Save On Utility Bills

Shocking Ways to Save Money on Your Electric Bill

The temperature is going up but your utility bills don’t have to. Keep your A/C on and your bill low with these cool and easy tips to save energy (and cash) this summer.

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Dad Playing Outside With His Boys

Low-Cost Gifts for the Best Dad Ever

Love your dad too much for words? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Try these free and low-cost ways to show him how much you care this Father’s Day.

Show Dad Some Love:

Give him the “Day Off”

A dad’s work is never done.

Celebrate dad by giving him a break from his usual chores. Whether it’s cleaning his car, doing yard work or tidying up the garage, he’ll appreciate the helping hand.

Make his favorite meal

The way to his heart is through his stomach.

It doesn’t matter if he’s a microwave dinner guy or an at-home chef, making your dad his favorite meal is sure to impress. Check out this list of recipes and maybe you’ll see your dad’s favorite!

 

Watch the game with him

Quality time is always in season.

You’re always on Team Dad and he’s always been your cheerleader. Spend the afternoon watching his favorite sport. Whether they win or lose, you’ll have a great time cheering on his favorite team.

Make a homemade card

He might seem tough, but deep down he’s a softie.

A store bought card may look pretty, but it can’t compare with one that’s homemade! Even if your art skills start and end with stick figures, your dad will appreciate the thought and effort you put into making a card just for him.

Play catch

Dad: the first and best coach you’ve ever had.

You may be a few feet taller than you used to be, but you’re never too old to play catch with your dad. After just a few tosses, he’ll be more than happy to lecture you about the right way to break in a glove.

Make a collage of old photos

Give it the old collage try.

Don’t let your photos sit in the attic. Put your memories on display by making a collage with your favorite pictures of you and pops. Don’t forget to leave a space for the picture you take this Father’s Day!

Try out his favorite hobby

You can’t put a price on fun.

Whether it’s something you already love to do together or you’re just tagging along, sharing in your dad’s favorite activity will mean the world to him.

Design a coffee mug just for him

A one of a kind gift for a one of a kind dad.

With just a plain coffee mug and a Sharpie, you can make dad a gift he’ll want to use every morning. Make him a mug with a personalized message so every sip reminds him of how much you care.

Watch a movie … his choice

Make dad the clicker king for a day.

Can’t make it to the theater? Spend a couple hours camped out on the couch watching your dad’s favorite movie. Don’t forget the popcorn!

Go to a thrift store

“It’s new to you.”

Take your dad to look for hidden gems at your local thrift store. You just might find his new favorite shirt, a classic vinyl record or some old baseball cards. Nothing is old — just vintage.

Get nostalgic … buy him something “old”

Relive the glory days.

Make a new memory out of an old one by gifting your dad a memento from his childhood. Whether it’s an Etch A Sketch or some Rock‘em Sock‘em Robots, your dad will love taking a walk down memory lane.

Treat him to breakfast in bed

Start his day off sunny side up.

Make your dad a special breakfast this Father’s Day with classics like bacon, eggs and pancakes. Remember: the secret ingredient is love, but the most important is maple syrup.

Do a project with him

It’s not work when you’re having fun.

Weekend projects are more fun when you do them together. Offering to help your dad fix the fence or tune up the car will not only put a smile on his face but check it off the honey-do list faster.

Make a “World’s Best Dad” award

All those other kids are lying!

We all know your dad is the best, so why not let him know, too?  You can make a “World’s Best Dad” award with anything you have lying around the house. Whether it’s one of your old soccer trophies or a paper plate, it’ll be something he’ll cherish forever.

Get him a book from a used book store

Try this novel gift idea!

From mystery novels to do-it-yourself books, there’s a great read for every dad at your local used book store. Find one of his old favorite books or pick out something new that you think he’ll love.

Make a BBQ rub from scratch

Give a gift with some kick.

Got a grill master in the house? Give him something you know he doesn’t already have: a custom made BBQ spice rub. With spices in your cabinet, you can create a tasty gift for him (and you!) in minutes.

It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to give your dad the best Father’s Day ever. Try these free and low-cost gift ideas and make some truly priceless memories this Sunday.

Tax Free Tips By State

All The Details for Tax Free Weekend

Tax Free Tips By State

It’s that time of year again! Back-to-school shopping is in full swing, and if you are like most parents the financial burden can be pretty intense. One way to cut down on the cost is to make sure and go shopping during your state’s tax free weekend. Below you will find all the details you need on when, where, and what when it comes to the those states who participate in tax free weekend.

