Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: Save Early. Save Often.

{Photo Credit}

Retirement: the distant fantasy of no work and all play that comes after career. But how much do you know about planning for retirement? Maybe the thought of saving for this milestone 30 or more years down the road has yet to cross your mind. "Save early. Save often." is a good practice to follow when thinking about saving for your retirement. Here's why:

With the widespread use of compounded interest in retirement plans, it's never too early to start saving; compounded interest allows you to get the most out of your contributions, no matter the amount. With simple interest, you only earn interest on your investment, not on the interest that you earn. With compound interest, your annual interest is determined by the total of your investment plus any interest already accrued.

For example, let's take a look at Bill and Benjamin. Bill decides on a plan with simple interest and begins saving for retirement at age 40, putting in an initial investment of $10,000 and contributing $400 per month with a 6% annual rate of return. Benjamin, on the other hand, goes for compound interest and begins saving at age 25, starting with no initial balance and contributing $200 per month with the same 6% annual rate of return. Both men retire at age 65, Bill with $322,069 and Benjamin with $400,290.

Who would you rather be in your sixties: Bill or Benjamin?

Talk with your plan provider about your different investment options for your retirement plan; they can help make sure you're getting the biggest bang for your buck. And check out this chart for a helpful guide to saving for retirement.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Mobile Banking—Is it for You?

Mobile banking on your cell phone or other mobile device can help you manage your finances by providing easy access anywhere for you to monitor your checking and savings accounts and credit card activity; check bill or loan due dates; pay one-time or recurring bills and receive low balance or transaction alerts via text messaging.

If you have considered mobile banking you have probably wondered if it's safe. In general, mobile banking offers at least the same level of security and encryption as online banking. Account data is typically not stored on your mobile device. To safeguard your personal and account information be sure to do the following:

Download mobile applications from reputable sources only.

Use strong passwords.

Read your financial institution's mobile banking agreement and disclosures.

Avoid using free wireless service available at public locations when conducting financial transactions.

Finally, be sure you are aware of costs.

While most financial institutions offer free mobile banking services, normal transaction fees will apply. Your wireless service provider may also charge you for text messages or downloads, so know the terms of your data plan agreement.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: Prioritizing and Paying off Debt

In the United States, the average person carries approximately $8,000 in debt. As this is an average, it represents total debt figures if assigned to every man, woman and child in the nation. It therefore means many people carry far more than $8,000.If you are one of the many who are currently carrying more than one debt and trying to do your best to pay them off, how do you decide what debt to pay first, and in what order? Here are some quick tips to help you make these decisions.Start by knowing your budget. If you don't know how much money is coming in and going out each month, you can't know how much you have to pay down your debt. Start here.

Pay for the essentials first. If you are behind on alimony, taxes or child support, pay off those first. In many cases, you could literally go to jail if you don't do so.P ay off the debt with the least favorable terms/highest interest rate. Which debt has the highest interest rate? Is it fixed or variable, and is the interest something you can deduct from your taxes? For example, mortgage interest rates can be but car loan interest rates cannot. Any extra money in your budget should go to paying off the worst interest rate, not the highest amount of debt. Once you have this debt dealt with, you can apply the money you were using to the debt next on your list.Personalize these guidelines for your specific situation. Tools are available that can be used to take into account the specifics in your life. 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy has resources, tools and calculators to help you determine the best way to drawn down your debt over time. Visit Feed the Pig for more money-saving tips.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Follow Us!

Luxury Escapes Travel is a boutique agency which offers complete travel services that range from the simplest of weekend getaways to the most intricate honeymoon itineraries. We specialize in both corporate and leisure travel. Our boutique is dedicated to bringing you the finest quality of service at some of the lowest rates in the industry. We make it our priority to ensure that our customers are completely satisfied. As a customer of Luxury Escapes Travel, you can also enjoy our complimentary concierge services. Planning to golf? We're more than happy to schedule your tee time. Indulging in a spa escape? Luxury Escapes will happily reserve your massage appointment. We welcome you to our boutique and we look forward to servicing your future travel needs.

Follow us at Go Luxe for Less!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Go Luxe for Less!: Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Go Luxe for Less!: Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!: "Welcome to our blog! Luxury Escapes is a new boutique agency looking to service all of your travel needs. Whether you're planning a qu..."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: April 12, 2010

April 15th is Fast Approaching!

Your 2009 federal and state tax returns should be submitted by this Thursday— April 15th. Whether you owe no money to the IRS, expect a refund or even if you can't pay your tax bill in full—you must still file a tax return by April 15th. If you don't, you could face a penalty for filing late. Additionally, if you owe taxes, you will be assessed penalties for underpayment.
What if you cannot afford to pay your taxes? If your return is complete but you are unable to pay the full amount due, do not request an extension. File your return on time and pay as much as you can. The IRS will send you a bill or notice for the balance due. You can also apply for an installment payment plan or file Form 9465 with your return.
What if you cannot complete your return in time? If you cannot file your income tax return by April 15th, both the IRS and states allow you to extend your filing deadline by six months. However, this is an extension to file your return, not an extension to pay the taxes that you owe. You are still required to estimate and pay the tax that you will owe, otherwise you could be assessed penalties and monthly interested.

