Friday, December 15, 2017

Finding Funds: 4 Tips for Buying a Boat

When spring and summer hit, it’s always nice to have a boat you can take out on the water. It gives you the opportunity to catch some sun, spend time with friends and family, and try some wakeboarding or other fun activities. 

A boat is a big purchase, though, and you definitely want to make sure that you get the right one. Here are some useful tips on how you can buy the boat of your dreams.

Determine the Features You Need

There’s a wide range of boats available, and within each category, there are boats with all kinds of different features. The first thing you should do is figure out what you want to do with your boat, whether that’s fishing, waterskiing, sailing or something else. 

Keep in mind that there are boats that can handle multiple different activities, such as fish and ski boats.

Once you’ve got the category figured out, you can move on to your desired features. Knowing these will make it much easier to filter through options and narrow things down. Write down everything you want so that you can refer back to it if you do any online searches.

Go to Boat Shows and Dealerships

Now it’s time to start looking at boats. The best place to start is a local boat show, where you’ll be able to check out many different boats in one afternoon. 

The great thing about boat shows is that there will be many dealers there, and you can also see which dealers you like. Make a list of questions before you go. That way, you can ask every dealer the same thing and judge them evenly.

After you’ve found a few dealers that you like, you can pay their locations a visit. Marine Industry has a database of certified dealers that you may also want to check out.

Record Your Thoughts on Potential Boat Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re looking at boats, especially if you’re a bit new at this. To make sure you can properly evaluate the boats you look at, bring a notepad to record what you like and dislike about each one. Otherwise, you may get home and forget certain things.

Another option is to record a video on your cell phone when you check out each boat, which is nice if you don’t want to write all your thoughts down. Whichever method you choose, use your logs to compare the boats you’ve seen and decide on one that best fits what you want.

Get Your Financing Ready in Advance

It’s best to handle as much on the financial side of things as you can in advance, instead of waiting until you’ve found a boat you love to get a boat loan. Before you go boat shopping, figure out what your budget is, make sure your credit score and income are sufficient for a boat loan, and visit a few lenders to see what kind of terms they can offer you.

Just about any lender can preapprove you for a loan and provide loan terms with only basic information and a soft credit check, which is the credit check that doesn’t impact your credit score. 

Compare your options to choose the loan that will cost you the least in interest. Used boat financing is typically easier than financing a new boat, so if you’re having trouble that’s a route you can consider. 

The process of buying a boat can be stressful, but just remember that this should be an exciting purchase for you. Get the financial part taken care of, and then enjoy the process of finding your boat.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

5 Money Management Tips Around the Holidays

An increase in expenses and the abundance of temptation during the holiday season can cause you to go incur more debt than you can manage. If you’re barely making it from payday to payday, any additional expenses can result in stress and worry regarding how to handle your monthly bills. There are some tips you can follow to help with money management around the holidays and throughout the upcoming year.

Prepare a Budget

If you don’t currently have a budget that you’re using consistently to manage your money, now is the time to create one. A prepared budget will show you clearly how much income you have coming in and where most of that income is going. 

Installment loans from a company like Las Vegas Finance require a fixed amount be paid each month. This type of payment will remain a consistent part of the budget until the loan is paid off.

Variable Expenses

Utility bills and credit card payments vary. To assure that you can cover these bills, figure in what is typically a high amount so that you’ll be sure to have money in the bank to cover them. 

Utility bills often vary according to seasons. When you have a decrease in your utility bill, you can apply the extra money to a credit card bill to expedite the payoff.

Budgeting for Holiday Gifts

Even if you don’t shop for holiday gifts until after Thanksgiving, you can still factor the expense into your monthly budget. Setting aside a little money each month can lessen the shock to the budget when the holiday shopping time arrives. 

Once you know how much you have to spend, it’s essential that you exercise restraint and stick with that amount. You can implement some frugal shopping techniques to stretch your money as far as possible.

