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10 Brilliant Ways to Keep Young Kids Active and Entertained for Free

Enjoy this guest post from fellow blogger Sandra Cobain. 

Kids need plenty of exercise for good health. It’s a no brainer, right?

Along with preventing health complications from obesity, exercise has a ton of benefits including strong bones, better endurance, deeper sleep, better focus, less stress and an improved mental health, among others.

So how do you get your kids to exercise? Probably not by taking them to the gym and putting them on a treadmill. I doubt they’ll get excited about that. Read more

Why Should You Choose ETX Capital for Trading

dollar-exchange-rate-544949_640Online trading has become the major source of income. Many traders look for various methods to trade share and earn profit. Online companies also help in the source of earning and have been actively participating. There are various ways of trading that is being performed by trading. ETX Capital offer spread betting service and is one such method trading. The company also provides high net worth and retail customers with the multi-asset market derivatives trading. This trading is done through the spread betting and CFDs – Contract of Differences.

Spread betting is also a form of trading with numbers of differences from that of traditional trading.

Here, the traders will have different brokerage choices. The traders will also get a wide range of benefits, which many competitors find it to be hard to match with this trading platform.

This trading platform offers different trading experience to the traders. It also offers educational opportunities and provides enough knowledge about how to safeguard your funds. Your trading account is highly secured with this trading platform, whereas you can also experience good customer services. The traders can also benefit the mobile trading accessibility by downloading the apps to their devices.

ETX also offers best customer services in varied languages to facilitate easy communication such as in English, Spanish, Czech, Mandarin, Polish, French, German and Greek.

Tight spread betting is offered on various products such as:

  • Forex: In this spreads start at 0.7 pips for USD/EUR
  • Equities: 0.08 indicative spreads for certain stocks
  • Indices: Minimum spreads start from 1 pip for certain indices that are also major
  • Commodities: Minimum spreads that start from 3 pips

Trading in current days should be enabled to access from where the traders are. To make this possible, this popular platform offers a complete range of trading apps with all the three platforms on iPad, Android and iPhone devices.

There are different types of traders with different expectations. Therefore, there should be various choices available for them to specialize as they prefer.

This online trading broker also offer the customizable trading charts, tight spreads and other tools to enable traders get the chance to embrace specific level of risk in pursuit of specific levels of returns.

With ETX MT4, the traders can bring their own automated expert advisors to this platform, whereas in ETX Binary, which is the newest platform has a wide range of expiry times ranging from minutes to even months.

There are certain procedures designed to keep the customers’ money secured by this online source. It conducts daily security checks, which will ensure that the firm will have constant and sufficient regulatory capital. Moreover, the clients’ funds are kept strictly separate from the company’s money in the investment grade rated UK banks.

By choosing this trading platform, you will also get access to numbers of tradable markets and trade worldwide financial indices. You can also trade numerous equities and considerable number of commodities. The traders can experience a standard type of trading at ETX.

Here is How To Learn About Stockbroking In Only 10 Days

tie-690084_640Being a stockbroker does not involve that much glitz and glam, as you’ve probably seen in “The Wolf of Wall Street” movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio. Real life is different than movies. Nevertheless, stockbroking is an awesome activity, hobby or job – depending on how you look at it.

As an investor, you can make a fortune in the long run if you have the necessary skills. However, in order to get there from here, you need to start learning the basics.

Of course, going to a good college and applying to the right internships could give you a headstart, but what’s more important is how much you are able to invest in educating yourself. In order to help you out, we give you several tips on how to learn about stockbroking in only 10 days.

You can make use of these tips even if you have no previous experience in stockbroking or you think you are not good at it. In the end, all that matters to succeed is your capacity to assimilate information and to put it into practice. With a bit of luck, you can even get to point where money is not a problem anymore.

Read Insightful Books

Books provide a wealth of useful information and are definitely a much more affordable option than seminars, classes or DVDs. Some books are better than others, especially in the highly competitive stock industry. Here is a list of the best stock investing books you can start reading during the 10 day period: https://www.stocktrader.com/investing-books/. We recommend you to start with just two books in the beginning, and after the 10-day period you can start reading the remaining.

Find a Mentor

A mentor can be of real help, especially if you want to learn about stockbroking in less than 10 days. Your mentor could be either a friend, family members, co-workers or even a current professor with a fundamental understanding of the stock market. A good mentor could be a gold mine for you, providing constant help, answering your questions and keeping your spirits up when the trends are not as expected or the market is tough.

