Money

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The whirlwind of barbecues, weekend getaways, and outdoor festivals takes its toll on a modest budget. Between gobbling down the best food and sampling the latest craft brews, all of those last-minute tickets and hotel rooms add up, leaving you with empty pockets and a whole lot of the year left to enjoy.

The temptation to overspend in the dog days of summer and the last warm days of fall is nearly irresistible. Let’s not even touch on the cost of the holidays. Time flies and these far-off holidays will be here sooner than you realize.

It doesn’t help that a budget is synonymous with boring in your mind — especially when you think the only way to stop spending cash is by locking yourself inside the house, totally removed from friends who have turned spending money into a true art form.

That’s certainly one way to stop spending but isolating yourself from friends, family, and the sun can make you go a little stir crazy. Thankfully it’s not the only way. This is the year of the staycation! You don’t have to fly half way around the world or drop a fortune on a bar tab to get the most of your summer. Keep reading to learn how to stay money-free during the end of the season.

1. Go to the library

Your local branch isn’t just a place to steal free Wi-Fi and people-watch as the town’s strangest folk lurk in the stacks. Or, you know, take out books, CDs, and DVDs. It’s also a hub for the community. Most branches offer free events for the neighborhood, including lectures, book clubs, and activities for kids.

You may be surprised by the amount of things the library has planned, so check out your local branch and talk to your librarian about what’s on.

2. Explore local parks

There’s no better time to explore the great outdoors than the end of summer and early fall. National Geographic created a list of the top 10 most visited national parks back in February, and it’s a great place to start if you aren’t sure of what this great nation has to offer.

If you aren’t located anywhere near those, start researching local trails and parks. Your new librarian friend may be able to help! ...continue reading

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prepare your taxesWith 2018 just around the corner, tax season will be here before you know it. While April 15 is a dreadful day for many Americans, it doesn't have to be that way if you think ahead and prepare your taxes now.

Here are eight ways to prepare your taxes now for next year.

Ask Questions

Do you plan on filing taxes on your own or paying a professional to do it? Do you owe taxes for this year or past years? Have you gotten married or had a child? These are all questions that should be asked to help you prepare your taxes now.

If you are an independent contractor or self-employed, there are a few more questions you should ask yourself as far as your business is concerned as well. Do you have any employees? Did you put mileage on your car because of your business? These are just a few of the questions to ask to make sure you are getting ahead of the game.

Know How You Will File

Are you single, married, or filing jointly? Do you have any dependents? Knowing how you will file can make filing a lot easier when the time comes. You will know how much to withhold from your paychecks based on your allowances.

You'll also roughly know how many deductions you qualify for based on members in your household. ...continue reading

We all have quirks in our personalities, particularly when it comes to spending. Whether you’re in good financial standing or not, sometimes these qualities can keep you from achieving your financial goals. Fortunately, whatever your personality, there are ways to ensure you are not holding yourself back. Here are six personality types that can keep you from financial success and how to spot them:

1. The Spender

The spender may have the “you can’t take it with you when you go” attitude. They may spend well beyond their means and swipe credit cards to their max. Unfortunately, this can be a quick way to incur massive amounts of debt and hurt your chances for financial success. If you’re not saving, you’re not helping your future. (You can see how your habits are affecting your finances by viewing two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

To avoid overspending, it’s important to not only create a budget to track your habits but to try and find the triggers that cause you to spend in the first place. Whether it’s your emotional state or the shopper’s high you get from a purchase, addressing these triggers can help you curb your spending.

2. The Risk Taker

Perhaps you like to take risks with your money. High risk can lead to higher rewards, right? At times, yes, but they can also leave you with less. For example, just because you are approved for a mortgage doesn’t mean you can afford that amount. If you take a risk on this purchase, you may stretch your budget beyond its limits. Finding the right balance can help you limit risk and keep you on track for long-term financial success.

3. The Procrastinator

You’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” So if you’re ignoring or putting off your fiscal responsibilities, you could be spelling doom for your financial wellness. Making late payments, waiting to save for retirement, letting bills pile up, or putting off goals are all common examples of financial procrastination. Putting your finances aside will only make things worse.

Consider taking a bit of time each day or week to work on your finances. Also, you may want to sign up for automatic payments, which can make it easier to keep up with due dates. ...continue reading