Holiday Entertaining

The holidays can be a time for family and friends to get together for meals or parties. You shouldn’t over-extend yourself or your budget for holiday entertaining. Arranging potluck dinners can ease some of the financial strain when you’re hosting a meal. 

Keeping snack foods to a minimum and serving homemade treats can also ease the strain on the budget. If finances are tight, you can politely decline invitations that you feel you must reciprocate.

Holiday Traditions

Family traditions make the holidays special. To avoid additional financial stress during the holidays, create some inexpensive traditions such as taking a drive to view local lighting displays, watch Christmas movies at home or attend free local holiday events. 

It’s the memories that are made, not the expense of the adventure, that matter the most.

It may take some self-discipline to stick to your monthly budget during the holidays but doing so will eliminate the post-holiday stress that comes from over-spending. Make the holidays more about experiences than about material things.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Financial Failure? How to Find Relief From All Your Debt

Financial ruin is probably one of the lowest points in your life. You may not feel like you will ever by able to get out from under this burden. Here are some things to consider if you have reached this financial tipping point.

Consult on Debt Management

There are agencies available that can help you to look into your options for debt relief. Some of these agencies will even negotiate with your creditors for you. 

The downside to using one of these agencies is that there might be fees associated with their assistance. Weigh the benefits of this assistance with the additional costs. It may not be in your best interest to use one of these agencies. 

Before you decide to go this route, make sure that the agency you are considering is reputable. You don’t want to find out that they aren’t really helping you.

Settle Your Debt

You may be able to make the case yourself to your creditors that you can’t pay them back. Creditors are generally more open to settling debt with you if you have a debt management plan in place. 

They don’t want you to declare bankruptcy. If you do declare, they won’t receive their money. By agreeing to set up a payment plan that is reasonable with you, they will eventually get their money back. 

This only works is you are actually able to pay them back. Make sure the plan you have in place is doable. You may just end up back where you started if you can’t afford to make the payments

Look Into Debt Consolidation

You may be able to consolidate your debt into a single loan. This would enable you to have one set payment each month to start the debt relief process. These types of loans are typically personal loans

You would need to make sure that the amount you are borrowing will pay off your other loans in full. Take into consideration the interest rate on this new loan. You don’t want it to be higher than your other types of loans. 

This will only cause you to lose more ground. This solution may be able to get you out from under your financial burden.

Consider Benefits of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy should be a last resort. This is an option when you will not be able to pay back your debt at all. The downside to filing for bankruptcy is that your credit will be ruined for several years. 

You will have to rebuild your credit once the timeframe has passed. Consult with a bankruptcy lawyer, like those from the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel, in order to navigate this process. A lawyer will be able to help you eliminate that debt in the most efficient manner possible. 

They will also be able to advise you on the type of bankruptcy to file depending on your financial situation.

Financial hardships can be managed with a little planning. Use these steps to find relief from your debt.

3 Belongings to Sell for Extra Cash in Your Later Years

As much as we want to hold on to every possession we’ve ever had, it’s not always the most practical. Things will pile up, and only become a burden to move as you become less able. It’s hard to part with our most prized material possessions. 

We’ve all seen the episodes of Hoarders where people have useless junk stacked up. But, for many of them, they come out much freer in the end, and sometimes even wind up with a few extra bucks in their pocket. 

If you want to free up space, and get some extra money to help you with the bills, or even just to get new stuff and freshen up your life, here are some great places to start.

The Old Pickup

While it may be nice, and it may have gotten all your stuff moved without needing to fetch a Uhaul, selling your pickup might be a good idea to get some extra money. 

If you’ve settled down in your home permanently and don’t see a move coming up, then having a pickup truck may not always be the most practical thing. 

They’re often worth a good amount more than a car of equal longevity, so if you do still want to drive, you can put that difference back into your pocket, or even get yourself something a bit newer to make sure you’re not running your main mode of transportation to the ground.