Read Articles

Thanks to the world wide web, you have free access to thousands of precious articles on this topic. A good article could educate you more than many other resources. One good website with tons of useful articles is http://www.investopedia.com/. On this platform, you can stay up to date with the latest trends and read useful articles on various topics, such as investing, trading or mutual funds.

Open a Demo Stock Broker Account

Theory is important, but nothing beats a few hours of practice. Find a professional online brokerage platform and start to familiarize yourself with virtual trading. We recommend you to try cmc markets, a platform that offers unrivaled features and make it easy for you to begin your practice in stockbroking.

Study the Great Investors and Dig Deep into their Minds

If you have extra time during this period of time, we recommend you to take a look at how the greatest investors of all times acted and thought. George Soros, Warren Buffet or Peter Lynch are just some of the best in stockbroking. The strategies they employed could still prove invaluable today.

Follow the Trends

Ultimately, you can easily learn about stockbroking by reading the latest news and staying up to date with the trends in this industry. Sites like Google Finance or Yahoo Finance serve as a great source of information for brokers and investors. For more in-depth analysis and trends, look no further than Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal.

By keeping a close eye on the trends and by monitoring the changes in the market, you can learn a lot of precious information about stockbroking. In addition to looking online, you can watch CNBC or other stock market-related news channel.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to easily learn about stockbroking in just 10 days, start now and begin your journey into the amazing world of stockbroking. Being an investor could prove to be the dream job you’ve always wanted to have.

Got Clutter? Use It to Lower Your Tax Bill with a Charitable Donation

clutter

It’s a fact of life — the more time goes by, the more stuff you accumulate. Much of this stuff outlives its usefulness quickly, so decluttering becomes a necessity. But what to do with the clothes, miscellaneous household items, toys, furniture, and other things that you no longer need, use, or want? When you donate them to an IRS-approved charity, you can take a tax deduction for the fair market value of these items and easily calculate it using online taxes software.

That deduction can add up, especially if you’re donating big-ticket items like large appliances, furniture, or a car or boat. But what is the fair market value of your old stuff and how can you determine it? What kinds of noncash items qualify for donation, and what documentation will you need to take the deduction?

Most charities make it easy to determine the fair market value of noncash goods; you just need a receipt for the donation, some photos of the donated items for your records, and appropriate forms to file with your tax return.

Donate Your Stuff

You can take a charitable tax deduction for almost any kind of noncash item. Big-ticket items like cars, furniture, large appliances, boats, and designer clothing will obviously net you the biggest deductions. But you can also take deductions for miscellaneous household items, toys, used clothing, books, DVDs, CDs, games, small appliances, and other less valuable items as long as they’re in good condition.

While you can only take a charitable deduction for donated items that are considered in good condition and working order, the IRS itself doesn’t determine what that means; you’ll have to refer to the guidelines of the charity to which you’re donating. The only exception is if you have a single item of clothing, or a single household item, that has been appraised at a value of at least $500. You may take a deduction of such an item even if it is in poor condition.

Keep Your Documentation

When you donate noncash items to a charity, it’s a good idea to take photos of the items first, just in case you need to prove to the IRS that the stuff was in good condition. You should also receive a receipt for the donated items from the charity in question. This will stand as proof of your contribution. You’ll need to file IRS Form 8283 with your tax return. You should be able to find a free tax calculator online that can help you accurately fill out the form.

Determine the Fair Market Value

According to the IRS, a noncash item’s fair market value is whatever a “willing buyer” would give for the item and a “willing seller” would take for the item, when both are engaging in the transaction freely and have “reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.” If you’re donating items worth less than $5,000, you can determine their fair market value yourself without the help of an appraiser.

Most charities offer online guides to determining the fair market value of items like used clothing, small appliances, used books, toys, and other small-ticket items. For example, according to the Goodwill’s online donation value guide, a used floor lamp is worth $8 to $34, while a used sheet is worth $2 to $9, and a used woman’s blouse is worth $4 to $9. You can also consult IRS publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.

If you want to donate an item worth more than $5,000, you will need a professional appraisal of that item. If you donate a boat or car, however, the charity in question will most likely sell the boat or car at auction for cash rather than keeping it for sale in a thrift shop. In that respect, donating a boat or car is similar to donating cash to a charity, since the organization in question will let you know how much they were able to get for the sale of your item.

Thanks to a 2005 rule change, you’ll only be able to deduct the final sale price of the car or boat, rather than its fair market value. That means if your boat or car has a fair market value of $5,500, but the charity to which you donated it sells it at auction for $5,000, you will only be able to deduct $5,000 from your taxes. The IRS implemented this rule in response to taxpayers overvaluing donated cars and boats.

