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Budgeting for Healthcare Costs

Budgeting for Healthcare Costs

It’s open enrollment season, and most of us are thinking about the best healthcare option for us in 2020. Only one thing is certain when it comes to healthcare: the cost for us to stay healthy is constantly increasing. When it comes time to choose a plan, there are multiple factors to consider so you can budget wisely. Choose your plans based on more than the premium People often select their healthcare plan based on the monthly fee they will pay for coverage each month. However, when you choose a plan based solely on this component, you could end up paying more in the long run. There are several other factors to consider when choosing a healthcare plan that will fit your health as well as financial needs. Factors include: copayment (flat dollar amount you pay when you need care) deductible (the amount you must pay before the insurance begins to pay) coinsurance (the percentage of allowed charges for covered services that you’re required to pay) maximum out-of-pocket costs (the maximum amount you will pay for services). Take previous health history into account You can’t predict the exact amount of insurance you or your family will need. But you can take your past medical history and family medical history into account when you’re selecting a plan. By taking these factors into account, you should be able to get in the ballpark of the amount of coverage you’ll need, barring no serious medical emergencies. Choose wisely When you’ve signed on for healthcare coverage and the open enrollment period passes, you aren’t able to change your plan during the year unless...
Last-Minute Halloween Costumes on a Budget

Last-Minute Halloween Costumes on a Budget

Halloween is almost here and that means your time to find a costume is limited. If you are like many Americans, a Halloween costume is something that seems to slip to the bottom of the list every year. Whether you are putting together a last-minute fix for your kid or a low-key costume for the neighborhood party, we have a few options for you. Stick with the classics. Everyone knows Charlie Brown. While his dreary disposition may not seem like the ideal inspiration for a fun Halloween costume, it is important to remember that Charlie always keeps it simple. Stock up on the following materials and create your own Peanuts ghost costume. 1 white bed sheet 5 sheets of black cardboard paper 1 pair of scissors 1 container of glue   Punny is priceless. Everyone knows someone who doesn’t like to dress up. If you are that person, you’re in luck, this one’s for you. This costume commandeers the style of our Canadian brothers and relies heavily on denim. Grab your favorite pair of jeans, a denim jacket or shirt, and one “HELLO MY NAME IS” name tag. Fill out the name tag with the name “Jean” and you’re good to go. As a bonus, this costume will definitely keep you warm even on a cool October night. 1 pair of jeans 1 denim top 1 “HELLO MY NAME IS” name tag 1 marker Denim shoes or hat (optional)   Kick it old school. Style is always changing and with decades of life experience comes decades of outdated apparel lining the back of your closet. Dig into your closet...
Handling the Cost of Education: 2 Sides to Every Coin

Handling the Cost of Education: 2 Sides to Every Coin

On average, college students who physically attend college will leave their school $18,000 in the hole. That’s a $5,000 jump compared to the generation before, who averaged $13,000 of student loan debt after graduating in 2004. While this number is troubling, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. With seemingly no sign that this trend will reverse any time soon, a couple of questions become clear. Is college worth it? What are my payment options? What about debt? Before you take the plunge, let us discuss your options and find the best plan for you. Is college worth it? Yes, it is. Despite rising costs, the social stigma of a college degree alone is worth the price once you enter the job market. College also provides several unique educational and professional experiences that help develop prospects and define personal goals. While the cost is great, a college degree is akin to gold (in value and weight) after graduation. No, it is not. The trade-off simply isn’t the same as it used to be. Gone are the days when you could pay for an entire semester with paychecks from a part-time job. Even if a degree is a hot commodity in the job market, it is not worth nearly $20,000 in debt right out of the gate. Building a resume through real-life experience sets you up ahead of your peers in experience while idyllically leaving you entirely out of debt. Is it possible to further my education without signing up for a lifetime of debt? Knowledge is expensive, but it’s also an investment in yourself. We respect the courage it...
Make Your Money Work for You

Make Your Money Work for You

Every day you hustle. Nose to the grindstone getting through the workday. You’re working hard for your money, but have you ever stopped to think how your money can work for you? Making your money work for you goes beyond an emergency fund or simply being debt free – although, both concepts are a necessity in this instance. It’s about taking the money you’re already making and making it generate returns for you. But, how? There’s no simple answer or even a single way to do it, but these tips can help you get started. Get out of debt First things first, if you have debt get rid of it. After all, you can’t invest in you and your future if you’re giving your money to other people. The first step to a debt-free life is figuring out exactly how much you owe. Most people don’t even know how much debt they’re in, according to a study from The Federal Reserve. Once you know how much debt you have, decide how you’re going to pay your debt. Budget The most important way to change the way you handle your money is to budget. By creating a budget, you are telling your money what you want it to do. When you assign each dollar into a category, you’re controlling where your money goes and what it does. It’s a great first step in reaching your financial goals. Think about it this way: your budget is like a fitness tracker in that it helps you monitor your money. When you monitor your money and know where it is and what it’s...
Don’t Let High APR’s Hold You Hostage

Don’t Let High APR’s Hold You Hostage

Actor Hill Harper said it perfectly: “Credit card interest payments are the dumbest money of all.” This year wasn’t kind to credit cardholders’ wallets. In 2019, cardholders paid an average of 17% APR – the highest level recorded by the Federal Reserve since 1994. To put it into perspective: in 2009, the average APR registered just under 13% and in 2016 it hovered around 12.5%. (See chart below) Even the maximum APR has climbed significantly. Financial institutions typically over a wide range of APRs. As a result of the increase, maximum APRs are around 25% with the media standing at 21%. So, what does this mean for you? Well, it means you’re likely paying more in interest than you’ve ever paid. But, don’t worry. There are several ways around paying high interest rates that will actually help you in the long run. Avoid balance carryover Ultimately, the best and most responsible way to use a credit card is to pay off the balance monthly. By paying your balance in full each month, you avoid paying interest while reaping the benefits a credit card has to offer. Plus, it helps improve your credit score. Avoid spending more than you have We’ve all done it. We have a credit card for emergencies only, but something comes up we really want, and it finds its way to the credit card. Next thing you know, there are multiple unnecessary purchases on there that you’re trying to pay off. The best habit to get into is not spending more than you can pay off monthly. The more you put on a card, the more...