Are You Richer than Other Minnesotans?

5 Awesome Reasons Why St. Louis Should Be on Your Bucket List

From the outset, we want to let you know that you need to add St. Louis, Missouri to your bucket list. Why should you listen to us? Well, I suppose we could tell you it’s because we’re some kind of savants when it comes to destinations in the USA, but that would be wildly inaccurate. The truth is simply that my wife and I travel full time around the United States in an RV, and we take the time to write about what we personally experience. You won’t get any fluff with us. We’ve always promised to be transparent in our writing and we hope you’ll appreciate that.
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Posted in Cars

Sibling Rivalry in a Special Needs Family

Is there room for sibling rivalry when your sibling has special needs? It’s a question I ask myself as I raise a neurotypical seven year old girl and her five year old autistic little sister. For the moment, the relationship seems to be ideal between our two daughters. Except for some minor issues surrounding sharing preferred items, our girls get along very well. Better than well, even--at times, it can be suspiciously sweet. Our girls do not compete for our attention and they very rarely fight. Could this be one of the perks of being a special needs family? Our littlest girl, Kate, receives a boat-load of attention with her daily therapies and appointments and not least of all her attention-demanding behaviors. And yes, our eldest sits patiently for the most part, waiting for her turn, waiting for her chance. It could break your heart to see her waiting there; watching her sister's needs come first. She watches her parents exhaust themselves trying to manage her sister and she happily takes what we have left at the end of the day. My heart could burst as I write this because I love that little girl so much and it could shatter at the thought that she might feel, even a little, left out.
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Posted in Parents

How to Access Your Credit Reports for Free

I’m sure you’ve heard time and time again how important it is to check your credit report regularly. Doing so can enable you to request that errors be corrected in a timely manner and can provide you with an early indication if you have become a victim of identity theft. It can also make it easy to see areas in which your financial wellness can use some adjusting. Do not wait until you are applying for a mortgage or for credit to find out that your credit report isn't presenting you in a positive light. Straightening out errors and rectifying past-due debts can take months and may cost you the opportunity to buy a home or make a large purchase. It is best to be prepared so that everything is as it should be when you need it to be. Best of all, accessing your credit report once a year won’t cost you a thing. Are Credit Reports Really Free? In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) as an amendment to the Consumer Credit Protection Act of 1968. The FCRA states that you're entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three nationally recognized reporting companies. These companies are Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®.
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Children's Books You Need to Own

If you're like me, you are always looking for something great to read with your little ones. Here are my top recommendations: Good Night, Good Night Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker Kids, and kids at heart, are enamored with big machines. Well, many kids, anyway. It wasn’t really my thing, but when I see a book I know my husband will happily read to the kids I grab it. And then to find out, that it is really great too--bonus. I love this little book and you will too. How to Catch a Star by Oilver Jeffers I adore this book, and its author, so much that I have painted a mural of its cover in my classroom. I simply cannot get enough of the whimsical illustrations. He wrote this one and this one, too, and of course they should also be in your library. I’ve already inquired about owning an Oliver Jeffers print for my home but, at the moment, it’s not in the budget.
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Posted in Parents

Why Every New Entrepreneur Needs a Mentor

n the world of entrepreneurship, mentors are an underrated and underutilized resource. There are thousands of experienced professionals looking to help up-and-comers with their own new projects, but for one reason or another, new entrepreneurs are reluctant to pursue a mentor-mentee relationship. The benefits of getting a mentor are practically limitless, especially during the initial development and launch of your business, and if you’re new to being an entrepreneur, I would argue that the guidance you receive from a potential mentor is downright essential.
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Bikers: Reduce Your Risk of Being Hit by a Car

