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Oh, you’ll pay! Interest, that is.

Doesn’t it seem like the word ‘interest’, along with most of the good curse words, has lost most of its scariness?  I’m not talking in terms of, “how interesting;” unless Hannibal Lecter is saying it, that’s not that scary.  I’m talking in, “you’ll have to pay me back with interest,” kind of terms (Oooo, did you just get the shivers?  Me too).  Considering the definition, according to Merriam-Webster, interest should give all frugally-minded people the heebie-jeebies:

Continued

Main Entry: 1in·ter·est
Pronunciation: \ˈin-t(ə-)rəst; ˈin-tə-ˌrest, –ˌtrest; ˈin-tərst\
Function: noun

dating and herpes hsv-1 2 a : a rencontre dating charge for borrowed money generally a percentage of the amount borrowed … c : an rencontre ch'tis et marseillais excess above what is due or expected.

The key terms here being ‘excess’ and ‘charge’.  Excess charge?  Why, I believe that sounds an awful lot like a fee.  Just mention the word ‘fee,’ and you’ll send people running like somebody yelled, “FREE T-SHIRTS!”  People will spend hours on the phone trying to get an annual fee taken off of their credit card (just ask my dad; hi Dad!), but will continue paying interest on that very same card. 

Interest is a big deal.  In 2009 Americans paid trans active rencontre $216.8 BILLION of it, en espУЉrant vous y rencontrer not including mortgage interest.  For a population of 305 million, that’s about More hints $711/person.  Bummer.

Everyone knows about interest, but many people still aren’t thinking about it.  Here is a look at three high-interest expenses, with the aim to increase awareness and to re-instill the SCARY in interest.  Buwahaha!

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Article publié pour la première fois le 25/08/2010

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Pain At The Pump: State Gas Taxes

I was speeding through my fourth state in six hours, marveling at the major differences in gas prices along the way. As I drove south along I-77 from Ohio to North Carolina, I’d seen gas for as low as $3.42 in Wytheville, Virginia, and as high as $3.89 along the West Virginia Turnpike. Were the gas station owners in West Virginia trying to bilk me out of my hard earned cash? Were they simply nicer in Virginia? What could explain the nearly 50-cent discrepancy in the price of a gallon of regular unleaded from state to state?

It wasn’t until I reached a service station in my home state – North Carolina – before a simple sign on the gas pump gave me the answer I’d been looking for.

see this State Gas Taxes

Uncle Sam charges you 18.4-cents in taxes on every gallon you pump. This tax remains the same whether you’re driving through the California desert or along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. (Side note: the federal government also charges a tax on diesel gas – at 24.4-cents a gallon, this higher rate explains the higher price of diesel at stations nationwide.)

But when you cross state lines, you become subject to each state’s varying gas tax. The gas tax sign on the pump in North Carolina outlined the gas taxes for states across the southeastern United States. They are, from highest to lowest:

  • North Carolina: 57.5 cents/gallon
  • West Virginia: 50.6 cents/gallon
  • Georgia: 49.9 cents/gallon
  • Kentucky: 40.9 cents/gallon
  • Tennessee: 39.8 cents/gallon
  • Alabama: 39.3 cents/gallon
  • Virginia: 38.6 cents/gallon
  • South Carolina: 35.2 cents/gallon

(Don’t see your state listed here? Click here for a state by state list of gas taxes.)

Your Tax Dollars At Work

If you’ve ever spent a mind-numbing amount of time driving two miles an hour through an interstate construction zone, then you’ve probably had a chance to carefully observe the posted signs that read “Your tax dollars at work.” It’s true: while the exact amount varies from state to state, a large proportion of the funds collected through your state’s gas tax does go to pay for road work and other transportation infrastructure improvements. But that’s not all it does. In Texas, a small percentage of the state’s 20 cents/gallon gas tax goes to public education. In North Carolina, and many other states across the nation, the gas tax not only pays for repairs to state-owned roads, but to roads owned and maintained by city and other local governments (side note: I drive on North Carolina roads every day. I don’t understand how we have one of the highest gas taxes in the nation, yet our roads are still in horrible condition. If these are my tax dollars at work, then they need to work harder). Other states use funds generated by their gas tax to support Medicaid programs.

And The Rest Of The Money…?

Between North Carolina’s 57.5 cent state gas tax and the federal 18.4 cent tax, I’m paying 75.9 cents/gallon in taxes alone. But with today’s national average for the price of a gallon of regular unleaded above $3.80 and climbing, what accounts for the additional $3/gallon?

While Republicans will tell you that Democrats to blame for rising gas prices, and Democrats will tell you Republicans are at fault, Mostly market conditions – everything from the price of crude oil, to refinery shutdowns in the Gulf, to the international tension caused by Iran in the Straits of Hormuz.

