One of the very real fears people have is that of spending money.

This is especially true after you have been in a frugal mindset for a long period of time.

When you are so used to pinching every penny, it’s common to become scared to start spending more money. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can contribute to a scarcity mindset and prevent you from taking full advantage of your financial resources.

Retirees Aren’t Spending What They Could

A study published in the Journal of Financial Planning found that many retirees who get to their golden years aren’t actually spending money in a way that draws down their assets.
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Painting is a popular spring do-it-yourself project, especially since it’s one the easiest ways to refresh the appearance of your home. If you’re trying to sell, new paint can also improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers. Depending on the size of your project, primer, paint, and supplies can get expensive fast. To help you stay on budget, here are a few tips to help you choose paint, find good deals, and ultimately get the greatest return on the time and money you invest in your spring painting projects.

1. When choosing paint brands, compare key qualities.

There are scores of paint brands to choose from these days, ranging in price from $8 per gallon to more than $30. The price of some brands corresponds with their quality, but that’s not always the case. To choose the best paint for your project, you need to look at more than just the price tag. Here are five key qualities to look for:

  • Coverage: Many higher-end paints have built-in primers and get the job done in fewer coats than economy brands.
  • Stain resistance: Depending on what you’re painting, you may want to choose a paint with better stain resistance (for instance, high-traffic living areas).
  • Scrub resistance: Some paints dull when you scrub them, so if you’ll be using extra elbow grease on the walls, prioritize this quality.
  • Paint pros say acrylic latex paints are more resistant to the effects of temperature and moisture over time than oil-based alternatives.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the solvents paint releases into the air as it dries. A typical paint has about 150 grams of VOCs per liter; low-VOC paint has 50 g/l or less. If you’re concerned about paint fumes, this is something to pay attention to.

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The deadline for filing a federal income tax return is approaching swiftly. Since April 15th lands on a Saturday this year and Emancipation Day is observed the following Monday on April 17, you’ll have until April 18th to file your return (or an extension). Even with a few extra days though, many procrastinators will be kicking things into high gear –a.k.a. panicking — to gather their paperwork in time. If that’s you, I won’t scold you for failing to file your taxes earlier. Instead, here are four tips to help you fly in your usual style.

1. File for an extension.

If you can’t get yourself in gear by the 18th, there’s always the option to file for a six-month extension by the same deadline. The downside is that if you owe the government money, then you’re still responsible for paying the estimated taxes when you file for the extension. In other words, it’s an extension for filing your taxes, not paying what you owe.

What if you can’t pay now? Failing to file for an extension will result in a penalty on top of the bill you already can’t pay. Even though it seems like the IRS’s policies are harsh, they do offer the option to set up an installment plan (for a fee, of course). You can do this online if you owe less than $50,000.
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Many of us dream of retiring at some point, but are you setting aside enough to make that a reality?

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), you might not be on track.

The latest survey indicates that almost 25% of workers don’t even have $1,000 saved up toward retirement.

Almost half of everyone surveyed had socked away less than $25,000. That’s a fairly alarming number when you stop to think about it — especially when you consider that the EBRI reports that most people think they will need $500,000 to quit work for good.

Are You on Your Own for Retirement?

The EBRI survey found that most of the workers who aren’t on track to reach their retirement goals don’t have access to a workplace retirement savings plan.

When planning for retirement, it’s nice to have a little help. Companies that offer retirement plans make it easier for workers to automate their retirement efforts. You can set money aside without thinking about the task, or even seeing it. It’s one way to pay yourself first.

Even better is if your employer offers a match. That’s free money you can get for retirement. And, of course, that sum grows over time when invested too, snowballing to a pretty healthy nest egg come retirement time.
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As I contemplated purchasing my first home, my friends and family reminded me of the new costs that come with homeownership. Although I confidently nodded my head that yes, I was aware of the consequences, I’m just beginning to learn exactly what they meant.

Most of us are prepared for costs like homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and HOA dues. We can work these predictable expenses into our new housing budget as we begin to shop around and start the purchasing process. But what about the other things? Many who share their experience and advice learned the hard way that certain expenses crop up with surprising predictability the first year you own a new home. If you’re not prepared, these expenses could create a budgeting crisis, or even worse — a debt crisis.

Let’s look at 5 of these first-year homeowner expenses and how to prepare for them before and after you purchase your new home.
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