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Pocket Change: 5 Thrifty Tricks to Save You Some Cash in College

Posted on Mar 20, 2018 with No comments

Mar 20, 2018

The cost of living is going up in most places today. Many of us are having a harder time making ends meet because of rising expenses. Fortunately, there are things that you can do in order to lower the cost.

Register Your Vehicle Online

The cost of registering your vehicle can vary from state to state. However, you can save money by registering your vehicle online with a service like eTags or someone similar. You can also avoid long waits at the Department of Motor Vehicles by registering your vehicle online.

Hour Rule

Many of us have financial problems because we make purchases on an impulse. If the item is unnecessary, then you should wait at least 24 hours before buying it. This is even easier to do if you shop online. Most websites allow you to put items in your cart and save them for later. You may decide that you do not want or need the item after 24 hours.

Take Advantage of Your Library

Entertainment is something that takes a large portion of many people’s budget. There are ways that you can entertain yourself without breaking the bank. You can visit the public library. Not only can you check out books, but you can also check out free movies. Many public libraries also have events that go on during various times of the year.

Sign up for Rewards Programs

You will likely be able to find many retailers who will reward you for repeatedly shopping at their store. You should sign up for every rewards program that you can. It is free to sign up for most of these programs. The more you shop at a particular store, the more money you can save.

Write down a Grocery List

You can save money at the grocery store by only purchasing what you need. You will need to make a list of things that you need before you go to the store. Not only will this help you save money, but it can also help you avoid contributing to food waste.

The cost of living may be going up, but you can still save money. You can register your vehicle online. You can also write down a grocery list and sign up for rewards. It is a good idea to wait 24 hours before making any non-essential purchase. Furthermore, you can take advantage of the free entertaiment at libraries.


Parallel Planning: 3 College Expenses to Save for Alongside Your 529

Posted on Mar 16, 2018 with No comments

Mar 16, 2018

If you have regularly been contributing to a 529 plan to save for your children’s college education, you may reasonably assume that you have covered all of your bases and are financially prepared to send your children to college. Funds in your 529 plan can be used for tuition, books and even dorm expenses. However, there are some other expenses that you may not have thought about yet. These are a few of the more common and relatively expensive costs that you may need to factor into your college budget.

Transportation and Relocation Costs

The cost to help your child relocate into a dorm or an off-campus apartment can be tremendous. You will need to pay for professional moving services or rent a moving truck to do the work on your own. You will also need to pay for regular travel expenses for your child to travel back and forth to see you, such as air fare. If your child needs to drive while in college, vehicle expenses should also be taken into account.

Insurance Premiums

Your child may need several types of insurance while in college. This may include health insurance and auto insurance at minimum. If your child is leasing an apartment, the property may require the purchase of a renter’s policy. These expenses can easily add up to several hundred dollars per month, so they should not be overlooked.

Special Services

Special services are not essential, but you may prefer that your child use them as needed. For example, a cell phone is not a true necessity, but it may be the primary way for your child to reach you, to call authorities for help if something happens and more. Another type of service that your child may need or want is a gym membership. Staying healthy while in school is important, and a gym membership is an excellent way to encourage physical fitness.

Sending your child to college can be expensive, and you may feel financially stressed after realizing that you have overlooked some of these expenses. Remember that there are multiple ways to pay for all college-related costs. For example, your child can get a part-time job to partially pay his or her way. You could also trim back on your own lifestyle. While paying for college can seem burdensome and stressful, remember that this will only last for a few years. More than that, the effort to make financial adjustments is well worth the end result.


How to Afford Insurance as a Student

Posted on Mar 13, 2018 with No comments

Mar 13, 2018

As a young adult, you’re likely aware of the importance of having auto insurance. Not only do you expose yourself to extreme liability without insurance, it’s also against the law to drive without auto insurance.

Of course, understanding the importance of auto insurance and actually being able to afford it are two very different things. Understanding the best ways to afford auto insurance will guarantee that you’re legal and that you won’t go bankrupt if you’re at fault in an accident.