Motorcyclists understand something that those riding in vehicles (“cagers”) cannot: there is something supremely liberating about taking to the open road with nothing separating you from the environment but your good fortune and a bit of leather. When on a bike, you are not only more aware of your surroundings; you are more one with the road. As with all things, however, this feeling of exhilaration comes with a price. As a motorcyclist, you are far more likely to be injured or killed in an accident than those who are protected by their steel cages. By nature, most cagers expect to see only other cars on the road. Bikers (and bicyclists, and even pedestrians) must be aware of this fact.
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Posted in Motorcycle Bundle , Cars , and Safety

6 Employee Benefits Every Business Needs to Offer

Most people think about employee benefits as a purely optional addition to a salary package. Full health, dental, and vision plans, along with 401(k) and similar retirement plans all seem like “icing on the cake”—a superficial offering designed to sweeten a job deal without offering an increased salary. While in many cases this assumption is correct, the reality is that there are several benefits that are mandatory for employers to offer in the United States. It’s important to remember that both law-required benefits and optional benefits will have both legal and tax implications for the employer offering them. Be sure you understand the full effects of your benefits choices before officially instating them. Currently, there are six types of benefits that are required by law for all businesses with full-time employees:
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Posted in Business Owners

I've Planned Your Saturday So You Don't Have To

Hey Moms--I’ve planned your Saturday, so you don’t have to. Here’s how it’s going to go: share this post with your husband, as he will need to get this done for you, because the very first step in making sure this Saturday is a great day is to make sure you have nothing, at all, to do with the planning of it. 9:00 am You’re just about ready to roll out of bed. The freshly perked coffee and the smell of oven-baked cinnamon rolls (or quiche, if you like) draws you to the kitchen. As you reach for your robe you’ll notice a strange sound. It will be silence. Your husband has secured a babysitter and as he is busy preparing your breakfast you’ll walk past the kids’ rooms and smile because as cute as they are, those little ones really know how to blow up a weekend.
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Posted in Parents

5 Strategies to Manage Cash Flow in a New Business

Cash flow is the life of your business, and in order to ensure it stays positive, you’ll need to have an action plan. It is not a measure of profitability; in fact, you can have a profitable business on paper but still struggle with cash flow issues. Instead, cash flow is a measure of your current resources. With positive cash flow, you’ll have more cash on-hand than you have going out to other accounts. With negative cash flow, you’ll have less cash on-hand than you need, and you could end up failing to meet payment deadlines as a result. There have been records of otherwise profitable businesses experiencing negative cash flow and eventually filing for bankruptcy, so don’t underestimate the importance of cash flow. Use these strategies to protect yourself against negative cash flow:
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Posted in Business Owners

Top 10 Best Movies to Make You Feel Great About Being a Mom

f you’re looking for a ninety minute reminder of why you’re amazing (and aren’t we all?) look no further, because this list of films celebrates moms for all that they are and all that they do. The Family Stone Diane Keaton is the mom to watch in this dramedy set in small town New England (of course). Faced with an uptight future daughter-in-law (Sarah Jessica Parker) over the holidays this free spirited mom and her family will make you laugh, warm your hearts and remind you why mother knows best.
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March Madness Parties: Are You Covered Against Liability?

March Madness is here! Time to fill out your brackets and start cheering on the games with friends and family. In addition to providing hours of college basketball entertainment, the NCAA Tournament is one of the largest gambling events of the year. The Fiscal Times estimates that Americans will bet a total of $9 billion on the outcomes of these games this year. You may remember that in 2014 Warren Buffet offered $1 billion to anyone who could accurately predict the outcomes of all NCAA brackets. It was a pretty safe bet as the odds of completing a perfect bracket are close to impossible. But the difficulty in guessing how the games will play out is part of the fun that surrounds this tournament.
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Posted in News

Rental Car Insurance: Is It Worth It?

