Family Home
First time homebuyers are finally getting a much needed break with Fannie May and Freddie Mac revising requirements to open up more lending. Both government-backed lenders announced in December that they will start backing mortgages with as little as 3% down. Fannie May’s program started in December and the Freddie Mac program is set to begin in March.

Get Your Financial Resolutions Back on Track

Get finances back on track
It’s the middle of February and the crowds at the gym are already starting to thin out as another set of New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. Holiday bills have started to take some of the zeal out of earnest promises to make 2015 a better year financially and old habits are creeping in for many.

Top Tips to Lower Your Car Insurance Bill

IIHS Top Safety Pick+ 2015 Chrysler 200
You can’t turn on the television without seeing an ad about how you can save money on car insurance by switching from one company to another. Keep in mind when comparing quotes that it’s always a good idea to check out the companies’ financial ratings by looking at their standings with ratings companies like A.M.

5 Tips to Begin Preparing for Tax Season

With every new year comes a slew of new rules and regulations for filing taxes and in 2015 tax payers have the after-effects of the health care act to contend with. Consumers who signed up for a health care plan through a marketplace will need to file form 1095-A with their 2014 taxes. The forms should go out this month.

Year End Personal Finance Tips

Happy New Year!
With only a short time left before the end of the year you still have time to make a few last minute moves to help your finances along and get a jump start on your 2015 financial resolutions. U.S. News & World Report has this checklist of things to get your financial affairs ready for the New Year.

Keep Your Budget and Your Sanity this Holiday Season

Keep Holiday Spending in Check for a Happier New Year
With less than a month until Christmas, this is the time of year a lot of people tend to undo many of the financial goals they’ve worked hard for all year long. With more than a month of “December to Remember” ads for luxury cars, jewelry, and electronics along with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all sorts of holiday sales, it’s easy to lose track of your budget. The downside is once the holidays are over you start a New Year further away from your financial goals, or at least not any closer.

Personal Finance Safety Tips for the Holidays

Holiday Presents
Holiday Shopping season is upon us and even while most families are counting their blessings and preparing for “Black Friday” sales thieves and scammers are also getting ready for their busiest season of the year. Along with well-publicized data breaches from major retailers every year there are many more ways unsuspecting consumers can lose before the year is up.

Here are six tips protect your personal finances this season:

Get Your Snowmobile Ready for Winter Riding

Snowmobile Weather is Almost Here
In some parts of the country winter storms are already on their way and snow is being forecast as early as this weekend. That means it’s time to stock up on firewood and warm blankets and start getting ready for winter. It also means you will soon be able to feel the exhilaration of zipping through field and down snow-covered roads on your snow mobile.

Pay Less for Holiday Travel

With Halloween just days away this is the time of year people start thinking about traveling for the holidays. Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without brothers and sisters gathering around the table with their parents and children and Christmas and Hanukkah are more special when celebrated with family and lifelong friends. Holiday travel can be very stressful and expensive, especially when traveling with a large family.

Closing Your Pool for the Winter

Prepare Your Pool for Winter
Daylight savings time ends next weekend and with longer nights come colder temperatures. This means that pool season is quickly coming to an end and in you need to start planning to shut down your swimming pool for the winter to avoid damage from bad weather and freezing temperature.

Holiday Shopping Tips: Plan to Save This Year

Plan to Save for the Holidays
Halloween is next weekend and then holiday shopping will kick off in earnest with tons of advertising all leading up to “Black Friday”, and this year adds another twist with many stores opening even earlier on Thanksgiving Day for people that want to forgo the turkey and just head straight for the bargains.

Getting a Good Car Loan With Bad Credit

The Affordable 2014 Chevy Spark
When your finances are shaky thinking about buying a car can be very daunting. In most cases you need reliable transportation just to get through life and buying a car is a major financial commitment. Fortunately, if you are shopping for a new car but you don’t have great credit there are still some tips you can use to avoid making a bad decision that could make your financial situation even worse.

Q4 tax planning before year-end

Q4 Tax Planning for 2014
Halloween is only a few weeks away and the only thing scarier than running out of candy right when a huge group of kids come to your door is running out of money on April 15 when your taxes are due. Now that fall is in full swing it’s time to make some financial adjustments and do what you can in the fourth quarter to lower your 2014 tax bill. If you plan it right you can use the savings to take a nice spring vacation next year.