What about the gas station owners? While they are the ones posting the prices you see on the marquee, they play a minimal role in determining the price you pay at the pump. For every gallon sold, a portion of the price goes to pay the refiners, the companies that transport the gas (both from overseas to the refinery, and from the refinery to your local gas station), the oil companies themselves, and all those taxes. And those station owners? The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates they make between 7 and 10 cents on every gallon they sell – and that’s before they pay their employees.

How High Is Too High

Even with gas prices reaching all-time highs, state governments are still considering increasing their gas taxes. In Maryland, where the state gas tax hasn’t risen in nearly two decades, the Governor is pushing for a six percent increase over several years; Iowa legislators are also increasing raising their state’s gas tax by eight to ten cents a gallon. Michigan and Arkansas are also considering similar increases.

Readers, do you think states should cut back on their gas taxes – or is it a good way to raise revenues?

Article publié pour la première fois le 17/12/2012

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With parenthood comes greater responsibility, and with greater responsibility comes bigger bills. If you’re serious about starting a family, it is time to get serious about re-financing. Accounting for the new expenses prior to actually starting the family is key. This means that you should be making changes preferably within a year of that first new born baby. Like with all challenges, beginning this new personal financial life is the hardest part. Educating yourself on what expenses to expect can make the beginning much smoother. That is where we come in with this list of the top five expenses to account for:

The kid – First and foremost you need to understand the big financial picture that is raising a child from age one to eighteen. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture that picture looks like 235,000 dollars in 2016. Times have changed since 1960 where it cost almost 25% less to raise a kid. From this figure you should take that thorough financial planning is well worth it because although a quarter million may seem daunting, it can be much less so if you make sure that your actions begin to reflect that cost.

Forgone costs – Parenting is a full time job. This means that either you or your spouse will likely forgo an income for the indefinite future. Consider your monthly expenses in light of your current income, and then consider what those expenses may feel like after either you or your spouse can no longer work as many hours. Often times it can pay big to hire babysitters or daycare centers for specific days of the week, especially if it means more income for the family.

Emergency costs – Financial planners recommend that the average person have at least 6 months’ worth of cash to fall back on. However, for couples with kids this recommended amount doubles. Children get sick, and this means that when times get rough, more cash will be necessary. As you await your child’s first birthday, it is prudent to begin stockpiling enough cash to last you for a year or more. Begin to cut debt if possible and consider new insurance plans while you still have some free time.

Insurance – A new insurance plan is one cost you might have expected. Raising a child costs money, and so this means you will need to improve your life insurance policy. If something were to happen to one of the spouses, the other will need enough to support the child on their own. However, couples to be should not stop at life coverage. Re-evaluate medical insurance and dental insurance. You can save money by shopping around for the best plans whether it’s medical or dental. Many couples even manage to save big money on the delivery procedure by anticipating their new medical costs beforehand.

Estate plans – Remember, it is no longer just about you and your spouse anymore. Make a new contingency plan for the child. This means you should organize the documentation necessary to assign a legal guardian to the child in case something happens to both parents. Financial planners urge young parents to even designate a person to manage financial affairs. Like with anything financial, planning for the worst is best.

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/08/2016

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MH900433191

 

Since May we’ve made a couple of big purchases and taken a couple of trips for which we’ve found some groovy new ways to save.  Singularly the savings were pretty impressive, but all together, I look like a budgeting superhero. 

On a side-note: Why couldn’t I find any superhero women pictures that didn’t have kankles?  For the record, I am not a man but I sure don’t have kankles either.

 

Saving on Priceline.com

For the most part, Hubs and I tend to be immune to advertising gimmicks; or at least if one of us becomes mesmerized by the persuasive television box, the other is there to slap him/her upside the head.  This is why we never tried Priceline before. William Shatner wasn’t fooling us, no sir.

On a weekend trip to Ft. Worth, however, we found ourselves hotel-less and curious.  We downloaded the free app and were ready to “negotiate.”  Feeling rebellious we offered $40/night (technically $20, because we were splitting the room with a friend) for a 3 star hotel, and honestly didn’t think it would work.  We got it.  Cha-ching!

Booking through Hilton directly, the room we got normally runs around $189/night.

We saved $149.

 

Saving on Budget Rental Trucks

We bought a new kitchen table and needed a way to transport it because no matter how we worked the angles, we just couldn’t seem to fit it in the Audi.  I should note, we bought it about 400 miles away from where we needed it. 

If you’ve ever shipped through a moving company before, you know that the prices can get up there – around $550 for our set.  So, I went to our usual source for truck rentals, U-Haul, who’s bid wasn’t much better – $400ish + mileage.  

I actually was freaking out, wondering if I would have to cancel my order for my dream table (which I got at a dreamy, never-ever-gonna-happen-again price).  Out of curiosity I checked on Budget’s rates, not expecting much, and was pleasantly surprised. 

