Car Care 101: 3 Proactive Ways to Keep Your Car Running

For the record, car care is not an emergency. Cars, as much as they might be an asset/worth something if you want to sell it, are really a big honkin’ liability. They cost money. And it’s the least fun money to spend. If I can help you understand in this article what it takes most people years (um, me) to learn about their car, then I’ve done my duty. Find a Reliable Mechanic Mechanics tend to get a bad rap — and that’s because some of them fix things on your car that either don’t need fixing to squeeze more money out of you, or they suck at their jobs and you pay them for half-hearted work. Ugh, neither of those are good things. Find a mechanic who will explain what’s wrong with your car in simple terms, allowing you to ask questions and learn what they’re talking about. My mechanic is amazing. Everyone at his shop is dedicated to quality work. Sure, I think I pay a bit of a premium dollar-wise by going to them, versus some other shop, but I also know that my car is being thoroughly cared for. The best part? I don’t have to ask my dad all of these questions. It’d be great if I could, but he lives 70 miles away, and there’s a point where I need to take care of my own car and not rely on him to do it for me. Shout out: Major props to my dad for …

Over $1,000 in NIKE gear for FREE!

You’ve no doubt heard the old adage, “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t”. But what about when too good to be true changes to even better than before?! This is the case with the NIKE store survey offer at the bottom of their receipts — a strategy you can leverage to get over $1,000 in sweet NIKE merch for absolutely zilch. Here’s the scoop: My wife is the kind of shopper that plans ahead, she knows birthdays and other gifts she needs to buy for throughout the coming months, and finds some of the most ridiculous deals imaginable. (We’ll be sharing even more of her finds on the blog!) I like to call her the Coupon Princess because her mom is the Coupon Queen. One of the coupon/rebate offers that she is fond of is at our local NIKE factory outlet store. Up until about 4-6 months ago, when you took NIKE up on the offer to rate the experience you had with their store, they’d email you a $5 coupon good on any NIKE product in any company store. It was an easy $5 off for pairs of socks, mini-basketballs, and even occasionally a pair of shoes when the kids’ soles were wearing through. But lo and behold, over the past few months we’ve had more and more NIKE bags showing up around the house and I started inquiring about what was being brought in and at what cost. My wife and son started …

4 Reasons To Start A Side Hustle

Wouldn’t it be nice to have multiple streams of income? Even better, wouldn’t it be nice to make money doing something you love? Creating a side hustle not only can stimulate your bank account but can stimulate your mind and soul. There are many reasons to start a side hustle. For me, it was a way to go to school, pursue my dreams, and make extra money. I worked for a cosmetic company for years and loved it. However, the hours were insane and did not allow me to pursue my other passion, finance. I took my network and knowledge of the makeup industry and started my own side hustle. I spent my weekends making brides beautiful. It gave me a creative outlet and a way to make people feel special. By building a side hustle I was able to pursue my dreams and energize my life. Here’s why you need to start your own side hustle TODAY: Side Hustle Reason #1: It will give you an outlet to be creative What could be better than making extra cash and doing something you are excited about. You might love your job but I am sure you also have other hobbies that excite you. Starting a side hustle allows you to develop a creative outlet. When you are creative and use your brain in different ways, it helps inspire you in all aspects of your life. It can also stimulate and expand your mind. You will soon be filled with unlimited …

Choose Your Own Adulthood – Matching Furniture is Dumb Anyway

Choose Your Own Adulthood Adulthood can look however you want it to. Recently, I listened as a friend processed her toil and lament over whether she should “finally get matching furniture,” like what some of her friends were buying to fill their new homes. She admitted that all of her furniture was obtained for free, given to her from friends or family at one time or another, and she wondered if people would judge her for the mismatched collection filling her home. It’s as if she wasn’t “actually an adult”, unless she had matching furniture. And you better believe I cut her short. I gave her my best, “Giiiiirrrrl, your life doesn’t need to look like someone else’s life. If you want to have free furniture filling your house till you die, that’s 100% your choice. And if they’re going to judge you, that’s on them, not you.” Seriously, no one cares. There is no mold for adulthood — regardless of how your parents lived, what the movies tell you or what you imagine life “should look like” in your 20’s. I’m here to tell you — you can ditch the imaginary list of “What it means to be a successful adult.” Pass Go, collect $200 and keep moving. Not the Typical Adult I’m 27.  I do not own a couch. I live with two roommates. I own a used car. I’m paying down my student loan debt sooner than required (for these reasons). I have $3000 in savings. I …

