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Budgets are like diets: No single approach works for everyone; overly complicated plans rarely work for long; and sometimes it takes a few tries before you get it right.

One common stumbling block is thinking of budgets as punishment rather than a means to achieve your life’s goals. Say you dream of buying a house: A budget shouldn't serve as a constant reminder that you can't afford a down payment; but rather, as a tool to help identify where the money goes each month so you can adjust spending – and saving – accordingly.

If you’re new to budgeting or you haven't been successful in the past, start slowly. First, for a few months write down every cent you spend: mortgage/rent, utilities, food, gas, medical copayments, birthday presents, credit card interest, allowances – the works. Don’t forget annual expenses like insurance and income tax. It sounds tedious, but I guarantee you'll be amazed by the bottom line.


Outdoor activities and entertainment a draw for visitors

Tourism is arguably the largest industry within Macon County. From lodging to hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) to kayaking down the Little Tennessee to gem mining in one of the dozens of mines in Franklin, a large portion of Macon County's economy is directly attributed to tourism.

Nearly a dozen resources are available for tourists to learn about the area and help plan their visit to Macon County. From government boards like Franklin's Tourism Development Authority or the county's Tourism Development Commission to local resources like Franklin's Chamber of Commerce, or the Smoky Mountain Host Visitor Center, or locally owned businesses geared toward helping to plan your next vacation in the mountains like Stay and Play in the Smokies.


Ribbon cutting held last Saturday for ‘Bark Park.’

The Friends of the Greenway (FROGs) held the official grand opening of Macon County's new dog park on Saturday morning. FROGs asked the community to submit names for the park, and after shuffling through more than 30 entries, members of FROGs selected the submission of a frequent visitor who wishes to remain anonymous and named the new facility, “Big Bear Bark Park.”


One common misconception among many people who rent their homes is that they are covered under their landlord’s insurance in case of an accident, burglary, or other disaster. Let me dispel that myth: Landlords typically only insure the building and any fixtures they own, so renters are responsible for lost or damaged possessions. And, if someone has an accident in your apartment, you’re liable.

Given this level of risk exposure, it’s surprising that up to two-thirds of renters don't have insurance. You may feel your belongings aren’t worth insuring, but suppose you had an electrical fire or burst pipe: Think how much it would cost to replace your possessions – not to mention pay for alternate housing during repairs.


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