Emergency Funds

Emergency Funds

An emergency fund is a stash of money set aside to cover the financial surprises life throws your way. These unexpected events can be stressful and costly. Some common emergencies include unexpected medical expenses, car repairs, and home repairs.

While most experts agree you should have an emergency fund, how much is in that fund and where it is stored is wildly debated.

Continue reading Emergency Funds

Buy the Perfect Home With No Regrets

Buy the Perfect Home With No Regrets


I can still remember that feeling of excitement when I met with a realtor to look at my first home. It was a very triumphant feeling. This feeling can fade into agony after looking at house after house and not finding the right one. Planning ahead and sticking to the plan when searching for a home can save you time and major headaches along the way.

Continue reading Buy the Perfect Home With No Regrets

Summer Vacation Savings

Summer Vacation Savings

If you’re ready to get away this summer but don’t quite have the funds, it’s smart to start coming up with a realistic savings strategy now. And remember, your vacation doesn’t have to be anything fancy – even a relaxing camping trip or a trip to visit friends could provide the type of break you need to feel your best.

Regardless of the type of trip you hope to afford, the best thing you can do for a potential summer trip is start figuring out the financial side of the equation today. Here are some steps that can help you start saving right away:

Step up weekly bank transfers.

With only a few months until summer break, monthly deposits into a savings account may not cut it. If you want to afford that summer trip you’ve always wanted it is a better idea to look at how much you can save on a weekly basis.

If you hope to have $1,000 set aside for a trip in July, for example, you’ll need to save around $56 every week from the beginning of March through the end of June.

One of the best ways to make sure this works is to set up a separate vacation savings account and set up direct deposit transfers. With a separate savings account, you may not be as tempted to spend your vacation fund on regular bills. Meanwhile, setting up direct deposit or automatic transfer will make sure your savings account is funded whether you remember or not. The main thing you’ll need to remember is to deduct the amount from your checking account each month so you don’t overspend.

Start a change jar.

If you use cash at all, starting a change jar might be more profitable than you think. By adding your spare change – and extra bills – to a change jar each time you enter the house, you could pad your vacation fund with an extra $5, $10, $20 or more each week.

I’ve even had a friend go so far as to put any $1 bills he receives as change into his vacation fund. This is a great way to rack up a significant amount quickly.

Make a few temporary lifestyle changes.

If you want to afford a summer trip this year, cutting back on splurges for a few months can help. This could mean cutting out your daily stops at a local coffee shop, cooking at home an extra few times a month, or not drinking alcohol quite as much. It’s up to you to decide what splurges are worth cutting back on in exchange for a vacation.

Since dining out and entertainment are luxuries that are fairly easy to spot and cut, start there. Still, the key to making this work is actually putting that money aside. Whether you cut out dining, going out to the movies, playing golf, or another hobby, you need to put the money you save into a savings account for it to help.

Start earning cash on the side.

If your current income leaves you struggling to save each month, earning a bit of extra money might be your best bet. And if you don’t want to get a traditional part-time job, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to earn money on the side without picking up retail or restaurant work.

The opportunities to earn more money are endless, but don’t forget to think outside of the box. If you have a clean car and driving record, you could consider driving part-time (and on your own schedule) for Uber, for example. If you love animals, you could set up a profile on Rover.com and watch dogs in your spare time. You could also scour Craigslist for weekend gigs, but just be sure this money goes into the vacation fund.


Spring clean your home and sell your stuff.

When you’re short on vacation cash, a yard sale can help. The good news for you is that it’s almost spring cleaning season as well. As warm weather approaches, it’s an ideal time to clean out your closets, spare rooms, and garage. As you clean each room or area, look for stuff you no longer use that you could sell.

Gather all your unwanted clothing, tools, supplies, housewares and exercise equipment, then find the best way to get top dollar. Depending on where you live, this could mean having a traditional yard sale or selling your items online. Either way works fine as long as you’re getting cash for stuff you no longer want or use.

The key here (as always) is making sure those profits go directly into your vacation fund – not toward more stuff that’ll just end up in the same junk pile two years down the road.

Start Saving Now for the Vacation You Deserve


If you’re ready to relax this summer, the best thing you can do is start taking actionable steps now. By saving weekly sums of cash or earning a little more in the short term, you could have a burgeoning vacation fund by the time spring is in full swing.

While the right strategy for you will depend on your lifestyle, it’s worth giving each one a try. Over time, you might even build habits that improve your finances for the long run – and well past your summer travels.

Either way, like it or not, summer will be here before you know it. If your idea of summer includes a getaway with your family, you need to start saving now.


Continue reading Summer Vacation Savings

Home Scouting: Home Search Made Easy!

hbm cell image

Home Scouting Makes Searching

For A Home Easy!

Doug Haldeman, Mortgage Strategist (NMLS: 298419) with Cornerstone Mortgage shares the free service with his listeners.

He and Tammie discusses some of the benefits of the Home Buyer’s Scouting Report and how it is a great way for the consumer to shop for their next home or investment property.  There are so many great features available with this service.  Not to mention it has 100% of the MLS listings and we DO NOT sell your email to anyone.

If you are considering buying a home in the next 12 months be sure to visit the Home Search Tab above or you can download the mobile app on your phone.

Home Scouting Audio

Continue reading Home Scouting: Home Search Made Easy!

Tax Resolution with John Niemann

Tax Resolution

John Niemann is with us to discuss tax resolutions. John has been been specializing in tax resolution for almost two decades and has a ton of experience in the area. If you owe the IRS back taxes you will want to have someone on your side fighting for you.

Continue reading Tax Resolution with John Niemann

Gift of Equity with John Niemann

Gift of Equity with John Niemann

John Niemann of Niemann & Company is with us to discuss gifts of equity and the potential tax consequences of them. John has over 35 years experience as a CPA in the tax arena.  With the last 15 years dedicated to helping individuals and businesses solve their IRS collection-related problems.

Continue reading Gift of Equity with John Niemann

Loans for Veterans

Loans for Veterans

The VA Loan is arguably the best loan product out there for Veterans. Now, while I do a lot of VA loans I still get tons of questions about them. If you or someone you know served in the military, active or reserves, read more to find out exactly how easy it can be for Veterans and Active military to get a home.

Continue reading Loans for Veterans

Fundamental Financial Principles

Fundamental Financial Principles

One of the things I’m not sure I’ve had the opportunity to share is my purpose for creating the show. Creating Smart With Your Money came about as a way for me to share the information I’ve learned throughout my life with other people. Through the years I’ve come up with 7 main fundamental financial principles that I think you’ll get good use out of.

Continue reading Fundamental Financial Principles

Elaine Mahr: Liability Limits and Asset Buckets

Elaine Mahr: Liability Limits and Asset Buckets


Elaine Mahr from Farmers Insurance is with us to explain how your net worth affects what amount of liability insurance you should have. She also goes into how to determine your net worth and also how to allocate it.

Determining your net worth to be sure you are not under-insured is extremely important. You have worked hard for what you have now let’s do our best to make sure you do not lose it. You want to build a wall of liability. Liability is the least expensive coverage but Elaine believes it is the most vital.

Continue reading Elaine Mahr: Liability Limits and Asset Buckets