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Purchases That Should Be Practical

by Advance Financial | February 22nd, 2017

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Self control. It can be one of the hardest rules to abide by when it comes to your purchasing behavior, but also the key to saving money and being better off financially. At a time when a newer version of a product is introduced on a constant basis, this can definitely be a difficult task to undertake. Marketers are working their magic to make you feel like you need the best of the best and the newest version of everything. But really, you don’t. You don’t have to have the newest version, the best version, or the most enhanced version of anything. Practicality is key, and we have created a list of the top items where the most expensive and best version is not always necessary.

 

  1. Smart Phone

Face it. That thin, electric box we all carry around has become the one item that many of us can’t live without. This of course is going to make it harder to resist a flashy new version of what you already have. In a lot of cases, the new version isn’t really all that new. Take the IPhone 7 for example. The difference from the 6 and 7 really came down to a slightly better camera. Being practical in the case of a smart phone is being happy with what you have and resisting the urge to do an expensive upgrade every time a newer version comes out. If your current phone serves its purpose, then the practical thing to do would not be getting a new one. Stay happy with what you have and try to make it to the 2-year mark before upgrading to a newer version.

 

  1. Vehicle

There is one question that you need to ask yourself when purchasing a vehicle. What is going to be the purpose of this purchase? Do you run a handyman business and need to haul equipment to jobs? Is it to transport your kids to the many practices and school events they are involved in? Looking at a vehicle as a means of transportation is the practical way to buy one. Getting a brand new, expensive truck with all the bells and whistles yet never intending to actually use it to haul anything is probably not spending your money wisely. Of course, everyone has his or her personal preference when it comes to the size of a vehicle, but a vehicle is a major expense that can put you in a mound of debt. No matter which way you breakdown buying a vehicle, it is simply something to transport you from A to B. So save yourself a lot of money, and buy a vehicle, not a prized toy. It’s the practical thing to do.

 

  1. Appliances

Here is a little secret about most appliance brands. The exact same companies that manufacture the expensive brands usually manufacture the “off” brands as well. That means the warranties are usually just as good as well, so there really is nothing to fear with the cheaper options. You may not get the little extra add-ons that come with some of the more expensive fridges, stoves, and dishwashers, but remember the key word for this article – practical. Do you really need a fridge with an LCD screen that shows a slideshow of family pictures? The answer is no.

 

  1. TV Subscriptions

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, its pretty oblivious that streaming services like Netflix have been all the rage the last couple of years. So much so that a lot of people are ditching cable because of it. But if you really think about it, most of us don’t even watch the majority of the channels with cable or satellite. Instead of paying 100+ a month, switch over to a streaming service like Sling TV. The basic Sling TV package will allow you to stream roughly 20 channels, including ESPN, TBS and TNT, for a flat $20 a month. What’s even better is you get to choose the channels you want.

 

  1. Groceries

Let us preface this with saying that there are some brands you are going to be completely loyal to and can’t live without- JIF Peanut Butter for example. But for the majority of the groceries you buy, it’s a lot more practical and easier on your wallet to get the off brand products. Brands like Great Value from Wal-Mart, or Kroger Brand usually have all the same options, while tasting almost the same. And just like appliances, a lot of the “off” brands are actually manufactured by the exact same companies, so you’re not compromising on quality.

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Weird and Wacky Items You Need in Your Life

by Advance Financial | February 17th, 2017

wierdcover

When it comes to online shopping, the sky is the limit for weird and wacky items available to purchase. Do you actually “need” any of these items? Probably not. They all would definitely add a little uniqueness to your life, though. Here is our list of some of the most interesting items available to order online.

 

USB Type Writer

UBS-Typewriter

 

uncommongoods.com


 

 

Monkey Nail Dryer

 

 

monkey

 

infmetry.com


 

Mini Donut Factory

donut

bedbathandbeyond.com


 

Singing Pasta Timer

sining

amazon.com


 

Webbed Swim gloves

Web-Hands

wish.com


 

Scary bottle squeezer

ketchup

 

blacklabproducts.com


 

Food USBs

food-usb

amazon.com


 

Chemist Spice Rack

spicerack

amazon.com


 

Bear Oven Mitts

bearmittens

amazon.com


 

Splash Bowls

Splash-Bowl

amazon.com

 

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How to Get the Most From Your Tax Returns

by Advance Financial | February 9th, 2017

Taxes

It’s tax season, and for some of us the government will be adding a little green to our pockets; others may not be so lucky. Either way, filing your taxes correctly is vital in ensuring you get the biggest refund possible, or cutting down the amount you have to pay in. If you haven’t already filed, we suggest you take the following tips under consideration before you do. Once you do file make sure to come into any of our 24/7 locations to cash your refund check!

Take Advantage of Deductions

Deductions are your best friend when it comes to filing taxes. The standard deduction is the easier route in most cases, but if you keep a good record of your finances, than itemizing your deductions may prove to be more profitable. There are tons of expenses that can be counted as deductions; it just takes researching which ones apply to you. Expenses related to higher education, the cost of moving, charitable donations, and even specific medical expenses all can be deducted. Make sure to educate yourself on all that may apply to you before filing.

