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MOROCCO — After 26 successful years of business, Jack and Rita Willier have sold the Morocco Car Wash & Gas Station and will be retiring.

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MoneyTips

Charity at holiday time means more than just putting your change into the traditional red buckets at the entrances to big-box stores. Needs at the holidays are even more pressing on families, with cold weather threatening coupled with stress over whether they can provide any sort of meaningful holiday for their loved ones.

While traditional holiday charities such as the Salvation Army are fine places to contribute your charitable income, there are other options for giving your money…and your time. In some cases, the time is even more precious than the money.

  1. Pantries/Food Drives – Thanksgiving and Christmas puts tremendous stress on food pantries. They are often pushed to the edge of their resources. Consider donating cash as well as food items so the pantry can purchase holiday-specific items such as Thanksgiving turkeys.

  2. So...

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MoneyTips

For many people, the end of the year represents a hectic time, and the last thing anyone wants to do is add to an already full plate. However, building the following financial moves into your fourth-quarter routine can really pay off over the long run and give you greater peace of mind for the coming year.

1. Get A Head Start On Organizing Your Financial Records

This could involve downloading your online account statements and gathering all your personal income records into one place. I like to stash stubs, receipts for any tax-deductible payments, and IRS forms I receive during the year in a separate folder. Then, when tax time comes, I do not have to go searching for all this information. If I have a refund coming, I want to file early so I can use the money. December is also a great time to get a general idea of your income taxes. Maybe you can make an extra deductible contribution, such as into your

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MoneyTips

Are the holidays not hectic enough for you? Put aside your gift list for a moment; how about adding a home sale to your to-do list?

Most people avoid selling their homes during the holidays, but you may not have any choice in the matter. If you need to sell your home around the end of the year, here are seven tips to help your sale go smoothly.

  1. Minimize Holiday Decorations – Not everyone has the same love of holiday decorations, and poorly maintained, tacky, or overly religious displays can be a turnoff for potential buyers. Keep the seasonal decorations simple and easy to maintain.

    That applies to the outside as well as the inside of your home – avoid browning out the neighborhood with your awesome light display.

  2. Keep It Clean – Keeping the home free of tracked-in mud, snow, and other debris is even tougher in the winter months, and arguably even more important. Vacuum well and vacuum often.
    ...

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MoneyTips

The holiday season is full of plans and activities that make December incredibly hectic. If you are the average American, tax considerations and financial adjustments are pretty low on your holiday to-do list. However, you are not the average American — you enjoy saving money, are diligent in seeking ways to save, and excellent at following through with your plans. We can help by offering these potential money-saving tips to take to save on this year's taxes.

  1. Make Maximum Retirement Contributions – If you can afford to do so, max out your contributions to tax-deferred savings plans. For the 2019 tax year, maximum annual Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions are $6,000 with an additional $1,000 allowed as a "catch-up" contribution for taxpayers who are at least fifty years old. 401(k) plan annual contribution limits are $19,000 with an extra $6,000 catch-up allo...

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MoneyTips

The end of the year is full of activities. Family, school, and work obligations can keep you running constantly, without the time to consider other important things – such as whether you have used all of the health care and dental plan benefits covered by your insurance.

Are insurance concerns not high on your holiday list? They probably aren't, but you could be wasting money by not reviewing your insurance usage before the holiday madness starts in earnest.

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MoneyTips


Christmas Shipping Can Still Be Free

Are you a procrastinator who hasn't started your holiday shopping yet? If not, are you still hunting for deals even after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday? In any case, you still want to take advantage of online bargains and free shipping offers.

You're in luck, thanks to Free Shipping Day on Saturday, December 14. Luke Knowles, the founder of Free Shipping Day and the corresponding website FreeShippingDay.com says that he created the holiday ten years ago "to cater to procrastinating shoppers like myself."

Prior to Free Shipping Day, consumers tended to stop online shopping in early December, worrying that if they waited any longer their packages might not arrive on time. Knowles knew that retailers were capable of economically delivering mid-December orders by Christmas Eve, and created an annual e...

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MoneyTips

Fall is here. It's time for thinking about cooler weather, Thanksgiving, falling leaves – and taxes? With a new tax code in place, a few hours spent on your taxes now can produce benefits in April with the savings of both time and money. The following tips may be able to help you achieve those goals.

Organize Your Files – Which documents do you need to file your taxes? Start with last year's tax filing and see how many forms still apply. List all the additions that you may require and gather all the supporting documents that you need to back up itemized deductions.

Don't forget to include W-2 and 1099 forms for all sources of income, especially if any part of your income comes through freelance work. Other forms that may apply are a 1095 form to verify health care coverage purchased through the marketplace, 1098 forms for various forms of interest and tuition pay...

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Credit freezes are one of the most valuable tools in your identity theft protection toolbox. When a credit freeze is placed on your account, lenders can't access your credit history to assess your risk and are unlikely to approve loans or other forms of credit.

You're in control. Unfreeze (thaw) your accounts whenever you want to apply for credit and re-apply the freeze when you're done. Thanks to recent legislation, all credit freezes and thaws are now free of charge, making them convenient for all consumers.

You probably know that you must apply individual freezes with each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). You may also know to place a credit freeze with Innovis, the fourth and less-publicized credit reporting agency.

Did you know there's a fifth location where a credit freeze should be ap...

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You've overspent during past holiday seasons, but you're determined not to let it happen this year. What's your plan to prevent painful post-holiday bills? A study from Elevate's Center for the New Middle Class (CNMC) may be able to help.

The study focused on holiday spending behavior and how it varies depending on credit scores. CNMC separated the data into two levels – prime consumers with credit scores of 700 or above and non-prime consumers with credit scores below 700 (the "New Middle Class" referred to in the CNMC's title). You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes by joining MoneyTips.

As you might expect, prime consumers spent more on all holiday categories, including gifts ($770 compared to $476 for non-prime consumers), travel ($435 to $198),...

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MoneyTips

Holidays are supposed to be a joyous time – but scammers can replace the joy of the season with the headaches of fraud. Help yourself and take some simple precautions to keep the Grinches out of your bank accounts during the holidays.

  1. Phishing emails – Phishing, or emails with fake links designed to get your personal information, often ramps up at the end of the year. Fake delivery confirmations are an annual favorite.

    Popular ones include the personalized letter from Santa to your child, solicitations from unknown third parties that offer gift cards or discounts in exchange for taking a survey, and fake renewal requests for things like insurance coverage.

  2. Fake Charities – Unfortunately, fake charities often pop up during the holidays to take advantage of people’s generosity. Social media has become a popular method of attack for these scammers.

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