While the polar vortex may be on its way back up north (for now), winter is still roaring on in many parts of the country. Hopefully many have already taken the steps to make sure their car is winter ready, but it can stand repeating how some of these tips can help you make it to spring. Hey, at least spring training is right around the corner!
We've now turned the calendar to June 1st, and for many, that means travel season. However, there are ways you can see the world and not necessarily have to break the bank either. Click here to read on how you can save some dime on your next vacation this summer from the good folks at You Need a Budget! If you'd like to learn more about "YNAB", be sure to check out this link, and should you decide to subscribe, we both get a free month!
If you have been looking for a change of scenery, and Vermont sounds good to you, Governor Phil Scott signed new legislation into law Thursday that should sweeten the deal for you.
Per CNN Money, eligible workers can get up to $5,000 a year, but that cannot exceed $10,000 over two years, through the state's new remote worker grant program.
However, the money can be used on a host of qualified expenses, such as costs to relocate, any necessary computer equipment and software that you might require, as well as internet access and co-working memberships.
One might ask then why Vermont is looking to spend money on getting people to move there.
According to Joan Goldstein, commissioner of economic development for Vermont, the state has a small and aging population. "We recognize the need to recruit people to the state, and this is one of those efforts." It has apparently been a popular proposition as she said her office is already getting inquiries from interested workers.
Act Fast If You're Interested
Regarding eligibility, a worker has to be a full-time employee for an out-of-state business, work primarily from home or a co-working space in Vermont, and become a full-time resident on or after January 1, 2019.
However, interested workers will need to move fast. Funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis, with annual limits to the grants as explained below:
For 2019, total grants cannot exceed $125,000. The cap increases in 2020 to $250,000, then drops back down to $125,000 in 2021.
Vermont Tax Implications
As always, any potential move could have tax implications for you as well. "You will have to pay income tax in Vermont even if you earn it outside of the state," said Goldstein. "The whole idea of getting more people is because we need to broaden the tax base ... but if you are moving from New York, taxes are less here."
As one who has visited Vermont on numerous occasions in the past, I can certainly vouch for the beauty of the state, and its proximity to other destinations. The class of maple syrup is bar none some of the best, Vermonters are quite friendly, but just be sure to look out for the occasional moose who might drop by.
Gas prices are continuing to creep up across parts of the county, with many spots breaking the $3 line again. As we start to shift into summer travel season, it’s a good time to revisit some potential ways you can ease up the pain at the pump this summer, with some tips via Consumer Reports.
Spend Less on Gas
While there are other ways you can reduce your vehicle costs, gas expenses generally hits our wallet the most. AAA reported today that the average price for regular-grade gasoline is now $2.81 per gallon compared with $2.37 a year ago. "If you're just looking at the price from the street, you're leaving money on the table," says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. There are things you can do to keep your gas expenses down, such as:
Use a gas station app or website
App offerings from GasBuddy, AAA, Fuel Finder, and Gas Guru are among a handful that can help you find lower prices.
Also keep in mind that you're also likely to get a better deal at stations that are not located on major highways, says Michael Calkins, a manager at AAA. Logistically speaking though, making a big detour to pay less may not make sense.
Calkins also says to make sure that when you compare prices you consider only top-tier detergent gasoline, which is better for your car.
Consider the prices in each state
It’s important to keep in mind too that prices can change significantly due to how state gasoline taxes are different. DeHaan says he found that for a driver crossing the border from Ohio to Pennsylvania on Interstate 80, for example, it could cost 36 cents per gallon more to fill up in Pennsylvania.
That's more than $7 extra to fill up the minivan's gas tank. Heck, sometimes prices can even vary greatly in neighboring towns.
Think about your method of payment
You’ve heard of the phrase, “cash is king” right? Well never is it any truer than when paying at a gas station. Some stations will offer a lower price if you pay with cash instead of a credit card. The difference between the cash and credit price usually ranges from around 10 to 15 cents a gallon, says DeHaan, though sometimes the difference can be as large as $1.
Finally, another option you might consider is to pay with a cash-back credit card. While the credit card price may be higher than the cash price, the reward you receive could make using the credit card a better deal. Just make sure you pay off the balance in full each month, otherwise any reward earned could become moot due to interest rates!
