Tips To Control Your Budget

by Maureen E. Hook, Ph.D.
January 21, 2013
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It’s January and it’s time to follow through on those New Year’s resolutions. Was one of your resolutions to be more efficient and save on expenses this year? Well, here are some tips to help you save in 2013:
1) To maximize those Flexible Spending Accounts, make sure you spend all the funds you have allocated by the deadline (usually Dec. 31 or March 15). Remember it’s your money, and if you don’t turn in receipts to total what has been put aside, you are essentially giving money to your employer. To spend down those last remaining dollars, you could purchase things such as band-aids or reading glasses.
2) Get rid of the storage unit. Expenses related to storage units can run from $480 to $1,800 per year. What to do with the stuff? Have a purging party and throw away what you can. What’s left can be donated or sold at a consignment shop.
3) Ask your home security company if you can switch to a monitoring-only monthly rate. It may not be possible during the first few years of ownership because you are really helping pay for the equipment, but after a certain point, that should be an option. In this way, an average monthly $55 bill can be reduced to around $25.
4) Ditch the phone landline, especially if your household has one or more cell phones. That by itself can save you approximately $50 per month once you add on all the federal and local taxes. To replace it for emergency purposes, you can use Skype which requires a $60 adapter and $8 monthly charge or a device such as magic Jack Plus which plugs into your phone allowing you to make calls over the internet without a computer ($70 device includes a year of free calls within the US and Canada).
5) If your car is over 10 years old, there will be considerable savings if you drop collision coverage and just pay for injury and property damage insurance. The savings could be as much as 40% according to Philip Reed of Edmunds.com. This is because the cost of repairing an older vehicle could be more than the car is worth. (Information taken from “35 Money Leaks,” Money, December 2012, p. 94 and 95).
ask kitkat logo

Beer for Dogs

Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, is there really such a thing as beer for dogs?
Kit Kat: Well, sort of. I read about this myself on www.cnn.com. There’s a beer brewer in Bend, Oregon who has a sense of humor. He has made a non-alcoholic “beer” for dogs called “Dawg Grog” at the Boneyard Brewery.  I must give it to him. I don’t know how it tastes, but he sure is creative! What he did was use the brewery’s spent grain along with an organic low sodium vegetable broth, Central Oregon water, and a sweetened supplemental powder composed of ginger, cinnamon, flax seed, and honey. So it’s not really beer, but a delightful brew of things that are actually good for dogs. Sounds tasty doesn’t it! (www.cnn.com/living,”Dog-gone tasty beer for thirsty pups, ” 1-7-2013)
Now how does that relate to Elder Law, Estate Planning, or Long-Term Care of the Elderly? Well, it really doesn’t, but I thought my readers would like a break from the usual fare. By the way, my mom has actually visited Bend, Oregon. When she was 14 years old, her family made a cross-country trip from NJ to visit various sights. Their Oldsmobile station wagon broke down in Bend after having visited Crater Lake National Park. Back in 1964 it was a much smaller town than it is now. They had to wait a day for the part to come in. Those were the days!
Life situations change. Be sure your Estate Plan reflects your life-today. Our Estate Planning attorneys will be happy to review your current plan and make any changes needed. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.
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Upcoming Seminars

Hook Law Center is presenting a seminar on Long-Term Care and Estate Planning at Lake Prince Woods, 100 Anna Goode Way, Suffolk, VA 23435 on January 25, 2013 at 2 p.m. To r.s.v.p., please call 757- 923-5500 or 757-399-7506.
Hook Law Center is presenting a seminar to case managers and nurses on Veteran’s Benefits at Heartline Hospice in Virginia Beach, VA  on February 8, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.
Hook Law Center will be speaking on the subject of Making an Elder Law Practice More Efficient at the VAELA Conference on February 23, 2013 in Charlottesville, VA.
Hook Law Center is hosting a reception to benefit the Chesapeake Humane Society at Hook Law Center’s Suffolk location, 5806 Harbour View Blvd., Suite 203, Suffolk, VA 23435 onMarch 14, 2013 at 5:30 p.m.
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