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Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

Tax Free Holidays Coming Up

By Erik Folgate

tax free holidaysIt’s really hard to believe that Summer is almost over, and many of you will be sending your kids back to school! Sending your kids back to school can be a really expensive time of year, because your kids are growing out of clothes and need new school supplies. Fortunately, a lot of states have implemented sales tax free holidays around this time of year to help parents out a little bit. You could easily spend about $250 to $400 dollars per kid for some new clothes, shoes and school supplies, so that extra 6% to 9% sales tax could add up to some nice savings.

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7 Ways To Make An Extra $1,000 A Month

By Erik Folgate

Many of you are very tight on money, and an extra $1,000 a month would literally change your world. An extra grand of income per month doesn’t sound like a lot, but for a one-income family or a family with a lot of expenses, an extra $1,000 can make a big difference when it comes to reaching your financial goals or just preventing you from getting into more debt. If one of you is a stay-at-home parent, earning a $1,000 is an attainable goal, but many of us don’t know where to start. We automatically think that we’ll need to go get a part-time job with non-flexible hours doing work that we hate, but it’s simply not true. You just need to be a little creative, know the area you live in and its needs, and fulfill those needs. Here are 10 ideas for how to make an extra $1,000 a month:

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Help A Reader: What To Do When You’re Upside Down On Your Mortgage?

By Erik Folgate

upside down on your houseI’m really baffled that people are so tempted to just walk away from their house simply because it’s “worth” less than they owe on it. I put the worth in quotation marks, because what a house is worth is all relative. A house is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Sure, you can base it on comparable sales in the neighborhood, but that gets very skewed when you are dealing with one of the biggest real estate corrections in the history of the United States. Just because a real estate agent or Zillow.com tells you that your house is worth $100,000 and you owe $150,000 doesn’t mean it’s going to be like that forever. It would only take a solid year of real estate recovery and lessening foreclosures/short sales in order for your property to start recovering in market value. Here’s a question we recently received from a concerned friend:

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Personal Finance Blog Round Up: Is It Time To Quit Your Day Job?

By Erik Folgate

quit your day jobAre you currently working in a job that you hate? Maybe some of you have realized that you don’t want to be in your current profession long term so you’ve taken the first steps of starting a side business that could turn into full-time work, but you’re scared to take the leap by getting rid of your day job. At Money Crashers, we believe (and statistics prove it) that you’ll make a lot more money in your lifetime if you’re doing something that you love. The folks over at Get Rich Slowly think the same thing and they’ll help you answer the all important question of when the right time is to quit your day job. Here are a few more great articles from around the personal finance blogosphere:

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Is There A Right Financial Time To Have A Baby?

By Erik Folgate

best time to have a babyMoney Crashers is obviously a blog about personal finance, but because our money is so closely tied to our everyday lives, we often end up talking about a lot of huge life events. Getting married, buying your first house, having children, getting divorced, and looking for a job are all major life events that stir up a plethora of financial decisions and questions among you. The subject of babies and when to have them came up recently with me and a friend because my wife and I recently found out that she is pregnant! This was a major blessing for us, because we had been trying for a while and we’ve been emotionally and financially preparing for this time for about 18 months. The question was raised to me about when I think the “right” time is to have a baby and what your finances should look like before you have one. Here are a few of my thoughts:

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Personal Finance Round-Up: 6 Unique Ways To Eat Watermelon

By Money Crashers

4th of july watermelonHappy Independence Day! It’s the summer and it’s the 4th of July, so that means many of you will be buying huge watermelons and serving it up to your guests today and throughout the summer. Wise Bread has a fun article today on 6 Unique Ways To Eat Watermelon. What does it have to do with money? Well, sometimes we buy watermelons way too big to eat, so instead of losing money and letting it go bad, try those 6 ways to eat it quicker! Here’s a few more great articles to peruse on your Sunday holiday:

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Be Thankful For Financial Freedom This Independence Day

By Erik Folgate

capitalism and the United StatesIndependence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I started out loving it, because I was a pyromaniac as a kid, and any excuse to play with fireworks sounded GREAT to me. I still love playing with fireworks and watching them, but the 4th of July has brought so much more meaning in my life when I think about all of the men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives so that we could have the freedom to pursue a life of happiness. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and so many other Founding Fathers started this country with the dream that we would live free from tyrannical dictators, monarchies, and the constraints of oppressive government. Unfortunately, with every day that passes, every politician that we elect into government, every big government program that Congress comes up with, and every dollar we spend that we don’t have, we start slowly losing the freedoms we’ve experienced and taken for granted over the past 200 plus years.

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7 Things That Are Getting Cheaper To Buy

By Erik Folgate

home foreclosuresWe ALWAYS notice when something gets more expensive, but do we notice it when prices fall? We should, because the prices probably won’t be falling forever, so you need to take advantage of falling prices when you can. Sometimes recessions aren’t such a bad thing, because we often tighten up our finances which lowers demand and causes prices to fall in a lot of industries. Also, our wonderful friend called technology is also causing a lot of industries to make things more efficiently and drop prices. Remember when it was minimum $1,500 to buy a flat panel TV? Now you can get a 32″ for about $400! This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s some major things that are getting cheaper and helping many of you out according to the bureau of labor statistics data on consumer price index.