As you’re reading this, you’ve probably got a lot of questions, but thanks to the internet, you can easily answer the big one: “how much is my truck worth?” There are tons of ways you can sell though. 

You can sell to a dealership if you’re looking for that new car, you can sell to your son or any other relatives if you want to keep it in the family (and visit it during the holidays). There’s also the option of selling online. 

Sites like Craigslist are huge marketplaces for cars and trucks, but it’s not always the most reliable. specializes in buying cars in less than perfect condition though, making it much safer for the seller.

If you are in the market for that new car though, and don’t want to go through the hassle of getting low balled at the dealership, get your finances organized for car buying.

Your Old Clothes

If you’ve got any hip teenagers or twenty-somethings in your family, you’ve probably seen them wearing styles that you thought were long gone. Fringe jackets, glasses on a chain, even bell bottoms and disco shoes. 

Kids are loving all the retro styles. It’s completely on trend for them these days. As much as you probably want to break out those old pants that don’t fit anymore, just to squeeze in them and reminisce, you might be able to make some money off them instead.

There’s plenty of consignment shops you can go to, but instead of having to leave the house, and have your parting moments with your favorite pieces in public, you can learn how to sell clothes online

It’s incredibly easy and you barely have to lift a finger. Most people are just finding bargains at thrift stores and reselling them, but you’ve already got a hoard of the real deal. 

This puts you ahead of the game, a game that some people are already making a living off. So, bust open the closet, free some space, and get yourself some extra funds that can fill that closet back up with new clothes.


You may not believe it, but records made a comeback. The younger generation is once again picking up on that retro vibe, and you’ve probably got a collection that puts you at an advantage. 

They see records as more authentic way to listen to the music they love, even for modern music, that for the most part, only gets a very limited vinyl release. A lot of kids just love the old records though. 

You’ve probably got Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors lying around somewhere and you wouldn’t believe how many kids would jump at that one these days.

It’s not too hard to sell either. There are plenty of online marketplaces you can use, and Ebay wouldn’t even be a bad start. Vintage stores are always looking for this kind of thing though, and most record shops would certainly want to have that kind of product in their storefront. 

Records are more sought out than you might have expected 20 or 30 years ago, but now they’re proving to have been quite the investment.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What's the Most Reliable Luxury Car On The Market?

All too often, when we are shopping for a luxury vehicle, we don't place enough importance on the reliability. We look at all of the extra features that come with the car, like heated seats or Bluetooth connectivity. 

But if you have ever broken down on the side of the road, you know how much of a hassle it is. Suddenly you are stuck in the middle of nowhere, with large car repair bills in your future. If you had taken some more time during the shopping to consider reliability, you might not be in this situation.

So if you're in the market for a new car, and you want something that is reliable yet luxurious, start your search with one of the cars listed below. Each one received good grades when it comes to reliability, and doesn't sacrifice any of the luxury components you're looking for.

The BMW 2 Series

When you get something with the letters BMW on it, you know you are getting something that drives well. The 2 series is no different, and offers drivers a great ride with fast acceleration and excellent fuel economy. 

But this car is also reliable, with J.D. Power giving it 5/5 stars for dependability. You can't do much better than that, and you won't have to sacrifice ride quality. The BMW 2 Series has an MSRP of around $34,000.

The Audi A7

For those of you who want a little more room inside the cabin, consider the Audi A7. This large luxury car offers plenty of cargo space, and room for your taller passengers. 

J.D Power gives this car a 4.5/5 in terms of reliability, which is better than most cars, especially luxury cars. The price tag is pretty high on this one, compared to the other cars on this list, starting at $68,000. 

But if you want large luxury car with the best performance, and an excellent reliability rating, this is certainly a car to consider.

The Lexus ES

This Lexus model is a lot like other Lexus models that have come before it – it puts an emphasis on ride quality. This shows in both the design of the cabin, and the ride quality. 

