Making the Most Out of Your Family Vehicle

The family vehicle is both a functional and sentimental item for the household. It takes the family to work, school and extracurricular activities. With new vehicles costing $20,000 or more, it’s critical to take good care of your car for as long as possible. Take a look at how you can make the most out of your family vehicle. Driving it to 200,000 miles might be possible in this modern age.
Your Family Vehicle

Prioritize Maintenance

Many new cars have a maintenance schedule that differs from the standard, 3,000-mile oil change suggestion. Drive cars 5,000 or 10,000 miles before an oil change is necessary, for example. Always follow the suggested maintenance schedule for your make and model. Common repairs that arise over time include:

  • Tire rotation
  • Oil changes
  • Brake adjustments

When you prioritize minor repairs, major problems don’t have a chance to build up. Keep the maintenance schedule close to your calendar so that it’s always on your mind.

Pay the Balance Off

For most families, financing a vehicle is the only way to outright own one. These contracts last for three to five years, but they can be paid off earlier. To make the most out of the family vehicle, pay off the balance as soon as possible. You’ll save hundreds of dollars in interest costs as well as insurance premiums. Put that money into a savings account for maintenance instead.

Clean it Up

Making the most out of the vehicle means being mentally happy with the car. Be sure to clean the car on a regular basis. Concentrate on the exterior with washing and waxing chores. You’ll reduce the appearance of rust with these habits. The interior requires dusting, wiping and vacuuming too. Removing grime and stains from the interior will keep the car looking newer over time, which contributes to your happiness with the vehicle as it reaches the 10-year mark and beyond.

Use it as Collateral

With a car completely paid off, you can use it for a title loan. Families will need some emergency cash at some point, and these loans give you a chance to borrow funds. The vehicle becomes collateral while you pay off other commitments. As long as you pay back the money within the specified time, your vehicle is still yours to keep. This perk of car ownership is definitely a great way to get the most out of its value.

Keep it Filled

You’ll get the most out of your vehicle when it’s filled up with loved ones, proper fluids and air. If you own a large vehicle, fill it up with friends and family so that the gas mileage is worth the trip. Fill the oil, transmission and radiator with the proper fluids. Replace the fluids on a regular basis too. Don’t forget the tires need the right air pressure because safe driving and peak gasoline efficiency are coveted by any family.

Reduce the Miles

Get the most out of your car by reserving it for everyday travel. If you have a road trip coming up, rent a car as an alternative. Build up the miles on this car instead of your own. As a result, you’ll see the family vehicle lasting for many more years without the additional mileage.
Although you may treat your car with the best care imaginable, every machine will eventually reach their final days. If a major repair costs more than the vehicle’s value, it’s time to think about a new- or used-car purchase. Continue to practice solid, car-care skills with the next vehicle so that it can last another 200,000 miles.

How to Teach your Children about Money

Teaching our children about money is not something we should leave up to the schools. Although some financial content is covered in classes, many children leave school with a lack of understanding about mortgages, credit ratings and personal debt.

One major problem with this is that by not understanding debt, younger generations quickly accumulate credit which they spend recklessly, and then cannot repay. This would leave many people with a difficult financial future, unable to gain a mortgage and finding it difficult to live day-to-day in a financially viable way.

Teach your Children about Money

So, where do we parents start? Make sure that what you are discussing is age-appropriate. This great site talks through some topics to consider at each age group.

For example, from the age of 8, you could start to discuss how you earn money and what a salary is. Then  you could discuss how this goes to contribute to monthly expenses like the food bill or the electricity bill. The more you familiarise them with the terminologies of finances, the more accessible it will be to them.

Here are just a few items to consider chatting with to your older children in an informative, but casual and honest way:

Debt: Wonga South Africa, a ‘same day’ cash loan provider, recently released this blog post about why you need to understand debt. You need to discuss with your children about good and bad debt, according to their blog. It’s OK to get help with finances by applying for credit when you need it – but make sure that the debt you are accumulating is considered to be ‘good.’ So for instance, obtaining a car through credit might be considered good debt as it allows you to get to work which earns you money. Spending out on a holiday might be considered bad debt as this is not really something you need. Wonga suggests you ask 3 questions – do you need it? Can you afford it? And, how much will it cost you overall?

Savings: Many people fail to save effectively and so it is important to teach your kids about saving from an early age. Perhaps you could suggest saving ¼ of their pocket money each month to start with. Many banks allow you to set up a children’s savings account and this can also help to encourage them to hold back money early on.

