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What I’ve Learned About Saving Money On My Pet

By Erik Folgate

Many personal finance bloggers have written great articles about the cost of owning a pet and ways to save money when owning a pet. I didn’t realize how much it really does cost to own a medium-sized dog. For one thing, if you don’t have children, that pet becomes like your child, so you tend to spend a little bit more money on them than usual. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spoiling a family pet if you can afford it. I thought that you might be interested in ways that we have saved money on our dog by using common sense and practicing good preventative care. Here are some ways that we feel we’ve saved money in the long run on pet care.

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Financial Literacy Grant Program Proposed by The Senate

By Erik Folgate

Consumerism Commentary reported on a financial literacy education program that would allocate $250 million dollars a year toward personal finance education in the K through 12 public school system and public colleges. The bill would provide grants to schools that want to implement the education program, but it might require that the school make it a required class for graduation. I agree with Flexo that it shouldn’t be a required course that replaces the other core classes. I know that in Florida you are required as a senior to take a semester of American Government and a semester of American Economics for graduation. I think the most logical thing to do would be to use the grant money for training economics teachers to implement the persoanl finance education into their existing course and also use the materials for teaching materials.

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How I Evaluate A Mutual Fund Before Investing In It

By Erik Folgate

I have five things that I look for when evaluating a mutual fund to see if I want to invest in it. I’ll outline the five criteria that I look for when evaluating a mutual fund to know if I should invest in it. Here are those five criteria:

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I Am Feeling The Squeeze of Rising Gas Prices

By Erik Folgate

My wife is currently doing a clinical rotation for physician assistant school in Orlando. She has to drive 30 miles each way from her parent’s house to the hospital. We budgeted out $150 dollars for her to get through two weeks, but now I am starting to rethink that budget amount. She is going through stop-and-go traffic and she’s driving an SUV. The price of gas in Jacksonville is currently right at the national average of about $3.25 a gallon. I get paid for all company mileage that I accrue each month, so it typically pays for my car, gas, and maintenance. So, this is probably the first month in a long time that we will start feeling the squeeze of rising gas prices that could get to $4.00 a gallon.

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Updates On the United States Economy

By Erik Folgate

This is a quote and text from a USA Today article published today:

President Bush said Thursday he doesn’t think the country is heading into a recession, but “there’s no question the economy has slowed down.” “There’s a lot of uncertainty and I’m concerned about the uncertainty,” he said. “Hopefully this pro-growth package will help.”

Here are some quotes from Bernanke, the chairman of the Fed and text from this USA Today article.

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An Interview With Flexo from Consumerism Commentary

By Erik Folgate

Recently, I did a brief interview with personal finance blogger, Flexo from Consumerism Commentary. It’s my intention to get to know some of the other personal finance bloggers out there, and I wanted you to get to know them better as well. I don’t see the other bloggers out there as competition, but rather I see them as a community of people that share the same goals and values as me when it comes to helping others manage their finances better. We can all learn from each other, and that’s my goal with interviewing other bloggers in the personal finance community.

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Five Tips for Saving Money On Your Summer Vacation

By Erik Folgate

It’s about that time of year when we start daydreaming at work about basking in the sun on the beach while drinking a pina colada. Then, we wake up and realize that we need to start saving some money to make that summer vacation happen! Vacations can be a financial drain, and I think that you should splurge when it comes to your vacation, as long as you can save up for it and pay cash. After all, you do deserve some rest and relaxation from the grueling grind of work. So, here are five tips that I’ve found to help me save money when planning a vacation.

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Two Reasons Why You Could Be In a Financial Mess

By Erik Folgate

The other day, I had the TV on in the background, and a lesser known morning talk show caught my attention when they were going to have a segment on helping a single mom get their financial life back on the right track. Of course, they disappointed me with focusing more on fooling with different types of bank accounts and setting up automatic overdraft protection with a credit card on her bank account. Yeah, that’s great. Just keep assuming that she’s going to keep bouncing her checking account. That’s why she asked you for help! Anyway, they did little to correct WHY she was in the predicament that she was in, but they did ask her this one question: “What was it that got you into the situation that you are in now?” She responded by saying, it was poor decision making and the lack of financial knowledge. It made me happy to hear that she wasn’t trying to blame someone else for her situation. She took responsibility for the decisions that she made and knew that she made some decisions due to ignorance. I think she hit the nail on the head for most people that find themselves in a financial mess. I know that I can trace many of my financial mistakes back to a poor decision and a simple lack of financial knowledge.