If you’ve ever rented a car, you know that you must make the decision about whether or not to purchase the insurance offered by the rental car company before you can get your keys and drive off. Many people wonder if this extra insurance is necessary or even a good idea. The answer to this question is not as cut-and-dry as you might think. Rental car companies will offer you three different types of coverage. Whether or not you should purchase any or all of them depends both on what your current auto insurance policy covers and how much you can afford to lose in the event of an accident. In this article, I will explain each type of coverage so that you can best choose whether any are right for you.
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5 Cost-Effective Advertising Strategies for Small Businesses

Small businesses face a critical paradox in advertising, especially during the first few years of their development. They suffer from limited revenue, due in large part to limited visibility and limited sales, meaning their budgets are restrictive and firm. But in order to increase the visibility and sales that can lead to greater revenue, they need a bigger budget. It’s a circle of logic that doesn’t lead to any comfortable solution. In order to grow your business, you’ll need to have some kind of advertising and marketing budget, even if that budget is small at first. There are several advertising strategies that won’t cost you much money, but can still have a significant enough impact to measurably increase your sales and revenue:
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6 Must-Do Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Your FICO credit score is one of the most important numbers you should be aware of. Your score influences how lenders, creditors and yes, even insurance companies, view you. If your score is low or if you are just beginning to build your credit, there are things you can do to improve it. Just remember, credit scores don’t go from bad to good overnight. Building good credit takes time, responsibility and a bit of know how. Over the years, I have helped many people improve their credit. People who thought that aspirations such as new-car loans and mortgages were unattainable found they could turn their lives, and credit histories, around and become property owners. If you are trying to raise your credit score, I have a few tips that may help.
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The Best Things to Do and Places to Eat in Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country is an area unlike any other. Imagine endless two lane highways that roll across magnificent vistas, cross pristine rivers surrounded by mature trees and lead you to old, tiny towns with unique character and culture. Then throw in a few cowboys, random animals, a limitless array of things to do and places to eat and you’re just starting to scratch the surface of what you’ll find in this delightful area of the country. Needless to say, there are many reasons 5 million people visit this area every year!
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Tire Basics for the Off-Road Enthusiast

Purchasing tires for the off-road enthusiast can be quite tricky. The choice is dependent on what type of driving the vehicle is going to be used for. Both tire and thread construction should be considered in making a decision as to the tire that would be suit the needs of the owner. Tire Construction The first thing we will look at is tire construction. Tires are constructed in one of three ways. Radial Ply This type of casing is the best for highway use. The casing is generally made of polyester and gives a smooth ride. The tire is steel-belted, which helps hold the thread flat. The disadvantage with this type of casing is that the sidewalls are fairly weak and don’t resist impact very well. Another disadvantage is that the steel belts are fairly stiff and give a bad ride on road imperfections such as corrugations.
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On Guard: An Autism Service Dog's Duty to His Little Girl and Her Dad

Over two years ago when we began the process of applying for an autism service dog for our little girl, Kate, we could never have predicted how our lives would change. Outings took major preparation and the idea of doing anything spontaneous was laughable. Our Kate was often confused by her surroundings and she would inevitably wander or worse, run. We took turns carrying her whenever we left the house. We had her therapists spend many hours on the skill of hand-holding because she couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. Can you imagine that? Your little girl can’t hold your hand because she doesn’t understand the purpose. She doesn’t like the feeling and she uses all of her energy to rip free every chance she gets. Her therapists tell you that this is common among children with autism and they have a program all ready to work on this skill. This didn’t comfort me. We practiced everywhere we went. She would often break free and we would chase her. A few times she almost made it to the door, or worse, the road. Carrying a forty-five pound four year old when she doesn’t want to be carried does nothing for your back or your frame of mind.
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Posted in Parents

How to Build a Cost-Efficient Workforce for Your Small Business

Whether you’ve gone into business hoping to strike it rich or you just want to make enough money to keep your company alive, your priority is keeping your business profitable, and that means controlling costs. In most industries, your work force is going to be one of your biggest expenditures, but cutting back on employee-related costs could leave you with unqualified employees, or worse, a demotivated team. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to keep your work force cost efficient, so you can expend less capital without sacrificing the quality or satisfaction of your team.
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4 Ways Becoming Physically Fit Can Save You Money

