Why Consider Estate Planning for a More Secure Future

mini house with stack of coins and pen on grey surface

Estate planning is not something many of us really want to think about, but it is truly necessary. An estate plan is a set of documents that are legally bound outlining your plan for the distribution of your assets upon your death. Few of us want to think about death, much less our own, but these documents are incredibly important ones to consider. Before you contact a law firm such as Chudleigh Law, consider these points._!–more–>

If you want to be in charge of who inherits your valuables, possessions, and money, you must create an estate plan. This is your opportunity to name a guardian for your children if you pass away before they are adults. These documents outline decisions that you want to be made about your own health, if you are in a state where you cannot make them for yourself. Creating a plan when you are of sound mind to do so ensures you get to say who gets what and prevents any ugliness after your death.

Protect Those You Love

I am sure you have heard plenty of stories about families battling over who gets what valuables when someone passes away. You may even find it surprising what people fight over when someone dies. Items suddenly become more valuable. If you create your own estate plan, you get to make the decisions. If you do not create a plan, the courts most often will decide after many years, a lot of money, and potentially bitter fights. Estate plans are not only for the rich, or those that have a lot of possessions. This type of planning is for everyone that wants to be able to say what happens upon death. It is not enough to verbally promise an item to someone, you must legally document it. That way, when the time comes, there are no questions about what you wanted. 

If you have young children, no matter your age, you need to protect them. With these documents, you say who will care for your children, how, and with what money. If you do not decide this ahead of time, the courts will make the decision. They may not make the decision you would have, so put it down on paper and create a legal document. You can also create individualized plans. If you have a child with special needs, they may need a plan more specific to them and this allows you the ability to do that. You may also have an heir that you do not want to give a lump sum, so you may set up a plan that gives that person a set amount of money per month for a set amount of years. 

Estate Taxes

When you have an estate plan, it can protect your loved ones in ways you have not considered. If you plan how you want your estate divided and you document it, it can reduce the tax liability for your heirs. Estate and inheritance taxes can be incredibly hefty. You may be able to decrease that burden with your documents and planning ahead.

Teaching Kids about Credit

The Chad and I are very transparent parents; we want to ensure our children are well educated about adult topics and life experiences, even at a young age. As children, many of us, including The Chad and I, were not taught about credit, handling money, or finances. I learned by proxy with my father as the banker, my mother broke her arm when I was a teen so I was left to write her checks, balance her checkbook, manage the household finances and do the grocery shopping. Not all children have that experience. With our children we wanted to explain to them the importance of proper budgeting, living within your means, and the ever heavy burden of credit debt. Continue reading “Teaching Kids about Credit”

Shop Fry’s and Kroger for Greater Rewards

Starting Nov. 20 through Dec. 11, Fry’s will offer quadruple fuel rewards points on most gift cards sold at its in-store kiosk. The rewards points can be redeemed for discounts of up to $0.10 on fuel at Shell stations and $1 at Kroger fuel centers. “We encourage customers to stop by Fry’s and purchase gift cards to use like cash, in order to save on fuel. We think it’s an easy and convenient way to kick off holiday shopping before heading out to retailers,” notes Kathy Kelly, president of Kroger Personal Finance. I love Fry’s and Kroger fuel, just the other day I saved $0.20 a gallon on my fuel purchase by participating in the savings program.

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey, released in October, 57 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping in November and the first two weeks of December. And, limited budgets and a general wariness over the economy are driving consumers to seek out seasonal sales, discounts and other incentives to maximize their purchases.

Fry’s holiday gift card promotion falls into the latter category. The rewards allow customers to save up to $0.10 per gallon on gas purchased at Shell, or up to $1 per gallon at Kroger fuel centers nationwide. The more points a customer accrues, the greater the rewards. For example, for every purchase of $50 in gift cards from Fry’s Gift Card Mall, customers will receive 200 fuel points. Those 200 points can be redeemed for $0.10 off per gallon at two different fill-ups at the customer’s local Shell station, or $0.20 off per gallon at their local Kroger fuel center.

Choose from retailers such as Macy’s, JCPenney, Sears, Starbucks, iTunes, Lowes, Gap and Old Navy, Chili’s and Best Buy, among many others. Some exclusions do apply, and the rewards offer may vary by market, so customers are encouraged to visit their local store for more information. “The holiday gift card deal is just another way we offer meaningful savings to customers when they need it most,” Kelly says.

