Do You Really Need the Best of the Best for Your Home?

Channels like HGTV have spawned our interest in housing and all things interior and exterior design. 

A house isn’t nice enough if it doesn’t have granite countertops and a gourmet kitchen.  No longer is the master bedroom simply bigger than the other bedrooms in the home.  Instead, we want an en suite complete with a large bathroom (his and her sinks are a must), walk in closets with built in shelves and a sitting area.  The bathroom must have a Jacuzzi hot tub.

Really?

When did this become the norm?

Of course it’s nice to live in lavish surroundings, but if you have trouble making ends meet or have debt to pay off, do you really need all of this?

Houses 60 Years Ago Were Very Different

The simple truth is that 50 or 60 years ago, houses were much simpler.
Continue Reading

Detroit Files for Bankruptcy and Links

40% of the street lights in Detroit are turned off to save money.

It takes police about an hour to respond to an emergency call.  The city’s population has dropped by more than 25% since 2000.

Detroit is in trouble.

So much trouble that the city filed for bankruptcy protection.  Currently facing total liabilities of about $18 billion, there just isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel without bankruptcy protection.

Unions are worried about pensions being slashed; involuntary cuts to pensions has rarely occurred in municipal bankruptcies because many of the pensioners still live in the municipality or are still working at the jobs that promised them a pension.

It is a difficult situation.

The city is shrinking, crime is high, and unemployment still sits over 16%.  From a financial perspective there doesn’t seem to be much else to do besides file for bankruptcy.  Despite this the plans to build the Detroit Red Wings a new arena — at a cost of $444 million — is still going through.  The emergency financial manager of Detroit and the state of Michigan agree that it will create jobs, but is it the best way to spend a half-billion dollars?  Only time will tell.

Avoid the dire circumstances Detroit is facing in your own finances. These great reads will help you keep your finances running smoothly:

Continue Reading

TurboCharge Your Costco Savings! TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express Review

shopping_cart

Are you a member of Costco, or thinking about it?  Want to make your dollar go even further there?

Then the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express may be for you.

Shopping at Costco (or any warehouse store) is one of those things you have to evaluate – is it worth it for your family at its current size and eating/spending habits?  Buying in bulk can sometimes mean great savings but it can also be deceptive and even cost more than your local grocery store when all is said and done.

If you’ve calculated that Costco is right for you, the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express can help you earn cash back on your purchases there and elsewhere.

Let’s review the TrueEarnings Card a little more in-depth and explore how you can combine this credit card with Costco’s Executive membership for extra savings:

Continue Reading

Oh Crap, We Forgot to Save for College! How to Save Money for College When Your Kids Are Older

college_books

When you first bring children into the world your concerns are on the immediate: keeping them alive, keeping them fed, and every once and a while trying to clean up the house.

College seems a long, long way off and there are more pressing issues in between now and then like soccer practice and birthday parties.

Before you know it college isn’t too far off and your retirement is right behind.  You bravely check the college education saving coffers and find nothing but cobwebs.

Is it too late to start?  What can you do?  Will your kids fail at life and be trapped in student loans forever?  Will they not be able to get in to the best schools?

Take a deep breath for me.  This is fixable.

How to Start Saving for College Late

Continue Reading

Don’t Let Them Get Your Money! How You Can Hide Money from Lawsuits, Creditors, and the IRS

hide_money

Are you worried that someone might be coming for your money?

Whether it’s a potential lawsuit, or even if it’s the IRS or a creditor, you probably want to protect your assets.

If you want to protect your assets, you need to know where to hide your money, and know how to properly structure certain accounts in order to avoid having someone drain your financial well dry.

Here are some places that you can hide your money:

Retirement Account

One of the best places to hide your money is an ERISA-qualified retirement plan.  Not only can you keep some of your money safe, but you can also earn a tax-advantaged return on the money.  The money in your retirement account is protected from liability lawsuits.  Additionally, your retirement account might have some protection from bankruptcy and creditors (not always, though).
Continue Reading

The Minefield of Checking Account Fees – Here’s How to Minimize the Damage

blank_check

Not too long ago, finding a free checking account was easy. 

They were plentiful, and there weren’t many fees unless you had overdrafts or some other major account issue.

Now, however, free checking accounts aren’t as easy to find.  The ones that are still “free” aren’t exactly free as they are rife with hidden fees.

Now, if you’re not careful, checking accounts can routinely rob you of hundreds of dollars a year.

The Minefield of Checking Account Fees and How to Avoid Them

Trouble Comparing Services

Part of the trouble is that it’s very hard to do an apples to apples comparison of banks’ fees.
Continue Reading

Make Your Travel Easier and Less Expensive – Credit Cards With Travel Rewards 2014

Do you find yourself traveling often, perhaps for work or pleasure?

Using a credit card that offers travel rewards is a great way to earn extra perks or get a little back for your trips (sometimes a lot back).  Traveling can be expensive and a travel rewards card can go a long way to earning something back for your spending.

We all like getting something back, don’t we?

There are a number of different travel reward cards out there.  Among them you can find benefits like:

  • Earning free nights at hotels;
  • Earning hotel upgrades;
  • Earning free flights;
  • Not paying foreign transaction fees;
  • Earning free car rentals;
  • And more…

The cards below offer a variety of these benefits as well as others.

Continue Reading

Free Newsletter to Keep you Free From Broke!Name: Email: We respect your email privacyPowered by AWeber email marketing