change
Many of us try to think of ways to make extra income anytime we are aiming to reach a financial goal. There are so many ways to ‘side hustle’ online these days, from freelance writing to selling used items. Earning more on top of your full time salary is entirely possible, but it’s only one small piece of your financial puzzle.

Reaching your financial goals isn’t only about making more money. It’s also about spending your existing income more wisely. And just bringing your coffee to work every day may not cut it either. Having optimal financial health can sometimes require larger lifestyle changes. Consider these four impactful life changes that can help improve your finances:
[ continue reading… ]

motorbike rider
Moving to the greater Seattle area from a rural town in the Midwest meant getting used to changes. One of them was the increased traffic of a higher-population center. Even in a smaller ‘suburb’ of Seattle, traffic often slows to a crawl during the early morning rush hour or mid-afternoon commute, and that’s just on the highway.

Our RAV4 doesn’t have the fuel efficiency of a compact car, but it’s a compact SUV which gets up to 24 mpg in the city, so it hardly classifies as a gas-guzzler. Still, we’ve recently started considering whether we’d like to get a second vehicle for my husband’s commute, and a motorcycle (a common mode of transportation in Seattle) has crossed our minds. A thirty minute city commute on a motorcycle could potentially save us quite a bit in fuel expenses plus wear and tear on our vehicle. After a preliminary look, here are a few of the pros and cons we will have to consider in deciding if a motorbike is truly cost effective in our situation.
[ continue reading… ]

mortgage payments
My mortgage lender informed me that my escrow account, used to pay my homeowner’s insurance and property taxes, was underfunded recently. I could either send them a lump sum, or they could raise my monthly mortgage payment. The funny thing was that I received a check from my lender because my account was overfunded just last year. I was puzzled, as one of these two scenarios plays out every year. Is my lender acting on it’s own policies or are there laws governing the handling of escrow accounts? I decided to find out more about the inner workings of my escrow account.
[ continue reading… ]

healthy breakfast
I wouldn’t call my daughter a picky eater exactly. She has always been great about eating fruits and vegetables, but it was always on her terms. She would rather just play than actually sit and eat. What’s worst, she used her hunger as a bedtime stalling tactic many times in the past. Her eating preferences resulted in a lot of wasted food, time, and money over the past few years. Thankfully a few adjustments to our rules helped transform meal time and ultimately saves us money, so let me share those with you.
[ continue reading… ]

How Much Do Pets Cost You?

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

parrot
I’m not a pet person. I like animals fine and don’t mind others’ pets, but I don’t want my own. The closest we’ve come to owning a pet was having fishes a few years ago, but I’ve never had the desire for furry friends.

Pets can be expensive if you care for them properly. On top of that, you also have to consider the time commitment and the care required by pets. While I’m not even overly thrilled about fishes, their relatively low cost (if you choose freshwater fish in a small tank) and low maintenance make them the most attractive pets for me.

Others prefer different pets, however. Cats, dogs, and birds are popular choices. Before you get a pet, it’s important to understand the costs, and be sure that you are prepared to pay those costs.
[ continue reading… ]

budget
I hear people complain about budgeting all the time. Some just have a love/hate relationship with it. When I ask them why, the usual answers are ‘I hate math’, ‘it’s a waste of time’, or ‘it’s just too much work’. While all of these are legitimate reasons, there’s usually a bigger underlying reason: their budget doesn’t work for them.

Maintaining a budget can definitely take up a lot of time and be overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be as long as you set the budget up correctly. A lot of times, your budget isn’t working because you haven’t tailored it to your needs. A budget can be a very powerful tool, but only if you use it correctly. Let’s take a look at 5 common reasons why a budget just doesn’t work:
[ continue reading… ]