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25 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget Today

By Jacqueline Curtis

save moneyIt’s easy to get stuck in the habit of overspending. Quick trips to the grocery store without a list become common. You drive your car out of convenience to places that you could walk or bike to. And that phone call to customer service to negotiate a better cell phone rate never gets made.

Unfortunately, getting out of this rut can be very difficult, as many common methods of saving money don’t appear to make a big enough difference to motivate change. That line of thinking, however, is wrong. If you have the willpower to buckle down and slash your expenses, it’s very possible to see some real results in your bottom line each month.

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11 Tips to Find the Best Neighborhood to Live In

By Brian Martucci

neighborhoodI’m no stranger to moving. My wife and I have moved four times in five years, all due to her educational track (and eventual employment). With each successive move, deciding where we should live has been a major decision. We needed to balance a host of considerations, from local economic conditions and housing costs, to commute times and lifestyle amenities. For future moves that involve buying a home or accommodating children, we may have to weigh other factors as well, such as school quality and property tax rates.

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Vaccination Debate: Should Immunizations Be Mandatory for Children?

By Michael Lewis

vaccineChildhood immunizations have been controversial for centuries. To many, the idea that protection or immunity can be gained by deliberate exposure to a disease is counter-intuitive. That unease, coupled with the possibility that a child might have an allergic reaction to a vaccine’s ingredients, is enough to cause many parents to question the wisdom of inoculation.

Anti-vaccination sentiment began early, even prior to Dr. Edward Jenner’s creation of the first smallpox vaccine in 1796. In Boston in 1721, Reverend Edmund Massey published a paper titled “The Dangerous and Sinful Practice of Inoculation,” which argued that diseases were sent by God to punish evildoers and that attempts to prevent them, therefore, were sinful.

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Thrift Store Flipping – 8 Best Items to Resell for a Profit

By Jacqueline Curtis

thrift storeWhether searching the offerings at an estate sale or combing through the aisles of a thrift store, society is obsessed with the idea of “the find.” Every junk yard and flea market offers a real treasure hunt for anyone willing to do the work.

With the right approach, thrift store flipping – the practice of purchasing items from a thrift shop with the intent to resell them – can go from a hobby to an income stream. No, not every trip is going to yield a long-lost Picasso, but learning more about thrift store flipping just might give you the incentive to look a little closer the next time you’re checking out the local store.

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Greanlight Review – “Taxes as a Service” Filing & Preparation

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and start your tax return with Greanlight using promo code MC1 to get 10% off.

greanlight logoI don’t exactly dread filing my taxes each year, but I don’t look forward to it either. Since setting out on my own as a full-time freelancer, my tax situation has become significantly more complicated. And it seems like there’s always a new hurdle on the horizon, like trying to figure out whether I should file taxes jointly with my new spouse, whose student loan debt could affect our tax burden.

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7 Push Presents on a Budget – Great Gift Ideas for New Moms

By Jacqueline Curtis

babye and motherThe idea of the “push present” – a gift given to a new mom after she’s had a baby – is pretty new, but it has caught on like wildfire. Traditionally given to the new mother by the new father, push presents are also becoming more common among friends and relatives.

The difference between a push present and a traditional baby shower gift is that a push present is a gift intended for the new mom, rather than the baby. Instead of strollers and onesies, they’re more along the lines of jewelry. The push present is meant to signify gratitude to the mother for the last nine months of pregnancy, and the work and attention it took to culminate in a healthy birth.

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How to Write and Update a Will – The Process You Need to Know

By Michael Lewis

willWhile you can’t take your property with you when you die, you can direct how your assets will be distributed by making a will. Unfortunately, some people never get around to the task, and instead die “intestate” – a legal term dictating how all property greater than the sum of your enforceable debts and funeral expenses, in the absence of a will, is distributed. Surprisingly, almost half of all adults die without a will, according to a 2012 Rocket Lawyer survey. In such cases, state law determines who gets what – including custody of minor children.

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Discover it® Miles Credit Card Review – 1.5 Miles + 2X Bonus

By Brian Martucci

discover it milesThe Discover “it” family of credit cards has a new member: the Discover it® Miles Card. It’s a travel rewards credit card that offers a slew of travel-related perks, including no travel blackout dates, no airline restrictions, and free in-flight Wi-Fi up to $30 per year.

