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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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8 Unique & Offbeat Valentine’s Day Date Ideas on a Budget

By Jacqueline Curtis

valentine's dayWhen Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re all hit with a barrage of commercials for restaurants, flowers, lingerie, and even edible bouquets. But if you’re short on cash, the idea of a pricey dinner and a movie night may not have you feeling the love.

Let’s face it: The usual date for Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly groundbreaking. As such, all of the restaurants in town are likely to be crowded – and good luck finding a good seat at the movie theater. So, what if, instead of spending your special day waiting for a table and rushing to get to the cineplex, you did something a little offbeat? You can fight fewer crowds, save yourself some coin, and impress your Valentine with something refreshingly different.

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Best Skin Care Tips & Products on a Budget – For All Skin Types

By Jacqueline Curtis

skincareIf you’ve ever needed to purchase skin care products from any drugstore, you know they can cost a fortune. Even brands that tout themselves as lower-priced options can have you forking over $20 for a tube of moisturizer.

What I’ve found to be the most effective skin care treatment plan is actually a combination of DIY treatments and frugal skin care options – not pricey department store products that promise a lot and deliver a little. Of course, everyone’s skin is different, so yours might not respond to the lotion that your friend raves about. Determining proper skin care requires a bit of trial and error, but with enough experience and understanding of ingredients, you can create a skin care routine that benefits your unique tone and type.

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How to Prepare to Sell Your Company or Business – Seller Objectivity & Buyer Mindset

By Michael Lewis

selling a businessNew job applicants get haircuts, shine their shoes, and practice their interview skills while preparing to hopefully land a position. Those seeking to sell a home often repaint inside and out, primp the landscaping, and clean from top to bottom before hosting an open house.

And a business owner who hopes to receive a fair price for his or her company would be wise to engage in such “dressing up” activities as well. While it may go without saying, putting your best foot forward is always the best strategy to maximize the value of any sale.

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9 Clever Clothing Hacks That Save You Money on Your Wardrobe

By Jacqueline Curtis

clothesBuying clothes can be both a necessary evil and an expensive pastime. Annual American spending on clothing and accessories tops $250 billion, with global spending at $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by Statistic Brain. Chances are, if you’re an average American, a portion of your paychecks goes to clothing, shoes, and accessories. After all, you can’t show up to work wearing your old ripped jeans.

But what if instead of lining the pockets of clothing designers, manufacturers, and retailers, you kept more cash in the bank while giving your clothes new life? Instead of getting rid of damaged garments and buying something new, see if the stuff in your closet can be fixed, altered, or repurposed.

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7 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business – Steps to Take

By Michael Lewis

selling a businessEach year, thousands of small businesses change hands. Some owners decide to retire, others need new capital to exploit market opportunities, and some businesses fail and are liquidated.

According to the BizBuySell.com Fourth Quarter 2014 Insight Report, 7,494 small businesses traded hands during 2014, the largest number of transactions since BizBuySell starting tracking sales data in 2007. While higher than previous years, there are approximately 45,000 small businesses – ranging from restaurants and retail stores, to service and manufacturing companies – available for purchase at any given time.

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8 Ways to Make the Most of Thrift Store Clothing Finds

By Jacqueline Curtis

thrift store shoppingThe case for thrift store shopping is a strong one: You can score great pieces on the cheap while doing your part to help your community and decrease your own environmental impact.

But while thrift shopping might make you feel your best, secondhand clothes don’t always make you look your best. Clothes that are worn, faded, out-of-season, and just plain cheap can give your secondhand secret away.

Therefore, it is important that you do your best to make the most of your thrift store finds. By ensuring that you select quality pieces and take proper care, you can fool anyone into thinking that you bought your outfit at the mall, just like everyone else.

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7 Dangers of Wearing High Heels – Tips for Comfort

By Jacqueline Curtis

high heelsThe high heel wasn’t originally created as an accessory to wear with pencil skirts. In fact, according to Ancient Origins, the first heels – as depicted on a 9th century Persian bowl – were created for male horse riders as a way to stop their feet from slipping from stirrups. Of course, at some point in the 1600s, women adopted the trend and the rest, as they say, is history. From tiny kitten heels to sky-high platforms, high heels have been a staple in female wardrobes for centuries.

