Skip to content

Recent Articles

24
Mar

Anyone Buying Homeowner’s Insurance Should Know These Things

share save 120 16 Anyone Buying Homeowner’s Insurance Should Know These Things

house 300x200 Anyone Buying Homeowner’s Insurance Should Know These Things

Photograph Courtesy Of Roger Wollstadt

Homeowner’s insurance is an expensive purchase that every homeowner must make to protect themselves financially against accidents and disasters. If you have a mortgage on your home, homeowner’s insurance is required to protect the investment of the lender that provided the money for you to buy your home. As purchasing homeowner’s insurance is not something that a lot of people have experience doing regularly, many people make mistakes when purchasing the insurance that end up costing them a lot of money over time. If you are buying homeowner’s insurance, here are some things that you should know.

The Terms

It is important for you to know the terms that are being used in your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you can choose the best coverage for your needs at the best price. Here are some of the common terms that will be used and their definition.

Premium – The price you pay for insurance, usually annually or monthly.

Deductible – The amount that the homeowner pays out of pocket in the event that they must make a claim against the policy. Choosing a lower deductible will result in higher premium payments to keep the policy in effect.

Liability Coverage – Insurance coverage that pays the medical or legal bills of a person that is injured or harmed on the property.

Replacement Cost – Insurance that pays the full cost of replacing your dwelling or personal property. Be sure that the maximum amount is high enough before signing up for this insurance.

Actual Cash Value – Insurance that pays the current cash value (with depreciation) for personal property or your dwelling. This insurance is often less expensive than insurance that pays the full replacement cost.

Get A Better Deal By Shopping Around

Most people are unaware that they can get a better deal on their homeowner’s insurance by shopping around. Different insurance companies charge different rates for their insurance policies and you may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year by obtaining quotes from several companies before deciding which policy to purchase. When comparing policies, be sure to compare ones with similar coverage levels to ensure that you are getting an accurate comparison. Since you are not required to buy insurance from a particular company, you can choose the company that has the best price for the coverage that you need.

Ensure That You Have Enough Coverage

There are different insurance coverage levels for different types of homes, so you must be careful to choose the coverage level that is right for your home. If the coverage is too little, you may find yourself in a very difficult financial position if the unthinkable happens. However, if you purchase too much coverage, you could be wasting thousands of dollars for no benefit. Go over your options carefully and make sure that you are only buying what you really need.

23
Mar

How Much Should I Be Saving For Retirement?

share save 120 16 How Much Should I Be Saving For Retirement?

saving for retirement 300x262 How Much Should I Be Saving For Retirement?

Photograph Courtesy Of Tax Credits

One of the most difficult financial questions to answer is how much you should be saving to have a comfortable retirement. This is because there are many factors in your life that could change between now and the time that you retire and these factors could dramatically increase or decrease the amount you will need to live comfortably. Fortunately, there is a simple technique that you can use to determine the amount of money that you will need to save for retirement if you were to start saving today. Here are the steps you can take to calculate how much you should be saving for retirement.

Calculate 80% Of Your Current Salary

The first step in calculating how much you should be saving for retirement is determining the amount of money you will need each year to maintain your current lifestyle. For most people, this will be around 80% of their current income because work related expenses would no longer be needed. So, if you make $40,000 a year now, the number you should start with is $32,000.

Compensate For Inflation

Long-term inflation will have an effect on the amount that you need for retirement because inflation nearly guarantees that everything will cost more when you do decide to retire. To compensate for inflation in your calculation, you should add 3% per year for each year you have left until retirement. If you plan on retiring in 18 years, the calculation (using Google’s search bar) would be 1.03^18 which equals 1.7024. Multiply this number by your first number ($32,000) to get the amount that you will need to maintain the same lifestyle each year after retirement ($54,477).

Subtract Your Social Security Payments

Now that you have a rough estimate of the amount of money it would take to maintain your lifestyle in retirement, you can subtract any regular payments that you expect to receive in retirement from the total to figure out the amount that you will need to come up with each year. For most people, social security payments will be the bulk of the additional payments that they will receive during their retirement years, but these payments may also include pension payments and annuity payments. For a person who expects to receive $15,000 annually in social security benefits during their retirement years, only an additional $39,477 is needed each year to continue your current lifestyle.

