Kansas Saver Tip!

Not getting enough heat?

Check your furnace filter and air vents. One of the most common causes of insufficient heat or cooled air is a plugged furnace filter. Change inexpensive woven fiberglass filters once a month or buy a better-quality pleated filter and change it every three months to avoid heating and cooling problems.

Air Furnace FilterAnother common cause of cold rooms during heating season is a blocked cold air return. Be sure your couch or an area rug isn’t covering a cold air return vent because this can slow the entry of heated air into the room.

Source: www.FamilyHandyMan.com.

Money Matters: Holiday Spending Survival Guide

Find yourself spending hundreds of dollars on holiday gifts, lights, entertaining, food and decorations each year? If so, you’re not alone. Many Americans feel the sting of holiday spending well into the new year. If you love to celebrate the holidays but don’t love the financial pinch you experience afterward, there are several great tricks for giving and celebrating, without breaking the bank.

So when you’re out battling the holiday crowds and heading to social commitments with family and friends, consider your wallet and protect your budget with these simple tips from PracticalMoneySkills.com:Holiday Spending

1. Know your limit. Sit down and plan out your holiday budget before you head to the malls this year. Gifts, large or small, can really add up, leaving you with a hefty bill at the end of the season. Use this free Holiday Budget Calculator to estimate how much you plan to spend on presents. Then keep track of your spending using this Gift Log.

2. Plan ahead.  You’ve done your budget and you’re ready to tackle the crowds. Here are a few ways to save on shopping, whether online or in the stores:

  • Look for special “savings days” at your favorite retail stores.
  • Use coupons from your newspaper, online or in-store.
  • Take advantage of free shipping with online purchases.
  • Buy gifts throughout the year, not just during the peak season.

3. Trim your list. Do you really need to exchange gifts with everyone in your family? Consider cutting your list back this year. Or suggest giving a group gift to certain members of your family rather than individual gifts. Just because you had a long gift list last year doesn’t mean you need to repeat it this year. You may find that other members of your family love the idea.

4. Reduce your stress. The holiday season is stressful enough with demands from family and friends, not to mention social commitments for work or other groups. Try to plan ahead as much as possible, avoiding last-minute buys will impact your budget. Also remember to maintain your daily routines to keep stress levels low. If you usually take a walk or go to the gym every day, take the time to continue the habit during the hectic holiday months.

5. Enjoy the season. In the end, the holidays are all about enjoying friends and family. Staying focused on time with loved ones and other joys of the season can help you to keep stress in perspective. If you are hosting holiday parties at your home, use this Entertainment Planner to plan for the costs. Rather than feeling obligated to host an event every year, suggest a rotation for who will host holiday gatherings. And remember that it’s much better to keep spending down and stick to your budget. It’s a great feeling to start off the new year on the right financial foot.

Unclaimed Property Up For Auction!

Interested in antique jewelry, rare gold coins and other collectible items? Check out our ongoing auction to place a bid for one of several treasure items listed.

Vintage JewelryEach year, the Kansas State Treasurer’s Office receives the contents of safe deposit boxes from banks and other financial institutions that have been abandoned for at least five years.

Upon receiving these items, the treasurer’s office completes an exhaustive effort to locate owners. Letters are mailed to last known addresses; names are posted on the kansascash.com website; and unclaimed property booths are staffed at the Kansas State Fair and other events around the state to assist Kansans in their search for lost property.

Rare Gold CoinIf the owners or their heirs do not come forward to claim the contents after being stored in the state’s vault for at least three years, the Treasurer’s Office posts contents up for auction. Proceeds are then held for the rightful owners or heirs.

Previously, contents have included jewelry, comic books, coins, stamps and many other miscellaneous and collectible items.

Currently, the State Treasurer’s Office has more than $290 million in unclaimed property and some of that money could be yours! You can search to see if any unclaimed property belongs to you by visiting www.kansascash.com or by calling 1-800-432-0386.

