Month : November 2018

Home Ownership

Home Warranties- A Look at the Good and the Not So Good

Renters have a few advantages over homeowners. When you own your own home, you are solely responsible for repairs and maintenance, which can get really expensive. One thing that homeowners might consider is purchasing a home warranty- but are home warranties really worth it? Let’s look at the facts so that you can make an informed decision that is good for your home and for your wallet.

How Much Do Home Warranties Cost?

Home warranties aren’t cheap. If you are considering a policy you should plan on paying somewhere in the range of $300 to $600 each year. Of course, there are some policies that are less and a few that are quite a bit more expensive. In addition to your annual premium, you will also have to pay a deductible each time you need a repair. Once again, the amount of your deductible will vary based on the policy you choose. Generally you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per service call.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

While home warranties aren’t cheap, they do offer quite a bit of protection to homeowners. Generally policies cover all of your home’s major appliances including the fridge, the dishwasher and the heater. Most policies also cover your electrical and your plumbing. In case you run into electrical problems at night find a 24 hour emergency electrician near me. Some policies allow you to add in additional appliances like the washer or dryer. When it comes to policies, no two are alike, so make sure that you know what type of coverage you are considering. Every policy is different.

How Do Home Warranties Work?

If you have a home warranty in place and something breaks down, go online to now and see your options, you will contact your home warranty company first. They will then arrange for repair or replacement of your damaged item. All you pay is the deductible and the remainder of the repairs will be handled at no charge. This can make repairs very easy and stress-free. You won’t have to worry about finding  a great plumber, electrician and oven repairman, the warranty company will be your call when something goes wrong. Bear in mind that if you have multiple items break down, that you will have to pay your deductible twice even if you only have one service call.

What Don’t Warranties Cover?

Home warranties won’t cover everything in your house. Each policy varies, but generally they do not cover pre-existing problems. They also won’t cover items that are damaged due to inappropriate use. This means that if you throw a wild party at your house and break the dishwasher in the process, you won’t be covered. If you attempt a repair and do not succeed, you can also void your warranty. Each policy is different, but most contain various loopholes and restrictions that your home warranty provider can use to keep from paying for repairs.

Are Home Warranties Worth the Expense?

Home warranties can be a great way to protect your finances. Think about it, if your dishwasher breaks down and needs to be replaced, it will cost you at least $300. If your home warranty costs $400 per year and you have a $50 deductible, you have almost paid for your policy in just one repair, and the dishwasher is one of the least expensive major appliances in your home.

On the other hand if you have a newer home and newer appliances, you might not really get the value from your home warranty. If nothing breaks down, you are out the yearly premium and you receive nothing in return. Also since policies can have loopholes, you may find that your policy excludes your damage.

Another thing to keep in mind is that home warranty companies will always choose to repair if possible. They know that replacing items is expensive and if there is any way to keep your 20 year old heater working, they will patch it back together. Since you have to pay your deductible each time a repair is needed, there may come a time that it is cheaper to replace an item yourself rather than calling out the home warranty company again.

Tips for Shopping for Policies

If you are planning on purchasing a home warranty, here are a few tips that will help protect you and your finances.

  • Read Your Policy Carefully- Since home warranty policies can be filled with loopholes and exceptions, make sure that you read the entire policy carefully. Before committing to a plan you should know which appliances are covered, what you have to pay and what your responsibilities are in regards to maintenance of your appliances.
  • Shop Around-  Don’t turn to the first company that you find. Look at several top companies and compare. It is a good idea to look at several aspects of each company when comparing. If you only look at price or coverage you won’t get a clear picture of which company is the best for you.
  • Choose Reputable Companies- There have been cases of home warranty companies refusing to make repairs and ripping off their clients. Always make sure that you check out the companies that you are considering. The Better Business Bureau is a great place to check providers for complaints.
  • Use Your Policy- If you have a home warranty, make sure that you use it. Don’t attempt repairs on your own or replace equipment without first checking with your home warranty company. If you pay for the policy, you need to make sure that you use it.

A home warranty can be a great choice for protecting your home and your finances if you are a homeowner. When appliances fail, it can be very expensive to replace them. With a home warranty, you don’t have to worry about not being able to afford important repairs. However, they aren’t for everyone or every situation.



Save Money Avoid an Expensive Ticket by Staying Informed of the Law

Recently, Missouri’s state highway patrol released information on some recent law changes in regards to vehicle operation and accidents. This information is very important to drivers, because punishments for driving offenses are now more severe. For Missouri residents, this means enhanced safety on the road and stricter punishments for offenders.

Keep yourself from going bankrupt by following all the new laws and avoiding steep fines and penalties.

Active Emergency Zone

An active emergency zone is a part of the road that has been marked off by emergency responders. It’s essential to drive carefully in an emergency zone, because fines are increased. The first time you violate traffic laws in an emergency zone you’ll be charged $35 in addition to other fines. A second ticket will cost you $75 in addition to your other fines.