Donating noncash items to charity can knock thousands off your tax bill, and help you declutter your home at the same time. Free up extra living space, organize your things, help the less fortunate, and protect the environment by keeping your unused items out of the landfill. You could find that deducting noncash donations from your taxes is so simple, you’ll want to do it every year!

The Financial Management Tip You Need to Start Following, Today!

writing-1149962_640Many new entrepreneurs and business owners start their companies out of their personal finances. Before generating any business, using your own funds via your checking or savings account may seem like the only way to launch your company.

If you choose this route, soon after the company starts to gain traction, it is critical that you follow this one important tip: separate your business from your personal finances. Unfortunately, not every business owner follows this advice and spins off their business finances from their personal finances. In fact, some unwise business owners never separate their personal financial lives from their business.

Not separating your personal finances from your business can result in significant damage to both your personal and business lives. Everything from taxation issues with the IRS to personal liability can easily be the unintended consequences of not separating your business from personal finances.

Separating your business finances from your personal finances is necessary, but doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are considering starting a business or if you are already operating a business and are ready to split your finances, here are four ways that you can separate the two aspects of your life.

Maintain Separate Checking Accounts

This is the first step to separating your business from your personal financial life. Some business owners erroneously believe that setting up a business checking account is difficult and costly. The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. It is very easy, and many banks offer free business checking with a very low balance requirement.

If you are a sole proprietor, you can quickly open up a business checking account by just applying for a fictitious name with your state and using your personal social security number. A fictitious name application usually costs less than $50.00 and can often be done online in just a few minute. If your company is a corporation or LLC, you will need an EIN and your corporate charter to open a business account. An EIN is an Employer Identification number that serves the same purpose as your personal social security number for the business.

Having a separate checking account is not only essential to keeping your finances in-line, but it is one of the things the IRS looks at to determine if you are running a business or if it is just a hobby. In addition, as your business continues to grow and you consider applying for an equipment loan, payroll loan or another type of small business funding, having a separate checking account will help you get the funds you need to grow quickly and easily.

Apply for a Business Credit Card

You can apply for credit in your business’ name rather than your own name to obtain a business credit card. Many of the major credit card companies provide business credit cards. In order to practice proper financial management, use the business credit card strictly for your business versus your personal expenses. An important aspect to keep in mind is that, unless your business is very well established, you will have to co-sign for the business credit card. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but just be aware that you will be personally responsible for any debts incurred on the business credit card.

Create a Separate Entity

This is truly the most critical step in completely separating your business from personal finances. Creating a corporate entity such as a corporation or LLC will actually separate your business from your own affairs in the eyes of the law. Many business owners wrongly believe that it costs thousands of dollars and requires an attorney to form a corporate entity, but there are actually multiple services that provide LLC and corporate formations for just a few hundred dollars, including state fees.

The reason operating as an LLC or corporation is so critical is that your business becomes a separate legal entity under the law. There is no disputing that your business is business as long as you follow the correct procedure in maintaining the entity. Before proceeding, be certain to seek professional guidance as to how to properly maintain an LLC or corporation.

Build Business Credit

Just as there are personal credit bureaus such as Trans-Union and Equifax, there are credit bureaus that track business credit. The most well-known business credit bureau is Dunn & Bradstreet, or DNB for short. You can contact DNB for a DUNS number to use with your business. This number is used by DNB, just like a social security number is used by personal credit bureaus, to build a credit profile of your business. When applying for corporate credit, you can use this number. You should also check to see if the credit provider or supplier reports to DNB. Try to only use vendors that report to DNB to quickly build your business’s credit profile.

Recommended Reading: Good Marketing: A Key Component to Any Successful Business

A word of warning is needed about business credit though. There are numerous companies that purport to help you build corporate credit. Be extremely cautious when dealing with such firms. While they may or may not be outright scams, they can do little that you cannot accomplish on your own without paying their often high fees.

It is critical to separate your business from personal finances. Everyone from the IRS to creditors will take into consideration whether your business and personal finances are separated. The four primary ways to operate your business, mentioned above, can greatly assist you in the growth of your business as well as your overall financial management.

How We Broke the New and Shiny Cycle

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See that pic? That’s the odometer on our 2005 Chevy Suburban. It just hit 200,000 miles this last month.  I love our 2005 truck. It runs great. Looks good. And fits all of our needs. The fact that it’s eleven years old doesn’t phase me a bit, but it wasn’t always that way.

