Repair or Improvement?

What is the difference between a home repair and a home improvement?  As defined by the IRS, an improvement lasts for more than one year and adds value to your home.  There are exceptions, such as when the upgrade is no longer part of your residence.  (Ex. You installed wall-to-wall carpet years earlier and then replaced it with wood flooring.). In cases of fire damage and natural disasters, all work applies, from the smallest repair to the largest addition.  Knowing these details is especially important when you plan to sell your home because it may help reduce the taxes you owe on profit.

Tax differences between home repairs & home improvements

How To Become Rich

Here in Austin especially, there are plenty of wealthy people who don’t wear the latest fashions or drive the best cars, an indication that they may already know the ten “secrets,” Jocelyn Black Hodes offers in her article for MarketWatch.com, 10 things rich people know that you don’t.

Taxes?

What do you think about taxes?  Are they a good way to support public services? How do you vote when raising or lowering taxes is on the ballot?  What would you do without, say, your public library?

In the current anti-tax climate, some towns are finding it hard to produce enough money to keep even basic city services afloat.

Where Anti-Tax Fervor Means ‘All Services Will Cease’

Save A Penny, Watch It Grow

Did you know that saving $667.95 in a year is as easy as putting your spare change into a jar each night?  With this simple formula and free printable provided by Smart School House, you could be on your way to a great weekend trip or some extra Christmas cheer.  It also makes a good savings activity for children.  Try it and let us know how it goes for you!

PENNY CHALLENGE

Tips For Personal Finances When the Fed Hikes Rates

With the recent rise of the benchmark federal funds rate, Karla Bowsher for Money Talks News suggests three simple steps individuals can take to reduce the impact on their finances.

  1.  Look for a better credit card rate.
  2. Lock in a mortgage rate.
  3. Compare rates on savings (plans and funds).

This is the third hike in recent months following an eight year period where the rates were held in a range of zero to 0.25.  For more information on how to best utilize these tips, read the full article here, The Fed Hikes Rates Again: 3 Steps You Should Take Now.

Money Matters

Think about the last time you shook your head or rolled your eyes at another’s financial decisions.

Ever felt like your parents spent too much on one of your siblings?

Money has a special way of bringing out our sense of fairness and our frustrations.

Michelle Singletary for The Washington Post points out that we have two choices when dealing with our feelings about others money decisions, and both require acceptance.  Family and money: A lesson in accepting what you cannot change

Save Money

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You can still eat steak, but cooking it at home saves at least 50%.

Ever read an article with tips for saving money and thought how easy it could be to reign in your budget?  This couple saved over $50,000 in 2014 by downsizing, eating at home more often, canceling unused subscriptions and going car free.  Although the last one is feasible only if you live in an area with public transportation, the rest are simple and applicable to all.


8 strategies for saving money from a couple that banked $50,000 last year

“We stopped a nasty habit we had of reading about great tips and then failing to implement them,” Matt writes. “Avoid our mistakes. … Literally, do something today from this list and start saving money.”

 

Resolution: Budget

10406828_10204323318941932_2429536167767405500_nIs one of your New Year’s goals to better manage your money?  Do you often find yourself stressed about your budget, or lack there of?  Want to make a real go of saving, paying-off debt and creating financial solvency?  Stephen B. Smith for Young Money offers nine suggestions to better manage your finances and to achieve your goals.  9 Nifty New Year’s Resolutions .

May you have health, wealth and happiness in 2017. 

Married or Single?

beautiful wedding ringsThe statistics show that many more older men are married than older women.  Although there is the fact of womens vs. mens longevity, but Paula Span for the New York Times felt this could not be the only reason.  What she found was that women, both widowed and divorced were better able to navigate the single life.  With already supportive groups of friends, events, book clubs and volunteer jobs, women’s networks helped them blossom.  Read more about her fascinating and somewhat familiar findings here, The Gray Gender Gap: Older Women Are Likelier to Go It Alone.