Protect Your RV With RV Insurance

Protect Your RV with RV Insurance
Fall is a great time of year for road trips and camping. Whether you are hitting the road to visit family or just getting out to see the leaves change color and get away from the city traveling in an RV can be a great adventure. In order to ensure that you continue to enjoy your RV it is always advisable to carry adequate RV Insurance.

Prepare Your Car or RV For Any Emergency

Auto Emergency Kit - Be Prepared
The weather is getting cooler and the holidays are approaching. For many families this means piling everyone in the car or RV for visits with relatives. Heavy traffic and bad weather can turn even the best planned get away into a nightmare if you aren’t prepared. Keeping your vehicle maintained is the first step to safety and having an emergency kit in place can help you survive unexpected travel events like last year’s “Snowpocalypse”.

College Education Costs: Still Worth It?

Wellesley College Tower
Over the past few year one thing has become very clear, the cost of college is rising at a rate much faster than inflation or any other economic indicator. Since 1985 the cost of a “four-year” degree have risen an astonishing 538%. By comparison medical costs have risen 286 percent and the consumer price index has gone up by 121 percent over the same period of time.

Best Places to Live in America

McKinney Texas Best Place to Live 2014
Earlier this year CNN Money ran a piece on the Best Cities for Young Homebuyers and now Money Magazine has created a list of the Best Places to Live in 2014. This list ranks the top 50 small cities in the U.S. Cities considered have populations between 50,000 and 300,000.

Fall Home Improvement Projects

Keep your deck clean and sealed for winter
Fall is officially here and with less daylight many people will be spending more time at home. As long as you’re home already you might as well focus on home improvement projects to make the most of your biggest investment. These seven projects will get you started in looking at ways you can fix up your home to enjoy it more throughout the rest of the year.

7 Tips for New Car Buying

2014 Honda Accord - Clearance Model
According to many sources September is one of the best months to buy new cars. This is mostly due to the fact that manufacturers officially kick off the new model year in September and in the next few months they will start premiering prototypes for 2016 at various auto shows across the country. While the heaviest advertising for cars takes place around the holidays the best incentives and deals can generally be found this month.

5 Best Budgeting Tools and Apps

Mvelopes Budget App
Are you on the right track toward meeting the financial goals you set in January? Have you fallen off course this year, swayed by sales and too busy to keep track of payments and spending? Here are 5 of the best budgeting tools and apps to get back on the path toward financial bliss.

5 More Tips to Save Money

Old Cell Phones are Worth Money
Mid-September is the time of year that retailers finish closing out summer items and start breaking out the winter clothing and Christmas decorations to get ready for the holidays that are still 3 months away. And although it might seem early this is a great time to start thinking about ways to save a little extra money so that you can finish the year that much closer to your financial goals.

Specialty Vehicles: Classic Car Shopping Tips

Classic Ford Fairlane
The last two years have been great years for car collectors with new auction records achieved every few months for classic and collectible rare models. Cars that were once owned by Steve McQueen, James Bond, and other celebrities have sold for millions of dollars and muscle cars are making a comeback even in brand new cars with “retro” designs. If owning a classic car has always been your dream, these tips will help you find one that won’t break the bank.

Buy a New Home or Rent? - Tips to Help You Decide

Rent or Buy your Home: Big Financial Decision
As summer winds down and everyone starts thinking about getting back to work and finishing out the year strong, this is a great time to consider finding a new place to live well ahead of the holidays and the New Year. One of the biggest considerations, aside from which neighborhood you want to live in, is whether you should buy a new home or rent a property. There are many financial and personal aspects to this decision and it should not be made lightly.

Must Have RV Accessories for Fall Trips

RV Satellite Offers Loads of Entertainment and Convenience
Fall might officially be nearly a month away but NFL regular season football starts next Thursday and that’s about as “Fall-like” as it gets. That means cooler temperatures and weekend getaways are just around the corner. If you have an RV now is the time to start thinking about what you need to make those trips more comfortable. If you don’t have one this is a great time to consider applying for an RV loan.