So to encourage your spending and savings with Fry’s this holiday season Fry’s and Kroger brand are giving away a $25 gift card for you to go out and spend merrily this holiday season and take advantage of all the great savings opportunities with Kroger and Kroger brand stores like Fry’s Food. Here is how you can enter to win:

  • Tell me where the closest Kroger brand store is to your home so you can take advantage of the savings
Then you can do these for additional entries:
  • Follow my blog
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet this giveaway: Win $25 giftcard for Kroger brand and Fry’s Food from The Five Fish for holiday savings http://www.thefivefish.com/frys-kroger-sales-promotion
  • Like The Fish on Facebook (worth 5 entries, worth 2 if you already like us)
  • Promote this giveaway on Facebook
  • Blog this giveaway (worth 5 entries)
  • Comment on a non-giveaway post (worth 3 entries)
  • Subscribe to my feed

Contest ends December 5th @ 11:59 AZ Time.

As always: No Purchase Necessary, available to US residents. One entry per household. US postcard entries also acceptable if you do not have access to the above entry options, no limit to postcard entries as long as all are received before the close of the contest, email contests@thefivefish.com for your postcard entry details or to use email as your postcard entrance as these entries will be logged by the administrator of the blog. Winners will be chosen by “And the Winner is” Failure to adhere to the aforementioned rules set forth by this contest will result in forfeiture of your entry with no notice. Facebook does not promote, endorse, nor sponsor this review and giveaway and will be held harmless. As always, good luck and enjoy. My opinions herein are my own and are no way influenced by the receipt of a free product, they are an honest reflection of myself and my review of the integrity of the product.

“Disclosure: I was provided with a gift card to Kroger in the value of $25 at no cost in order to help promote the Kroger promotion and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.”

The Alternative to Purchasing Textbooks

textbooks, text books, college books, college educationAs a much indebted college graduate I can share my woes of financial burden and hardship of my college years were spent wasting away in the words and higher learning’s of textbooks. The ever dreaded and might I add bank breaking textbook. Nowadays there are lots of options and alternatives to purchasing textbooks for money savings and recycling.

Much of my textbooks ran in the hundreds of dollars range or they ran into that range due to the fact that I had to have multiple books for the class. Luckily I took a similar class  line as my husband so we were able to share books, albeit some were a bit outdated yet the material was the same. I would shop feverishly to find low priced books or a way to NOT have to buy the books because now I have bookcases stuffed with college text I will probably not refer to again unless I am playing Trivial Pursuit with a gaggle of friends and we are adding alcoholic beverages to the playing lineup. Oh I digress.

However I was introduced to a fabulous website Campus Book Rentals and life saver for college students. Rent your textbooks, purchase at a reduced price and not only do you receive a smoking good deal but the organization supports one of my favorite not for profit organizations Operation Smile.  Campus Book Rentals has partnered with Operation Smile by donating over 1000 life saving cleft lip surgeries this year to children in need. So for every book that is rented a portion of the proceeds help fund Operation Smile.operation smile, cleft pallete repair, Talk about two for one with saving money on college textbooks, but your funds are further being used to support a great cause. Don’t just take my word for it, take a gander and try out Campus Book Rentals for more information on saving money while in college.

Thursday Tips and Tricks

I apologize for my scatter brain as I was trying to recall all the questions and topics from memory as the Dynamic Duo were invading. You can hear and see them in action…so if nothing else…this video is at least entertaining!

Again any questions regarding taxes, mortgages, you name it….I hope to vlog an answer for you. We can also explore the dark world of organizing! Yes…my OCD tendencies would LOVE to vlog about organizing and how to get organized. Let me know. Or heck…we can just vlog about whatever! Send me your questions and again be sure to fill out the form for the Featurette Friday!