For more information on filing an extension on your tax return, visit the IRS website.
Visit Feed the Pig for more money-saving tips.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: March 29, 2010

Keep Some Investments Liquid

Are you planning a major purchase this year? If so, make sure to keep some of your investments liquid. The liquidity of an asset refers to how quickly it can be converted to cash without penalty. So, if you are planning a significant expenditure, is important to have liquid assets to avoid pulling from a long-term investment or a retirement fund at an inopportune time.Most long-term accounts will penalize you for withdrawing your money too early. Some will take away the interest that you have earned; others will actually dip into the principal that you have invested. Utilize a high-yield savings account, a short-term CD or a money market account to have funds accessible when you need them.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Wedding: The BEST Best Man EVER!

Hello Everyone! Please forgive my absence, but life has been hectic! Anywho, we're having work done in our home today, so it's a good opportunity to get a post in.

We had at our wedding. (Notice the use of "we". Yes, I know that he was supposed to be Mr. CB's best man, but he literally took care of me, too.)

He ran around the night before in an unfamiliar city to get my last-minutes needs. He made sure I ate before the wedding. He made sure Mr. CB was on time. This was HUGE. I don't think I've ever eluded to this, but my hubby (bless his heart) will be late to the birthing of our first child. I've already accepted and come to grips with it...

I digress...our BM ended up running our reception program, giving the most heartfelt toast, washing dishes (I'm STILL trying to figure this one out...), and keeping the dance floor bumpin!

Enjoy the pics!

I know this is a photo of us, but if you focus over Mr. CB's left shoulder - it takes a real friend to be THAT happy for you :)
And here he is holding me up...4" heels + grass = wobbly bride

Master of Ceremonies
Here, here!
These two have been friends for EONS!

Party over here...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: March 8, 2010

Happy International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day, an annual celebration that highlights economic, political and social achievements of women. 2009 marked the first year that half of all the U.S. workers are women. Nearly four in ten mothers are primary breadwinners and bring home a majority of the family's income. Additionally, women are more likely than men to graduate from college, although they still typically earn less than men.

Women are also more likely than men to care for children or elderly or disabled family members. These periods of caretaking can provide gaps in a woman's career which can have a huge impact on the amount of retirement funds collected over time. A 2008 report showed that elderly women over 75 are far more likely to be poor than elderly men.

It's important for all women to think about their future and retirement. There are ways to begin now, such as investing in a tax-deferred retirement savings plan at work. These plans can help accumulate funds over time. Other options may include a IRA, such as a Roth IRA which is funded by after-tax contributions. If invested early enough, these accounts can continue to accumulate interest during a gap in a woman's career, whether for caretaking purposes or any other reason.

For more information for women, check out our Section for Women that features articles, calculators, and frequently asked questions. Visit for more money-saving tips.

I Won! I Won!!!

Remember the giveaway I shared with you? Well...guess who won?!?!?!?!?!? (I guess the title kinda gives it away...)

Yep. Me! I am sooooooooooo excited! I never win anything and I won this gorgeous necklace! And just as I was trying to up my game in the jewelry department.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

TAG! You're It!

I have been tagged by Dana at Sweeping Through Life. I have never done one of these, so here goes! The rules are as follows:

List 10 things that make you happy.
Tag 10 other bloggers and link back to the person who tagged you.
Well, here it goes.......

1. Hanging out with the hubby. This is my absolute FAVORITE thing in the world!

2. Spending time with my family. Since we live several hours away, this time is few and far between.

3. Decorating our home.

4. Just enjoying being home. I can spend so much time just "being" there. Bliss. Sidenote: this worked to my advantage during the Snowtorious B.I.G. of 2010. Can we say 9 days straight in the house?

5. Traveling. I like seeing new places and experiencing new things.

6. Shoes. Finding and wearing a great pair of shoes makes me happy.

7. Shopping

8. Work. As corny as it may sound, and as much as I may complain sometime - I do enjoy serving the American public.

9."In the Heat of the Night" - there is something about that show that I just LURVE!

10. DVR - how else would I see a noon episode of ITHOTN???

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip - Happy Pig Day!

March 1 is National Pig Day! Benjamin Bankes wants you to take five minutes out of your day to revamp your savings. Reserving one day a month to examine your financial goals and your current spending habits can go a long way toward kicking expensive hobbies and excessive spending.

