The 4th of July is observed as a federal holiday in the United States. After all, it’s NATION’S BIRTHDAY! Independence Day celebration is a grand and colorful affair in the country with fireworks, foods, parades, and more. Wondering how to enjoy this wonderful day? Check this out.
Known ways to celebrate Independence Day
Whether you live in a small town or a big city, you can enjoy a parade in every corner of the country on this grand occasion. You’ll just love it. It’s the oldest Independence day celebration in the country.
Celebrating freedom is incomplete without fireworks. Who doesn’t want to blow things up? If you don’t love to blow things up, give a treat to your eyes by watching awesome fireworks shows across the country. Even better, relax on your couch and enjoy the lovely fireworks on TV. Take help of the Internet to find out the live streaming time.
- Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks - New York City, New York. NBC will show the live streaming of the event at 8 p.m. EST.
- National Mall 4th of July Fireworks - Washington, DC
- Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular - Boston, Massachusetts
- Lights on the lake - Lake Tahoe, California
- AON summer fireworks at Navy Pier - Chicago, Illinois
- Rockets over the river - Laughlin, Nevada
3. Fly the flag
What could be more patriotic than flying the American flag? While you can observe flag hoisting in your locality.
Festivals during Independence Day are totally crazy and exclusive. Besides the known attractions such as foods, music, fireworks, and concerts, Valdez in Alaska celebrates the unique Pink Salmon Festival on 4th of July. Are you visiting Alaska on July 4? If so, then don’t fail to visit the Pink Salmon Festival. I’m sure, you haven’t celebrated Independence Day like this before. If you’re a foodie and love to gobble down hot dogs, then the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York City is perfect for you.
Exclusive ways to celebrate this grand occasion
There’s more than parades, festivals, fireworks, and barbecues to celebrate Independence Day. What better can you do this Independence Day? Want to know? Have a look:
1. Read the Declaration of Independence
You can get the Declaration of Independence online. 4th of July is the ideal day to learn about this historical document. On this occasion, you can take out time to read this document. Also, you’ll understand easily as it’s not complicated.
2. Understand your duties as a citizen
As a resident or a citizen, you have some responsibilities and duties toward your country. If you want to spend this day differently, think and write about the responsibilities you want to fulfill as a citizen of the nation.
3. Pay tribute to the veterans
You should never forget that because of the veterans and service members you’ve got this chance to breathe freely. What’s better than Independence Day to pay tribute to them?
4. Visit a historical site
4th July is the best time to recall history. You can do so by visiting a historical site or a national landmark. But, before you go, make sure they’re open. Some places are as follows:
- Mark Twain House, Hartford, Connecticut
- Yosemite National Park, California
- French Quarter, New Orleans
- The Brooklyn Bridge, New York
- Independence Hall, Philadelphia
- U.S. Capitol and the National Mall, Washington
5. Do it differently
Spend this day like never before. Watch a classic American movie, shop from American stores or products, pick some recipes by American chefs and cook them at home, and so on. Celebrate your nation this 4th July!
Celebrate freedom in Washington, DC
For those who want to visit the CAPITAL on this grand occasion, you can experience the spirit of Independence in the following ways:
- Visit the National Archives, where the Declaration of Independence document is on display.
- Tour the city in one of the Washington, DC’s Potomac River cruises.
- Relax at Canal Park.
- Join the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party.
- Attend the National Independence Day Parade.
- Stop by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and spend this day with the animals.
- Visit the Washington Monument and enjoy the U.S. Air Force Max Impact Band.
- Make a visit to The National Portrait Gallery.
- Explore the National Air and Space Museum.
- Spend the day at the Yards Park.
So, how will you celebrate the Independence Day? Do you have a plan? If your answer is no, you can pick one from the above.
Don’t miss out - How I got financial independence: The story of a wannabe millionaire
This post has been made by KM, an ordinary girl who paid off debts by living on one income and accepting OVLG as her financial friend.
“Sometimes, I feel that it is more painful to pay off debt than giving birth to a child. The endless negotiations and the stress of carrying debt boulder on your shoulder 24*7 are too much. You can neither sleep nor walk stress-free. At least, in case of baby, a would-be mom gets relief after 9 months of incessant struggle. But in the later case, there is not even that option. You don’t know when you’ll finally deliver enough payments to smash debts.” - KM
- Total debt enrolled - $17680.00
- Total debt saved - $10189.7
- Types of debts - credit cards and medical bills
Meet KM - The girl who lived on one income to save $10189.7
I just can’t recall the exact date and time when I had a chat with Van Cliburn. It might have been through OVLG’s live chat option or on Facebook. But the reason why it is still there in my mind is because ever since I met Van, my life became better. He gave me constant support in various ways and motivated me to carry on with my struggle to pay off debts. Here’s how.
