Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Ace Your Finals With Memory Hacks


With finals season hurtling toward college campuses, the overwhelming task of conquering information and committing it to memory makes many students panic.
 
You’re probably familiar with all the conventional study tips: Review your notes daily, learn the format of the final, review old tests and the course objectives, organize a group study session, eat well, etc. And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep before the exam.
 
But what if you’re following these tips and still finding it difficult to remember the information? How can you trick your mind into retaining it all?
 
Read on for five fantastic memory hacks that will help you ace those exams!
 
1.) Link new information to things you already know.
 
Instead of trying to teach yourself a totally new concept, connect it with a fact that’s already ingrained in your brain. Build onto what you already know to make retrieving information easier.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mother’s Day On A Budget

 


Along with the blossoming flowers, the blazing sunshine and the tinkling bell of the ice cream truck come ideas and plans for celebrating Mother’s Day.
 
Our moms are always there for us, as a sounding board, a virtual treasure trove of advice and to dote on us when we need a little pampering. Mother’s Day, then, is when we show them how much we appreciate all they do for us throughout the year.
 
However, between purchasing the perfect gift, buying mom flowers and dining out, Mother’s Day costs can quickly add up to a small fortune. How do you keep within a reasonable budget while still showing mom how much she means to you?
 
Fortunately, with just a bit of forethought and careful planning, you can save big while still celebrating Mother’s Day in style. Here’s how:
 
1.) Frugal flowers
Nothing says “I love you” quite like a vibrantly colored bouquet, but those beautiful blossoms can cost a bundle. Start your savings on mom’s flowers by doing some of the work yourself. Instead of relying on the florist to provide the perfect base for the bouquet, bring your own basket from home. Alternatively, you can pick up a cheap but pretty vase at a craft or thrift store, adding a strand of ribbon to customize it to mom’s style.
 
Also, consider shopping your local grocery store or sidewalk stand before visiting a florist. You might find significant savings – such as a bouquet for as little as $10 – by cutting out the middleman.
Lastly, if you’re shopping at a floral shop, be sure to call first to find out when their flowers are delivered so you get the freshest of the bunch.
 
2.) Gift it right
More difficult than dreaming up the perfect gift for mom is scraping together the money for it. Solve both problems by getting creative. Mom would love something you personally crafted, like a decorated framed photo of a shared memorable moment, or a scrapbook of your best childhood memories. You can even make your mom a playlist of songs that both of you love.
If you’d rather purchase a gift than create one yourself, remember to shop early so you don’t feel pressured into buying something you can’t afford. Also, don’t forget to carefully mine coupon sites like RetailMeNot, Coupons.com and Couponcabin to see if you can snag a deal.
 
Remember, gifts that show effort and thought matter a lot more than how much you spend.
 
3.) Dining out (or in) for less
Of course, celebrating Mom’s special day won’t be complete without sharing a wonderful meal together. But restaurants can be expensive, so don’t book reservations without carefully considering if they’re absolutely necessary.
 
Maybe Mom would enjoy a home-cooked meal more than an evening out. You can whip up her favorite foods, set the table with long candlesticks, your finest dishes and best silverware, and enjoy a deluxe, sumptuous dinner at home.
 
Or throw together a family barbecue. Load the car with Frisbees, balls and kites, pack up a cooler and stake out a corner at the local park. Then, get the grill fired up for a delectable dinner that’s fun to prepare and even more fun to eat!
 
If you’ve got your heart set on taking mom out to a restaurant, shop around for the best Mother’s Day deals. It’s worth making a few phone calls and checking out sites like Groupon or LivingSocial before making reservations.
 
Once you’re at the restaurant, save money by checking the left side of the menu first. Restaurants usually put their pricier dishes on the right side of the menu since that’s where most people’s gazes automatically land. Also, consider sharing a few bigger portions instead of ordering individual plates for every diner. Lastly, be sure to wait a bit between courses so you don’t end up with a table full of leftovers that you’re too stuffed to eat.
 