There are a number of compelling reasons to get off the couch and get into shape. It will help you look and feel great, your clothes will fit you better and it reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and bone loss. But there is another, often overlooked, benefit. Becoming physically fit can actually save you money. How much money? Well, it varies by the individual, but it is safe to say that you can potentially save enough money to fully cover your gym membership fees and then some! Listed below are four ways that becoming physically fit can fatten up your wallet while slimming down your waistline.
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Posted in Health

The 5 Biggest Financial Threats to Your Small Business

Running a business is about balance; you have to balance your weaknesses with greater strengths. You have to balance your team with talented candidates in many different disciplines, and you have to balance threats with opportunities, or at least proactive measures to reduce those threats. Threats to your business can come in many forms, from conceptual failures to real, physical consequences. Some of the most dangerous threats are financial threats, which can escalate your costs, stifle your revenue growth, or in some other way compromise your profitability. As you grow and develop your business, be sure to avoid these five major financial threats:
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3 Small Business Financing Options Better Than Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, the process of raising capital for a project or business in the form of dozens (or hundreds) of small, individual donations, has exploded in popularity over the course of the past several years. As a result, it has become the capital-raising platform of choice for independent developers, creative artists, and new entrepreneurs all over the world. Crowdfunding does have a lot of benefits, so it’s no wonder why it’s such a useful tool for so many, but for entrepreneurs, there are several superior financing options.
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Off-Road Tire Sizes for Beginners

I got into my first four-wheel drive truck in the nineties after my father died. He owned a 1987 Nissan Patrol pickup and I had always wanted to own a four-wheel drive vehicle. Actually owning one was a huge learning experience for me. I had been a huge collector of off-road magazines over the years, but actually owning a four-wheel drive truck was still a learning experience for me.
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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Wallet

It’s still early enough in the New Year to make a few positive changes to your financial situation. These simple ideas will help you grow your wallet and shrink your debt. Fear not, you’ll not have to set foot inside the bank or part with any of your hard-earned dough to get these money saving ideas started. Accept the challenge First of all, you have to ready yourself for this new adventure. Trying to save money can feel like a real drag unless you make it fun. Set some goals, both long and short-term, and watch as you knock them right off of your list. Don’t forget to add in rewards because those goals will be a lot easier to work towards with the promise of a sweet reward in the end. If you make a game of it you might find you enjoy winning against your debt.
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Posted in Parents

Ten Great Snowmobile Destinations for the Hardcore Rider

If you’re feeling adventurous this winter and would like to plan a snowmobile vacation, options range from scenic beginner’s trails to more advanced vertical mountain climbs. To find out about trails close to home, check out your home state’s trails using this North American trails map which also details current weather conditions and snow depth. A state by state listing of snowmobile trails is also available at Gosnowmobiling.org. But if you’d like try out your sled in a new destination, here are ten of the best snowmobiling locations in the U.S. and Canada.
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Are You Breaking the Law When You Haul Your Snowmobile?

There's a fresh layer of snow blanketing the ground and a few free days on the calendar. It's time to ride! But, resist the temptation to tuck the snowmobile in the back of the pick-up and hit the trails. Trailering or towing your sled illegally can lead to some hefty fines and put other motorists at risk of an accident if the machine is not properly secured or hangs over the end of the truck's open tailgate. And, spring pre-orders are piling up, making 2015 look prosperous too. So, the next time a fresh layer of snow blankets the ground and a few free days come up on the calendar -- head outdoors. Why not take the snowmobile out to those trails your friends have been telling you about? Before bundling up, you'll need a trailer to safely transport your sled.
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The New Snowmobile Laws You Need to Know

