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Holiday Shopping Precautions

The holiday season is supposed to be about spiritual celebrations, time with friends and family, spreading joy, and exchanging gifts. But some Grinches and Scrooges can ruin what should otherwise be a time of glad tidings. Here are some ways to ensure that your next few days are merry and bright, and all your Christmas giving goes alright. Read More...


Wise Uses for Home Equity

With interest rates low (and perhaps on the rise), real estate valuations relatively high, and lenders about as friendly as one could expect, it’s a good time to consider tapping any home equity you have via a mortgage, loan, or line of credit. But there are certain good and not-so-good uses of that money. Here’s when and why you should think about borrowing against your home equity—as well as when you shouldn’t. Read More...


Prioritizing Home Improvements

We’re finally finishing up our series of columns on “home remodeling and improvement.” This week we’ll talk about how to prioritize the work so that what needs to get done gets done, but you can still get some of your “wants” out of the way without wasting a lot of time and money. Read More...


Air Conditioning

If you ventured outside in the past few days, you won’t be surprised to find out that this is typically the hottest time of the year in Wisconsin. Hopefully you have air conditioning, and it’s providing you with reliable, affordable cooling. Here’s how to make sure that continues for the rest of the summer, and beyond. Read More...



Paying for Home Remodeling

We’re in the middle of a series of columns on home improvement and remodeling, and after you’ve decided to spruce up your place, the next obvious question is, “How are we going to pay for the work?” Read More...


Home Remodeling Intro

If you’re a homeowner who has the urge to remodel, update, or renovate your place, you’re not alone. For many reasons, there is no time like the present to tackle this task. Read More...


Withdrawals

For the past few weeks we’ve been discussing saving for college, and how to prioritize this financial goal. A quick review: save for retirement first, especially using a Roth IRA. After those options are covered, consider using a 529 college savings plan.

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Tips on Tipping

‘Tis the season for lots of things, including tipping the many people who make your life easier. But it can be a challenge to figure out whom to tip, and how much.

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Money Gifts For Kids

Whether it’s the upcoming holidays or for a kid’s birthday, often it’s easier and smarter to give money or gift cards to children and young adults, rather than try to guess which toy or gadget they will appreciate now, and cherish for longer than it takes to throw away the present’s packaging.

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Balancing Needs and Wants

We received a recent request from a parent with young children, and she asked for some help -in balancing her family’s near-term spending with the need to save for long-term goals.

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Freeze Credit Reports

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2014 about 1 in 14 Americans over the age of 16 were the victims of identity theft.

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Fall Lawn Care

Supposedly, one of the few reasons to celebrate the end of summer is that you can finally stop caring about what your lawn looks like. But we regret to inform you that you can’t give up on your grass just yet. In fact, some of the work is more effective (and therefore more cost-effective) when done now than at any other time of year. Here are a few steps to take this fall to make sure you get a healthy happy lawn next spring.

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Becoming Financially Independent

This is the time of year that many families are spending time and money to send their kids to sports camps, enroll them in private athletic training, and signing up for various traveling teams and tournaments.

These activities can be well worth the effort and expense. But if parents are thinking that this significant investment will pay off in the form of a college scholarship, they may need a little education.

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When You Can't File or Pay Your Taxes on Time

One sign that you’ve reached “adulthood” is that you get more excited on the day you receive your tax refund than you do about all other holidays combined.

But for people who either can’t complete their tax returns, or (worse yet) discover that they owe state or federal taxes, this time of year can be full of anxiety, stress, and spent scrambling for solutions

Here’s what to do when you can’t file (or pay) your taxes by April 15th, and how to hopefully avoid this problem in the future.

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Saving on Groceries and Calories

We haven’t given up on helping you keep your New Year’s Resolutions to spend less and weigh less (hopefully you haven’t given up yet, either).

Today we’ll tackle another big potential budget- and belt-buster: shopping for groceries and eating at home. The good news is that you can save money, calories, and time, without making major disruptive changes in your routines.

Instead, try these five little tweaks over the next few weeks.

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New Year's Resolutions

Year after year, two of the most commonly-cited New Year’s Resolutions are to “lose weight” and “save money”.

The difficulty in achieving these goals is evident by their perennial appearance on our list of things we would like to improve in our lives, as well as the billions of dollars and thousands of hours we spend trying get richer and/or thinner.

The good news is that the path to success in these areas is similar, and in some cases can even be accomplished simultaneously.

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Online Holiday Shopping

Last week we alarmed you with the revelation that there were only a few more weeks left until Christmas, and provided some tips to stay

safe and save money as you hurried out to the stores.

Now there are seven fewer days left until the 25th, and since you probably don’t have enough time to get to the stores, we’ll tell you how to

shop smartly on the web.

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Safer Store Shopping

December 25th is less than three weeks away, so if you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, you might want to get going.

But quickly and carelessly browsing and buying at the store can cost you time, money, and more.

Keep these shopping tips in mind to make sure you don’t end up saying, “Bah, humbug” to the whole holiday season.

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Preparing for Death

Last Friday was Halloween, and we’re currently in the midst of the “Dia de los Muertos” (“Day of the Dead”) celebration.

So it seems like an appropriate time to talk about a scary subject: death, and more specifically, what financial-and-other steps you should take to prepare for your demise.

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The Price of Protein

According to a recent survey conducted by the good people at “The NPD Group”, more than half of American shoppers say that they are looking to add more protein to their diets.

And if you’ve toured the supermarket aisles recently, it’s obvious that food manufacturers and marketers are going to great lengths to meet that demand, mostly by selling you their specially-formulated and usually-higher-priced protein-fortified products.

But you may not need as much protein as you think, and there are several ways to get what you do need without spending afortune.

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Term vs. Permanent Life Insurance

It’s still September, which of course means that it’s still National Life Insurance Awareness month. Luckily, the month is almost over, so we’ll soon have time to recuperate from all of the festivities.

But before the month ends, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss what kind of life insurance most people should buy when they buy life insurance, and where they should get it.

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