The 5 Things You Must Know To Be Audit Proof At Tax-Time

As tax time approaches, are you concerned about your record keeping should an audit happen? When I created my corporation in 2004, I knew that there were advantages to having a business with which to run expenses through. I’d read Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Cashflow Quadrant (multiple times by then!) and Robert Kiyosaki had written ad nauseum about the benefits of a self-employed person or business owner over a W2 employee when it came to taxes. But armed with just that information didn’t seem enough. I wanted to know how to legitimately protect myself from a tax audit should that ever happen. As is often the case, I was introduced to a gentleman about 12 years ago that was probably one of the most strategic tax planners I’d ever met. He was a retired Navy man who had been doing tax prep for the past 35 years and actually enjoyed reading through the tax code and finding loopholes and other interpretations. His advice has served me well over the past decade and it’s worth sharing with our Money Savvy readers. Here are the 5 things you must know to be audit proof at tax-time: Where did the income come from? It’s not enough to just know how much income you made, but also where the income came from. Was it consulting revenue? Product sales? Who paid you and in what form? (cash, check, credit, paypal, etc.) In an audit, your income will be combed through to make sure …

5 Beneficial Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

5 Beneficial Ways To Use Your Tax Refund While tax time can be a dreaded time of year, your tax refund can set you up for greater financial success IF you use it to your benefit. Seemingly unlike everyone else, I really enjoy tax season. Working at a financial firm for years, we were consistently busy just before tax day. While our clients were stressing to make the deadline, I had started preparing my taxes January 1. Minus the fact that I am a finance nerd, the excitement of  filing my taxes and deciding what to do with my refund made the process enjoyable. Assuming you’ll be receiving a refund, the big question is what to do with it to gain the greatest benefit? While the majority of people want to spend their tax refund right away, maybe this year you should put a little more thought into how you will use those newfound funds in the best way for your finances. Here are 5 ways to use your refund that pose the greatest benefit to your financial health: 1. Pay off Debt Whether you have credit card debt of $500 or a student loan debt of $42,000, paying off some of this debt can be beneficial to you. Paying off your debt may not seem glamorous, but it could boost your credit score and take away some financial stress. Consider using the amount on the lowest balance you have remaining in an attempt to knock out that debt once and for all, …

Credit Carbs

Credit has become the carb of the financial world. We know it’s not good for us in excess, yet we stuff our faces at the slightest hint of temptation. Using credit outside of our ability to pay a monthly balance in-full leaves us bloated, guilt-ridden, and overweight in debt. So why do we do it? Let’s check out some science: It turns out that just like fast-digesting carbs stimulate regions of the brain involved in cravings and addiction, use of credit cards can also have a physiological effect on users. In Credit Cards as Spending Facilitating Stimuli: A Conditioning Interpretation, Richard Feinberg found that hypothetical willingness to pay was significantly greater when credit card logos were visible than when they were not. According to Scott Rick, Ph.D. in Psychology Today, the results from Feinberg’s study suggest that consumers have been “conditioned to associate credit card logos with consumption.” Rick adds that “Exposure to credit card logos may therefore stimulate craving, much like smelling fresh cookies stimulates hunger.” There it is. We’ve all tried eating a sugary treat to help get us out of a funk at one time or another. When it comes to consumer psychology, Ian Zimmerman, Ph.D. notes that impulse buying is also linked to anxiety and unhappiness. According to another survey commissioned by nerwallet.com, almost half of Americans say emotions have caused them to spend more than they can reasonably afford. Once we start eating that pasta, it seems like a forgone conclusion that we’re going for seconds. …

Valentine’s Day Costs WHAT?

About $19.5 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day last year. Hard to believe that we pour that much money into a holiday designed to show loved ones we care about them.  Even spending $100-$200 on this special day can put a serious hole in your budget if you’re not prepared. What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? To me it is a time to be creative and show my loved ones how much I value them. I always try to come up with fun ways to express my feelings without being too over the top. I do my best to avoid spending a small fortune on mushy holidays. Here are a few ways you can stay on budget this holiday while showing that special someone you care: Tour Your Own City If you are anything like me, you love trying new things or seeing a part of your city you haven’t experienced before. Your city should have a list of weekly events you can attend for a small fee or for free. Take advantage of this holiday and be a tourist in your own city. It will give you a different perspective on the city you live in and you may learn something new about your significant other. Stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new things can show you a different side to your partner. Check out local museums or research trails at a nature reserve. Think outside the box and try something new. You never know where it could …