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The Piggy Bank: Kids Books about Money

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 8/8/17 6:30 AM

The Piggy Bank: Kids Books about Money

Following games and movies, my kids love books most of all! Brody usually goes for the informative books—either about football or some sort of gross, creepy crawler. Emmy is more inclined to read something that involves a family and/or pet. Neither of them would be super stoked if I suggested, “today lets read a book about finances!” However, there are amazing children’s authors out there who have turned financial education into a fun read! 

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Topics: Finances, Money, Banking

Kid Entrepreneurs

Posted by Kimberly Shane on 7/18/17 6:15 AM

Kid Entrepreneurs

Most people learn best by doing an activity and kids are no exception. That is true when it comes to financial practices; we can talk about money all we want but if we can get them to participate in earning, spending and saving practices the knowledge they will build will build their understanding and appreciation. The best way to teach kids about earning money is by letting them make a little of their own—immediately we think of lemonade stands but there are other options available. Big kids could make money from raking leaves, mowing lawns or shoveling snow. Or kids of all ages could offer a modern spin on a lemonade stand by selling cupcakes during a yard sale, dog treats at a nearby park, or I even saw a temporary tattoo stand! By getting to know your kids’ interests and being creative you can make earning money fun for them and in turn providing first hand learning experiences on earning, saving and spending.

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Topics: Finances, Money, Banking, Savings

Bad Homeowner Behaviors to Break

Posted by Morgan Saylor on 12/27/16 7:00 PM

We all have bad behaviors we’d rather not, but if you’re a homeowner, sometimes your bad behaviors can end up costing you money. And nobody wants that.

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Topics: Homeowners, Money, habits, new year, behavior

Trade-Offs Home Buyers Should Consider

Posted by Morgan Saylor on 3/8/16 8:30 PM

Life is all about give and take - this is also true for home buying. If you find yourself with a sprawling wish list of features for your new home, don’t be surprised if you have to make some concessions. But don’t take it too hard – has asked some experts about which compromises are worth making when it comes to finding your new home.

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Topics: Home, Money, Home Value, home buyers, Lot Size, architecture, trade, yard, garage, square footage, location

Taxes & Home Buying – All You Need to Know

Posted by Morgan Saylor on 2/23/16 4:00 PM

Just when you thought you had this tax thing down, you decided to look into buying a home! Whether or not you pay more in federal and state taxes could make a big difference in the amount of home loan you’ll be qualified for!

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Topics: Loans, Home, Money, income, taxes, Buying

Why You Should Switch to LED Lights

Posted by Amy Patterson on 12/11/15 4:54 PM

The debate has been going on for a while now: are the savings on your electric bill worth the upfront cost of purchasing LED lights? Since many homeowners are investing in holiday lights this time of year, we thought a calculation comparing 10 strands of lights would be appropriate.


Chart via: XcelEnergy

Using the average figures, and calculating the cost for running holiday lights from 5 p.m. to midnight every day from the day after Thanksgiving to January 5, the calculations break down like this:

6 hours per day for 40 days = 240 hours

Using this formula from XcelEnergy:

kW used X (Cost per kWh) X Hours Used = Cost of Electric

Cost of incandescent lighting:

3.208kW X $0.1188 X 240 hours = $91.47

Cost of LED lighting:

0.104kW X $0.1188 X 240 hours = $2.97

As you can see, the savings with LED lights far outweigh the upfront cost. Additionally, LED holiday lights can last up to 40 years, while traditional lights usually only last a few.

 Source: XcelEnergy

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Topics: Homeowners, Money, Savings, Go Green, Lighting, Holidays

Cut Your Grocery Bill

Posted by Amy Patterson on 10/9/15 2:29 PM

Going green isn’t only about saving the environment; it’s also about saving you money! So for this week's Go Green Friday, we're sharing some easy ways that you can cut your grocery bill and save money.

  1. Plan meals that work into your budget – Usually, the further out you plan your meals, the more money you save. If you plan your meals for the week, rather than running to the grocery store daily for random odds and ends, you’re going to stretch your budget a lot further. Try to plan meals that share ingredients, and avoid meals that require you to purchase expensive, random ingredients that you’ll likely never use again.
  2. Get into couponing – You don’t have to be one of TLC’s Extreme Couponers to reap the benefits of couponing. There are tons of websites now that do most of the legwork for you! All you have to do is peruse their online coupon catalogs, and save the ones you think you’ll use. Depending on your store, you might even be able to send the coupons right to your store savings card (which will apply them upon checkout). 
  3. Utilize items you already have – Take an inventory of your freezer, fridge and pantry and see what can be thrown together to make a meal. You might be surprised at how many extra meals you can conjure up.
  4. Check out discount food stores – Aldi, Save-A-Lot and even Dollar Tree have stepped up their game recently, and now offer a lot of the same products (though perhaps a different brand) as the mainstream grocery stores (including organic, vegan and gluten free specialty items). You may have to do some trial runs with store brands to see if you like them, but in some cases, you may find you like their brands even more than the ones you've been using.
  5. Buy in bulk – Stores like Costco, BJs and Sam’s Club, allow you to purchase all kinds of items in bulk – saving you money and trips to the grocery store.
  6. Re-purpose leftovers – Few people enjoy having the same dinner two nights in a row – and that’s totally fine! Store the componants of your meal separately and re-purpose them! If you have pasta with meat and tomato sauce one night, have tacos (with the leftover meat) the next night, and pasta salad (with the leftover pasta) the following night!
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Topics: Green Living, Money, Savings, Go Green

