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Welcome to Laker Cents Real-world tips, suggestions, and insights into everything money-related.

Beating Cabin Fever


Winter FOMO: it’s a real thing. In case you don’t know, FOMO is a popular acronym for “Fear of Missing Out.” It’s that familiar feeling you get when your friends and family are off doing exciting, envy-inducing activities while maybe you’re holding off trying to save some extra cash. With February just getting started, it’s beginning to feel like winter will never end…and the urge to get out and do something is nagging you. While ...

Breaking Down the HSA


How many financial terms have you heard thrown around but don’t really know what they mean? The acronym “HSA” is commonly used when it comes to saving money for medical expenses, but many people’s understanding of the term stops there. HSA stands for Health Savings Account. It’s a special savings account with funds you can use for qualifying medical expenses that your insurance plan doesn’t cover, such as deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance. HSA contributions are ...

10 Simple Financial Resolutions for 2018


As 2018 sneaks up on you, you’ve probably thought a little about your New Year’s resolution. Have you thought about it in regards to your finances, though? To get the wheels turning, we outlined a few financial resolutions that can put you on track to success for the new year. 1 – (You Guessed It). Start a budget. Even in its simplest form, listing your income and expenses for the month can really put your ...

Mortgage 101: The Very Basics


If there’s one word I know to be mildly intimidating, its “mortgage.” Many millennials, in fact, feel the same way. For those who are used to renting their housing and aren’t familiar with the mortgage process, going in blind can feel like a big deal. A popular saying exists, though: knowledge is power. The more informed you are, the less scary it seems, and the easier the process is. To take matters into my own hands, I ...

Keep Your Head Above Water With an Emergency Savings Account


Think about the last time an unexpected emergency expense came up for you: the loss of a job, a trip to emergency room, a dead vehicle on the middle of a highway, a broken furnace, or unexpected urgent travel. Were you prepared for this expense? Did you panic? According to a 2016 GOBankingRates survey, 35 percent of all adults in the U.S. have only several hundred dollars in their savings accounts and 34 percent have zero. No one ...

Eliminate Holiday Financial Stress


Somewhere between cleaning up leaves from the yard and breaking out the fall sweaters, an icy frost appeared overnight and all of a sudden it’s mid-November. The last two months of the year are some of the most enjoyable and exciting ones…but also what some people say are the most stressful. You may have noticed your favorite stores already playing holiday tunes and stocking their shelves with red and green decorations, a not-so-subtle way to ...

Debt Consolidation: The Good, The Bad, and The Useful


You’ve heard the term thrown around before: “debt consolidation.” It’s possible that you’re not entirely sure what it means, and that’s OK. Many people are unsure of the purpose, benefits and risks of this method of managing finances. In the easiest terms, debt consolidation is taking out a loan to pay off credit cards, store cards, and other unsecured debts. With debt consolidation, you remove the need to make multiple payments and roll them all ...

The Equifax Data Breach – Facts, Resources, and Next Steps


  By now, you’ve probably heard that Equifax had a massive data breach that affected 143 million consumers. If I’ve already lost you, Equifax is a consumer credit reporting agency that collects and organizes credit information on over 800 million individuals and businesses worldwide. To simplify more – Equifax collects your credit history/information and makes it available to places like financial institutions and credit card companies. In mid-May through July, Equifax confirmed that attackers entered their ...

Shop Smart: Groceries and Your Budget


  Happy Friday, Everyone! Do you know that thing where you stop at the store for “one quick item” and end up walking out with 20 things you didn’t really plan to get? Yes, me too. We’ve all been there, especially when grocery shopping. The best way to go into a grocery store is with a detailed list, on a mission, and never hungry. My mom always laughs at me when I sort my grocery ...

This Budgeting Trick Will Make Your Life Easier


Budgets: the estimates of income and expenses over a set period of time. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, the strategy of budgeting is one that eludes many of us. It sounds a little daunting to sit down, lay out all your income, and mentally face all your expenses. Some don’t know where to start. Today I want to share a secret with you: it starts with a simple spreadsheet. If you use any type of sheet ...

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