Friday, June 21, 2019

College Savings Errors to Avoid

Saving for your kids’ college education can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Learning the best ways to save can help you avoid costly mistakes – and increase your yield. Mistake #1 – Choosing a plain old savings account When you’re concerned about losing money on an investment, a standard savings account might feel safer. The interest on that account, however, won’t even keep up with inflation, let alone the rapidly rising cost of college.  The Fix – If an aggressive investment isn’t right for you, at least choose a 529 plan, specifically designed for college expenses. Money in a 529 plan grows tax-free until your child uses it to pay for school. And if you’re lucky enough to get lots of grants and scholarships, you can transfer a 529 to another child. Mistake #2 – Believing savings count against you Some parents choose not to save for their children to go to college because they (erroneously) believe a robust savings will hinder their ability to get financial aid.  The Fix – The truth is that it’s primarily what you’re earning – not saving – that colleges take into consideration when granting financial aid, so save away. Mistake #3 – Setting and forgetting it Everyone’s financial situation changes over time, as do tax laws and investment options. But too many people set up savings plans once and never revisit them.  The Fix – It’s important to review your investments on a regular basis, and that’s especially true if your goals are in the shorter term. College investments that get more conservative over time are preferable, as they reduce risk as the child gets closer to college age.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Save Money On Dental Care

Even with health insurance, dental care costs can add up fast. Dentists will sometimes discount your bill if you ask (especially if you don’t have insurance), and if you’re over 55 there may be a senior discount program. Here are four more ideas to help you save: 1. Use a dental school. You can find accredited schools for most dental work, where a student will perform the work overseen by an experienced instructor. Find schools here: ADA.org/dentalschools 2. Consider a dental discount plan. Sometimes using a dental plan may save you more than actually having dental insurance. You generally pay a yearly fee to join a discount plan and use dentists that are members of the plan to get lowered rates on services. To find a plan available in your area visit: www.dentalplans.com or www.dentalcareadvantage.com 3. Choose a dentist with a payment plan. Many dentists will work with you to set up a payment arrangement if you don’t have insurance. There are also special credit accounts you can get just for dental and medical bills, which allow you to make payments instead of having to pay the sum in full before you can be treated – check with your bank or at: unitedmedicalcredit.com or carecredit.com 4. Low-income dental care options. For low-income patients, there are many options that vary by state. Find locations that provide free or low-cost health and dental care in the U.S. at the following website: FindAHealthCenter.HRSA.gov. Dental Lifeline at DentalLifeline.org provides free dental work to elderly and disabled patients who otherwise couldn’t afford to pay.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Getaway to Suncadia Resort!

Suncadia Resort was a huge gamble that has paid off! Suncadia is a 6300 acre planned resort community backing up to 2.2 million acres of National Forest land. It’s right off I90, just 90 miles from Seattle, yet worlds away. It was begun in 2002 and is now living up to expectations with 3 top rated golf courses, winter activities, hundreds of homes, water parks, amazing winery, spa, amphitheater, beautiful lodge and much more. I have played all of the courses including the new Rope Ryder and just love being up there and the I’m on vacation feeling you get. The restaurant in the lodge is high quality and has sweeping views of the valley and the private Tumble Creek course, everything is first class! Suncadia is worth checking out if you want a really nice family vacation spot! If you head up make sure to take a short drive to historic Roslyn. There are lots of restaurants and great shops plus the Heritage Distillery open for daily tasting samples and gifts. Stop in for a beer at Washington's oldest bar - The Brick Tavern. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Drive the North Cascades Hwy this Summer

Sunny spring and summer days are a great excuse to take road trips. If you have time and find a nice day jump in the car and go for it! SR 20 closes every winter sometime in November depending on snow depth and does not generally reopen until May. The pass is 5,477 ft. above sea level! It is one of the state’s oldest highways; it was roughed out in 1897. Before that is was a well-used Native American trading route. It is the states northernmost route across the mountains and was the 1st designated National Scenic Highway in the United States. From Marblemount to Winthrop you will want to stop several times to take pictures. The most scenic drive starts in the North Cascades National Park and is absolutely spectacular past a turquoise Lake Diablo and crystal blue Ross Lake. I have taken the drive once and will not forget it! You will want to consider staying the night or plan on a full day. Winthrop offers many great restaurant and lodging options. Enjoy the trip!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