4.) Plan ahead
It’s never too early to start saving, and it’s not too early to start thinking about next year’s Mother’s Day. While you obviously can’t buy mom flowers that far ahead of time, shop the post-Mother’s-Day sales for fantastic deals on greeting cards, wrapping paper and gifts for mom.
 
It isn’t that hard to save on Mother’s Day expenses. And it’s worth it. After all, no one will be happier to see you saving money than dear sweet mom!
 
Your Turn: How do you show your mom how much she means to you while sticking to a budget? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Beware of Scams! Give Your Kids Tools For Standing Up To Con Artists

The world is a big and beautiful place.

Unfortunately, it is also filled with unethical people who are trying to take advantage of the innocent and the na├»ve at every turn. Your kids may be too young to have been burned, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t old enough to start protecting themselves. Teach them about scams and con artists and then bring it all home for them with this short, interactive activity.
 
To talk to your kids about con artists, gently explain that there are some people who will always try to cheat others out of their money or personal information.
 
Your child may have actually been hustled on the playground when a dominant child promised to give them a toy for a set amount of money and then took their money but “forgot” the toy at home the next day. And the next day. And the next. Or, a classmate may have marketed a toy as the genuine thing when it was actually just a bootleg version of the real one. Online scams are another area where your kids may have encountered fraud.
 
To begin the activity, help familiarize your children with these four rules:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What To Do After Getting A Raise


Q: This is the year I finally got that raise! What should I do with the extra money?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Regulation D: How Does It Affect Me?

Have you ever wondered about the real differences between your savings and checking accounts? Many people realize there must be more to it than just the fact that one includes checks and the other does not. However, they just don’t know what those differences are. So let’s look at some of the technical differences that define each account type.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Putting Your Affairs In Order


Q: I know it’s important to have my financial affairs in order, especially when approaching an advanced age, but it’s all so overwhelming. How do I go about this task?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Buying A Home In Today’s Economy


Whether you’re a regular news junkie or you rely on your better half to keep you updated on the latest, you’ll get the same conflicting messages about the state of today’s economy. One day you’ll hear about rising wages, and the next day you’ll read about the lagging growth in the GDP, or Gross Domestic Product.
 
The only thing certain about today’s economy is that it is uncertain. While things look relatively stable now, no one can guarantee what the next few years will bring.
 
Fortunately, you don’t have to give up on the home of your dreams because of a fluctuating economy. Read on for four steps you can take to make sure your money – and your house – are completely safe regardless of what’s going on.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Beware Of Inheritance Scams!


Who doesn’t dream of becoming an instant millionaire? You might even have some detailed plans for how you’d spend an unexpected windfall if it were to happen. Imagine if a distant relative who’d been rolling in the stuff suddenly passed on and left you as their sole heir. Your dreams could now become a reality! Wouldn’t you do anything to make that happen?
That’s what some underhanded scammers are counting on. Inheritance fraud has been around for a while, but scammers have recently made their ploy even more convincing.
If you’ve been targeted, you’ll receive a long-winded email from a foreign “lawyer” or “bank official” claiming that a long-distant relative of yours has just died intestate, making you the sole heir. You’ll be warned that immediate action is necessary to stop the government from seizing the money.
The letter will then go on to state that your inheritance is difficult to access due to government and bank restrictions, and that you’ll need to pay various fees as well as provide personal details for claiming it.
To make the email appear authentic, it will include identifying documents of the lawyer or bank official, such as a passport, along with legal documents, such as a power of attorney letter for you to sign. The scammer will also provide an overseas address for the bank in which the money is now being held. Recently, scammers have upped their game by using a local address for this step.
Unfortunately, there is no inheritance and the person contacting you is definitely not a lawyer or a bank official. If you respond to the fraudsters, they’ll start charging you various fees, which will gradually increase in size. They’ll remind you that this money will be small change for you once you receive the inheritance. They’ll also claim that all fees must be paid upfront before the inheritance money can be accessed.