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Daddy, Daddy, Please Take Me To The Gas Station

Gas Stations.   Growing up in New Jersey, the only thing I looked forward to when Mom or Dad was filling up at the pump was watching the attendant wipe down our front windshield and cracking the window to catch a whiff of the gasoline smell.  Most certainly, we avoided getting out of the car to use the gas stations bathroom facilities and if you wanted something to eat the best you could hope for was a Little Debbie snack or a pack of Lance’s peanut butter or cheese crackers. Today’s gas stations look more like part convenience store, part gourmet food store, and part fill up your tank.   Recently, a new RaceTrac opened up near me on Old Milton Parkway and I was amazed at how the entire store was put together.   The friendliness of the staff and the cleanliness of the store was simply off the chart.  But why oh why do kids ask Daddy and Mommy now to ...

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How Much Will It Cost When Your Son Or Daughter Starts Driving?

It’s hard to imagine for most parents that their son or daughter will be ready to get their driver’s license someday.    In fact, I think this ritual is a little bit like the birthing process.   Nature in part prepares you for very little sleep when the baby is born by making it very difficult to sleep in that last trimester.    As much as your stomach will go through the spin cycle the first time your son or daughter leaves the driveway all by themselves, there is also an overwhelming sense of relief for you to remove the chauffeur cap that you have rightly earned the years preceding your son or daughter getting their driver’s license.    While most families prepare for the magical day when their children get their rite of passage to begin driving, they often don’t consider the extra costs that may hit their family budget.   How much will it cost when my child starts driving? Learners Permit- This ...

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5 Places To Put Your Money Now

The recent United States credit downgrade, unsteadiness in the stock market, and overall challenging economic times have had some people asking where might be a good place to put your money now.   As always, you should consult a qualified financial advisor, CPA, or other professional before making any final decisions.   Your choices should also be based upon the time frame to your goal, tax management considerations, and your overall cash flow within the context of a comprehensive financial plan.  The information below is just my opinion. It should go without saying that if you have any outstanding debt with high interest rates including credit cards, personal loans, or automobile loans, pay those down first.   It is best to get rid of consumer debt and no person today can find you a safe investment with the same rate of return as paying down your credit cards.   Here are five areas that I think could be good for your money now.   ...

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Do You Spend Too Much?

One of the trends I have noticed among family households is the notion of unconscious spending.  This can happen for both what we would consider fixed expenses (gas, electric, phone, cable), and also for discretionary expenses (dining out, vacation, household purchases). You are often very conscious about what you spend when you don’t have any money or at the stage when you have a low income. Your thought process often revolves around what your net pay is from your weekly or bi-weekly check, and wondering whether you are going to have enough money to cover the basics monthly bills.  You dream for the day when you make enough money so you can splurge to buy a few of the items you have always dreamed of having, or thinking about that vacation spot you have always wanted to visit. There becomes a point for many people that you begin to make enough money to cover your bills, and you have more ...

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