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9 Ways Single Parents Can Avoid Financial Hardship After Divorce or Death

By Mary McCoy

single parentThe struggles of single parents are near and dear to my heart. Several years ago, when my daughter was born, I never imagined that I would have to parent by myself. Then, suddenly, I found myself left with all the bills, half the income, and none of the support.

Raising a child on your own is a tall order. It requires tremendous discipline and luck to emerge unscathed, even with a decent stream of income. If the other parent of your children has left the picture – whether through divorce, death, or some other hardship – you likely remember the day you trembled with uncertainty when you saw all that red accumulating on your budget. I know I did.

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10 Men’s Wardrobe Essentials – Classic Clothes Every Guy Should Have

By Jacqueline Curtis

well dressedThough styles shift now and then as the times change, the characteristics of a well-dressed man generally remain classic. Of course, not every man has the essential pieces in his closet.

From a well-cut suit to the perfect polo, your wardrobe might be in dire need of a few pieces that can make it truly timeless. By investing in those essential items, you can ensure that you’re well-dressed and outfitted for just about any occasion.

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How to Prepare for a Long-Distance Wilderness Hike – Equipment & Safety

By Brian Martucci

hikeWhen was the last time you got away – as in, really got away? If you’re looking for a change of scenery or pace and you don’t mind physical exertion, a long-distance wilderness hike might be a good option. The continental United States harbors countless miles of well-maintained hiking trails, including many long-distance trails that stretch for hundreds or even thousands of miles.

Whether you’re planning a day-long jaunt through the forest or a multi-week expedition across a mountain range, there are probably more options than you realize within easy driving distance of your home base.

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10 Best Long-Distance Hiking Trails in the U.S. to Escape Civilization

By Brian Martucci

long-distance hikingI’m always looking for ways to lead a healthier, happier life, whether it’s making sensible changes to my eating habits or finding time to fit a workout into my day. But I’m also a big believer in disconnecting from the daily grind occasionally, spending a few days, a week, or even longer away from the pressures and temptations of the modern world. One of the healthiest and most affordable ways to do this is to embark on a long-distance hike, taking advantage of the tens of thousands of miles of hiking and multi-use trails that crisscross the United States’ vast wilderness areas.

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9 Best Road Trip Destinations in the USA on a Budget

By Mary McCoy

road tripBack in the early 1990s, when gas prices hovered around an inflation-adjusted average of $2.25 per gallon (according to The Motley Fool), my family took advantage of low fuel prices by going on amazing road trips. The memories I have from those trips are some of the most vivid of my childhood, and I strongly encourage a road trip on any occasion when gas prices dip.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out one of the following locations, particularly the ones that are nearest to your corner of the country. Each of these has ample opportunities for free or low-cost sightseeing and camping. The sights and sounds of American roads will not disappoint your family – and they certainly won’t disappoint your pocketbook.

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What Is a Food Co-op and Is It Worth Joining? – Costs, Benefits & Drawbacks

By Brian Martucci

organic produceWhen my wife and I moved into our new neighborhood last year, one of the first things we did was walk down its main commercial drag. We were happy to find a diverse hodgepodge of restaurants, coffee shops, independently owned clothing stores, and professional offices.

One business stood out in particular: a grocery cooperative (co-op), a member-owned food and grocery store that welcomes all shoppers while offering special benefits (such as discounts and voting rights regarding operations) to members who buy a share in the business. Like CSAs, co-ops offer access to local, organically grown meats and produce that might not be available at regular grocery stores or supermarkets.

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8 Products With the Highest Price Markups – How to Avoid Them

By Jacqueline Curtis

markupThere are some instances in which you can’t help but to pay a premium for a product or service. In fact, paying more sometimes nets you better quality, faster service, or the best care.

But savvy consumers know that you don’t always get what you paid for. Unfortunately, sometimes you get a lot less.

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