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5 Money Saving Ideas for Single Income Homes

In this crap of an economy some families are thriving, some are striving, and others are literally barely surviving. I have to say that I am a family that teeters on some days. My DH works in the building materials industry (doors, lumber, windows, stuff to build houses) and lets say that his industry is barely alive. With that I have figured new ways for saving money, cut home costs, cut major spending costs, and cut corners without sacrificing the way we have become accustomed to living. Some moms may know these little tricks and tips and others may not, some may be totally ecstatic about the idea and others may think the whole idea is hokey. Whatever your stance may be, these are my ideas, tips, and tricks and they do not reflect your particular lifestyle etc. So now that I am done with my basic disclaimer here are the goods for some money saving ideas:

1. Buy as much and as many canned, dry goods, condiments, cleaners, tiddly items you can at the DOLLAR store. I mean Dollar General, Dollar Tree (who also offers larger wholesale type quantities if you need, AND they accept Food Stamps), Family Dollar.

Buying from these stores does not mean that your food will taste any different, be any different, look any different or that you are less of a human being because you shopped at a discount store. I bought Velveeta Shells and Cheese there, name brand Spaghetti O’s, Duncan Hines brownie mix, you name it I got it there for more than HALF of what I would have paid for the generic at my local grocers, and guess what….ALL THE SAME!

2. CLIP THOSE COUPONS!!! That’s right, clip the coupons when you get them and then HOLD ONTO them. What? Why? Well because manufacturers know that you will clip those coupons and then go right out and spend full pop on the item with that coupon.

Rather, you wait for the following week, or maybe the week after to see if your item goes on sale. This is the coupon game. Watch for the weekly circular to see if your item goes on sale AND then use the coupon. Also use grocers that apply double coupons. Here in AZ, we have double coupon grocers everyday. Only special occasions do they triple your coupons.

3. Buy canned or frozen produce. Yes we all LOVE LOVE LOVE our fresh produce. I am a victim of loving my fresh produce. But when I saw how much of my beloved I would throw out each week because the items would spoil so quickly (even with my Debbie Meyers Green Bags) I decided the time had come to buy frozen or buy canned. In the frozen I buy my broccoli, corn, cauliflower, spinach, the foods I love to steam for dinners. You can buy a package of frozen spinach for almost more than half you could for the fresh, and its the same, at least the end product.

4. Buy as much generic and or bulk as possible. If you have an item you are CONSTANTLY running to the store to replenish….buy bulk. By doing so and being a member of a warehouse store like Costco (who I love) and or Sams Club, you can save yourself bundles in dollars and bundles in gas dollars for running back and forth to the store. I compared cereals and milk as those are our family’s biggest inventory turners and we save at least $20 (per store trip) buying bulk than buying at the local supermarket.

5. Invest in those awesome reusable bags. I know, the lover of Mother Earth came out in me with all my green adventures this year. But in all honesty you save money each grocery trip! Bet you didn’t know you get FIVE CENTS off for each bag you use, EACH time you use them at your local supermarket. I shop at Fry’s here in AZ and with having 5-10 bags each time, well that’s an additional 25-50 cents off my bill. Not much, but HEY, every little bit counts.

6. THE BIGGIE….make a list. I think too many times we as Mom’s are so DAMN busy that we forget to make a simple list. We are the Queen’s of multi-tasking so we run our list in our head like a drill sergeant attacking his troops in line. We beeline to the grocery store and end up buying those damned Krispy Kreme’s at the front display, the Ho Ho’s which are near the coffee, and a bag of Doritos’s since they looked so yummy on our way to the check out. All the while forgetting that we needed tampons, mustard, and eggs. So remember to take a few minutes to make a list. Or build your own online @ My Grocery Checklist. I have laminated mine so that I can use it OVER and OVER again with a dry erase marker, or I stuffed mine in a Ziploc Freezer bag until I got it laminated, plastic is about the same. I just check what I need at the time we realize we are out and then done. I don’t have to try to remember later. I mean seriously, three kids screaming and the last thing you can do is remember what the hell to get at the store when you don’t have a list.

Take ’em or leave ’em, just some of my ideas, tips and tricks. I hope these are some great ideas you can use. I also use the Coupon Mom as my reference for what is on sale and what is a coupon based on circulars. The grocery shopping trek is time consuming but so worth the effort when you can add up the HUNDREDS of dollars in savings.

Let me know what you do to save money with groceries, around the house, and things to help your family in these tight times. I would love to hear how other Moms have other neat ideas, please post comments and subscribe so I can see what else you have musing in your home.