It's common knowledge to renew your driver's license every couple years. But, what if your favorite mode of transportation is a snowmobile? In a December 2014 Google Consumer Survey of snowmobile enthusiasts, 39.3 percent of respondents didn't realize snowmobile regulations are updated annually. A close 37.2 percent admit to reading the revisions while 23.5 percent had no idea regulations were updated. A total of 57 people participated in the survey.
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Posted in News , Snowmobiles , and Snowmobile Bundle

Snowmobile Insurance 101

Snowmobiles are a fun and exciting way to enjoy winter weather, but the costs of owning a sled can be significant. With the average price of a new snowmobile topping $11,000, buyers may be concerned about protecting their investment.
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Posted in Snowmobiles and Safety

10 Things Worth Having in Your RV

The more storage you have, the more you accumulate. I think this is a law somewhere. Space is always a factor when you are RVing. It doesn’t matter if you have a tiny little RV or a monstrous behemoth, the question all RVers struggle with is what to take and what to leave behind. We’ve just completed our first year full time RVing, and it is astonishing to realize the amount of stuff we’re carrying that we haven’t used once in the past year! Would you believe we’re carrying around a 12-man tent and a turkey fryer?
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Crash Test Doggies: Prevent Your Pet from Becoming a Projectile

Do you regularly put your dog in danger? If your pet travels unrestrained in any vehicle then the answer is "Yes". The idea of keeping a pet safe in transit is not a new one. Indeed the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) has undertaken crash tests to rate the effectiveness of canine travel restraints.
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Posted in Homeowner Bundle - All , Cars , Pets , and Safety

6 Business Tax Tips You Shouldn't Neglect

Taxes are stressful for everyone, but for business owners that stress escalates to a whole new level. Keeping meticulous track of all your expenses and revenue throughout the year culminates in a mess of paperwork and year-end decisions that may leave you vulnerable to a tax audit. Put in that perspective, taxes seem like a nightmare, but if planned for and executed thoughtfully, they can actually be advantageous for your business.
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Posted in Business Owners

6 Financial Mistakes Millennials Should Try To Avoid

High school, trade school and college can provide valuable knowledge and job skills, but in most cases, these educational institutions do little to teach students about how to manage their personal finances. Some people are lucky enough to have had financial guidance throughout their lives, whether from parents or mentors; for most young people, however, the transition from relying on the help of others to managing on their own can be a difficult one.
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GPS: Why Every Snowmobile Owner Needs It

There's fresh powder begging to be explored. But, if you choose to take your snowmobile off the beaten path, will you be able to find your way home? Thank goodness for GPS, or global positioning systems. They're not just for cars you know!
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Posted in News , Snowmobiles , and Snowmobile Bundle

What Your Snowmobile Customizations Are Missing

Each year, snowmobiles are made to drive safer and smarter, but customization for enhanced appearance and performance is still popular among sled enthusiasts. In fact, a recent informal survey of snowmobile owners conducted by Trusted Choice revealed that 32% of respondents chose to customize their snowmobiles and another 22% planned to do so in the future. And of those interested in customization, nearly 80% anticipated spending less than $3,000, yet 8% planned to spend or had already spent upwards of $18,000 to trick out their sleds.
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Posted in Snowmobiles and Safety

Find the Best Trailer for Your Snowmobile

For those who travel with their snowmobiles, a quality trailer is essential for protection and ease of transport. Choices range from open, flatbed trailers which start at about $500 to enclosed rides which can be priced upward of $3,000. Each option has its own set of costs and benefits.
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The 5 Most Important Financial Decisions Entrepreneurs Face

Business owners are responsible for a number of tough decisions, from the fine tuning of an initial business plan to ultimately choosing whether or not to sell the business once it’s successful. Some of the most substantial decisions they’ll need to make over the course of their ownership are financial ones, which will dictate the cash flow and profitability of the company over time. Financial decisions should not be taken lightly, and should be made only after extensive research and careful consideration. These are five of the most important financial decisions you’ll have to face as you start your own business.
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