Tax Free Tips By State
Local Farmers Market

How to Save Money at the Farmers Market

Local Farmers Market

So there is a myth about shopping at farmers markets that we would like to bust. Produce at your local farmers market has gained the title of “expensive “when compared to produce at a chain grocery store, and we definitely do not think this is always the case. Along with being good for the local economy, organic, fresher, and better tasting, local produce can also beat out the price of grocery store produce. You just have to know how to shop. To guide you on your next adventure to the local farmers market, here are some tips to follow to save some money.

Go for less than perfect

Let’s get real. Do your apples really need to be the exact shade of red and shaped to perfection? Well for a lot of people, yes they do, but you’re a savvy shopper and your spending habits aren’t affected by fruit vanity. Because the not so pretty items don’t sell as well, a lot of times they are actually discounted in price. And even if the seller isn’t advertising the items are discounted, just ask. Give a concerned look at that deformed peach and simple say, “Is this one full price?”

Don’t make a list

Yes, in most cases making a list when grocery shopping is a must if you’re trying to save, and especially if you’re on a tight budget until the next payday. If you make a list when going to the farmers market, however, then you might not be as cognizant of the lesser expensive items. Instead of going in with a list of specific items, try showing up open minded without any ideas of what fruits and vegetables you need. Plan out meals based on cheaper produce once you are there and can see your options.

Timing is everything

So it’s pouring the rain outside. Pull up your rain boots, grab an umbrella, and head out to the market to score some deals. Supply and demand drive prices in the sense that if there are less people in attendance, then there is less likely of a chance that farmers will be able to sell all items easily. Going to a market when the crowds are low will give you more options with more say so on prices. Going 30 minutes before the market closes is also a good time to get leftovers that vendors will be trying to get rid of by selling cheaper.

Buy in season

A bowl of cherries in the dead of winter may be exactly what you want, but when it comes to budget friendly eating, it’s probably not the best idea. The beauty of a farmers market is that cherries will not even be an option in the middle of January.   Shopping locally will in-fact force you to buy what is in season, and those fruits and vegetables dramatically decrease in price.

Negotiate

It’s a market, not a grocery store. Don’t hesitate to do a little haggling. Remember that produce has an expiration date and these farmers want to get rid of their crops. Try to build a relationship with the regular farmers and show you’re a loyal customer. Chances are they just might cut you a deal on items if you get in good enough.

Tax Saving Tips- Save On Ac

How to Reduce Home Cooling Cost

Tax Saving Tips- Save On Air Conditioner

The Summer heat is in full force which means so is your AC system. If it feels like your vents are literally sucking money out of your pockets, then it’s time to make a few changes to save on your energy bill. Below you will find five easy ways to reduce your cooling expense so you can stay cool the rest of the Summer and not spend an arm and leg.

1. Use It Where It Counts

If you have a guest room or bonus room that is never used, don’t waste energy cooling it. Most thermostats are in the living room and the AC is regulated based on the temperature in that room. If you close the vents in unused rooms more cold air will blow into rooms with vents opened, causing the temperature to regulate faster and use less energy.

2. Use It When It Counts

If no one is home, then don’t waste energy keeping the temperature at a comfortable degree. It is recommended you set your AC  5 degrees higher when you leave and immediately set it back to the desired degree once you are home. So, if you like your home set at 72 degrees, set it at 77 degrees when you leave each day.

3. Shut Your Doors

Just like closing vents in unused rooms, make sure to always keep all interior doors closed. This will cut down the amount of square footage the AC is heating and cause your house to cool down quicker. Your system will turn on less, which will have a positive effect on your energy bill.

4. Change Out Your Filter

A dirty air-return filter can significantly increase the cost to keep your home cool this summer. Dirt and grime in the filter restricts airflow causing your AC unit to work extra hard to cool your space, which drives up your electric bill. Make sure to check all air filters and replace them regularly to ensure your system is working as efficiently as possible.

5. Run Ceiling Fans Forward

If you didn’t already know, you can set your ceiling fans to either spin clockwise or counter clockwise. When set clockwise, or reverse, the fan pulls air up and redistributes it, which is recommended for winter, since heat rises. When your fan is set to run counter clockwise, or forward, it pushes air down creating a cooling effect. This is recommended for summer. It’s a good idea to always adjust the direction of your fan based on the season to use it the most efficiently.

Happy Fathers Day 2018

Best and Most Unique Father’s Day Gifts

You can toss those mundane, cliché Father’s Day gifts out the window, because we have a list of some uniquely awesome gifts that will step up your gift giving skills for dad this year.

POT PINCHERS Silicone Pot Holders

Amazon – 14.99

These pot holders  not only protect your dad’s hands from that hot pot of his famous chilli, but is also a hilarious accessory to have in the kitchen. Shaped like lobster claws and made from heat-resistant silicone, these holders are perfect for when you are a pinch.