What have you spent money on recently? Are you paying off as much of your debt as possible, starting with the debt with highest interest rate? Can you save money by changing up your morning routine? Are you planning any large purchases in the near future and have you been saving for them?

Click here to REVAMP your savings (and have some fun revamping Benjamin Bankes while you are at it).

Visit for more money-saving tips.

Share this tip with your friends.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: February 22, 2010

How the CARD Act May Impact You

The CARD Act, signed into law last May, goes into effect today. Among other items, the new act will eliminate double-cycle billing, arbitrary rate increases and hefty fees for exceeding your credit limit. While many of these changes are positive, always read the fine print and be aware of credit card traps. Here is a brief summary of some of the changes the CARD Act will bring.
• In an effort to counteract the lost revenue credit card issuers may see due to the CARD Act, banks and other card issuers may begin implementing new fees or raising existing ones. Because the new law does not restrict the types of fees issuers can introduce, be sure you know exactly what you're being charged for.
• Credit card companies may begin placing restrictions on reward programs if you make late payments. To help avoid this situation, be sure to make your payments on time and read all notices sent by your credit card company, including those regarding changes to their rewards program.
• One of the primary benefits the CARD Act brings are a series of limits on how and when credit card companies can set interest rates. Previously, issuers could raise your interest rate just for missing a single payment without giving much notice. The CARD Act states that consumers must be alerted 45 days in advance before raising their rates.

his is America Saves Week (February 21-28)! Take time this week to assess your savings by taking action and developing a plan to improve your personal savings. The America Saves Web site is an excellent resource for additional tips and advice to help you set aside more.

Also take this quiz to test your current financial literacy IQ while learning savvy saving tactics.Visit for more money-saving tips.

Our Wedding: The Bridal Party Processional

And here they are...

My dear friend and sorority sister that also happens to be a coworker...

Our Godson's father and dear friend...

My legal guru, friend, and sorority sister...she happened to be present the day that Mr. CB and I reconnected...

Mr. CB's younger brother (definitely can't call him the "little" brother)

My sorority sister/ex-roommate/friend/partner in crime/the list goes on and on and on...

Mr. CB's cousin and fraternity brother

Mr. CB's cousin and friend that I have grown to love dearly...

Mr. CB's friend and college homie

My cousin

My BFF (before Mr. CB, of course) and former classmate. He was present when Mr. CB and I met for the first time and they have grown to be great friends, too.

My Matron of Honor and dear friend - mother of our Godson, sorority sister/former classmate/shopping buddy/ of my dearest friends on Earth...

Our (my) beautiful niece - I hope her Daddy is getting his target practice in!

Our (my) handsome nephew...Here Comes the Bride!

And our (my) other handsome nephew...LAST CHANCE! Sidenote, these banners were definitely a labor of love. Add the amount of time and effort that it took plus hiding them from Mr. CB and it equals a PITA! I wouldn't have traded it for anything, LOL!

For some reason, I lurve this shot!

Can you guess who he's waiting for? ;)

Ciao Bella,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekly Savings Tip: February 15, 2010

Online Bill Pay

The internet has given us many modern conveniences, including online bill pay. Paying bills online can save you the effort of writing checks and stuffing envelopes, and ensure that your bills are always paid on time. Unsure if your bank offers online bill pay? Speak to your bank about available options and if any fees are involved.

Here are some advantages to online bill pay.

• Many banks have a database of companies to choose from when setting up your online bill pay, making the setup process easier. Additionally, you only need to enter a company's information once and it will be saved to your account, as opposed to manually writing checks for each bill.

• Avoid late fees and processing fees by setting up automatic payments. If you know your bill will be the same amount each month, taking advantage of automatic electronic payments will give you one less thing to worry about.

• Paying your bills online reduces the chance for human error and conveniently groups all your bills into a single location, giving you control over every aspect of your bill paying process. Just a few clicks and you're good to go!

Visit for more money-saving tips.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Giveaway Alert

Bianca over at Deals for the Short and Curvy is hosting a giveaway in honor of her one year blogaversary. How generous is that?!?!?!?!?

To celebrate, she's giving away this beauty

It's called the "Inspire" Pendant. Check her out!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our Wedding: The Family Processional

Our ceremony was near and dear to both of us - but especially me. Because we were married in my hometown, my family has some history with the church that we married in.

Here are a few pictures

The aisle

Our Hostesses

The Musician

Mr. CB entering the ceremony with our officiants

This is one of those sentimental parts of our ceremony. The first officiant is my Uncle - my Father's older brother. The second is my first cousin - also on my Father's side of the family. My cousin had been recently ordained, and we were his very first wedding!

My brother and his beautiful wife

Father of the Groom

Beautiful Mother of the Groom

My Grammy

Isn't she jazzy???

Sister of the Groom and her hubby

I know I may be slightly partial, but I think we have some good-lookin family! :)