Making A Difference In Your Local Community

Many individuals yearn to make a difference in the lives of others within their local community.  Whether it’s donating to local organizations, funding an event, or volunteering time for a good cause, there are plenty of ways to give back to the community and help those around you.  Here are a few ways you can begin to make a difference where you live.

Stay Informed

Even in small, local communities, numerous meetings and events take place. One can be a valuable asset by attending community events. Doing so can said individuals, as well as their friends and family stay connected to important occurrences and key issues.

Partake In Community Cleanups

Unfortunately, many communities fall prey to litter. Organizing and participating in community cleanup efforts can beautify a street, park or village square. Efforts like these can not only improve a locality’s aesthetic quality but generate community pride.

Donate Time To The Less Fortunate

It is always important to remember that there will always be individuals going through trials and tribulations. Volunteering at a local food back, visiting retirement homes, spending time inside hospitals with ailing children or donating old clothes to charitable organizations can not only make a big difference in the lives of the people being assisted but encourage other community members to perform similar actions….



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How to Start Your Own Charity

Starting and running your own charity organization is one of the most admirable ways of giving back to society. In addition to the various benefits of charity that you stand to gain, you will be sure to positively touch someone’s life. However, much effort should go into the preliminary steps of starting a charity organization. Here are some ideas on the particular steps you should emphasize on.

Doing a Thorough Research

There are many charity organizations and projects out there, each of which targets meeting certain societal needs. To prevent overlap of roles, you should do thorough research on the nature of problems that exist in the community and for which you can stand on the gap. Proper research ensures that your charity project or organization is relevant to the community you intend to target.

Create a Profile for Your Charity

You should then come up with a charity organization name and do the right due diligence, including searching within the existing registered charities to ensure that it is not registered. Once you secure the name, you should proceed to create a profile, including a statement of your mission, the vision, and the goals you intend to meet in your operations.

Register Accordingly

You should then go through the steps of registering a non-profit organization. A successful charity organization registration process should have your charity appropriately labeled as a non-profit with the IRS, thereby enabling you to benefit from tax-exemption…



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Essential Steps to Saving for Your First Home

Buying your first home means saving up for a down payment. Under normal conditions, you’ll need 20% of the total home cost for your down payment, but some programs will allow you to offer a lower down payment. In either case, you will need to save something for your first home, which requires a solid savings strategy.

Don’t Rely on the Bank’s Estimate of What You Can Afford

In determining how large of a loan to qualify you for, the bank will only look at certain types of debt. For instance, they may not take into account child support payments, online subscription services, or utility bill payments. Even though the bank won’t consider these expenses, they do still make an impact on your household budget. Before you begin house hunting, figure out how much of a mortgage payment you can realistically pay without struggling.

Widen Your Debt to Income Ratio

While lenders will look at your debt to income ratio in determining how much you can afford to borrow, that’s not really the primary reason to pay down your debt. For each debt you pay off, you’ll have that much more money to invest in your down payment. By using a snowball strategy, you begin paying off the smallest debts first and using that money to pay off the larger debts. This will free up more money, which you should be depositing directly into your savings account.

Stop Buying the Extras

Whenever you get a bonus, raise, or a gift of money, it may be tempting to start thinking about what you could buy with it. Instead, any extra money that comes your way should be deposited into your account so it can be used to pay your down payment



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3 Differences Between Non-Profit And Not-For-Profit Organizations

Both non-profit and not-for-profit organizations are often referred to as simply non-profits. While they are both very similar, there are also some distinct differences between the two. That being said, there are also a number of organizations that can potentially qualify for either status. Understanding the differences between the two can sometimes be challenging because they are sometimes small but important. Here is an outline of the differences between non-profits and not-for-profits.