Follow these new rules to save yourself the headache of financial penalties:

  • Do not exceed the speed limit by over 15 mph.
  • Do not pass other vehicles.
  • Always stop for a flagman, a traffic control signal and emergency responders.
  • Do not use lanes that are closed off or not intended for motorists.
  • Do not physically assault, threaten or attempt to assault an emergency responder with a motor vehicle or other instrument.
  • Do not intentionally use your vehicle to strike or move a barrel, sign, barrier or other device. Unless, you’re hitting the object in an effort to avoid an obstacle, emergency or to protect the health of another person.

Permissive Yellow-Light Intervals

The Permissive Yellow-Light Intervals section states that no person can be ticketed or otherwise in trouble if they pass through a yellow light and it turns red while they’re in said intersection. People should be cautious when their light turns green, always on the lookout in case a straggler is caught in the intersection after passing through a yellow light.

If a car accident occurs in this situation, it may be difficult to determine who is liable. It’s recommended to contact a personal injury lawyer, like Missouri’s own Christopher R. Dixon, who suggests asking witnesses to stay on scene, after an accident, so they can give a statement to police. A car accident can be incredibly expensive, which is why it’s important to protect yourself when you’re not liable.

Insurance Policies

Thankfully, laws have been updated to allow drivers to prove they have insurance with a digital image, like the one on a cell phone or tablet. For Missouri residents, this means living life greener, with less paper products. It also means saving time on the side of the road, if a driver forgot to put their insurance documents in their glove box.

Many drivers have received expensive tickets for not having proof of insurance. In most cases, those drivers were freed from their financial obligation when they could deliver proof of insurance in a certain time frame. This meant accepting the ticket and fine, then driving home and printing out copies of insurance information. Or, driving to the insurance company and requesting duplicate documents. If insurance couldn’t be proved in a specified length of time, the driver would be forced to pay their fines and tickets.

Save Your Money – Stay Clear on the Law

The only way to avoid the huge expense of a ticket and a fine is to not break the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, when the flashing red and blues come alive behind you. If you truly want to avoid this hefty expense, keep alert behind the wheel and stay clear on the law.


Money Management

Vital financial tips for the financial poor – How you can be successful

Usually December is that time of the year when most people reflect on their past year’s mistakes and wonder what they can do differently in order to be successful in the coming year. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t ponder over your mistakes in the middle of a year. As we have passed through the first 3 months of 2015, there is still time to make some of the best financial decisions so as to emerge successful in this year. Wouldn’t it be great for you if you could get some of the expert advice from the financial experts who could just tell you what steps you have to follow? The concerns of this article will deal with some vital advice given by some of the best personal financial experts who have given their answers to the question, “What can Americans do in order to set themselves in the right path for achieving financial success?”

The answers of some of the most popular financial analysts

  1. Put an end to playing the role of a victim: Although the job market has improved than before, Americans still view themselves as victims of the job market and this is nothing but a negative tendency to continue playing the role of a victim. They even see themselves as victims to the sluggish economy and the uncertain future of programs like Medicare and Social Security. As per a successful entrepreneur named Robert Kiyosaki, this kind of mindset can have an adverse effect on your mind and prevent you from taking control of your finances. If you can’t find a job, challenge yourself and create a place for yourself.
  2. Save more and spend less: Apart from taking any other step, if you’re just trying to save more money throughout 2015, get back to the basics as it all comes down to the basic financial mantra of saving more and spending less. But this definitely doesn’t mean cutting down your expenses into half and living like a miser, it just means spending according to a frugal budget. It is not only the big savings that matters. First change your mindset and know that no savings small for you and it is the small savings that add up to create big savings fund.
  3. Look for ways to increase your income: One of the best and the most effective ways of boosting the chances of your financial success is by looking for ways to grow your income. It all depends on you to give yourself a rise that you’re worth in 2015. This might even mean mustering up the courage to speak up with your boss and ask him for a raise or starting a new business or looking for even a part-time job. Whatever you do, make sure it adds at least 5% of your entire income.
  4. Trigger off your high interest debts: When Dave Ramsey was asked for his advice for the financial poor who are looking for ways to become successful in 2015, he simply answered, “Pay off your debts”. According to Dave Ramsey’s financial philosophy, living without debts is the only way in which you can be financially successful. Make it a priority to repay all your outstanding debt in 2015 so that you can start off this year with a fresh new slate. If required, you can take help of a debt consolidation company that can help you with an alternative repayment plan.
  5. Set realistic financial goals: This is not an out-of-the-box advice but still there are so many Americans who don’t follow it. A personal finance journalist recommends people to be as specific and realistic as possible while setting your personal financial goals. If you’re planning to buy a home, don’t have any vague goal of saving an amount for down payment that you can’t end up saving. Instead some practical goal will work out in a better way. Try saving $250 every month which can be done by curbing your monthly expenses. Transfer this amount from your checking account to your savings account and don’t withdraw funds unless you reach your desired goal.
  6. Open a 401(k) or a Roth IRA: A senior financial correspondent says that if there is anything that you can do in order to change your fiscal situation, it is to save money in your Roth IRA accounts. Irrespective of which tax bracket you fall in, keep saving money in a Roth IRA and a 401(k). If your employer matches a contribution, it is even better for you and even if he doesn’t, you should still keep saving.