Wait a minute. Before I begin my story, let me give you a preview of my life. Only then will you understand why I’m ever so indebted to Van Cliburn (OVLG’s financial coach).
Preview of my life - A carefree girl with lots of debts
I had a rough childhood. My parents broke up when I was only 8. So I didn’t have any opportunity to get proper guidance from both my parents. My mom used to go for work and was hardly at home. The total family responsibility was on her shoulder. So, by the time she finished all her work, I used to be already asleep. And as far as my father is concerned, I can only say that he was one person who had only time for me when his girlfriend allowed him to visit our house.
Anyway, as I grew up, I made friends and entered into college. I loved attending college as it gave me a chance to mingle with my friends and had a gala time. I partied hard, went for vacations and shopped like a millionaire. All through my credit card which mom gifted me on the day I turned 18.
By the time I completed my graduation, my total credit card debt escalated to $10,000. I was not doing any job right then and couldn’t ask for more money from mom either. She was already doing so much for me. How could I ask for more? But, I couldn’t afford to ignore credit card bills for a long time. My credit score was falling day by day.
Even before I could come up with a solution to the problem, my mom met with an accident. She was badly injured and couldn’t even go out for work for a month.
The problem unfolds and a solution awaits at the door
I was trying my best to hide all the gory facts from mom. But mothers have a special power. They see even the invisible things. As she gradually became better with proper care and medication, she started asking me about the expenses. I avoided the topic for a few days but when the debt stress started taking a toll on my mental health, I told everything to mom. She was aghast especially about the credit card debt. She said,
“I shouldn’t have given you that credit card. You couldn’t even take care of a single card properly”.
I couldn’t meet her eyes for the first few days. But mentally I was relieved since I didn’t have to play hide and seek with her anymore. I promised mom that everything would be fine soon. The only problem was I didn’t know how.
Since no one could give me a proper solution, so I finally decided to Google. As everyone says, Google has the solution to every problem. And they were not wrong. Really, Google has a solution for your daily problems.
I came to know about OVLG from Google. I called them up and explained my problem to Van Cliburn. I was not thinking anything. I was just answering his question one by one. After the session was finally over, Van comforted me and gave me 2 quick solutions to my problems.
Time to action and ditch debt
Solution no 1: Settle your debts
The first solution was to settle my debts. Van said that it could help me to discard debts by paying much less than what we owed. He promised to negotiate with the creditors once I enrolled into OVLG’s debt settlement program and completed the entire procedure.
Solution no 2: Live on one income
Van suggested me to live on one income. Since both of us were working (yes, I had taken up a job of a personal secretary by then), so he advised us to spend my income and save mom’s paycheck. It was pretty hard initially. But we managed. Then we gradually started saving 75% of mom’s income and using the rest to pay for the daily necessities. And finally, the day soon arrived when we learnt the tricks to save 100% of mom’s income. It was a proud moment for us as it helped us to save a good amount for settling debts.
Problems solved and got a fresh lease of life
Once we saved a good amount, Van negotiated with my creditors and settled my debts. We saved almost $10189.7 in total and this helped us to get a fresh start. We saved this amount to pay for emergencies.
Mom has got a better job now and I’m still continuing my old job. So, life has become slightly better now. Our next goal is to buy a home. I know it’s one little ambitious dream but we’ll work hard to fulfill that. Just keeping fingers crossed.
So, this was KM’s debt success story. We are extremely happy for her and wish KM all the best in life. We hope she buys her dream home soon without any further struggle. But wait a minute! What about you? Do you have any interesting story to share? Have you too kicked debt out of her life? If yes, then share it with us. It will help to inspire millions of people.
A Year Later - From penny pincher to pitcher full of dollars
Once our accounts were back into black, we made some quick changes to our lifestyle to suit our financial needs.
- My mother and I started contributing to our individual 401(k) accounts. All contributions are tax deductible which means you don’t have to pay any taxes on whatever you save in this account.
- Both of us were seriously tapping into the employer’s pension plan. Fortunately, our individual employer provided traditional pension plan. To find out its value, we asked for the individual benefit statements from our respective employers.
- Next, we traded our guns on Social Security benefits. On an average, Social Security benefits can match up to 40 percent of an individual’s pre-retirement income. I left no stone unturned. I calculated both mom’s and my benefits using the retirement estimator provided at the Social Security Administration website.
