Last Updated On: October 22, 2014 10:22

As we’re nearing the end of October, many minds are on candy and costumes – Halloween is near! For anyone with children (or even those that just love this holiday and tend to go a bit overboard), all that Halloween entails can creep up on you quickly and scare your budget. Check out these five tips to keep your budget from trembling in fear!

1. Make your own costumes! Costumes can easily be the most expensive item for this holiday with store-bought costumes, so it’s time to get resourceful. Visit the thrift stores or even your own closet for items that can be repurposed into a costume.
2. Wait until the last minute! We don’t say this often, but for a few items this fall, it’s best to wait. Pumpkins for carving or decorations are a prime example. While the best might be gone, the stock left at the patch will be price reduced the day before and day of Halloween. Make it a tradition to carve pumpkins the day of to decorate your front door!
3. Get creative – you don’t need to buy expensive decorations! A simple search on Pinterest can give you many DIY ideas for decorations. A few pieces of old cardboard can be cut and painted to make tombstones to go in your yard, an old sheet can become a ghost – you get the idea. Use what you have.
4. Candy costs don’t have to make you go broke! First, don’t overestimate the number of trick-or-treaters you’ll have. Not only will this save you money, it’ll possibly save your waistline from devouring all the leftovers yourself! Buy in bulk or stay away from the name brand candy to save a bit more cash.
5. Think ahead! It may be a bit late for this year, but start planning now for next year. Halloween and fall decorations will be at steep discounts right after the holiday, so stock up now and any of those that you can’t live without and store them away for next year’s festivities.

Keep these money saving tips in mind for the next few days as you get ready for the costumes, trick-or-treaters, and parties! Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Last Updated On: October 03, 2014 11:15

In light of all the credit card breaches and the number of identity theft cases within the last year, protecting your identity cannot be overlooked and forgotten any longer. Keeping yourself safe from having your information stolen is not difficult; here’s a few suggestions given by the Federal Trade Commission and a few other tips on how to keep your personal information safe!

• Shred any credit offers or applications, insurance forms, checks, bank statements, and any other document that shows your private information that you do not need anymore.
• When on the go, only carry the identification and cards you will need.
• When online, be on the lookout for impersonators. Don’t give out your personal information to anyone unless you’ve started the contacting so you know who you’re working with.
• Keep passwords private! A simple tip that surprisingly a lot of people don’t follow. Don’t disclose your passwords with anyone.
• Check your statements diligently! This is the fastest way to catch any unauthorized transactions in any of your accounts.

Keeping your information safe doesn’t have to be a hassle. These tips are precautions you should be taking every day to help thwart off any person trying to steal your information and ruin your credit. If you haven’t checked out your credit lately, make sure to visit our Credit Reports page to help you find the best way to check and monitor your credit score.

Last Updated On: September 22, 2014 16:23

Owning a home or renting. Driving to work. Just living life. What do all of these activities have in common? Risk - things can go wrong; and this is what insurance can help give you peace of mind over.

There are different types of insurance that consumers are using or even are required to have, including, but not limited to, auto, health, homeowners, and renters insurances. We’ll take a quick look at these types and what they can each help you with in protecting your finances.

Auto Insurance

You use your vehicle to get where you need to go on a daily basis and unpredictable accidents happen. These surprise expenses can be tough on anyone’s budget, especially when you might be responsible to pay some or all of the costs for the other party involved in an accident. One benefit of having auto insurance is that your provider can help you contact a professional who assists in determining payments and responsibilities in an accident.

Health Insurance

You never know when a sickness or injury will happen to you or your family. Having health insurance helps you stay prepared for expensive healthcare that may be needed. Healthcare plans have many varieties and options, so it is extremely important to research the different plans to find the best coverage for you.

Home Owner / Renters Insurance

Your home, or the place you call home, is usually one of the biggest expenses in life, so protecting it is important. These insurance policies offer a safety net in the event of an environmental disaster or an accident on your property. With homeowner’s insurance, an unexpected tragedy will not be putting as much of a strain on your finances. Renter’s insurance offers similar benefits as homeowner’s insurance in regards to offering coverage for your personal belongings as well as liability coverage. Renter’s insurance is essential for anyone renting, and sometimes required by landlords.

To learn even more about each individual insurance option or to view our selections that may help you, please visit our Auto Insurance, Health Insurance, Home Owner Insurance, and Renters Insurance pages. Remember, each provider may offer many different policies and options. Do your research into which can work the best for you and your situation!

Bookmark and Share Filed Under: Product Spot Lights
Last Updated On: September 08, 2014 11:11

What exactly is debt consolidation? While many may have heard of this term, to a consumer that is new to credit, the whole process can be a bit confusing.

Debt consolidation involves combining outstanding debts into just one debt, which can result in lower monthly payments. So, what exactly does that mean? Say a consumer has two different loans or credit lines; this means two completely separate monthly payments at possibly different rates and terms. With a consolidation loan, you are combining those two debts into one loan and one payment.

What is the main purpose? There are a couple different reasons a consumer would be looking into a consolidation loan. One being to lower the interest rates, and therefore, lowering the monthly payment that they would usually have to make. Another reason is just the simplicity. It is much easier to remember to make one payment instead of multiple, simplifying your monthly budget.

Debt consolidation loans can be extremely beneficial to consumers with multiple debts that they are looking to conquer. Just remember, the point is to reduce your debt. Consolidating your debt doesn’t work if you just continue to gather more; stay disciplined in reducing your debt by not accruing more to make these loans work for you!

Last Updated On: August 22, 2014 11:17

Yellow school buses and children with backpacks are soon to be a common sight during the morning commute for many, meaning one thing: back-to-school season is upon us. If you have school-aged kids, have you completed your shopping yet?

While the best tips for saving money on school supplies and clothes for your kids include shopping in advance and spreading out your purchases, never fear if you’ve procrastinated until the last minute again this year. Here’s a few ways you can still save some cash during this expensive season.

•    Check at home first. Your home can, and probably does, contain a stockpile of unused or barely used items you’ve purchased over the years. The best way to save money now is to take inventory of everything you’ve stuffed into that junk drawer. Pencils, pens, and notebooks from last year work just as well this year. No need to waste money on all new products when you can easily clean out that overflowing stash of office supplies.

•    Use second-hand. Garage sales, clothing exchanges, and consignment stores will be your best friend, especially when completing your back-to-school clothes shopping. It may be necessary to buy new on a few of the key items your child will need in their wardrobe, but make sure these items can be used for a multitude of outfits. Mix and match these staple pieces with your cheap finds at the sales and your child will have many outfits to keep them happy.

•    Shop without the kids. We know it’s sometimes difficult to say ‘no’ to your child on certain items; elect to go school shopping alone when you can. Even though it may not seem like a huge difference at the time, the few dollars you save buying the plain notebooks instead of the character or flashy notebooks will add up.

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