Save More Money Each Month with Tips from Forbes

Lattes Won't Break the Bank
It seems as though every year there are dozens of personal finance articles telling people how they can save thousands of dollars each year just by cutting back on their trips to Starbucks. There are always several other money saving tips like changing to energy saving light bulbs or driving a more fuel efficient car. Some of these tips don’t amount to much and some take a long time to see a payback.

How to Buy a Car at Auction

Car Auctions - Get a Deal Not a Headache
Whether you are looking for a one-of-a-kind collector vehicle or a dirt cheap auto with a salvage title auto auctions can be a great place to find specialty vehicles. The auto auction can also create a major headache for the inexperienced or unprepared. Most vehicles are sold “as-is” but you still have recourse if the car has been misrepresented and there is a lot you can do ahead of time to get ready for the auction and ensure that you get a good deal.

Investopedia – Personal Finance Video Education

Investopedia Finance Education Videos
Investopedia was founded in 1999 to deliver investing education online. Now owned by IAC, Investopedia offers nearly 300 videos for consumers looking to improve their financial knowledge. The site claims an average of more than 11 million unique visitors a month with a vast breadth of in depth videos covering everything financial.

Financial Education Video Categories Include:

Suze Orman Money Tips Video Collection

Money Tips Financial Education Videos
Renowned financial author and two-time Emmy Award winning television host Suze Orman has written nine New York Times Bestselling Books including, “The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom” and “The Courage to Be Rich”. The Suze Orman show first aired on CNBC in 2002 and currently airs on Saturday nights with financial tips and answers to many personal finance questions. Suze also makes regular appearances on Oprah Winfrey’s All Stars program on Oprah’s Network, OWN TV.

Better Money Habits by Bank of America and Khan Academy

Better Money Habits Financial Education Videos
Founded in 2006 to provide a “free world class education for anyone, anywhere”, the Khan Academy has over 6 million students logging on every month to access over 100,000 practice problems and over 6,000 mini lectures via YouTube videos covering a huge variety of subjects from science to art history. Now, thanks to a partnership with Bank of America, the Khan Academy is offering video lessons on financial topics for better money management.

Best Cities for Young Homebuyers

Austin, Texas - #1 City for Young Buyers
Fall is a busy time of year for most people and even more so for recent college graduates entering the workforce after a brief summer vacation. Many graduates will seek employment in the cities where they went to school or perhaps back in their hometowns where the familiar provides a sense of security.

Debt Consolidation Options to Improve Your Finances

Credit Card Debt
If you have a significant amount of debt, including high balances on credit cards you might be thinking about your debt consolidation options. Many of these options can help you to secure lower payments, lower interest, or both and save you money over the long run. Some options can also end up costing more so you have to carefully consider each option before you choose to make the right decision for your budget.

7 Tips for Estate Planning

Estate Planning
Planning for your own demise is not something anyone finds agreeable but estate planning is essential to protecting your finances for when that time does come. Some surveys indicate that nearly half of all adult in the U.S. do not have complete, up-to-date estate plans in place.

The good news is that estate planning can be undertaken in just a few simple steps:

Top Four Outdoor Home Improvement Projects for Summer

Outdoor Kitchens Add Convenience And Value
With longer, sunny days, and people going on vacations summer is the time of year a lot of people think about spending more time outdoors and taking advantage of the natural light with home improvement projects.

5 Tips For A Semi-Annual Insurance Checkup

Insurance Coverage for All of Life's Needs
July is a great time to look over your finances to make sure that you are on track and make changes to reach toward your financial goals. The year is more than halfway over, if you have kids they should be out of school for a while, and more daylight gives you more time to get things done. One good category of finances to review is making sure that you have enough insurance for all of life’s potential hazards.

Six Steps to Fix Your Bad Credit

Mailbox full of bills?
This year is already more than halfway finished and if you are woefully behind on your New Year’s resolution to clean up your finances, there’s no better time to start than now. By the time next year starts you could be on your way instead of just making another resolution.

Here are some tips to help you clear up bad credit:

7 Home Shopping Tips for Summer

Home Shopping
When the kids get out of school for the year a lot of families take advantage of the summer break to shop for a new home and apply for home loans. At the same time a lot of potential sellers go on vacation and push off putting their homes on the market until after summer. This can make home shopping in the summer a bit more difficult but we have a few tips to help you get more home for your money.