- Yes, it's a necessary evil. That’s not just for settling debts, but also due to months of delinquency and missed credit card payment deadlines. So, I started using a budgeting app to make sure, neither me nor my mother were spending irresponsibly like before. As a result, we stuck to our budget and eased some good amount of dollars.
- Over time, both our credit scores improved and we were promoted from sub-prime borrower to prime borrowers.
- Neither me nor mom, carried more than 1 credit card each. And vowed that we’ll use cash for all payments and the plastics only for emergencies.
- Meanwhile, both of us got secured credit card that boosted our credit score further. This helped into create a reliable credit history and once again, the floodgates of loans were thrown open. However, we treaded cautiously.
Groceries and utilities
- As me and mom are working and busy. Therefore, there’s hardly any need for us to continue with the local library subscription. We had to do away with it. Savings was all we had in our mind and it was a mutual decision.
- Now, we looked for coupons to buy the toiletries and groceries. Made just one visit to the grocer’s shop and yes, with a proper list. This prevented us from making a mid-week visit to the grocery store and saved us time during the weekdays.
- We improved our home’s bathroom and weatherization to reduce energy consumption, hence, lowered our monthly energy bill.
Shopping and eating out
- Now, I stick to my shopping list and always pay in cash, just so to remind that it's tough to earn money but it's tougher to keep them.
- I’ve reduced frequenting to high-end restaurants and discs.
- In simple words, I no longer try to keep-up-with-the-joneses.
Within a year, we were a lot happier and financially healthier. Our cash reserve has grown and we hope to reap the benefits when the time is ripe. Still, we’ve got a long way to go, before we say Cheers!
- File a new W-4 form for a better return on investment.
- Book your air tickets to keep your expenses down on your summer travel plans.
- Check how your budget performed in the first quarter of 2016. Change it if necessary.
- Use your extra money to reduce your credit card debts and student loan debts.
- Make smart investing plans to qualify for tax deductions in the next financial year.
- De-clutter your financial documents and make a fresh start.
- Check out the tax mistakes that can push you towards trouble in 2016.
- Find out how soon you can expect to get a tax refund and explore the unusual ways to spend it.
- Install energy efficient equipments in your home to qualify for tax deductions.
- Make sure you take advantage of child tax credit to save on tax.
Find out the 155 Ways to earn attractive tax breaks in 2016. Download the FREE Ebook here.
Financial to-do list - March 2016
- File your income tax returns by the end of this month.
- Come up with a debt repayment plan to do away with your outstanding debts.
- Create a budget for the kids’ summer activities.
- Check your financial papers and remove the unnecessary ones.
- Update your beneficiaries on your insurance policies and retirement saving accounts
- Automate your charitable donations so that you don’t have to give a big amount at the end of the year.
- Check your credit report and correct the mistakes.
Financial to-do list - February 2016
- Get ready for the tax filing season. Organize your W-2 forms and 1099 C forms, records of charitable donation receipts, etc. properly.
- Save money if you’re planning for a spring break or a summer getaway.
- Check out the promo codes if you’re planning to shop online for the Valentine’s Day.
- Check your credit score. If it isn’t good, then plan your to-do list to improve it.
- Have a talk regarding money and finances with your spouse.
- Track your progress on your financial resolution. If you’ve stopped taking steps by the second week of January, then it’s time to give another shot to fulfill your resolution.
- Adopt one good financial habit so that you can take a one step ahead to become a good money manager.
Financial to-do list - January 2016
- Pay off your holiday debts. Deadline - 31.1.2016.
- Plan your vacation, back-to-school, holiday budget for 2016.
- Decide about your new savings goals for 2016.
- Buy a nice gift for your Valentine in advance.
- If you’re likely to get a tax refund, then file as soon as possible. Deadline - January 25, 2016.
- Create an emergency fund for the rainy days.
- Make your investment plans for the year.
- Review your insurance coverage and decide if you need to change your insurer.
Financial to-do list - December 2015
- Create a plan to use your holiday bonus. Allocate 10 percent of the bonus for fun and 90 percent for financial priorities.
- Review your financial progress in 2015 and create a new plan for 2016.
- Donate to charitable organizations before December 31, 2015 for tax savings.
- Pay off your debts so that you can start the new year without any financial stress.
- The open enrollment period for Medicare is December 7, 2015. Make sure you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan by this deadline.
- Enroll in Affordable Care Act or change your plan by December 15, 2015.
- File W-4 and think about the tax filing returns before the year ends.
- Get exciting deals and Christmas coupons at retailmenot.com, coupons.com, goodsearch.com, etc.
Financial to-do list - November 2015
- Snag the best Black Friday deals from Blackfriday.com and check out the coupon codes at Walmart.