5 Habits for Big Savings 

Posted by Amy Patterson on 9/4/15 4:36 PM

Saving money doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult - in fact, it can even be fun! Check out these five easy ways to go green(er) and save big with simple changes. 

1. Switch paper to linen – Paper and plastic products are convenient, and sometimes, they are absolutely necessary. But depending solely on one-time use products can put a big dent in your wallet and a lot of waste in landfills. Consider switching items like your paper towels and napkins over to linen options.  

2. BYOB (Bake Your Own Bread) – Did you know that you can make your own bread for about 1/3 of the cost of buying bread (even more if you're currently buying specialty breads)? Better yet, you can control all of the ingredients, avoid additives and chemicals and make custom, extra-yummy breads like cinnamon raisin. Because who doesn’t love cinnamon raisin bread?

3. DIY lunches – The average American spends about $2,000 annually on lunch and an additional $1,000 per year on coffee. Bring yours from home and start counting the savings!

4. Buy in bulk – Buying in bulk saves you time and money, and helps you live a greener life. And who wouldn’t love to go to the grocery store less frequently?

5. DIY – As. Much. As. Possible. Make your own laundry detergent, your own household cleanser – DIY everything you can. You’re saving money and having fun by being creative!

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Topics: DIY, Green Living, Homeowners, Home Loans, Money, Savings, Homemade

5 Vinegar Cleaning Hacks

Posted by Amy Patterson on 8/28/15 4:21 PM

It’s no secret that vinegar is one of those baking ingredients that has become a cure all of sorts – even taking the stage in some beauty regimes. Aside from baking and beauty, one of the most popular places for vinegar is in cleaning. It effectively provides a chemical free, cost-effective clean that rivals the cleaners you would find in most stores.

If you’ve never tried it, these five vinegar cleaning hacks will have you hooked. 

  1. Showerhead Cleaning

Your shower head can get a little grimy – mineral build up is hard to combat and happens naturally overtime; this build up can have a few different negative side effects, but perhaps the most noticeable is a disruption of your water flow. So if your dreamy high-pressure, waterfall spout is feeling more like a dripping nuisance, try a vinegar soak! Simply fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and fix it around your showerhead with a rubber band. Leave the mixture overnight.

  1. Drain cleaning

When it comes to drains, even if you have a cover to block the big things, common substances like soap scum will take up residence and leave your shower or sink draining slower than usual. To combat this, pour a few cups of white vinegar down your drains once a month.

  1. Garbage Disposal

This awesome vinegar trick not only cleans your disposal, but also helps deodorize it and sharpen the blades. Simply take an ice cube tray and freeze white vinegar with lemon peels inside. Once frozen, grind up the custom cubes in your disposal.

  1. Washing Machine

Your washing machine cleans for a living, so it’s something you wouldn’t necessarily think about cleaning. However, it could still use a refresher every few months. Check out this simple vinegar DIY.

  1. Toilet

Cleaning the bathroom is not usually a popular chore, but it seems like it always needs to be done. Save yourself a little work (and even some time in between cleaning) by refreshing your toilet’s siphon jets (the little things that shoot out water) with vinegar. Simply pour a few cups of vinegar into your toilet’s tank once a month. 

And if you can't stomach the vinegar smell, but love the cleaning potential, check out this DIY for sweet smelling vinegar

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Topics: DIY, Green Living, Homeowners, Home Loans, Money, Savings, Green Thumb, Homemade

Save Water: Collect Rain

Posted by Amy Patterson on 8/21/15 4:59 PM

Want to know the easiest way to lower your water bill? Switch to free water –  for your garden and outdoor needs! It might sound crazy but, yes, you can totally get free water. How? Well, all you need is a barrel.

Collecting rainwater is a great way to save money and help the environment. All you have to do is get a rain barrel and put it under your downspout to capture the runoff from your roof. Make sure you purchase a screen to place over your rain barrel to keep the debris out.

Once you’ve got a full barrel, you can access your water via a watering can or a pump hose. If you’ll be watering a large area frequently, you may want to invest in the latter.

So where can you find a rain barrel? First, check with your city to see if they give them away to residents. If they don’t, see if they offer rain barrel rebates. After you’ve exhausted those options, consider making your own out of a trashcan or searching for one on Craigslist. 

You can find out more here

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Topics: DIY, Green Living, Homeowners, Money, Green Thumb, Homemade

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