In Honor of Financial Literacy Month: Back to Basics

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and that means it’s a great time to reflect on your finances, and think about what we can be doing to improve financial literacy for our children, and for others around us.

One of the best places to start when it comes to improving your finances is the basics.

It seems unnecessary to go back to basics; after all, many of us feel like we have the basics down pat.  However, no matter how advanced we think we are in the world of finances, it never hurts to have a refresher on the responsible use of money.

Here are some of the basics to get back to during financial literacy month:

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What is a Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL) and is it Worth It?

It’s tax season again and if you’re expecting a tax refund you’ll probably want to get your hands on it as soon as possible.

In the past, taxpayers had to wait weeks upon weeks to receive a paper refund check from the IRS, but people sought a faster alternative.

The answer for millions has been the refund anticipation loan.

This option is offered by some tax preparation firms and is essentially a short-term loan taken out against your anticipated tax refund.

How a Refund Anticipation Loan Works

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Are You Cut Out to be a Landlord?

One of the ways that many people decide to invest in real estate, or create a passive income stream, is to purchase a rental property with the intention of becoming a landlord.

Owning property that you can rent out to others can be one way of creating income, and also of waiting for a property to increase in value.

However, being a landlord isn’t for everyone.

You should consider whether or not you are truly cut out to be a landlord. Continue Reading

Want to Win the Lottery? Better Off Creating Your Own

Roll a dice

When we took a recent trip to Montreal, I was amazed at the number of casinos as we drove through Michigan.

I am originally from Michigan, but I have not lived there for nearly 15 years.  When I did live there, the closest casino to our house was 3 hours away.  Now there are more than a handful within that same 3 hour radius.

Clearly business must be good for the casinos, otherwise they wouldn’t continue to build more.
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Would You Drive a Car Covered with Advertisements?

Yellow_car

We live in a world filled with advertisements.  We see them on the tv, in magazines, on bus stops, on buses, at movie theaters, in schools, in public restrooms.  They are all around us.  Now, you will see advertisements on rental cars too.

Would you drive a car covered with advertisements?

Budget Rent-a-Car has launched a new pilot program in Atlanta.  They will cover red SUVs in an advertisement for Sheets Brand Energy Strips.  In return for driving an SUV covered in advertising, Budget customers will pay roughly ¼ the amount to rent a car that they would pay without the advertising.  One customer rented an SUV with advertising for four days to drive to Florida.  The regular price would have been almost $300, but the price dropped to $90 because she chose the car with advertising.
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Going to College? 5 Smart Money Moves for College Freshmen

College! For many, leaving home for the first time to attend university is an exciting time, full of promise. As you get ready for school, or as you prepare your child to start a new chapter of his or her life, it is important to remember some of the basics.

Here are 5 smart money moves for college freshmen:

1. Get a Job

It doesn’t need to be a full-time job.  It doesn’t even need to be off-campus.  Many colleges hold hiring fairs one or two days before school starts so that students can see what’s available on campus.  I worked part-time in the college cafeteria for two years, before getting a job as a resident advisor.  A part-time job on campus is usually manageable, and many students benefit from working at least a little bit.  The extra income comes in handy.Continue Reading

How to Make More Money: Stop Watching TV!

If you are like most people, you probably have a desire or a strong need to generate more income but you just don’t know where to start or how you will find the time in with juggling all of your responsibilities. 

The question is always “how to make more money?”

You need to ask yourself,  what are you spending time on?

Have you seriously thought about it?

One of the biggest time killers is that black box that sits in your living room, bedroom, kitchen or den.  Know what I am referring to?  Yep, it’s your super sleek, shiny big flat screen TV!  You are proud of your big black box, you carefully wipe it down with all the rest of your possessions, and it may even be the “ooh and  ahh” focal point of your home when entertaining.  Heck, you probably spent a pretty penny on it, so why not get your money’s worth out of it right?

And you know what – there is nothing wrong with it.

The question you may need to ask yourself is this: how many hours a day do you find yourself zoning out in front of the television?  Is it only a couple of hours, or is it several hours in a day?  Do you use your television as a way to escape the things that aren’t working for you in your life?

If you do, you are not alone.  Most people nowadays use the television as a way to entertain themselves, as a babysitter, and as a way to escape from life’s problems.
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