Shopping Tips for Buying a new ATV

Sport ATV
If your summer plans include trips to the desert or mountains for some off-road fun, you might be ready to buy a new ATV. The most common type of ATV is the Quad because they are more stable than three wheelers and they are available in many different sizes and styles. When you are ready to start shopping for a new ATV these tips will help you to find the right ATV for you:

Fire Safety for your Home

Protect your home with fire insurance
Fires kill more Americans each year than all natural disasters combined, and affect people from all backgrounds and geographic locations. Even a small fire can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home so in addition to making sure that your homeowners insurance is set up to properly cover you, it’s also a good idea to take a moment to make your home safer.

11 Moving Tips for a Smoother Move

Moving Box
If you are like many families you might be planning a full-scale move this summer after the school year ends. Perhaps it’s a new job, a change of atmosphere or you just graduated and are heading somewhere new. Moving can be one of the most frustrating and tiring experiences and everyone has horror stories of things that went wrong during a move. These ten tips will help you to have a smoother move for your new start.

7 Tips for New Graduates Establishing Credit

High School Graduates
The school year is coming to a close and after all of the graduation parties are over new high school graduates will have to start thinking about building their credit so they can be prepared for college life or the working world after one last summer vacation.

Home Safety Tips for Summertime

Home Safety Pool Cover
School children are counting the days until summer is here and Memorial Day is a great time to consider home safety to ensure a worry free summer and protect yourself from injuries and loss. One of the first things you should do is review your homeowners insurance policy to be sure that you have adequate coverage for any circumstance.

How to Buy a Personal Watercraft

Personal Watercraft
If you want the exhilaration of speeding on the water without the expense and storage considerations of a full-size boat, a personal watercraft (PWC) might be the ideal solution. PWCs are compact and easy to travel with on a trailer, toy hauler, or sometime the bed of your pickup truck. If this will be your first boat, there are some things you need to consider and these five tips will help you find the best deal on a new personal watercraft.

How to Find the Right Financial Advisor for You

Personal Finance
You’ve worked hard to earn your money and you want to make the right decisions to protect your wealth and increase your net worth. When trying to decide how to manage your money you might want to find a financial advisor to help sort through the myriad of investment options available to you.

Tips for Buying a New Airplane

Cirrus SR22
Getting a pilot’s license is just the first step toward the dream of flying the skies in your own airplane. Shopping for an airplane is more complicated than buying a new car but with some planning and advice you can make your dreams come true.

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning your Home

Spring Cleaning Adds Years to Your Home
With the calendar showing we’re already a month into spring of 2014 now is the time to get moving on spring cleaning if you haven’t already. Although most people keep their houses clean throughout the year, spring and fall are great times to do a little extra and these projects will keep up the appearance of your home for years to come.

Get Your Boat Ready for Spring

Boating is family fun.
With winter behind us a lot of folks are ready to take their boats back out to the lake, river, bay, or ocean for some spring and summer fun. If you were careful in preparing your boat for the winter, it should be in great shape for boating season. You’ll still have to do some work to get ready for spring boating but you shouldn’t have any catastrophic problems from freezing or flooding over the winter.

6 Tips for Trading in Your Car when New Car Shopping

Make the most of your trade-in
Winter is over and you’re starting to think about summer vacation and weekend drives. If shopping for a new car is on your mind you might be considering using your current car as a trade-in to lower or eliminate your down payment. Finance Source can help you get the best new car loan and we offer the following tips to help you get the most value for your trade-in.

How to Shop for a New RV

New RV Shopping
Spring break is here and summer is coming. It’s time to pack the family or a bunch of friends into the car and hit the pavement for a road trip. What’s even better than staying in a hotel or camping in a tent is hitting the road in an RV. With an RV you can take most of the comforts of home out with you on the trip. If you are getting a big tax refund this year maybe you want to use that as a down payment and get an RV loan.

6 Tax Tips for Procrastinators

Tax Tips for 2014
Taxes are due in just over 2 weeks and if you haven’t filed already you can't wait much longer. April 15 is the deadline and even if you file an extension you still have to get things ready. Also, if you owe taxes you must send payment by the 15th or be subject to penalties and interest even if you do file an extension.