Multiply this number by 20 (the average number of years a person lives after retiring) and you will know the amount that you will need to have saved by the time you retire to ensure a secure retirement.

17
Mar

You Don’t Always Get The Best Deal At The Dollar Store

share save 120 16 You Don’t Always Get The Best Deal At The Dollar Store

Dollar store 300x225 You Don’t Always Get The Best Deal At The Dollar Store

Photograph Courtesy Of Alex Pankratz

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, many more people have been shopping at dollar stores and taking advantage of the low prices. Dollar stores used to price most of their items at $1 or less, but now these stores carry a wider variety of merchandise and grocery items that can cost up to $20. While many shoppers see these prices as bargains, you do not always get the best deal at the dollar store. Here are some items that you might be better off buying somewhere else.

Branded Food Items

Many dollar stores carry numerous different types of branded food items on their shelves, making it convenient for their customers to do some of their grocery shopping there as well. Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price. The price of similarly sized branded items are typically the same between grocery stores and dollar stores, meaning that you are not saving any money by buying them at the dollar store. In some cases, the price is lower, but the unit size is significantly smaller, which actually means you are paying more per unit for the items by not purchasing them at a grocery store. Grocery stores also have loyalty discounts and accept coupons, which will lower the cost of purchasing the item even more.

Chemical Based Cleaners

Another commonly purchased item at dollar stores is chemical based cleaners for the home. Glass cleaners, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dishwashing liquids that are typically found in grocery stores can also be found on the shelves of the dollar store, but often in smaller packages that contain less. You can get more for your money by switching from name brand cleaners to purchasing store branded cleaners from your local grocery store. You can compare the ingredients in both products to ensure you are getting something that will be comparably effective at cleaning your home.

Beauty Products

While most dollar stores have a wide array of cheap beauty products made with inexpensive ingredients, they also carry well-known beauty brands that are sold nationally. A local dollar store in my neighborhood carries a national makeup brand that I typically purchase items from at my local grocery store. Imagine my surprise to find that it would cost me about 25% more to purchase those same items at the dollar store. When shopping at a dollar store, pay close attention to the prices and quantities of the items that you purchase. You may find that you are not getting such a great deal after all.

17
Mar

Not Double Checking Your Prescriptions Can Cost You Money

share save 120 16 Not Double Checking Your Prescriptions Can Cost You Money

pills Not Double Checking Your Prescriptions Can Cost You Money

Pharmacies can make mistakes when dispensing medications from time-to-time. It is always best to check to make sure the prescription is absolutely correct before you leave the store with it. Once you get home, some pharmacies will not do anything to help you since it is impossible for them to know if you are being honest or just trying to get more medication.

Count Pills

Before you leave the pharmacy, count the pills in the bottle. Ensure that the count matches the prescription. Pharmacists are human too and can miscount. Pill counting machines are extremely accurate but when a pharmacist manually counts pills they can make a mistake from time-to-time.

Read the Label

Read the label to ensure that the prescription name and dosage amount are correct. Prior to leaving the doctor’s office it is crucial that you ask them what the name of the medication is and what the dosage is. You should know what you are taking for your own safety. IF you take other medications, it is best to ask if you should expect any slight reactions or negative interactions from the medication.

Check for Refills

If a physician has prescribed a medication that has refills, ensure that they are included on the bottle. If refills were expected, and are not listed, ask the pharmacist to contact the prescribing physician. A prescription bottle label can be reprinted if needed.

Read Label for Proper Dosage Amounts

When you are at the doctor’s office, ask them to read you the prescription if you do not understand the medical shorthand used. With this you should ask about the dosage amounts. Make sure that the dosage amount and frequency are the same on the prescription bottle as what the physician explained. If there is a discrepancy, ask the pharmacist to contact the doctor.

Making these checks before you leave is important. Medications need to be properly dispensed, written and labeled in order for them to be safe for you to take. Before leaving the pharmacy, it is ideal to ask about any side effects or potential drug interactions. Ensuring that your prescription is correct can be the difference between you getting well or having a poor reaction that could cause a serious health concern. Many people neglect to count their pills even once at home. This is an important practice to make part of your medication preparation routine. Although the pharmacy is responsible for dispensing the medication and explaining how to use it to you, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that everything is correct.

Photo credit – e-MagineArt.com