ThinOptics Reading Glasses + Black Universal Case

Amazon – $15.94

If dad has trouble keeping up with his reading glasses, then this is the perfect gift for him. Glasses fold in half and are made from optical-grade, polycarbonate lenses that are shatter-proof. Glasses weigh the same as a nickel and are as thin as 2 credit cards. The case featuring non-residue adhesive to stick onto your phone/case, will ensure he never loses them.


Dad Bag Fanny pack + Cell phone holder 

Amazon – $12.74

This gift combo comes with a hilarious belly fanny pack and cell phone holder. The pack is great for outdoor sports  like hiking and getting lots of looks and laughs from on-lookers.

Portable Projector with Carrying Bag

Amazon – $84.99

Perfect for the dad who wants a big screen experience when watching movies and the big game, this portable projector will give him an excellent watching experience. It provides a watching size from 32” to 176” with the projection distance between 4.9ft to 16.4ft.


Floor Stand with Toilet Paper Roll Holder

Amazon – $29.99

For some fathers, the bathroom is the only place they get some peace and quiet. With the floor stand it makes it easy for him to use his electronic device while taking care of business. With an adjustable length, the telescoping pole can be adjusted and can be swiveled and bent in full rotation in any desired direction.


Personalized Camouflage Cooler Seat

Amazon – $42.99

Whether it’s at a sporting event or company picnic with the family, dad will love this personalized cooler that also folds out to a seat. Cooler holds up to 225 lbs and can also be personalize for free, up to 7 characters. 


Sky Viper Stunt Drone

Amazon – $43.99

Bring the kid out in dear old dad with a Sky Viper Stunt Drone. He will be entertained for hours with the eight different one-touch stunts. The drone includes auto launch and land for one-button stationary hover.

Gentleman Thinking Of Dream Job

Weird but Real Ways to Make Extra Cash

Short on cash and need a fast way to make some money? Here are a few ways to make an extra buck that are completely legal and a little bit different.

Use your Body

Legally use your body, that is. This can be in the form of selling your hair, or giving plasma.

If you have long luscious locks of hair, then you can get a nice pay check from selling it on hairsellon.com. On the site, sellers list their hair for hundreds to thousands based on the quality and length.

If you don’t have enough hair to sell, then you can sell your plasma. Plasma is the clear, liquid portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components are removed. You can make up to $400 a month when donating. To find out more and where to donate visit www.donatingplasma.org.

Paid Clinical Trials

If you’re up for trying new things, and being a Guinee pig, then participating in paid clinical trials is a great way to make extra money. The types of products that you will be testing range anywhere from medical to cosmetic. Many trials are looking for people with specific medical conditions, but there are some that also need healthy adults as a control group.

To find paid clinical trials near you, visit ClinicalTrials.gov.

Scrap Metal

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Scrap metal pays! If you have a truck or trailer load it up with as much metal items as you can get in it and take it to your local scrap yard. Make sure and do your research to find out exactly what items are acceptable before taking your metal to the yard.

Walk Dogs

Got some free time and love dogs? Make some extra cash by walking them for friends and neighbors. If you are looking to expand your clientele, you can  also join websites like Rover.com or Thumbtack.com, or event post an ad on Craigslist. It’s a good idea to also contact your local kennels and ask if you can place a flyer in their building.

Participate in a Paid Focus Group

Do you always have an opinion and like to share it? You are a perfect candidate for a focus groups. Companies will pay consumers to provide their feedback on products or ideas. Depending on the focus group, you can make up to $100 an hour just having a group discussion with a mediator.

To find paid focus groups visit  FindFocusGroups.com or do a google search.

Temporarily Rent Your Place

If you don’t care to share, then you can actually rent out your room, entire apartment, or house just for the weekend or for an entire month! Sites like Airbnb and Homestay.com allow you to post your rental and name your price, along with the nights it’s available. It’s a great way to make some extra money while you are out of town for the weekend.

Happy Mothers Day

Doing Mother’s Day right with Western Union

Happy Mothers Day

Mother’s Day is the time to honor those women who have experienced the pain of sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and crayon wall murals on that newly painted wall. Mothers endure a lot, and showing your appreciation with flowers, cards, and candy pales in comparison to what they truly deserve. And where does most of that “stuff” end up? In the trash! This woman’s main job during your childhood was to keep you alive, so get her what she really wants, CASH.

At Advance Financial we are here to help you get money to her fast through our Western Union electronic wire transfer service. Whether your mother lives out of state or out of the country, we are open 24/7 to help you send as much cash as you need to. And don’t worry about security issues. Western Union is the leading provider of electronic wire transfers in the world. You can send and receive money practically anywhere worldwide.

How to Transfer Money with Western Union

To use Western Union, you must bring a government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, military ID, or passport). You will also need to provide your name, address, telephone number, date of birth and identification number (employer identification number, Social Security number, driver’s license or passport number, etc.).