Budget charged $220 for the rental.

We saved at least $300.

 

Saving on Refurbished Stuff

A while back I wrote a little ditty about all the things you can buy refurbished.  I finally decided to take some of my own advice and, as it turns out, I might just know what I’m talking about (sometimes).  

First, we bought a refurbished Dyson at Overstock.com.  A true status-symbol in the house-wife world, but at full-price, I found it a bit out of our vacuum-budget range.  

Regularly priced at $400, refurbished the price goes down to $250. 

We saved $150.  And I finally became a tried and true, Dyson-wielding house-wife.

More recently I took the plunge and opted for a refurbished MacBook, rather than an unseasoned newbie.  It was frightening at first, I must say, but I’ve been extremely pleased with this beauty thus far. 

New, the MacBook is priced at $999, we paid $750.

We saved $250.

 

 

 


Article publié pour la première fois le 28/10/2010

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Bankruptcy isn’t the only answer


In the current economy, bankruptcy is a common topic to land on. When I worked in an office, I often overheard discussions about bankruptcy from fellow employees; they themselves or someone they know having to file due to debt they couldn’t possible climb out of on their own. It’s been fairly common to hear about companies, too, filing for bankruptcy in the past few years.

In fact, my sister-in-law had a huge medical emergency come up about four years ago now and had she not had excellent insurance, her and her husband would certainly have had to file for bankruptcy as the medical expenses exceeded their annual income by a double-digit multiplier.

But I also had a friend that went to great lengths to avoid bankruptcy and I learned about some of the alternatives to bankruptcy as he went through the process. In the end, he did end up filing bankruptcy, but he didn’t do it without a fight.

If you take a look at the website for the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, you can get some idea of what my friend dug up. Essentially, there are cases where you’re on the brink of bankruptcy due to circumstances that aren’t just and can be legally disputed such as a lawsuit from a creditor over debt you no longer owe them.

You may also be able to work out a payment plan with your creditor. This may sound like a long shot, but in the current economy, with so many people filing for bankruptcy or running away from their debt, creditors are more willing to work with those that stick around and ask for help. It’s much better for them to work with you if you’re willing to work with them as they’ll end up getting paid back at least in part versus being completely out the money they lent.

My friend owed money on his home which was well underwater and he was unable to make the payments. He tried paying what he could afford but the lender wasn’t happy about that. He did contact the lender to try and work something out but they were unwilling at that point. In the end he decided it was best to file bankruptcy and move into a rental home that he could better afford.

Whether you’re facing bankruptcy or struggling with your finances, it’s a good idea to get to know your options as there are alternatives to bankruptcy. They don’t always work out, but they are there.

Article publié pour la première fois le 25/02/2013

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5 Wise Things to do With a Loan

When you take out a loan, it is usually for a specific purpose, but some purposes make more sense than others. For example, it makes more sense to use a loan to fix up your house than it does to take a vacation. Here are five wise things you can do with a loan.

1. Buy a house

Mortgage debt is among the cheapest debt out there, with interest rates averaging around 3 to 4 percent, depending on your payback term. With a few exceptions, the past few years being one, houses usually appreciate in value.

Plus, everyone needs somewhere to live and better to put your money toward an asset you will someday own than to throw it away on rent.

2. Make home improvements

One of the downsides to owning a home is that when something breaks or wears out, you have to pay to fix it. Some of those things, such as a roof or furnace, can be very expensive.

But those things, as well as other improvements such as a new bathroom or kitchen, also increase the value of your home, which make them smart investments, even if you have to borrow money.

Interest rates for home improvement loans are almost as low as mortgages, making this a wise type of loan.

3. Go to school

Investing in a college education can be a very wise way to use a loan. Four years of college can easily top $50,000 and a state university and graduate school can pile on more debt. However, the difference in earning power between those with college graduation and those without is significant.

4. Consolidate debt

Taking out a loan to pay off a loan may not sound like a smart financial strategy, but it can actually save you quite a bit of money.

Credit card debt can be very expensive, as most cards have interest rates in the 15 to 20 percent range. If you have a lot of debt, the interest charges alone can cause you to struggle.

Consolidating this debt, either to another card with a much lower interest rate, or by taking out another type of loan, such as a home equity loan, can save you lots of money in finance charges, which makes it a very wise use of a loan.

5. For business purposes

It’s virtually impossible to start or expand a business without borrowing money. Although businesses sometimes fail, it’s still a wise decision to borrow money for this purpose, because if the business is successful, you will grow your income far more than what it cost to borrow the money.

If you are thinking of borrowing money for one of these purposes or another one, Money Supermarket loans are a good place to start. You can compare rates and find the right loan for you.

Article publié pour la première fois le 22/05/2012

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