Treasurer’s Top 10: Smith County

This week, we highlight Smith County! Here’s a look at the Top 10 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you know anyone below?Smith County Courthouse

If so, have them check out www.kansascash.com  and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 800-432-0386 (toll-free) or 785-296-4165.

  1. James D. Frazier
  2. Hazel I. Dudley
  3. Robert & Mildred Lauterback
  4. Dyna-mix Inc
  5. Barbara J. Armstrong
  6. Reba & Glenn Stoller
  7. Steven & Sheryl Rust
  8. Manuel E. & Esperanza Gonzales
  9. Ruth J. Miller
  10. Eva M. Richardson

Money Matters: Have You Considered Online Banking?

Online BankingThe Internet has made banking a lot easier. Just about every bank allows you to check your account and make transactions online. In fact, if you want, you can do away with ever having to go to a bank again.

Practicalmoneyskills.com shares a few advantages to banking online.

Automate Your Finances
Online banking allows you to automate a lot of your financial transactions. Here are some possibilities:

  • Automatic Deposit. You can have your paycheck automatically deposited into your account. Ask your employer if this service is available where you work. It’s a good idea, because you won’t have to wait in line at the bank every time you get paid.
  • Automatic Bill Pay. You can have your bank make automatic contributions to certain bills if you wish. Also, your bill collectors likely offer the service. Many prefer this method and will sometimes offer a cost break if you choose to use it. This can be a great convenience, but be careful. If your cash flow is sporadic, an automatic payment could kick in when you don’t have enough funds, causing you to be penalized.  Note that the new law limiting overdraft fees customers can be charged applies only to ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases, and not to automatic payments.
  • Automatic Transfer. If you’re trying to maintain a savings regimen, consider having a certain amount of your paycheck or checking account balance transferred into savings or an investment fund. It’s easy to set up either online or at your local branch.
  • Automate Your Records. Many online banking services are compatible with financial management software. You can have your account records imported regularly, and make balancing your checkbook quick and easy.
  • Bank From Anywhere. With online banking, you can pay your bills and manage your accounts while at home in your pajamas. Or you can do it from anywhere in the world. Wherever you have an Internet connection, you have the ability to work with your money.

Virtual Banks
Some banks operate entirely online. They offer the same services as the bank in your neighborhood. But they don’t have expenses such as keeping a bunch of branches open and fully staffed. That can translate into real savings – and even earnings – for you.

Without the costs of overhead, online banks can offer higher interest on savings and checking accounts. They also tend to offer lower fees and fewer restrictions on minimum balances and withdrawals.

One major downside of virtual banks is that they don’t own their own ATMs. So if you need cash while you’re on the run, you may have to pay a fee to use some other bank’s machine.

Treasurer’s Top 10: Phillips County

This week, we highlight Phillips County! Here’s a look at the Top 10 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you know anyone below?Phillips County Courthouse

If so, have them check out www.kansascash.com  and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 800-432-0386 (toll-free) or 785-296-4165.

  1. Elzora M. Fisher
  2. Mabel Rhinehart
  3. Betty J. Harmonson
  4. Alfred N. Jahnke
  5. Mary A. Boland
  6. Bill D. Ward
  7. Carlos Banuels
  8. Edward J. Wood
  9. Ross W. Rhinehart
  10. Letha A. Patton

Treasurer’s Top 10: Stevens County

This week, we highlight Stevens County! Here’s a look at the Top 10 people and businesses there with unclaimed assets. Do you know anyone below?Stevens County Courthouse

  • Billy G. Mast Estate
  • Muriel P. Wilson
  • Keith R. Janford
  • Carol Downing
  • Reimer Farms Inc
  • Delbert L. Knox
  • Ricky Duane Nelson
  • Nancy J. Jenkins
  • Bratt Enterprises
  • Geraldine Davey Estate

If so, have them check out www.kansascash.com and search their name to make a claim. They can also call 800-432-0386 (toll-free) or 785-296-4165.