Choose the Correct Status

Choosing the correct filing status is crucial to getting the highest refund possible. A big misconception about filing status is that you either have the option to file as married or unmarried, and the married individual will get the most tax benefits. If you are a single parent, or support another person, then you need to file “head of household”. This status will aid in more advantageous tax rates and get you a larger refund. For those who are married, make sure to run the numbers as filing separately and as married. There are instances where you can actually get more of a combined refund when filing separately.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

This is a tax credit many don’t even realize they qualify for, so they do not take advantage of it. If your income was substantially low for 2017, then you may be eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit. This will lower the amount of taxes owed. Even if you don’t owe anything, it can still boost your refund. Below is a breakdown from the IRS of how much you could get back when using the EITC.
table-graphic
Maximum Credit Amounts for 2017:

  • $6,318 with three or more qualifying children
  • $5,616 with two qualifying children
  • $3,400 with one qualifying child
  • $510 with no qualifying children

For more information on Earned Income Tax Credit, click here.

 

 

 

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Valentine Gifts That Surpass Flowers and Candy

by Advance Financial | February 8th, 2017

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This February 14th, the day known as St. Valentine’s Day, flowers and candy will be aplenty. Those shot by cupid’s arrow will be giving gifts to show love and affection to their significant others. According to Fortune.com, it is expected that there will be 18.2 billion spent this year on cards, candy, flowers, jewelry and other gifts for the day of love. But is a box of candy and flowers really going out of your way to show your loved one you care? How about getting a little creative this year and doing something unique? Here are 10 “out of the ordinary” Valentine gifts/dates that are sure to impress that special someone.

sweet-and-salty Snackpack

Amazon.com

 

skydiving-for-two sky

Groupon.com

 

mugs cups

Amazon.com

 

muder-mystery murder-mystry

Groupon.com

 

cleaner-jewelry jewerly

Amazon.com

 

cardfunny card

Amazon.com

 

phone-sanitizer phone-cleaner

Amazon.com

 

mermaidtail Mermaid

Amazon.com

 

breakfastcenter breakfast

Amazon.com

 

camerainstant Camera

Amazon.com

 

Gifts for Valentine’s Day consist of: Sweet and Salty Ultimate Snack Pack, Skydiving, “Say I love you” his and hers coffee mug, Murder-Mystery Dinner for Two, Ultra sonic jewelry Cleaner, “Things I Will Never Do” Funny Valentine’s Day Card, Mobile Phone Sanitizer, Mermaid Tail Blanket, Multifunctional Breakfast Center, Polaroid Instant camera.

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9 Nifty Knick-Knacks You Never Knew You Needed

by Advance Financial | January 25th, 2017

coverKnickKnacks

It’s a rough world out there. Between forgetting to charge your phone and losing your keys, it’s a wonder anyone survives the day-to-day hustle called life. Sometimes, however, there is that one gadget that makes the most tedious stressors become nonexistent. It’s those nifty little knick-knacks that make being human enjoyable again and we have found 9 great ones that you never even knew you needed. Enjoy!

avo_texts

Split, pit, slice and scoop! This gadget will make avocado preparation a breeze.

Main-Avocado

Bed Bath & Beyond


 

wallet_text

This credit card sized warrior has 18 tools ranging from a bottle opener to a fruit peeler. It’s extremely convenient to have for multiple situations and is super easy to carry.

wallet-ninja4

Fire Box


 

tidy_text  

Keep your laundry room tidy with these attachable cups that catch excess drips from your detergent or fabric softener dispensers. The Tidy Cups fit most economy sized detergents.

tidycups

Amazon


 

grocery_text

Made with heavy-duty aluminum, you can comfortably haul up to 110 pounds of groceries or other bagged items with the bag holder.

grocery-bags

Amazon


 

wrap_text

This is a must have for those runners or music listeners who are constantly battling tangled headphone cords. The Curvyman allows you to easily tame the mess.

curvy

 Amazon


 

TIle_text titl

Extremely thin and discrete, the Tile Slim can be placed in any pocket book or wallet and can be placed on a laptop or tablet using an adhesive. The Tile is connected to an app on your phone that will locate whatever item it’s attached to.

Amazon


 

tape_text

1868 meet 2017; the new and improved tape measure. This gadget is rugged, durable, and weather resistant with a digital screen that tells you the exact measurement.

tapefinal

Amazon


 

clip_texts

This is a 12-Inch clip-able, twistable gear tie that you can neatly bundle and attach things of every shape and size to almost anything.

gearf

Amazon


 

spoon_text spoonf

No more searching of the correct measuring spoon. The Adjust-A-Spoon system replaces the outdated measuring spoons with one adjustable spoon.

Bed Bath & Beyond

 

Great items like the Tile Slim Item Finder, Digital Tape Measure, Clip-able Gear Tie, Adjust-A-Spoon Tablespoon Measuring, Curvyman Headphone Wrap, Grocery Bag Holder Handle,Tidy Cups, Wallet Ninja, and Avocado Slicer.

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