Five Tips For Starting Your Own Business

Starting a Business
With the job market in the U.S. coming back slower than everyone hoped a lot of people consider creating their own jobs and becoming entrepreneurs. In many ways it’s the American Dream to start a business and be your own boss. There are a lot of things to consider before you leave your current job to start out on your own. Writing a business plan can help you map out your strategy and prepare you for obtaining funding to pursue your idea.

These 5 tips can help you get started:

Best Places to Launch a Startup Business in 2014

San Diego Bay Coronado Bridge and Petco Park
Small business is the segment of the economy with the most potential for growth and the U.S. appears to be on the verge of small business revitalization in communities throughout the country. Forbes recently released the results of a study conducted by small business intelligence firm Radius on which communities have the most engagement and resources available to entrepreneurs.

Home Loan Appraisal Checklist

Curb Appeal Adds Value to Your Home
With spring just around the corner you might be starting to think about home improvements and taking out a home equity loan or a refinance mortgage to pay for those projects. You might even be thinking about putting your home on the market and getting a new home loan for a place that better meets your current needs. Before your lender approves the loan they might require a home appraisal to ensure that the home’s value is what you say it is.

Auto Shopping: Lease vs. Buying

New Cadillac ATS
If you are in the market for a new car you have undoubtedly noticed a lot of auto ads touting low payments to drive off in a brand new car with a lease. Leases have become very popular for a number of reasons and while there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to leasing vs buying a new car it pays to be informed before making this decision.

10 Ways to Save in 2014

Save Money
This year is off to a rolling start and we’re already a month and a half in. If your resolutions included saving money this year we have some tips to keep you on track, or to get you back on track if, like most people, your resolutions were forgotten several weeks ago.

Tips for financial savings:

    Tips for Using Your RV in the Winter

    Winter Travel by RV
    Although it requires a bit more planning and effort to make it work, taking your RV out during the winter can be a great way to enjoy winter activities like skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, and snowmobiling. It will require some preparation but many of these steps you would have to take anyway unless you are lucky enough to have a climate controlled space for your RV for the winter.

    Top Cities to Find a New Home In

    Atlanta, GA a hot place to move to
    If 2014 is the year you are planning to pack up and move to a new hometown you probably already have a good idea of where you’d like to move. Perhaps a job opportunity is the reason for the move, possibly you’re tired of the weather where you live, or maybe you just wanted to find a more affordable place to call home.

    Shopping for a Boat: Power Boat vs. Sailboat

    Sailboat on the Water
    Despite the fact that over half of the U.S. is in the middle of a deep freeze many people are already fantasizing about spring and warmer adventures. Many folks in the southern states and especially on the East Coast might even be heading for warmer climates and considering boating. If you’re shopping for a new boat the very first thing you need to consider is the type of boat you want to purchase: sailboat or power boat? Here are some tips to help you decide.

    Tips for Purchasing and Financing a Manufactured Home

    Manufactured Home
    A new year often brings a lot of change along with it. New jobs, new relationships, and new goals can sometimes lead to moving to a new place or shopping for a new home. If buying a traditional new home is out of your reach you might be interested in researching a manufactured home purchase or a mobile home. Manufactured home are often much cheaper than buying a house or condo but there are several things you should consider before you buy:

    5 Tips to Refinance Your Mortgage in 2014

    Refinance Mortgage Home Loans
    In December the United States Federal Reserve announced that it will begin tapering its $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasuries and Treasury mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each starting this month. While they also stated that short-term interest rates will remain near zero until U.S. unemployment improves, expectations are that interest rates will rise at some point this year and this is a good time to refinance your mortgage.

    5 Steps to Take if Your Credit Card Number or Identity is Stolen

    Credit Cards
    Just before Christmas there were a lot of news stories regarding credit and debit card information being stolen at Target stores. Every year web sites get hacked and credit cards get compromised. Many people also are the victims of identity theft and it can be a very troubling experience.

    Financial Resolutions for a Happy New Year!

    2014 Financial Resolutions
    As we head into another New Year’s Eve celebration replete with all of the promises and resolutions to make 2014 “the best year ever” and change lifelong habits for the better this is the time of year many people are thinking about improving their financial state. Here are a few of the best financial resolutions for 2014 from various sources across the Internet.