Salaries – of course you’ll want your children to earn well in their future, and so it is important to encourage them to do the best they can and earn a regular income. Education will help them achieve the job that they want – so ensure they know the importance of heading off to school now and studying hard, as everything impacts their future. It can be difficult for children to see the bigger picture. They are, after all, just children and need to enjoy their innocence. However, there is no problem in explaining about the importance of school and getting a job periodically to remind them of this.

What Is a Limited Liability Company Tax ID?

When it comes to setting up and running your very own business, there are a number of different things to account for and decisions to make. Deciding what kind of entity, you would like to use for your business, for example, can be a confusing prospect. A limited liability company (LLC) is a popular choice that seems to work well for a number of indivduals. Just make sure that you remember that you must complete an IRS tax ID application and obtain your employer identification number (EIN) regardless of the entity you choose!
Limited Liability Company Tax ID

What is an EIN number?

When you fill out important forms or need to prove your identity, you will oftentimes be asked to provide your social security number (SSN). This number is unique to you, and is kind of like your fingerprint. Without it, you will find yourself hindered in your ability to fill out a number of documents, including those that help you open up things like a bank account. An EIN number, then, works much the same way for your business. You must provide your EIN number when filing taxes or opening up a business bank account.

How can I obtain an EIN?

To obtain an EIN for your LLC, you must first complete an IRS tax ID application. You can do this online, and it won’t take you long at all! You can even check EIN status throughout the process to ensure that your application is being processed. If everything continues as planned and the application is submitted accurately, you could have your EIN number in as few as one or two business days!
Are you looking for a website to help streamline the process of completing an IRS tax ID application? IRS-EIN is just the business for you! They can help you successfully file your application and obtain your EIN.

6 Ways Getting Out Of Debt Is Like Losing Weight

A bad habit is a bad habit. Whether your problem is overeating, overspending, or any other bad habit, it usually just starts out small, and grows worse over time. Sadly, eating too much and having too much debt are very similar in many ways. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome both problems.

Getting Out Of Debt

Here are 6 ways getting out of debt is like losing weight, along with some tips for fixing both problems:

If you keep spending you’ll keep getting further into debt.

This one is simple to understand. Yet people still keep using credit cards more and more. The problem isn’t using credit cards once. Or twice. Or regularly, assuming you pay them off each month. The problem is that once you start carrying a balance, a little debt here and a little debt there quickly starts to snowball, and before you know it you’ve got a mountain of debt! Just like a little extra snack here and there isn’t a big problem. But once you start becoming overweight, the problem compounds, and next thing you know you are 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 40 pounds, or more over your desired weight. Simply put, overeating causes weight gain, overspending causes debt gain.

The more debt you have the harder it is to lose it.

If you put on a few pounds, you can usually get it off pretty quickly. But the longer you wait before trying to lose it, the harder it becomes to get it off. And before long you start having other health problems that are related to being overweight. Know the feeling? Well, it works the same with debt. Not only does your debt keep adding up, but the interest compounds, and your debt grows faster every month. Then one day you wake up and can’t pay your bills. Sad, but true for many people dealing with weight and debt issues.

Over spending can easily become a habit.

Everyone needs to eat. As long as you eat the right amount, everything is fine. But once you start eating for fun, or to relieve stress, or to deal with your life problems – or for any other reason than hunger – your overeating quickly becomes a habit, and not something your body needs. It works exactly the same way with debt. Once you start using your credit cards for fun, or shopping sprees, or any other purchase that you can’t afford to pay off or use cash, then it just becomes a bad habit. One that is very hard to break!

The banks want to keep you in debt once you get there.

A bank or credit card company customer with debt is a profitable customer. The more debt you have, the more interest you pay. And the more offers you get for more credit cards. Sadly, they don’t draw the line for you to let you know when enough is enough. Very much like someone who eats fast food frequently is a profitable customer for restaurants. So they do everything they can to keep you coming back for more. And they don’t refuse to serve you even if you are overweight or in bad health. So whether you have too much debt or too much extra weight, you need to be able to know when it is time to stop, or get help.

It’s never too late to get out of debt If you work at it.