Tax Exemption

Both non-profits and not-for-profits can apply for a legal exemption from paying taxes. Non-profits, however, obtain their legal exemption under the 501(c)(3) requirements in the tax code. Those requirements state that the organization must exist and operate exclusively for one of several purposes, which can include religious, charitable or educational purposes. Not-for-profits, however, must meet 501(c)(7) requirements, which states the organization must be created for pleasure, recreation and other similar non-profitable purposes. So, for instance, a social club might raise money for charity, but they do not exist for charitable purposes, so they would be a 501(c)(7) or not-for-profit organization.

The Legal Status of the Organization

A non-profit is generally a charter organization that holds legal status completely separate from its membership. For instance, non-profit organizations are generally formed as corporations, so even if all of the members leave, the non-profit can actually change hands or “ownership” as it were. Not-for-profits are essentially the sum total of their members, so if all of the members quit, the not-for-profit would simply cease to exist…



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Budgeting When Living on Your Own

Most people end up living by themselves at some point in their lives, whether they’re just getting out of their parent’s house, find themselves alone after a divorce or just lost their spouse. And while living alone can be frightening at first, it can be a rewarding experience if you learn how to manage your budget. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you budget your expenses when you go it alone.

Calculate Expenses in Advance

Calculate your current expenses to determine how much you can afford for an apartment or house. Besides rent, you’re going to have to pay for food and household supplies, electricity and gas, your cell phone, water and sewage, the internet, cable television, gasoline for your car, clothes, haircuts, entertainment and pet food if you have a cat or dog. Whenever possible, make sure you have enough for at least three to six months of living expenses on hand in the event of an emergency, according to Intuit Mint Life.

Limit Variable Expenses

Although it’s tempting, try to limit variable expenses such as entertainment, meals at restaurants or expensive personal care items. You may be able to save on the later by switching brands or finding your product online.

Pay Yourself Each Paycheck

Paying yourself means taking $5, $10 or even $25 per paycheck and socking it away in a savings account. This is money you won’t touch unless you absolutely need it. It will also give you a buffer when unexpected expenses arise, such as a car repair or medical treatment that requires a deductible…



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Finance Tips for New Parents

Having a new baby is an exciting event. There are new roles and responsibilities that come with being a first-time parent. Some of the major changes are financial in nature. Here are some financial moves that all new parents should consider.

Add Your Child To Your Health Insurance

Paying for health care can be a very expensive proposition. Insurance can also be expensive, but it does give a layer of protection against catastrophic or chronic illness. Most insurance policies require that parents add their children within a few weeks of birth. Failure to do so could leave your little one without coverage should something happen.

Rethink Life Insurance

Most adults can find a way to at least survive should a spouse pass on unexpectedly. This is not the same for children. Additionally, having a child can make it more difficult for the surviving spouse. Having a new child in the family is a perfect time to evaluate your life insurance situation. Term policies will generally provide a greater death benefit for lower premiums than a whole life policy will. Many experts recommend at least 10 times your annual salary as a suitable level of life insurance coverage…



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Tips for Teaching Kids About Financial Responsibility

Financial responsibility is part of the vital lessons that children learn from their parents. When teaching your children to become financially responsible adults, you should endeavor to use the right approach that guarantees effectiveness and efficiency in delivering hard-to-forget lessons. Here are some crucial tips for teaching your kids about financial responsibility.

Start Them Young

When teaching your children about becoming financially responsible, you should endeavor to start the lessons at a relatively young age. Starting teaching them about money at such a tender age makes them have the right foundational knowledge required for them to easily adopt later in life.

Gradual Lessons

Once you begin the lessons on financial responsibility, you should endeavor to start with the most basic knowledge about money and gradually advance to more complicated concepts. The most basic of the lessons should include issues such as the essence of money in daily life. Gradually advancing the complexity of the lessons ensures that children can progress their knowledge as they advance in age.

Lead by Example

While you teach your children, it is highly advisable to ensure that you set a good example by being a good steward of your money and a prudent financial planner. Children can easily remember concepts that they learn from seeing you practice as compared to the theoretical knowledge you equip them with. Involving them a bit in your financial practices such as creating a budget and saving coins in a piggy bank gives them sufficient tips or how to actualize the lessons they learn…



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