How To Prevent Portion Distortion

Your mother’s old adage “finish your plate” isn’t the best advice anymore. Whether you eat out (restaurant portions are up 40 percent over the last 30 years) or eat in at home, portion sizes have grown out of proportion, causing many of us to consume extra calories and add unhealthy pounds. Here’s how to prevent portion distortion and help control your weight. Know your terms. A portion is the amount of food you choose to eat for a meal. Big or small – the choice is up to you. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or 8 ounces of milk. Read the Nutrition Facts Label. The Food and Drug Administration puts it there to tell you how many calories and how much fat, carbohydrate, sodium and other nutrients are in one serving of the product. You may think the 3-ounce bag of chips is one portion, but the label says it contains 3 servings. Gradually reduce your portions. Try relating one serving size to everyday objects such as these offered by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: 1 cup of cereal = a fist 2 tsp of peanut butter = a ping-pong ball 1/2 cup of ice cream = 1/2 baseball 1 medium fruit = 1 baseball 3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = 1 deck of cards Use the “New American Plate” guide. The American Institute for Cancer Research says to look at your plate and aim for meals made of 2/3 (or more) of vegetables, fruits, whole grains or beans, and 1/3 (or less) animal protein. Repackage products. Buying large-size bags or boxes may save you money, but divide the items into single serving packages when you get home. Don’t “supersize” at fast-food restaurants. It may sound like a good value but you know you’re eating more than you should. If you go for the larger-sized meal at any restaurant, be sure to share it with a friend or take half of it home for another meal.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Make Extra Income By Renting Your Home Or A Room

With thousands of hotel rooms available that offer the same amenities, many travelers now prefer a more personal experience – staying with a host by renting a room or an entire house through sites like AirBnB.com, Homeaway.com, and VRBO.com. As a host, you can make significant extra income by renting your space. Here are key questions you should ask if you are considering hosting: • Is it safe? Check with the site you might list with for specifics. AirBnB provides hosts with insurance and “Verified ID,” which means they have verified guests’ information. It’s wise to speak with your guests on the phone before you book the reservation. Plus, guests and hosts are both subject to reviews from other guests/hosts on most sites. • How much can you earn? Hosts who rent out a room make anywhere from $70 per night on AirBnB in a city like Houston, to over $100 in San Francisco. The most profitable locations are places with beaches like Miami and San Diego, mountain towns, or cities with summer festivals. HomeAway reports that homeowners charge an average weekly rate of $1,520 for an entire home. • How much time does it take? Hosts who are more hands-on have higher occupancy rates. Cleanliness, an accurate description and pictures of your property, and developing a relationship with your guests will help you book more often, and get you better reviews. HomeAway says its hosts spend an average of 9 hours per week marketing and managing their properties. • Can I do it in my neighborhood? Understand the laws in your town. Call your local zoning/planning office to make sure it’s legal to rent a room to short-term renters.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Causes and Cures of Pain

From aching joints to general fatigue, sometimes we’re plagued by symptoms, but we don’t know what the medical problem could be at the root of our pain. Here are a few health issues that could be causing your problems, and a few “quick tips” that may help. 1. Backaches – An old mattress can cause back pain, but you may want to have your doctor check your vitamin D levels – a deficiency can cause back and joint pain. A daily supplement can help if that’s the culprit. Weakened vertebrae, muscle fatigue, and back spasms may be eased with daily stretching, yoga, and hot and cold therapy applied via heating pads and ice packs (see your doctor for help with how to use this correctly). 2. Aching joints – Pain sensitivity is particularly acute for women who have gone through menopause. If you eat tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, dairy, and/or gluten, keep a food diary to see if food sensitivity is a culprit of your pain. 3. Lethargy and fatigue – Remaining alert and awake ensures you’re working at your highest levels of productivity. If you’re also suffering from sensitivity to cold and unexplained weight gain, hypothyroidism could be to blame. Of course, poor sleep could be at fault; get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day to increase levels of deep sleep. 4. Foot pain – Though gout affects joints throughout the body, the most common place for this painful condition to occur is the base of the big toe. Pain concentrated in the heel or arch of the foot may result from plantar fasciitis. Ditch the high heels and tight-fitting shoes, and lose excess weight to help decrease pain. Alcohol and stress can increase gout flare-ups. For a more comprehensive list of possible hidden causes and cures of pain, try this online tool: symptomchecker.isabelhealthcare.com