There are lots of strategies for getting out of debt. And while none of them work overnight, you can get yourself out of debt no matter how much debt you have. There are different strategies for people with a little debt (debt consolidation or credit counseling), people with a lot of debt (debt settlement), and people seriously in debt (bankruptcy). The same holds true for losing weight – the older you get the harder it is to lose weight, but there are strategies you can follow to get rid of the pounds. A weight loss center can help you shed a few pounds, a trainer or nutritionist can help you lose more weight, and a doctor is a good choice if you have a lot of weight to lose (actually, visiting a doctor is a good idea for anyone just to make sure you don’t have any serious health problems).

You can get out of debt by yourself – or you can get help from an expert.

Putting together a debt relief plan is not that complicated. But sticking with it can be hard to do. In fact, statistics show nearly 75% of all people who start a debt reduction plan don’t finish it. So getting help from a debt relief company (or attorney if your debt is real bad) can help you stick with your plan. And it can often help you get better terms (meaning lower interest rates) than you can get on your own, especially if you have lots of debt and bad credit. Most people can lose weight on their own by exercising more and eating better. But if you’ve tried before and failed, then it can help your motivation if you join a weight loss center, hire a trainer, or visit a doctor if you are dangerously overweight. But which ever method you choose, whether you are trying to reduce weight or reduce debt, you need to be committed for it to work.

How Smartphones Have Changed the Way We Manage Money

Smartphones have made money management significantly easier since the days of using paper bank statements to balance checkbooks. Today’s bank customers can complete almost any task (except withdrawing cash) with just a few clicks or swipes, eliminating the complexity of money management and the hassle of having to drive to a brick-and-mortar location. Check out these five ways money management has become easier now that almost everything can be done with an app.
Smartphones Have Changed the Way We Manage Money

Balancing a Checkbook Is Much Easier

When we were growing up, parents always talked to their kids about the importance of a balanced checkbook. Any time you made a withdrawal, wrote a check, or deposited money, you were supposed to record the transaction and what your new balance would be. At the end of the month, banks would mail statements so you could make your numbers correspond with theirs. For some, this was a complex and delicate task that was easy to mess up — the cause of much frustration.
Today, customers can check their bank balances immediately online, and even filter between withdrawals and deposits. A scanned image of a check is saved, so customers can see exactly what they wrote a check for and when. Now, balancing a checkbook is significantly easier because all of the information is recorded in one place and is available at any time.

Online Banking Means Instant Deposits and Transfers

Before the rise of smartphones, depositing a check (especially a Friday paycheck) meant rushing to the bank before it closed or placing the deposit in the drop box outside and hoping you filled out your deposit slip correctly. Today, you can deposit a check within minutes of receiving it by simply taking a picture of it.
Apps like PayPal and Venmo have greatly increased the speed with which we transfer money. If someone pays for concert tickets or books a hotel with a group of friends, the friends can send payment for their shares instantly. No longer do people have to wait to receive a check or handle a large pile of cash, as the money they’re owed instantly lands in their account, which can then be transferred to their bank or credit card.

Personal Finance Apps Put Spending Under a Microscope

Managing your daily expenses has become significantly easier with smartphone technology. Sure, people reviewed their credit card statements when they came in the mail, but few were likely to record exactly how many lattes they ordered over the course of a month — especially if they had multiple credit cards that they used interchangeably.
Fortunately, apps like Mint monitor all of your cards and accounts so you can track your spending. They allow you to set limits for how much you spend each month, and are painfully honest when you exceed them. At the very least, this provides clarity in understanding where your money goes. At best, it helps you identify wasteful spending.

Running a Business Is Much Easier

Smartphones have also made things much easier for business owners and organizations. Instead of learning complex cash registers and training staff on POS systems, many companies simply invest in Square technology paired with a high-quality smartphone. Some phones, like Samsung’s Galaxy S7, are almost as big as tablets, which means that customers can easily sign invoices, check their orders, pay, and leave a tip. Without smartphone technology, running some home businesses would be much more difficult.

Anyone Can Be an Investor

People are often told that they should invest in stocks or bonds as they get older, but few understand the process of investing and how they can balance their portfolios to minimize risk. Furthermore, most people don’t know how much they can afford to invest. All of this has changed with online investing. Not only do people have more information about investing at their fingertips, but an app like Acorns allows people to put just a few dollars at a time into the stock market. Instead of buying a $5 latte, transfer that money to the app, and suddenly you’re an investor.
Technology aids money management by increasing transparency. You don’t have to be a financial genius to make smart buying decisions as long as you have the right apps.