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.
I do a lot of freelance work that I run through a separate business entity, and I’ve been a lot more sensitive to how start-ups and small businesses portray themselves to the public and on the Internet. I completely understand that small businesses should act and look as professional as possible to potential clients and other businesses, but there is a difference between acting professional and trying to look and act like something you are not. I’ll give you a few examples of what I am talking about:
We often wonder where our money goes, why we never have more money than we should, and why we can’t afford to buy life’s luxuries. The reason for this is most likely because you don’t have financial goals. A life without goals is like wandering in the forest without a compass. You’re going somewhere, but you have no idea if it’s the right path or not. On Generation X Finance, he describes how to set financial goals with a goal worksheet. Gen X Finance is a great blog for those of us that are in some of the most important years of our life, the twenties and thirties. These years and the decisions we make during them will make or break our financial future. I liked this article, because it shows you a practical way to set your financial goals, rather than just telling you that you should have some goals.
Every day I see people my age and younger post STUPID stuff on their Facebook wall or Twitter feed. I cringe every time I see it, because they don’t even realize who’s looking at that content or who could be looking at it in the future. We used to treat Facebook like it was just a place for only you and your best friends to connect and share anything and everything together. Twitter started out as a great way to vent and spew out whatever was on our minds at any given moment and get instant feedback. But, now a lot of employers, bosses, and human resource departments are searching for your name on Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and it’s VERY easy to find you. This kind of makes you think twice about posting that photo of you doing a keg stand in college, eh?
I recently started an internet marketing side business to help small businesses use grassroots strategies to market online using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other social media strategies to market their business. I started it with a partner who is also my best friend. While I don’t recommend getting into business with a friend or family member, we’ve known each other for a long time, and there were no virtually no start-up costs to start the business. What we do is mostly consulting, managing, and web developing, so if we dissolve the business tomorrow, neither one of us lose money. However, everyone’s startup is different, and there are two major things you should consider when forming a business: personal liability and tax savings. Today, if you’re making more than a couple hundred dollars a month from your small business or side business, you shouldn’t be operating as a partnership or sole proprietorship. Forming an LLC or an S Corporation is the right move for many different reasons, but which one is better? Let’s take a look at both.
For those of you that are a part of a religious institution such as a church, temple, or mosque, you probably wonder if it’s prudent to be tithing while trying to get out of debt or save up for a large purchase. There is a lot of debate among this topic, and I think it’s worth thinking about if you’re devout in your religious faith. I’m going to explore this issue in the context of Christianity. Tithing is the act of giving back a portion of your wages or earnings back to God as a symbol of showing Him that what’s your is not really yours, it’s God’s property. In Christianity, the tithe is 10% of your wages/earnings that is donated to your home church. This is not only a symbolic gesture, but it helps support the church and the charities and missionaries that the church supports. There are some really good Christian personal finance blogs out there that have talked about the issue of tithing and getting out of debt in the past.
It’s Earth Day’s 40th anniversary this year, and it’s become more of a relevant day than ever before. With the growing awareness of protecting our environment and being good stewards of it, Earth day is a time to reflect on what we can do or change in our daily lives to lessen our negative impact on the Earth. Retailers know that Earth Day is an important day, and many of them are doing something good to commemorate the day. Mummy Deals has a good post listing some freebies on and around Earth Day. For some reason, I didn’t get the free tote from Target yesterday! We bought two small items, but apparently you had to buy more? I don’t know. Anyway, there’s a lot of cool promotions going on in the travel industry, as well.
There’s nothing fun about the tax day deadline. If you haven’t filed yet, you may want to consider filing for an extension. If everything is ready to go and all you need to do is file, then do it online and through one of our favorite e-file websites, and enter a chance to win a FREE iPad. A few retailers are trying to make tax day a little more enjoyable by offering some nice deals and freebies. For those of you that owed taxes this year, you’ll take what you can get, right? Visit these retailers to get some free stuff and discounts.