It's worth noting that a rewards credit card could even provide greater savings than a gas credit card from a big oil company (such as Texaco or Chevron), says DeHaan. For instance, cards like the American Express EveryDay Preferred will offer an additional 2 points per dollar on gas. Their Hilton Honors Ascend card will also offer 6 points per dollar on gas as well. By comparison, the Sunoco Rewards Credit Card, offers only a flat 5 cents per gallon discount, though there is no limit on how much you can spend.
For debit card users, don't just assume that you are getting the cash price either.
Some stations could actually charge you the credit card rate instead, so make sure to check the posted prices at the pump. Selecting the debit option and entering a pin when you pump your gas is often a good indication your transaction will be handled as cash, says Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of the National Association of Convenience Stores, based in Alexandria, Va.
Bankrate.com has also created a great resource about how to save in multiple categories, including gas, with their list of the best no annual fee credit cards.
The list breaks down the benefits of each card, while providing information about: what you should know about annual fees, pros and cons of no annual fee credit cards and how to gauge if a no annual fee credit card is right for you.
With the summer travel season ramping up, so too are hotel prices. CardCash.com, who we have mentioned in past posts is great at having some great sales on already discounted gift cards, wants to help you and your family save some travel budget dollars. Today's flash sale on Hyatt Hotel gift cards only lasts until 2 PM EST today, but can include discounts of up to 23%! Make sure to stock up, and before you head out on your road trip, check out our tips on how to make sure your vehicle is well prepared!
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It's hard to believe that another Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone already. For many, Memorial Day Weekend ushers in the official start of summer, and often that means beginning to think about that family summer road trip! However, before you begin to think about traveling, you might want to think about giving your main mode of transportation a "once over" before heading anywhere.
Remember that summer heat and humidity can really do a number on your car's internals.
Here are ten tips to help you get ready, and save both time and money.
1) Radiator Check
Don't forget, overheating is one of the biggest reasons for cars to breakdown in the summer. Of course, make sure that the engine is cool before inspecting it! Places to check include the radiator, the hoses and cap for damage and be sure to repair it if needed. Given the importance of airflow around the radiator, be sure to clear any dirt and debris.
2) Coolant Check
As its name implies, you want to make sure you have enough coolant and that it's level. Make sure to look at your owner's manual for the correct coolant to distilled water ratio. Bear in mind too that coolant needs to be flushed on a regular basis. If you haven't the foggiest when the last time was that happened, head to the shop before the road trip starts.
3) Inspect Belts and Hoses
Over time, belts and hoses near your engine may begin to fray, crack or even leak. As you could imagine, summer heat and humidity will only degrade these vital parts even more.
4) Battery Test
There is nothing worse than a dead battery when you're far away from home. High temperatures can weaken the battery, causing vital fluids to evaporate. Worse, any dirt that accumulates can act as a conductor and drain power as well. Make sure that it gets tested, and if more than three years old, a replacement may potentially be in order as well.
5) Check Tire Pressure and Wear
Fluctuating temperatures can have an equal fluctuation on your tires' air pressure with hot asphalt having the potential to do even more damage. Check your tires on the first day of each month, making sure the pressure levels are good and don't need a rotation. As always, don't forget about that spare tire as well!
6) Air Conditioner
If you go to pop on your A/C, and a less than optimal cool breeze comes out of your vents, then that might need an inspection. Be sure to remove any dirt or bugs that might be impacting air flow. Other problems could involve a clogged condenser or low refrigerant levels.
7) Oil Change
The most common maintenance item any car owner will probably have, but also one of the most important. Make sure to check with your mechanic on the best type of oil to use. If you'll be in higher temperatures, then an oil brand designed for those type of conditions might be required. While each vehicle's recommend oil change requirements might be different, the common denominator is to make sure you don't avoid them entirely.
8) Transmission Fluid
Those scorching temperatures can lead to the breakdown of transmission fluid. This is a vital one to check especially if you plan on hauling a boat or camper anywhere for your road trip.
9) Windshield Wipers
Ever been in a torrential downpour, turned the wipers on full blast only to find they're leaving nothing but vision impairing streaks? Make sure the rubber on the wipers hasn't cracked or separated from the frame. This is a great time to fill up on windshield washer fluid as well.
10) Wash and Wax
Finally, wrap up your prep work by giving your vehicle some love with a wash and wax. While it may seem it's only there for style, your vehicle's paint also acts as a protective cover.
You should be on your way now for your road trip and ready to soak in the rays! Safe travels and enjoy the summer!