- Use credit cards with lowest interest rates for shopping.
- Create a special budget for your last-minute festive expenses.
- Buy Windows tablet, kitchen goods and appliances as they will be available at low price.
- Book your air ticket on the Thanksgiving morning. You’ll reach your venue in the morning and save minimum $200.
- Create your shopping list for Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday and Christmas.
- Create a budget for charitable donation to save tax and avoid getting requests for donations during Christmas.
- Put money in the stock market since it’s the best time to invest.
Financial to-do list - October 2015
- Establish a SIMPLE-IRA if you’re a self-employed person. Deadline: October 1, 2015
- File your individual tax returns. Deadline: October 15, 2015.
- Get amazing Halloween coupon codes from Groupon and exciting deals from Hotels.com, OrangeOnions, IHOP, and Disney Store.
- Redeem your reward points and book your air tickets if you’re planning a tour in December.
- Dip your credit or debit card when you buy something to enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience.
- Buy a new set of tires to save your car from chilly winter onslaughts.
- Sell your unwanted items in a yard sale or at a consignment store to boost your Christmas fund.
- Have a talk with your co-workers and buy the best gift to impress your boss on the Boss Day. Deadline: October 16, 2015
- Create your holiday budget for 2015. This would include how much to spend on gifts, travel and food.
Financial to-do list - September 2015
- Save money for NFL tickets for yourself and relatives. You can check here for tickets: Stubhub.com , ticketcity.com, etc.
- Get coupons and promo codes for NFL tickets from retailmenot.com/coupons/nfltickets.
- Have a look at your favorite NFL team’s fan forum. You may get some tickets for free.
- File your (i) corporate tax returns (ii) trust income tax returns (iii) partnership tax returns for the 2015 tax year by September 15, 2015.
- If you’re self-employed, then set up SIMPLE-IRA for 2015 by October 1, 2015.
- Get coupons at Black Angus Steakhouse and other top restaurants to have sumptuous meals.
- Buy vehicles, appliances, school supplies, jewelry, old models of iPhone this month. You’ll get heavy discounts on these items.
- Participate in the National PrepareAthon and get your toolkits to be ready with your emergency plan for your family and pets.
- Make a special plan to meet your financial goals in the last quarter of 2015.
- Review your accomplishments and decide what else needs to be done to get a good performance review at the end of the year.
- Tons of discounts and deals are available on resorts as they’re quiet and less crowded. You can have a romantic getaway there during the Labor day holiday weekend.
- Take your kids to amusements parks as tickets are cheaper during this time.
Financial to-do list - August 2015
- Check out the amazing deals in Amazon and Walmart for back to school shopping.
- Look for student aids and grants.
- Buy school supplies on Sales tax free days (http://www.freetaxweekend.com/), mainly within the first 10 days of August 2015.
- Buy or rent new/used textbooks at affordable price.
- Calculate how much you saved in 529 savings account if your kid is going back to school.
- Ask your children to upload or share their CV or resume in job portals for short-term Fall jobs after joining their schools and start saving for the festivities ahead.
- Save money for a professional wardrobe and presentation - a suit, a leather portfolio, shoes, wrist-watch, tie, belt, wallet, pen, business card-holder, a brief case.
- Save money to buy the National Football League games’ tickets with your school buddies.
- Create a budget and plan a menu to celebrate the upcoming friendship week with your School friends.
Worried that January’s long credit card bill would ruin your December’s happy days? Panicked that all your magical memories of Christmas will be destroyed by one last gift in January - a huge credit card bill?
Your worries are genuine and at the same time you should be scared. Holiday debt can give you a painful sting after the New Year celebrations are over. However, the good news is that you’re not alone. . Let’s find out how.
1. You share your problems and we share our policies
You can get in touch with our Financial Coach after calling at (800)-530-OVLG and share your credit card debt story with him. After listening to your problems, our Financial Coach will give you the following details:
- How we help you pay off credit card debts
- Our fee structure
- No result refund policy
- Dedicated Client Relationship Associate to help you
2. We clear all your doubts before taking any step
Our Financial Coach will explain each and every process to you. He will answer all your questions and clear your doubts. Once you’re satisfied, our Financial Coach would want to know about your creditors, the total amount you owe, your preferred payment method, your interest rates, fees, your contact details, etc.
3. We look at the bigger financial picture
Our Financial Coach will try to find out the reason why you got into debt problems. He will ask about your income, spending habits, savings, etc. Our Financial Coach needs to know .