The card accrues miles at a rate of 1.5 per $1 spent, with one mile always equivalent to $0.01. Accrued miles never expire and can be redeemed in any amount, either as a statement credit for travel-related purchases or a cash deposit to a linked bank account. And, the Discover it Miles card comes with generally reasonable fees and rates – particularly, the lack of an annual fee and penalty APR set this card apart from many competitors.

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Building a Prefab Home – Types, Cost, Pros & Cons

By Laura Williams

prefab homeDon’t let the term “prefab home” scare you away – today’s prefabricated homes (also termed “building systems” by the National Association of Home Builders), are downright fabulous. Not only do they provide home buyers with a custom, energy-efficient building solution, they’re also typically more affordable than traditional stick-built homes. While the total cost of a prefab home is highly variable based on size, amenities, and location, you can expect to pay between $180 and $220 per square foot – an amount that often includes the home’s interior fixtures and amenities.

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Collecting & Investing in Wine – Costs, Risks, How to Buy

By Brian Martucci

wineWhen you hear the phrase “wine cellar,” what pops into your mind? I picture a climate-controlled bunker attached to a gaudy beachfront mansion. Sure, wine collecting and investing is a popular hobby among the wealthy elite and has a certain snobbish connotation – but that’s not the whole story. In recent years, it has become feasible and potentially lucrative for members of the middle class to invest in wine – in other words, to collect wine with the goal of selling it for a profit in the future.

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8 Unique Gift Ideas for Someone Who Has Everything

By Jacqueline Curtis

giftWe all know someone who simply has it all. My husband is a prime example: If he wants something, he goes out and buys it, leaving me scrambling for gift ideas when it comes time for special occasions.

Whether it’s a car accessory, the latest tech gadget, or new clothes, people who already have everything don’t leave a lot of choices for well-meaning gift givers. The trick to getting the perfect presents for the people who have it all is to think up things they wouldn’t purchase on their own – and that can be a challenge.

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8 Different Types of Friends Who Are Bad for Your Finances

By Jacqueline Curtis

friendsYou love hanging out, but there’s always that one person in your social group who wants to talk about what’s in your wallet. Whether it’s constantly asking about your financial status or pressuring you to blow your budget, financial “frenemies” can have a serious impact on your bottom line. When friends negatively affect your spending habits, it might be time to make a change or lay down a few social ground rules when it comes to talking about money.

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What to Write in a Thank You Card – 4 Tips for Proper Etiquette

By Jacqueline Curtis

thank-you noteIt seems as if the world has almost forgotten the art of letter writing. The Pew Research Center found that 75% of cellphone owners text, which means you’re probably more likely to get a birthday note from a friend on your smartphone – not in your mailbox. Although communication has become overwhelmingly digital, there are still times when a personal handwritten note is much more appropriate.

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6 Ways Retailers & Stores Track Your Spending Habits – How to Protect Your Personal Data

By Jacqueline Curtis

data trackingIn the children’s tale “Hansel and Gretel,” the two titular children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way out of the forest and back home. And when you’re shopping in certain stores, you might be leaving your own little breadcrumbs behind for retailers to track your spending – even if you don’t intend to.

But this isn’t child’s play – some retailers carefully track shopping habits as a way to offer new products, learn more about their customers, and even adjust prices. Both brick-and-mortar and online retailers have systems in place to scour for useful information that increases their chance for revenue.

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Do I Need Flood Insurance? – What It Covers & Policy Costs

By Brian Martucci

flood zoneI grew up in a rugged, semi-rural area. My childhood home sat on a hillside above a narrow but energetic river. From our front window, the river was barely visible amid the trees. I remember it mostly as the centerpiece of a popular nature preserve within walking distance of our house.

Our neighbor, whose house sat right along the riverbank downstream from the preserve, had a very different experience. When circumstances were right – a big snowstorm followed by a sudden warmup or a succession of heavy spring rains – his entire yard turned into a lake. Sometimes it took days to drain. When it finally did, it was often a mess. After the worst deluges, the water would spill over his property lines and flood the main road, temporarily cutting off the immediate area. Fortunately, our house was always well above the waterline.

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