Therefore, when you’re someone who is planning to remain successful in 2015, both financially and physically, try to stay fit. Follow the effective strategies mentioned above to keep away from debts and stay on top of your finances.

Money Management

The Path To Financial Freedom: Get Your Mind In The Game

Into the Lake.

This is the first part in my series on how to get started on the path to being financially free.

In order to start being financially free, you have to start thinking financially free.

· Do you really think you are ready?

· Do you have a problem with living paycheck to paycheck?

· Have you taken any steps to try to control your spending?

You’re probably not going to be successful if you just said no. It’s the truth. This isn’t a financial diet, this is a lifestyle change. You’re life has to change to become financially free. You can’t buy whatever you want. There has to be boundaries to control yourself. If you don’t have boundaries how can you not spend too much money? What’s too much money you ask? It’s an amount that causes you to have to worry about paying your bills of necessity like rent or mortgage…or food.

Well since you’re reading this I’m going to say you’re probably ready to get on the right path. You have to prepare mentally to make it to the finish line. If you continue to think you can spend whatever you want because you earned it, you’re right. You can do whatever you want, but you will always worry about how you’re going to pay the next bill and you will always wonder where your money went.

Self control is hard but you must learn to do it. Learn that you don’t need the newest thing because everyone else has it or because it’s shiny. Don’t be a 2-year-old. Be an adult and be responsible. Yea it’s not the most fun thing in the world but I’m pretty sure our ancestors lived pretty well without anything that we have today, so I know you can do it.

When you get to 60 years of age you will hate yourself for having neglected your future. Sure it’s fun to spend all you want now but your future self won’t think it’s fun when you’re living in a 1 bedroom house with nowhere to go because you’re living on $1000 a month from social security….that’s if you’re lucky enough to still have social security around.

In all actuality becoming financially stable is more for your future than for your present. Are you ever going to want a house? or to take a vacation abroad? How? If you spend all that you have then this is never going to happen. And if it does happen then it will be because you are over extending yourself on credit and it will eventually catch up to you and make you miserable.

You have to create a balance between spending now and saving for your future. Sure you can live in the now but once again there are consequences to every action we do whether good or bad. If you spend everything now to have fun you will have a miserable life in the later years of your life. So start thinking about how you want your future self to live and how you’re going to make that happen.

So the first step is to start thinking about now. What are you willing to sacrifice now to prepare yourself for the future you want? That’s the question you need to ask yourself and you must answer it. Otherwise nothing is going to change and you’re going to have a miserable future….period!

What are you willing to/what have you sacrificed?

Check out the next part in this series The Path To Financial Freedom: Start Counting

photo credit: Cameron Cassan


Extra Income

Financial Relief In The Form Of An Empty Bedroom

Mike blogs over at, it’s his story and tips on making extra money from your home’s extra space.  He’s been renting out his spare bedrooms for the past 5 years for extra income.  He’s going to hit one of his financial goals this year in 2011 and be one step further from feeling financial poor.  This is a great guest post for people wanting to make some extra money if your life situation can accommodate it.

When I bought my townhouse, I didn’t have much money; in fact, I had no money to put down. Ultimately, I ended up financing 100% of the purchase price of the property, which was a mistake on my part.  After I bought my townhouse, my budget was tight for months.  Meaning, I had to budget not only my groceries, gas, and utilities but also the tiny details such as a hair cut or going out to eat.  As you can see, it left no wiggle room for fun.

A year after I bought my townhouse, I wanted to go back to grad school, but didn’t want to take out student loans in addition to the student loans I incurred from my undergraduate studies.

Spare Room equals Spare Cash

I definitely didn’t want to take out student loans especially because I didn’t know what kind of return I would get on them to avoid going into debt for graduate school. I told myself after I get accepted to a graduate program, I’m going to rent out my spare room to a roommate.  I found my first roommate and charged him $600 bucks, which was an awesome feeling being able to collect rent that first month.

The Accomplishments

The rental income has allowed me to pay for graduate school (about $32,000) without falling a single penny into debt.  If I took out loans, I would have been in repayment as I’m writing this article.

In addition, the rental income has allowed me to payback a significant portion of my mortgage debt.  Specifically, I have been able to payback over 40% of my second mortgage (starting balance was $35,500).   At this rate, my second mortgage will be paid off by 2012.

Renting Out a Room

The only regret I have about renting out my room is not starting it sooner.  When I bought my townhouse in 2005.  I lived in it by myself on tight budget.  I wish I had started to rent out my rooms sooner.  As with rental income, if your room goes vacant for months, that’s lost income that cannot be recouped in the future.  With that in mind, I wish I had started earlier.  The opportunity cost of the lost income is endless.  It could have replaced my countertops in the kitchen, it could have put a small dent in my mortgage balance.  I don’t want to think about what I could have done with the list rental income.  I can only look forward and prevent the rooms from going unoccupied.