This week will be a very short, BUT important topic, Health Savings Accounts. A health savings account also known simply as HSA, is money taken out of your check (pre-tax) for medicinal expenses. The benefit of the account is it's taken out pre-tax so that in itself lowers the amount of taxes you pay per check and also the money is there in case of emergency. These are usually in conjunction with insurance plans with a high deductible so the money that is stored away saves you a lot of out of pocket costs. The final benefit is if you feel that you have enough money to be comfortable you can invest some of the money into mutual funds and make extra (possibly) while the money is sitting idle. If the money is needed it can be easily taken out of the mutual fund and used as needed! Constantly adding money to this account will pay off handsomely in retirement when medical bills can add up and income is limited, so with that being said look into and invest into an HSA if your company offers it.
The weather is changing and it's beginning to become that time of year where people begin to think about Christmas gifts so let's talk about this... Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get in massive debt for one day. I have heard of people paying off debt until almost the next Christmas. That is insane. We all understand wanting to buy gifts and make our love ones happy, but at what cost? It is best to figure out what amount you plan to spend and start buying gifts based off that amount. If necessary parents should tell their children the truth of money is tight and they will be getting only one gift.
It is best for people to understand WHY we give gifts and the value does not matter long as it comes from the heart. Any kids should also be told the story of Jesus's birth, if they do not know the significance of the holiday they should not be getting these expensive gifts to begin with.
Last week for part 1 of winter months so let's continue... When was the last time you had someone come out to check the insulation around your house or when was the last time you did it yourself? Chances are it has been awhile! If your house is not properly insulated all that heat that you are creating is just slowly going outside and wasting electricity, and I can tell you now your AC unit might be good but it cannot hear the entire world up so keep the heat in.
Preventive maintenance on items in your house saves you a lot of money in the long run. Simple PM items can be done by the homeowner such as cleaning vents, caulking window seals and etc. Not taking steps and having to call someone over for "emergency service" is when things quickly get expensive. So if you feel like your unit might not last the cold winter months get it checked out in the fall, because waiting until peak season will cost much more for the exact same service.
Overall the message in this post is be pro-active not reactive!
Are you ready for the winter months? Ok... We know the temperature is dropping, but please do not rush and buy the thickest fur jacket or turn the heat on full blast, relax people. I know this might sound like someone being "cheap" but it's ok to keep your house a little cool and lounge around with sweatpants or etc. Usually lounging clothes are comfortable and wearing them inside the house will definitely save you on your electricity bill because keeping the house at 75-77 when it's 30 degrees outside is death on your wallet! An additional tip would be if you own your home get your heater/furnace inspected. Nothing is worse than a broken heating unit during the middle of winter because it WILL be expensive. Take heed to these two simple ways to keep your heating bill under control for the upcoming winter months!