    Last Minute Year-End Financal Tips

    Happy New Year 2014!
    With less than 2 weeks left in 2013 there is still time to make a few last minute financial moves to start the new year off in better shape. December 23 is the deadline to enroll for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act with a starting date of January 1 for coverage. There are other steps you can take to improve your finances before year-end. Kiplinger has put together a list of 10 Steps to Improving Finances. Here are 4 of them to get you started.

    How Much are You Worth?

    Financial Planning - What are you worth?
    With the year coming to an end this is a good time to go over your finances and start thinking about year-end tax planning. Along with getting a copy of your credit report, and knowing your credit score, knowing your net worth is an important determination to make. Here’s how.

    Tips for Buying Your First Motorcycle

    Triumph Bonneville
    There are a lot of ads for new car sales this time of year telling everyone that a brand new four-door sedan or SUV is the perfect present for loved ones. Perhaps you are looking for something that offers a bit more adventure and excitement and want to buy your first motorcycle. Prices are bound to be a bit lower during winter as weather conditions are considerably less than ideal.

    7 Tips for Holiday Budgeting

    Budget for Holiday Shopping
    The holiday season can be challenging for anyone trying to stick to a budget. Along with the seasonal expense of buying Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza, or other gifts, there are parties to attend, decorations to put up, dinners to prepare, and travel for some. Advertising messages bombard people with messages to spend more and consume more this time of year. Emotions run high and having a plan is very important to avoid piles of bills hitting your inbox come January.

    Get Your Boat Ready for Winter

    Boat covered for the winter
    With the weather getting colder boat season is winding down for the winter. While some people are lucky enough to be able to take their boat south to warmer climates for the winter most people aren’t so fortunate and will have to take care to winterize their boat. Storing your boat ashore is the safest bet, especially if you can keep it indoors in a climate controlled environment.

    How Much is My Business Worth?

    pile of money
    What is my company worth? This is a question many small business owners must ask themselves at various times. Business valuation is especially important when seeking a small business loan venture capital, or even business grants. Much of business valuation is subjective but there are 3 primary methods for determining value:

    Winterize Your Home for the Holidays

    Winterize your home
    Winter is just around the corner and the air is already getting colder. Most families will have at least some company coming to visit over the next few months and everyone should take some time to be sure that their home is ready for the winter. There’s more to winterizing than just checking for drafts and turning on the heater.

    These 7 tips will help you to prepare your home for the holidays and the rest of the winter as well:

    Year End Tax Planning – 6 Tips to Get Started

    Tax planning definitely isn’t the first thing on your mind when you’re busy picking out a Halloween costume and starting to think about Thanskgiving turkey and holiday shopping. With just over two months left in 2013 now is the time to start thinking about steps you can take to make tax season go smoother come April of 2014. Here are 6 tips to get started:

    How To Read a Business Contract

    Read before signing
    For any small business there are several occasions that will warrant signed legal contracts. Items such as nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), purchase contracts, employment and contractor agreements, financial contracts, and a seemingly endless list of other legal documents can be enough to keep a small business owner up at night wondering what it all means.

    5 Tips for Buying Health Insurance

    Health Insurance has only been live for a few weeks and many users have reported problems accessing information and signing up for coverage. Not everyone will benefit from subsidies under the plan. Individuals that make more than $46,000 or $94,200 for a family of four bringing won’t be able to receive income-based tax credits under the new health care law.

    Getting your Small Business Funded

    Small Business Funding Requires Planning
    Even the best small business ideas generally require funding to get things started. Getting funded is often the second or third step for entrepreneurs to kick off a new venture and much of the time fundraising is a necessary activity to continue growth. For any entrepreneur with a great idea and something to sell there are several sources of funding that should be looked into.

    Home Maintenance Projects for Fall

    Clogged Rain Gutters
    Autumn is here and daylight savings is coming to an end. The weather is getting cooler but heavy snowfall isn’t expect for more than a month. This makes for a perfect time to get a jump start on home maintenance ahead of the winter weather.

    Here are eight projects to ensure your home is safe and sound through winter:

    Prepaid Credit Card Advice

    Prepaid Credit Cards
    Credit cards are a convenient payment method for many transactions and often offer consumer protection for purchases. Consumers with bad credit sometimes find it difficult to qualify for a credit card or find that the interest and fees make them too expensive. Prepaid Credit Cards can be an option for people in this situation and they are becoming increasingly common for use as gift cards.