4. We help you select the best debt relief option
Once our Financial Coach gets all the details, he will help you choose the best debt relief option to pay off your holiday debts. :
- Debt settlement
- Debt consolidation
- Debt management
Our Financial Coach will help you select the best debt relief option through our unique Waterfall approach to debt free ™.
5. We give you an affordable payment plan
to you and help to pay off credit card debts easily. You won’t have to worry about collection calls, lawsuits and wage garnishment in the new year. Just follow the payment plan. Your financial picture will soon become bright and beautiful.
So, this is how OVLG helps you pay off holiday debts and release your stress. If you still have any doubt, then check out the 18 reasons to trust OVLG. And if you’re still not convinced, then watch the video testimonials sent by our clients. I bet all your doubts will go out of the window.
You are often thankful for various things like good health, promising relationship, etc. But, why not thank those financial prospects that come your way? I’m not talking about the promotion that you’ve got this year or the biggest trip that you’ve enjoyed with your family. Apart from these, there are still some other reasons that you should be thankful for. What are those? Last night, I searched on Google about some financial opportunities/benefits, which were introduced in 2015. There were many, but these 4 were really helpful for all common people. Maybe you've already taken advantage of these opportunities. However, I'm really thankful and can’t stop myself from writing brief notes on them.
1. Introduced EMV technology (Chip credit card)
Credit card fraud has been a rising problem in the US. To fight with this problem, , . All credit cards got a replacement with a chip in this year. Credit cards with a chip are made with the EMV technology that provide transaction security and other advantages, which a traditional magnetic stripe card can’t provide. There are many advantages of an EMV chip card, such as:
- EMV technology helps to reduce fraud
- A consumer can use EMV chip payment card on any EMV compatible payment terminal
- It supports advanced cardholder verification methods
- It provides security for online payment transactions
It is one of the biggest financial opportunities that you’ve got in 2015. Now you’re safe from credit card fraud. To know more about this new feature, visit http://www.emv-connection.com/ or http://www.gochipcard.com/. You can get useful resources to understand the basics of this technology and other related details.
2. PWC offered $1,200 a year to the employee
. This benefit will start in the year of 2016 and continue for up to 6 years. PWC is hiring many fresh grads directly from college campuses. Loan repayment benefit is certainly one of the most attracting perks as so many millennials are struggling with student loan debt. So, it's a great opportunity to get the benefit from PWC once you get hired this year. You can , , etc.
3. Lower gas price
The year 2015 is good for all drivers to fill up gas with a lower price. , . How long will it continue? As per the experts, fuel prices will remain low throughout the holiday season. The price tracker website gasbuddy.com recently reported, regular unleaded fuel is available at $1.85 per gallon in Fairfield, Sharonville and West Chester. Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) claimed, last time in April 2009 local gas prices were low. The US Energy Information Administration forecast that the prices of crude oil will remain low for this year and 2016 as well. A typical driver can save almost $50 per month for this cheaper rate. However, it’s the biggest good news for people who drive more. Lower gas prices mean chances to save more money in bank account. It also gives a chance to save money on fuel during holiday travel season, which is an extra benefit for you. Isn't it?
4. The comeback of Layaway to beat holiday credit card debts
Layaway policy is back just before the holiday season. This is absolutely a great opportunity to take advantage of Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping. You can save money on electronics, toys, and other supplies. , . Other big retailers will also offer the layaway plan for their customers. However, layaway policy can vary from one retailer to another. But, as per the experts, with layaway, consumers can reduce holiday credit card debts. The biggest retailer Walmart claimed that layaway plan will help their customers get every item they want. Walmart is hoping its popularity among their customers. .
One of the biggest advantages of layaway is, a customer can add the items to layaway and can buy them on Black Friday at Black Friday prices. Some other features are as follows:
- There is no opening fee for layaway
- The items must be at least $10 and your total purchase must be at least $50
- You can buy toys, electronics, automotive electronics, furniture, small appliances, and jewelry
- You need to pick the items and pay for them within the stipulated time period
- You can do layaway online
- It helps to beat the holiday rush.
- It helps to avoid January credit card debts.
- It ensures the latest trend of the season.
- It doesn’t require payments for the items all at once.
- It helps to focus on the budget.
- It allows advance payment.
In addition, people took advantage of the tax breaks on their home buying at the beginning of the year 2015. There was a great chance to buy a house, taking significant tax breaks. Rent has been rising for the past few years. So, there was a golden opportunity for the first time homebuyers to maximize their tax deduction on the home earlier in the year. Problem are a part of our life. We all have different types of issues to worry about. But we should be thankful for each and every phase that have come to our life. Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers out there. Do share your own reason to be thankful for.