So this year, don’t get her another set of PJs she passes on to goodwill, or a foot massager that ends up in the yard sale pile. Come into one of our 70+ stores and send her money that lets her treat herself to what she really wants.

Couple Preparing Tax Returns

5 Best Free Tax Filing Sites

Scrambling to get your taxes filed? Check out our list of the 5 best free online tax resources below.

1. FreeTaxUSA

FreeTaxUSA is a less popular company than its competitors, but actually offers a lot more options for free. You can file federal tax for just about any tax situation, no matter the complexity. Like the more popular online tax companies, you also get features like prior-year return importing, storage and free live support from customer service professionals.

2. TurboTax

Got a simple tax situation? The Absolute Zero Federal Free Filing option from TurboTax is a great choice to file your taxes.  Most of the features in the paid options are actually included in the free filing option. You can easily file with features like best/fastest refund guarantee, importing W-2s, live chat support, and the choice to electronically file or print-and-mail filing.

3. H&R Block

H&R Block is one of the best-known tax preparation companies. Their free edition online is great for those with simple tax situations and comes with limited restrictions. Everyone who files gets free, in-person audit support consisting of hands-on assistance and audit preparation. H&R Block has a very user-friendly system which updates your refund as you complete each step of filing your taxes.

4. TaxSlayer

The Simply Free plan with TaxSlayer lets you file state and federal taxes for free. Because of a new design, you are now able to file the Simply Free options with no age, income, residency, or citizenship restrictions. This is one of very few real online tax filing services that allows you to file both federal and state for free.

5. eSmart Tax

eSmart Tax is actually an extension of Liberty Tax, which is one of the largest tax preparation companies. With eSmart Tax’s Free plan you can utilize features like the audit preparation support, live access to tax professionals, importing your W-2 and prior-year return, and access to prior-year tax returns for up to five years.

Arnold's Country Kitchen

Our Favourite Mom and Pop Nashville Partner, Arnold’s

As a family-owned and operated company, we at Advance Financial understand the importance of supporting and giving back to the communities where we live and work. To celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, we would like to recognize our favorite family-owned and operated business we work with, Arnold’s Country Kitchen.

Family Ties

How far back do we go with Arnold’s? Well, Our CEO, Tina Hodges, and one of Jack and Rose Arnold’s sons, Mon Arnold, joined each other on the Bellevue Middle School stage for a production of Grease back in the day. Though Mon or Tina never made it to the flashing lights of Hollywood, today they are both part of a successful family-owned and operated business in the Nashville Community.

Growing up in Nashville, Mike and Tina Hodges and the Arnold kids all attended the Nashville public school, Hillwood High, together. Fast forward a decade or two and their businesses are now just down the street from each other. But our business location isn’t the only thing we have in common with Arnold’s Country Kitchen. Both Arnold’s and Advance Financial are founded on the same family values. Our happy to help attitude and friends helping friends philosophy is right in line with one of Nashville’s favorite meat and three restaurants and for this reason we love to support and partner with them for all our company events.

Where it All Began

Jack Arnold started his restaurant career at the young age of 12 working as a dishwasher for a local restaurant in Nashville and then managing the campus cafeteria while attending Vanderbilt University. Jack and Rose Arnold opened the famous Nashville restaurant in 1983 in a very simple concrete block building, equipped with a steam table and a tray line. Today they have renovated and expanded that same block building, while also earning the reputation as one of the best restaurants in Nashville. One of the charms of Arnolds is that it truly is a family affair with all the Arnold kids, Kahlil, Rose Emily, Mon, and Franz, all doing their part to keep the place running smoothly. In 2015, Arnolds was featured in an episode of the Eater, a popular online blog and review site for food in multiple US cities. Check out the episode below.

A True Mom and Pop Business

Arnold’s is a great representation of a true “Mom and Pop” business. Just like Advance Financial, the business was originally ran by a husband and wife duo with multiple family members working on the team. On any given day, you will see at least 3 Arnold family members working to serve up some delicious country cooking at their restaurant. Their popularity as a meat and three eatery is paramount with locals, tourist and celebrities lining up and out the door to fill up on some down-home cuisine. One of the reasons we at Advance Financial love Arnolds so much, is that they to strive to treat every customer who walks in their doors like family. Every guest is a friend and considered equal from construction workers to celebrities.

Community and family are what makes Advance Financial’s great culture and ongoing success possible and Arnold’s shares that same philosophy. As a local business, we give back through volunteering and financial donations as much as possible because we know we have a responsibility to our customers and community. We also feel the same responsibility in the form of supporting other Mom and Pop businesses like Arnold’s. We love and are very thankful for the relationship we have with the Arnold family and will continue to support them for years to come.