    Holiday Shopping - Layaway vs. Credit Cards

    Holiday Shopping
    It might be frustrating to see stores start displaying Christmas decorations in August when summer hasn’t even arrived and ads for holiday shopping start showing up during Monday Night Football. For many people longer nights and cooler temperatures mean the time to start thinking about holiday shopping starts way before black Friday.

    Commercial Property Leasing Tips

    Office Space
    For a lot of entrepreneurs finding office space can be a daunting but necessary task. At some point in order for the business to grow a physical address is needed for a plethora of reasons from having a place to store and receive inventory to having enough space for employees and business meetings. Having a legitimate business address can also add credibility and goodwill to the business.

    Tips for buying an RV

    Class C RV

    For people that want to see the U.S. but don’t like sleeping on the ground RV’s offer many of the benefits of camping with luxuries from home; like beds, running water, electricity, and even climate control. Before deciding on an RV there are many things to consider. Once of the first decisions is what size vehicle to look for. There are four different classes of RV.

    7 Finance Tips for Students

    Used textbooks
    Young adults all across the U.S. are headed back to school and many are experiencing living on their own for the first time. Whether working their way through school or getting money from their parents, all students can benefit from taking control of their finances and planning for their financial futures now.

    Top 10 Places for Business and Careers

    Des Moines, IA
    With the U.S. economy slugging along and unemployment numbers getting better mostly due to people ceasing their job searches it is good to know that there are still some places in the U.S. that are good for business.

    7 Retirement Planning Tips

    Retirement planning
    It is never too early to start planning for retirement and it’s never too late either. While there is no “magic number” that will divine how much money you’ll need to live comfortably into your old age there are a lot of ways to calculate that amount. Here are 7 tips to help you get started with your planning.

    Save Energy and Save Money this Summer

    Energy Star Products Save Energy
    During the dog days of summer days are longer and hotter and energy costs can rise out of control. In some cities there is also a danger of brownouts when too many people are using air conditioning and maxing out the energy grid. Fortunately there are many ways to conserve energy and save money at the same time.

    Tips for saving money with energy conservation:

    5 Tips for a Smooth Move

    Moving Boxes
    Although moving is often an exciting time in anyone’s life it is also one of the most stressful activities and the moving industry is high on the BBBs list of complaint categories. Moving is a lot of work for everyone and there are several steps you should take to ensure the process is as smooth as possible with the least amount of hassle.

    7 Tips for Mobile Banking

    Mobile Banking
    Online banking offers many benefits when compared to conventional banking. Most of the time the fees are lower for online accounts. It is also much more convenient for making transfers and payments at any hour and several banks offer mobile applications that allow customers to deposit checks remotely. With online banking customers can connect mobile devices, allowing them to take care of business from just about anywhere.

    Financial Responsibility for Kids

    Financial Milestones
    Financial literacy is a vitally important skill to learn but for the most part it’s not something that is taught in school and especially not for children under 18. Now the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability has launched an online initiative to help families educate their children on responsible money management.

    Student Loan Crisis Looms

    US Congress
    Today is the deadline Congress has set to determine how to set interest rates on federally subsidized loans for college undergraduates. If neither side can agree, the present interest rate of 3.4% on popular Stafford loans is scheduled to double to 6.8% for loans taken out after July 1.

    Life Insurance Blunders That Can Cost Your Family

    Buying life insurance is a very good idea for ensuring that your family doesn’t go into financial despair when you’re no longer around to take care of them. It pays to shop around for life insurance to find the best plans and best deals to get the coverage you want and there are many sites offering quotes and insurance calculators to determine how much insurance you need including

    How to Improve Your Credit Score

    Improving Credit
    Summer is almost here and with schools getting out many people are contemplating major life changes like sending children to college, buying a new car, or refinancing their homes. Nearly any major choice involves finance and most of the time it requires a loan. Getting the best rates is highly dependent on having “good credit”. A FICO credit score over 700 is generally considered “good” but if you want the best loans you need to shoot for a score better than 760.

    Smart Graduation Gifts

    Stock Certificates Make Great Gifts for Grads
    Graduation season is here and as invitations and announcements arrive friends and family members start looking for the best gifts to commemorate the occasion. Rather than typical gifts like pens, luggage, and gift cards, consider giving more practical gifts to help your graduate get started on the next phase of life.