For years we were addicted to “new and shiny”. In our defense, we stayed mostly away from “big” new and shiny things after we moved to our McMansion in 2001. We moved to the McMansion right along with our 1999 Ford Windstar and our 2000 Chevy Silverado, both of which were bought new and shiny off the showroom floor. Read more

Why You Should Consider DIY Tax Filing

Save Money with DIY Tax Filing
Save Money with DIY Tax Filing

This post is part of the TaxAct #DIYtaxes blog tour which empowers you to take ownership of your finances by doing your own taxes. TaxAct provides the tools and guidance to help you confidently file your taxes easy and fast. Do your own taxes today at TaxAct.com. You got this. 

 Hey, frugal friends!!  We’re nearing the deadline for personal tax filing, so I thought I would share with you our own DIY tax filing experience and why I think doing your taxes yourself with a trusted company like Tax Act can be a smart idea.

Let me start by saying that I’m the primary handler of the money in our household. Rick has absolutely zero interest in the management of our money. Personal finance just isn’t his thing.

Since this task is mostly left to me, I’m the one who had to face the question of:  Do we or do we not file our own tax returns?

 I love the guy that does our taxes. He’s knowledgeable, friendly, gets our taxes done quickly and is relatively inexpensive. We’ve been going to him for nearly twenty years, so he knows our returns inside and out and does a great job.

The Benefits of DIY Tax Filing

So, why would I consider doing our taxes myself?  Two reasons:

  • Money
  • Knowledge

Cost Savings

Although our guy does charge reasonable prices for our area, we still have to pay him $130 a year to get our taxes done. If we use a do-it-yourself tax system like Tax Act, we’ll only pay a maximum of $50 to file state and federal taxes.

Those needing to file a basic EZ or A form pay far less than that.

Knowledge Gained

The other reason I decided to try DIY tax filing was because I really wanted to gain the knowledge that comes from learning to file your own taxes.

After all, I figured, if I could master filing my own taxes, it’s a skill I would have for a lifetime. And the more in tune we are with our personal finances, the easier it is to manage them in a way that helps improve our financial situation.

DIY Tax Filing Today vs. Yesteryear

In full disclosure, we did partake in DIY tax filing one other time, about twenty years ago. We did it for the purpose of comparing the results we received with our preparer with the results we received by doing our taxes on our own.

The experience wasn’t good. The company we used at that time had a less-than-user-friendly system in place, and if we would’ve ended up filing with them, we would’ve received far less back on our refund than we did with our tax guy.

Being so many years had passed, I was eager to see how things have changed. I found that DIY tax filing is MUCH easier in today’s world than it was twenty years ago.

We tried the Tax Act system and found that it is SO easy to use! It tells you exactly what to put in, and exactly where to put it.

The other thing I found highly beneficial with Tax Act is that they have a thorough support system available if filers should have any questions at all. Answers to questions are easy to find and readily available with Tax Act’s online support system.

If you haven’t tried DIY tax filing before, I encourage you to make this the year you test it out for yourself. Tax Act allows you to start your return for free – you pay nothing until you file your return.

So take a chance on saving some money and gaining some knowledge and try DIY tax filing today!

Beating the tax deadline doesn’t have to be stressful. With TaxAct, everything you need to confidently prepare and e-file your taxes is right at your fingertips. You got this. File your simple federal and state return FREE today with TaxAct. 

 

Image Credit: Flickr 401(k)2012

men in food line

Rational Prepping: Part 1, Financial

men in food line
How to Prepare for Financial Disaster

I read an article this week about how preppers are “crazy”. The article’s point was that many people are going overboard, spending gazillions of dollars on prepping for Armageddon-type events and circumstances. I get the author’s point: there are indeed some preppers out there – probably more than we know – who aren’t “rational prepping” by any stretch of the imagination. The stories are available everywhere; stories of people who are so full of fear that they’re preparing in ways that are more about fear than about logic.

I read about one guy who’s storing up millions of dollars of nickels because he believes it’s a safe metal to invest in. And then there’s this story about the multi-million dollar underground condo bunkers, complete with a full gym and state of the art security team. With all of these stories floating around online, I can see how people would brush aside the prepping community as a bunch of nutcases. But not all preppers are wasting their entire life savings on precautionary measures for Armageddon-type events that may or may not come. Read more

Getting it Right: Goal Setting for the New Year

It’s only November, my friends, but now’s the time to set your Fruclastic money and other goals for 2016. I’m a bit of an expert at setting goals. More accurately, I’m an expert and setting  and then failing at accomplishing those goals.  🙂  So I thought I’d share with you today a bit about what I’ve learned regarding goal-setting mistakes and goal-setting successes. My hope is that this information will help you accurately set (and achieve) your 2016 financial and other goals. Read more