You can be sure you're getting a smooth ride inside an Lexus, and the ES model is no different. But with this model, you are also getting a car that is reliable. J.D. Power gave it excellent marks for both dependability and quality, and it even got a recommendation from Consumer Reports because of its reliability. The base model starts at $39,895.

Acura ILX

For something a little cheaper, consider the gateway model from Acura, the ILX. With this car you get all of the amenities you've come to expect from a luxury car, along with a spacious cabin and a smooth ride. 

Both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power praised this model for its dependability, and it has a base cost of $28,940, making it a little more affordable compared against some of the other cars on this list.

Lexus GS

Another Lexus, this model is very similar to the ES, but nicer. This is one well put together car, and it shows once you step inside. Just like with any other Lexus, you are treated to great performance, a smooth ride, a spacious and well-designed cabin, and in the case of the GS, dependability. 

Both J.D. Power and Consumer reports gave this car an excellent score when it comes to dependability, so you can't go wrong with this model, which starts at $47,305.

Mercedes Benz E-Class

One word comes to mind when you look at the Mercedes Benz E-Class – elegant. The Germans know how to make a good car, and it shows in this newest Mercedes Benz model. 

Inside is everything you want out of a luxury car, but with the added bonus of being reliable as well. The base cost for this model is $53,075, which makes it more expensive than the other cars on this list, but in this case, you are absolutely getting what you pay for.

Make Reliability a Priority

When shopping for your next car, don't overlook how reliable the car is. You might have a trusted source that you go to for car repair, and some excellent car insurance, but that doesn't mean you want to use them all the time. 

Instead, it would be better if your car remained on the road, and that you only took your car in for repairs infrequently. By going with one of the cars on the above list, you are getting a car that has been rated highly for dependability and reliability. 

This will hopefully end up saving you more money in the long run, and make you happier with your purchase.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

4 Keys to Saving Big on Home Energy Costs

Everybody likes to save money, but sometimes, there are ways it can be done that many of us just may not be aware of. Like clipping coupons, lowering home energy costs are a great way to start, except unlike coupons, it doesn’t limit you to only buying things you probably didn’t need in the first place.

We all require energy to run our homes, it’s a cost of living we pay regardless—so why not explore some ways to save money in this area?

Make Sure All of Your Appliances Are Being Properly Maintained

Whether it be something as simple as cleaning out the lint trap of the dryer after every use (it sucks up more electricity if the lint trap is full while running) or opening south-facing window blinds in the daytime to let the sun bring in some warmth during the winter, every little thing counts.

But one of the most important appliances in your home—especially during the winter—is the furnace. If your furnace is damaged or dirty in any way, it can not only have a negative effect on its performance, but it will also cost you more money to have it on.

As we approach the colder months this season, consider having your furnace looked at by a professional from businesses like Logan A/C & Heat Services Inc. to determine everything is in good shape. It will save you money in the long run.

Invest in Appliances that Use Less Energy

Appliances today are now designed to consume less energy than ever before, so if you have a clunky old refrigerator or washing machine that just won’t quit, you might do your energy bill a favor by swapping it out for something new.

Most appliance stores will also be able to tell you about Energy Star-certified appliances; with the exception of stoves and dryers because they still consume large amounts of electricity, the majority of new dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines not only cost less to run in your home. 

You may even get a tax break for using them if they are Energy Star-certified.

Unplug Wall Chargers When You Aren’t Using Them

This includes phone chargers, laptop/tablet chargers, chargers to children’s toys, and even blow dryers and hair straighteners. 

Even if the device isn’t on, it is still consuming what is sometimes referred to as “vampire energy”. This is a quick and easy step to take if you’re serious about saving on energy costs.

Seal All Openings in Your Home

Just like the furnace, you should always make sure your thermostat is also updated. But if there are pockets of air where heat can escape around your doors and windows, appliances will only do so much. 

Be vigilant about maintaining your home! Check the attic and the basement, where drafts are most common.

Making your home as energy efficient as possible is a great way to save money long term. Don’t miss out on these easily overlooked efficiency solutions.

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