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Financial Lessons Learned From Saved By The Bell

By Erik Folgate

saved by the bellIf you’re in your 20′s or early 30′s, then you’ve probably either seen an episode of “Saved By The Bell” or you’re one of those freaks that’s seen every episode and still watches the re-runs on TBS in the morning. It was an iconic TV show for our generation. I’m not sure why it gained so much popularity. It was just one of those addicting shows that any pre-teen would get hooked on whether it was 1990 or 2010. Surprisingly, the show did tackle a lot of deep issues that teens face every day, and it even dealt with some financial issues. Some of these lessons learned might seem like a little bit of a stretch, but I know you get bored reading about private mortgage insurance and mutual fund load fees, so take a trip down pop culture memory lane with me for a little bit.

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4 Financial Lessons To Learn From The World Cup

By Erik Folgate

landon donovan goalI worked from home today, not because the World Cup was on, but because we were hiring new landscapers and I wanted to talk to them before they started working on our yard. BUT, since a huge World Cup match for the U.S. was playing at 10am this morning, I got my laptop, and started working in the living room while casually paying attention to the game. I saw ANOTHER goal that was taken away by a referee who probably has a chip on his shoulder towards the United States, and I saw a lot of missed opportunities by the U.S. to take control of the game. Then, it happened — one of the most dramatic moments in U.S. soccer history. Just when it looked like the U.S. team would be flying home tomorrow, Landon Donovan cleaned up a miss from Jozy Altidore in the 91st minute of the game to win it and advance to the next round. Your finances are just like that goal from Landon Donovan. Your finances ALWAYS have a chance, as long as you are patient and persistent. Here are five lessons you can learn from watching the World Cup this year:

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Financial Coach, Ansley Sebring And The Budget Author

By Erik Folgate

the budget authorAt Money Crashers, we are big advocates of working with a financial coach or counselor rather than a financial advisor if your financial goals are geared more towards preparing a budget, a plan to get out of debt, and seeking ways to save money in your daily life. Trusted financial advisors and planners are good sources for some of the more technical questions about investing, insurance, and estate planning, but they often neglect the part about being in the right situation to start investing or estate planning. Ansley Sebring, owner of her own financial coaching company called, The Budget Author, is based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She left the corporate world to be a self-employed financial coach because she saw the huge need for personal financial education during a time when jobs were being lost, real estate values were down, and people were waking up to the fact that they had WAY too much credit card and other consumer debt. I interviewed her recently about making the switch to being an entrepreneur while maintaining the role of mother of two children, wife, and owner of a company.

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This Week’s Personal Finance Round-Up: Buying When The Stock Market Is On Sale

By Money Crashers

stock marketWe’re often enticed by retailers when they have a sale. Many savvy shoppers know the best time to buy all kinds of different products right before their seasonal shelf life, because they know that the prices will be marked down to clear inventory. As responsible consumers, we’re programmed to look and wait for sales before we buy something. We love knowing that we “got a deal”. However, it’s not the same for us when we think about investing, the stock market, and other investments like real estate. We’re often paralyzed with fear when we see the stock market drop and our immediate reaction is to pull out and not put our money in it. Warren Buffett famously said that he’s greedy when other investors are cautious and he’s cautious when investors are greedy. Free From Broke has a great article about buying low or even LOWER in the stock market. It’s a great habit to fall into to invest in the stock market when it’s on sale.

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Top 5 Mistakes Sellers Make When Choosing A Real Estate Agent

By Erik Folgate

picking a good real estate agentThe spring and summer are usually the busiest times for real estate agents. The weather is warm, people are getting new jobs, and people are looking for homes to buy. Of course this also means people are putting their homes up for sale.

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iPhone 4 Review: Should You Make The Upgrade?

By Erik Folgate

Ever since I got the iPhone 3G about 16 months ago, it has been a gateway drug to Apple for me. I was so in love with it, that it caused me to buy an iMac, and then a 13″ Macbook Pro. I’m officially a Mac junkie, and I’ll never go back. You can go ahead and make fun of me, but having dealt with Windows PC’s for the past 15 years of my life and constantly being frustrated with them, I’ve drank the Apple Kool-Aid. That’s why I spent an hour and a half of my life on Monday following the live blog from Engadget about the keynote speech from Steve Jobs about their newest gadget, the iPhone 4. If you’ve already got an iPhone, then you’re probably either waiting for June 15th to pre-order it or you’re or the fence about whether you should upgrade. Or maybe you’ve been rocking an old Nokia cell phone for a while, and you’re wondering what smart phone you should upgrade to. Whatever your situation is, I’m going to throw a down and dirty review of the iPhone 4 and give you my not-so-unbiased opinion about whether you should get it or not.

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Personal Finance Round-Up: How About A Price List At The Hospital or Doctor’s Office!

By Money Crashers

health care price listThe cost of health care is a big issue right now, and with the Obama administration recently pushing through a controversial health care bill, the debate has become even stronger. One thing I find ironic is that health care is one of the ONLY things we pay for and never ask how much it costs. The reason is because health care is one of the few insurances where we actually see the true cost of it and what we’re being billed for. We simply pay our premium, pay our little co-pay and go on our way. I really liked the article from Wisebread that asks for a price list at the hospital or doctor’s office. Such a simple concept, but I think if we actually saw the prices that we were paying for health care, we’d start taking matters into our own hands to drive down the price, and competition for doctors and health care providers would be more about price, and therefore, competition would drive the price down.

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