Shop Around

While most things that you buy will basically be the same price at every store unless there’s a major sale, auto insurance rates can vary widely between companies, even for the same coverage. Different companies rank risks at different levels, meaning what might cause your rates to skyrocket at one company might not cause much of an issue at another.

You can shop around as often as you want, meaning every time your policy comes up for renewal, you can do a quick check to see if you can find a better rate.

Pay Fewer Times

Though a monthly auto insurance payment might seem like the easiest route to go, the fact is that you may be able to save hundreds of dollars by paying for six months at a time.

Of course, you’ll need to be able to collect enough money at one time to be able to pay six months’ premium, but if you can, you’ll be able to enjoy big savings. Just be sure you’ve really done your homework to ensure the company you choose is the one offering the best deal.

Drive Safely

Though it might go without saying, another great way to have affordable insurance is to have a safe driving record. Though you can’t change what you’ve done in the past, you can have at least a level of control of what your future driving record will look like.

Insurance companies have to charge those who’ve been in accidents more, or they’d go out of business. After all, hospital bills, accident lawyers, and car repairs aren’t cheap. Therefore, drive safe, at posted speed limits, and you’ll be able to enjoy more affordable rates over time.

Take a Class

A great way to see quick savings on your insurance as a student is to take a driver education course. These courses are offered through insurance companies and third parties and typically include both classroom and on-the-road instruction.

Though it may seem like a waste of time to spend hours learning about something you already know how to do, the tips and tricks you learn during a class like this could prove invaluable in an emergency situation. Insurance companies agree and will reward you with lower rates.

Set a Budget

Though you can do many things to lower your insurance rates, you’ve still got to have the money to pay those premiums when they come due. Since you can’t drive without insurance, it’s important to carefully budget money, putting this in the “necessity” category.

After all, the only thing worse than having high insurance rates is having no car because you got caught driving without insurance.


Financial Tricks to Affording Your First Home After College

Posted on Mar 9, 2018 with No comments

Mar 9, 2018

The decision to buy your first home after college can be both exciting and confusing. The special jargon of real estate, the flood of documents and the many legal requirements can be overwhelming. One of the primary considerations is price and your ability to manage mortgage payments and other expenses. You can make the experience of purchasing your first home easier and more affordable if you follow these five tips.

Clean up Your Credit Record

A squeaky clean credit record will help you to get the best interest rate on your mortgage, so take care of any problems you may have left over from an earlier period of your life. If you don’t have a credit record, establish one with a credit card or department store card and make your payments on time.

Put as Much Money down as Possible

Remember that the greater the amount of your down payment, the less money you will have to borrow, and the better interest rate you will receive from your financial institution.

Special mortgage programs are available that require as little as 10 percent down, but you should try to put at least 20 percent down on your purchase to acquire as much equity in your home as possible.

Get Pre-Qualified for a Loan

Seek out a number of financial institutions to try to get the best interest rate, and go through the pre-qualification process. This action will give you an advantage when looking for desirable properties that could get snapped up quickly.

Put off Big Purchases

Your new mortgage payment may be bigger than your previous rent, so you should try to arrange your finances to accommodate this larger expense. Sit down and see where you can cut your expenses to make paying a mortgage payment easier. Put off large purchases, such as a car or furniture until a later date, after you have gotten settled in your new home.

Choose a Home That’s Affordable

A number of mortgage calculators are online that can help you determine how much you can afford to pay for a home. Stay within a narrow range of this amount, and avoid the temptation of buying more house than you can reasonably afford. A good real estate agent, like Re/Max Alliance - The Diane Stow Team, can help you find the right house for your needs.

Purchasing your first home is one of the biggest financial steps you will make in your life. You can help it to be a success, and the perfect launchpad for other financial decisions, if you learn as much as possible about owning a home, in advance of your search. These five tips will help you to position yourself for this important life event.

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