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Financial Question of the Day: What To Do With Child Support

By Erik Folgate

There are quite a few single moms and dads out there receiving child support from their ex-spouse. Unfortunately, there are also some single moms and dads out there that should be receiving child support, but they aren’t getting it. I know that one of the excuses that deadbeat parents don’t pay the child support is because they don’t trust the parent with custody to use the money on the child. So, here’s the question, and it’s more of a moral question, than a financial question:

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Treat Your Emergency Fund Like an Insurance Policy

By Erik Folgate

Now that many of my friends and family know that I write for a personal finance blog, they tend to ask me more questions about personal finance. I always tell them that I’m not an expert at this point. I don’t have enough experience to call myself an expert. But, writing this blog and my passion for helping people learn what I have learned is what distinguishes me from the average individual. I’ve gained quite a bit of knowledge from doing research for this blog, reading books, and thinking beyond the box about personal finance. My philosophy about personal finance is that there is an emotional element and a mathematical element to it. Some personal finance bloggers focus more on the mathematical side and others focus on the emotional side. I think that a healthy balance of these two elements is essential to winning with your money.

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Money Lessons Learned From Our Founding Fathers

By Erik Folgate

I meant to do this post yesterday during the designated President’s Day, but I didn’t get to it, so I thought I would share it with you a day late. I think one of the biggest tragedies of our modern culture is that we do not follow the guidance and wisdom laid out by the people that shaped this country into the greatest nation the world has ever seen. We are the hallmark for freedom and liberty. People flock here every year to have the opportunity to change their financial lives. We learn that George Washington and Abraham were great Presidents, but we seldom go beyond that. We seldom analyze their philosophy for the direction of the country. Here are some quotes from Washington and Lincoln that we can learn from about personal and financial development.

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Update to Economic Stimulus Calculator

By Erik Folgate

I updated the economic stimulus calculator from this post, to reflect the most accurate calculator to estimate your rebate based on the actual bill signed into law this past week.

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Finally, stay tuned for the first ever Money Crasher’s podcast! It will be launched within the next 2 weeks. Comment on what topics you would like me to cover. The podcast will probably last somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes and it will cover recent financial news, a personal finance topic, and a fun top ten list. I’d love to hear what you want to hear about most, though!

Three Ways To Know If You Are In Love With Money

By Erik Folgate

Ahh, love is in the air, isn’t it? I can just hear cash registers around the country being overworked on this day that is loved by retailers more than it is loved by consumers. Call me Scrooge, but do we really need an unofficial holiday of love? If the government would recognize it and declare it a national holiday, then I’d start to like it more, because at least I would get the day off. Anyway, I’ll stop the Valentine’s negativity, and get on with my dark “love” post for Valentine’s day.

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Financial Question #11: Bush Signs Economic Stimulus Plan Into Law

By Erik Folgate

Today, President Bush signed the economic stimulus plan into law today. So, it’s a done deal. He praised Congress for coming together in a bipartisan way to get the bill passed quickly so the American people will get the money as fast as possible. I still have my reservations about whether this is the solution for actually stimulating our economy, but at least they are trying to do something, and putting more of our earned income back into our pockets is always a good thing.

Here’s the question for today. It’s a two part question:

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One Big Way to Save Money On Valentine’s Day

By Erik Folgate

Men, listen up for a minute. I know we’re lazy, and when it comes to making our girls happy, we’ll go with convenience over anything else, even if it’s at a premium price. But, if you want to win with money in your lifetime, you need to start learning how to save money when it’s staring you in the face. So, here’s my number one way to save money on valentine’s day for your woman:

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