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Fall Money Saving Tips

Cutting Costs at Home

There are many ways you can save money and have fun doing it this holiday season. Falling leaves and decomposing Jack-o-Lanterns are the perfect way to start a compost pile this fall. Starting now means you’ll be one step ahead when spring arrives.

Make sure your roof is free of holes, destruction and critters; if it isn’t, repair the damage or shoo the animals away. Assess the gutters as well as the chimney. Nothing is worse than a cold, rainy winter inside the home without a fireplace. Repairing now helps ensure you don’t have any last minute problems during the winter.

It’s also very important to weatherproof your home. Chances are, you’ll be using your heater this winter. Rather than lose all of that precious heat, weatherproof your windows, doors and anything else you can think of.

Restock on winter essentials before they’re all snatched up. Coats, food, gloves and boots are some important winter items that disappear as it gets closer to December.

Shopping on a Budget

The holidays are almost upon us, and that means holiday shopping is close at hand. If you start shopping around in October and November, it will be a lot easier to pick up the perfect present than if you were to wait closer to Christmas time.

So many fruits and vegetables come into season in the fall, so don’t forget to stock up. Not only will you get cheaper produce, but it will be nice and fresh. And as always, use coupons to save even more.

Look out for fall and holiday deals and coupons. There’s something about the festive, fall season that puts stores in such a great mood. So many places are offering seasonal items for super cheap; it’d be a shame if you didn’t partake.

Lowering Travel Expenses

If you’ll be flying at some point during fall, purchase tickets in the middle of the week. Most sales occur Tuesday through Thursday, so when planning a trip buy on the less busy days.

Compare round-trip flights to one-way flights. Sometimes flying round-trip isn’t necessarily the best deal. If you can save more on two tickets, take that deal.

Luggage and travel accessories are going on sale during this time of the year. If you’re in need of a new suitcase, now’s the time to buy one for that vacation coming up.

Your Entertainment Costs

Bike riding is a great way to let off steam in the cool air, while also getting where you want to go! Exercising and saving money never felt so good.

Take a walk with the family. Play board games with your kids and significant other by the fireplace instead of sitting in front of the TV. Find new and fun ways to spend time with those you love. Parks are also a great place to go; they’re usually free and offer many great family-friendly amusements.

Harvest festivals, farmers markets, and city events are a super fun and cheap way to get outside as well. Pumpkin patches offer a great time for you and your kids, and spending time together is always a beautiful fall activity.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    High Car Payments Can Drive You Over the Edge

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    High Car Payments

    It is an all too common story. Many people struggling with debt can trace the beginning of their debt problems to a new car purchase – a big monthly payment, financed for too long. Some households even have two vehicles with large payments in the $400 to $500 range. With the budget maxed out, you can see how this type of financial burden could lead to a crisis. It’s easy to start falling behind on your budget and ultimately turning to credit cards, cash advances or loans to make up where your cash flow is lacking.

    Test Drive the Monthly Payment

    You may think you’re getting a steal of a deal on that new SUV or speedster. After all, the dealer said he’d take $2,000 off the sticker price – how could you pass that one up! You know the saying: Buyer beware. Be aware of what you can afford, and go into the purchase with a plan. Find a comfortable monthly payment that allows room in your budget for maintenance, and possible gas and insurance increases. You want a vehicle that improves your lifestyle, not one that enslaves you to a high monthly expense.

    Car Payment Facts

    • Monthly payment

    Financial experts recommend spending no more than 15% of your monthly take-home pay on a car payment. If your budget is tight, a more conservative figure like 8% would be appropriate. Even though a lender may approve you for more than you have budgeted, you don’t need to spend it. Consider the future effects of your decision and your other lifestyle and financial goals. Balance is key to budgeting.

    • Term of the loan

    According to the Federal Reserve, the average auto loan term has been creeping up over the years. In 1998, the typical car loan was a 4-year term, and now, lenders commonly offer 6-year terms. It certainly lowers your monthly payment and may help you reach the 8% you budgeted for. However, it doesn’t come free of charge. Obviously, you’ll pay a lot more than you signed for because of the increase in overall interest. And, if you want or need to sell, chances are you’ll owe more than what the car is worth. It takes longer to build equity with a long-term loan. Consider what you can afford monthly and base a purchase on a four year loan. This doesn’t have to mean less car. Shopping used cars in your price range can offer a fleet of options.

    • Interest

    Do some investigating and shop around for the best interest rate before negotiating a purchase with a dealer. Check other dealerships and financial institutions. Dealerships and financial institutions often run promotions, offering incentives like lower interest rates, zero down and cash back. Also, if you can afford to send in payments above your monthly payment, it will pay down your premium faster, save on the overall interest and shorten the life of your loan.

    • Pleasure

    Don’t buy a vehicle that you don’t like or are embarrassed to drive. It is important that you are happy with your purchase for more reasons than simply the cost. The best car deal is one that you can afford, meets your lifestyle needs and that you enjoy driving.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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      Car Buying – Four Tips to do it without Regrets

      1. Don’t trade in your car

      It is a known fact that the dealership is only interested in making money off of you.  So when you decide to succumb to the convenience of trading in your car, know that you will get a lot less than if you had sold it.

      2. They will try to up-sell you

      The dealer will offer many deluxe options for your new (or leased) car, don’t fall for it! Especially if it is a leased car–you will be customizing their car that must be returned at the end of the contract, and with no refund for the customizations. If you want something added to the car, shop around for the best deal.

      3. Get the proper insurance

      .Worst case scenario: you get in a car accident directly after driving off the dealership lot.   You paid $35,000 for the car but as soon as you drove away its worth depreciated to $20,000.  The insurance company will only pay you what it’s worth, but you still owe the total of $35,000.  For scenarios like these, there is Guaranteed Auto Protection or GAP insurance.  This means the difference will be covered and you won’t be stuck with a $15,000 bill and no car.

      4. Buy a car that makes sense

      . Many people shopping for a car look for something they like now, but to get the most out of a car you must see yourself being able to drive it for the next 10 years.  Think of the repairs it will need and whether it will be worth buying the extended warranty. Whatever car you decide on, make sure it will fit your needs for years to come.

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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