After a ton of hype, Apple’s iPad came out two Saturdays ago, and ever since then there have been thousands of articles written about it and the analysis has been all over the place. Some people are having a hard time figuring out who it’s right for and who it’s not. Some of you are just wondering why there’s so much hype surrounding it in the first place. The reason is because it is being tabbed a tablet computing device, but it’s much different than tablets from the past. It has no traditional keyboard, it uses a mobile operating system, you can interact with it like no other computing device, and it is razor thin. I’ve been reading a lot about the iPad, and I’ve made some opinions about who it works for, so here is my list of who it might be work for and who it will not.
Spring is here, the weather is great, and many of you will start to think about the home remodeling projects you’ve been putting off since last summer. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on remodeling your home if you’re smart about it. Focusing on your kitchen and bathrooms is very smart, because you’ll get the most return for the money you put into it, but these rooms are also the most expensive to remodel. There are a lot of less expensive remodeling projects you can embark on and still improve the value of your home and its appeal to buyers. Read about 5 tips for remodeling your home the smart way from Money Ning. Money Ning is a great personal finance blog, and we recommend that you subscribe to their feed to get daily updates.
I always cringe when people spend hundreds of dollars to have their computer diagnosed and fixed by the Geek Squad at Best Buy or the local computer shop. I completely understand that some people are just not computer savvy, but if you are active on a computer, you can self-educate yourself on some basic principles to help keep your computer healthy and your bank account a little bigger. Here are a few things you can do to keep your computer from losing performance.
We’re proud to be hosting the 43rd edition of the Best of Money Carnival for this week. The Best of Money Carnival is a little different than most carnivals. Instead of almost all submissions getting included in the carnival as long as you follow directions and submit your article, the Best of Money Carnival gets whittled down from 60 to 70 submissions down to just 10. The host picks out the 10 “best” articles from the past week and includes them in the carnival. I put “best” in quotation marks, because this is obviously a subjective process. Being the host this week, I took the 10 best based on articles that included current events and articles that were a little out of the ordinary. The health care reform bill just passed, and that will be a huge topic of debate over the next several months. Tax season is coming to a close, and many of you still have questions. I am sure some of you get sick and tired of reading posts about ROTH IRA’s and tax deductions that you missed, so I tried to select 10 articles that you’d find interesting, because they are either unique topics or they cover what’s happening in America right now. Here are the 10 best for this week:
Our cars can be one of the most financially draining possessions that we own. The first thing most people think of when you start talking about an emergency expense is a costly car repair. Not only are maintenance and repairs expensive, but buying gasoline, the fees and taxes associated with buying a new car, and yearly registration and insurance costs are all expenses we pay simply to have the luxury of driving. Fortunately, there are great folks like Jeremy over at Gen X Finance that give us great guides like the 28 tips to save money on car expenses and save thousands of dollars. Jeremy is a retirement planning specialist and founder of Generation X Finance and the guide to Financial Planning at About.com. To learn more, follow Jeremy on Twitter.
Traveling is one of the harshest activities we engage in against the environment. We take transportation that pollutes the air, we produce a lot of waste, and we’re typically less conscious of conserving resources. I’m not a tree hugger, and I don’t come down on people for not recycling, because I think it needs to be a personal conviction to be better stewards of this Earth and our resources. There are several ways to travel greener AND save money at the same time.
Money Crashers has been around for about four years now, so all of my close friends and family know about my passion for personal finance, and I get quite a few questions from close friends and family about their own finances. I really don’t mind helping the ones closest to me. Most of the “advice” that I give is common sense, and I don’t get too technical with my recommendations, because I’m not licensed properly to give certain financial advice. Flexo, from Consumerism Commentary, recently ran an article about how to handle requests for financial advice. I really liked his advice about being careful to jump into financial conversations with acquaintances such as co-workers, and I also liked that he advised not to lend money to friends or family to solve their financial problems, because usually the problem isn’t money. The problem is the decisions they make and the bad financial habits they’ve formed. If you’ve never checked out Consumerism Commentary, it’s one of the top personal finance sites that I’ve been following since 2006.
The other day I was going through my prescription receipts for the past year in order to get ready for my taxes. I began noticing, in very small print on the receipt, the retail cost of the drug. Since I used several different pharmacies throughout the year, I decided to do a price comparison. I take several maintenance medications, so I was particularly interested in the cost of those.
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