    Top home improvement projects by ROI.

    Summer is the time of year many people get started on home improvement projects to make the most of the longer days and better weather conditions for construction. Some projects are primarily for the homeowner’s enjoyment like pools, surround sound, and giant closets and other projects are intended to add value to the home.

    Paying for College

    Graduation: Next Step College Tuition
    Graduation season is here and that means in just a few months many parents will be faced with sending their children off to college and paying for tuition and living expenses. The average cost sending a child to a private college in the 2012-2013 academic year was $43,289, according to College Board and the price of the average public college for “in-state” students was $22,261. These numbers are expected to continue to increase faster than inflation so planning ahead is very important.

    Tips for Small Business Borrowing

    Credit Cards for Small Business
    Many small business owners are reluctant to use debt to finance their businesses and strive to get the business running with just their own capital or money from “friends and family” investments until the business is large enough to raise additional investments. When thought through carefully debt can be used to move the business forward faster than bootstrapping alone. Times it makes sense to borrow:

    Healthcare Expenses for Retirees

    Healthcare Expenses
    $220,000. That’s what Fidelity Investments reports that a 65 year old couple retiring this year will need to cover healthcare expenses for the rest of their lives. This amount is eight percent less than in 2012 and is only the second time since 2002 that lower costs were reported in the study. This estimate is made up from:

    Establishing Credit for a Big Purchase

    2013 Ford Focus - Great First Car
    Establishing credit can be a frightening endeavor for many young people including recent graduates. When applying for large loans, such as auto financing and mortgages it can often be worse to have no credit history than to have a less than stellar credit history. There are several steps in the process of building up to an excellent credit score. Right off the bat to get a loan without a cosigner you must be at least 18 and have a steady source of income.

    5 Financial Tips for Cohabitation

    Dog on sofa
    More and more people live together without being married but combining assets and living under one roof without some planning ahead can have disastrous consequences in the event of a breakup. It’s important to have an exit plan with legal agreements for anything owned together. Documentation is also very important. If you purchase anything together your name must be on the title or you won’t have a legal right to it.

    Personal Finance Tips for Entrepreneurs

    Personal Finance for Entrepreneurs
    Anyone that’s ever started a business knows that financing is almost as important as the idea itself and getting past the startup phase often requires a significant amount of personal sacrifice and risk.

    Financial Statements: Tips to Save or Shred

    Shred or Save
    Tax filing season is the perfect time to sort through financial documents and determine what to save and what to shred. Most people want to reduce clutter in their home or office and you certainly don't have to save every piece of paper that comes in. These tips will help you decide what to save or shred.
    • Tax Records - Save for 7 years in case the IRS audits you for under reporting income. This can happen to even the most careful preparer in the event of an error on the return.

    5 Tips for Financial Spring Cleaning

    Spring is here and that means it’s time to clean out the house, spruce up the lawn, and get back in shape. It’s also the perfect time to clear out clutter in your finances. Getting organized can save you time and money and also reduce stress.

    Here are 5 Tips for Financial Spring Cleaning

    Your Bank Is Charging You Bank Fees For What?

    A recent survey by identifies the fact that certain banks are getting more creative in finding ways to charge consumers for services that never existed before. In the second half of 2012, the results show that average bank fees continue to rise including fees associated with monthly maintenance, overdraft, and ATM usage. Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

    In their weekly report on credit card rates, consumer advice and credit card shopping site reported that interest rates on new credit card offers fell for the first time in nearly a month. Average APR for the major credit card categories this week included:

    Interest Rate Alert! Mortgage Rates On The Rise

    Recent news in the mortgage industry is showing that rates are starting to rise, and the number of mortgage applications is decreasing. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, Fixed 30-year mortgage rates averaged 3.78 percent in the week, up 3 basis points from 3.75 percent the week before.

    Read more:

    LendingTree Is Added To Marketplace, the leading marketplace dedicated to helping consumers find their best finance options, announced today the addition of LendingTree to the FinanceSource Marketplace. As one of the premier providers of auto finance solutions for consumers, LendingTree can be found in the Cars section of

    Condurre Media Launches Technology Platform

    Recognizing a lack of solutions dedicated to helping consumers compare and find finance options, regardless of their credit level, Condurre Media is excited to announce the launch of!