Recently, while unpacking after a move, I came to a not-so-startling revelation: I had a lot of things that I did not really need. I still had boxes that I never unpacked from my previous move, which was two years ago. Now, I know I have a habit of keeping things for too long and taking frugal living too far, especially when it comes to electronics. I always think I may suddenly need them (or have the ability to fix them) one day. Two years of unpacked boxes, however, is borderline hoarding.
We all want to pay our bills. After all, most people don’t get a great feeling watching debts accumulate. But things happen unexpectedly and suddenly, and sometimes you can’t make payments for everything on time.
A few years ago, I moved to New Orleans, and the move seemed to spark a series of unfortunate events. During the first week, I blew a tire. I received two traffic tickets. Then I dropped my cell phone off of a balcony, sending it to electronics heaven. I had very little money left after the move, but I had enough saved to get the car working again, and to replace the cell phone.
At a time when banks are making record profits and customers are paying higher fees, many people are seeking financial institutions that will help them save money. One such institution could be your local credit union.
Credit unions offer numerous financial products that help people maximize their incomes and increase their savings, often with fewer or lower fees than traditional banks. But these institutions also have disadvantages which may make them unappealing to some banking customers.
What Is a Credit Union?
Credit unions are similar to traditional banks in the sense that both institutions offer financial products to customers. Credit union members, like bank customers, have access to checking and savings accounts, CDs, loan products, and credit cards.
Rent is expensive. Even the smallest studio apartment can take up a huge portion of your monthly income. If you need more bedrooms, a larger kitchen, or just want to live in a nicer area, then your monthly rent payment can quickly become the majority of your income.
For those with low income, decent rentals are often unaffordable, and many families find themselves struggling to pay for even a small unit in a bad part of town.
With the Section 8 low income housing assistance program, low-income renters can get the housing they need at a price they can comfortably afford.
For some families, finding decent, safe, and affordable housing presents a challenge. Since most areas of the United States do not have rent control laws, affording private rentals in good areas can seem like an unreachable goal for some renters. As a result, many families live in high crime areas or in substandard housing.
To combat this, the U.S. government developed the Section 8 program, which helps low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled afford the cost of living, and provides incentives to landlords willing to work with local housing authorities.
Most landlords don’t think highly of the Section 8 housing program. Over the years, I’ve heard dozens of myths about it. Landlords see it as a hassle; they think the housing authority will breathe down their neck, or they believe they’ll get awful tenants.
The truth of the matter is that the Section 8 program can work wonders for some landlords. The housing authority is not that difficult to work with, the properties rent faster, and the tenants are not much different from others. However, with that said, how well it will work for you largely depends on how you run your business.
You can do just about anything with a smartphone. There are apps to help you manage your ever-growing digital music collection, travel apps to find the best deals on the go, apps to find the best gas prices, and even apps to ward off zombies.
You can also manage your money directly from your smartphone. There are dozens of personal finance apps available for Android and the iPhone that let you do everything from making a budget to filing your taxes.
Since some financial apps simply aren’t worth the download, here’s a short list of my top five.
I’ll admit it: I love gadgets. I’m especially drawn to smartphones, tablet PCs, and plenty of other devices that a frugal person would easily call “non-essential.” In the past, my love affair with technology blindsided me into paying high retail prices far too often.
I finally got my reality check one weekend, when my dog chewed up my charger in the middle of the night. I woke up in urgent need of a new laptop charger. Desperate to get online, but with no juice in my computer battery, I headed to Best Buy and purchased the only charger set they offered. It cost $87.
With a good tenant, you can sleep easy at night as a landlord knowing the rent will get paid and the property will stay relatively undamaged. With a bad tenant, on the other hand, you’re left to wonder about the state of your investment while fielding calls from angry neighbors.
The problem is that any prospective tenant can act like the best tenant in the world during the initial walk-through. But if you want to make sure you’re getting the best renter, it’s important to screen every prospective tenant thoroughly before allowing them to sign a lease.
There is nothing like a cruise. You can spend all day touring an island, laying on the beach, or swimming with stingrays. At night, you can eat four-star cuisine, take in a show, or dance with your spouse or partner.
Growing up, my mother had a thing for cruise vacations, and I’ve taken quite a few in my life. They’re a lot of fun for singles, couples, or families. From the moment the ship leaves the harbor, until you dock again, you’ll have constant entertainment, all the food you can eat, and endless sights to see. Chances are, you won’t want to leave when the ship docks again.
Are you looking for a vintage bag? Or maybe a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork to go above your mantel?
Look no further than Etsy, an online Internet marketplace where thousands of artists, designers, and crafters market their wares. It’s my go-to website for contemporary fine art, crafts, jewelry, and accessories because with so many retailers in one spot, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Best of all, since Etsy works with small businesses and regular folk, you can find cheap deals on one-of-a-kind items.
I recently took my dog to a new veterinarian. As I was leaving, the vet handed me a sheet listing the costs of all of his services. While the wellness exam, heartworm medication, and vaccinations all seemed more than fair, my heart stopped beating for a second when I got to the bottom of the list – surgery, x-rays, MRIs, and chronic treatments all cost more than I could comfortably pay out-of-pocket. The vet must have noticed my horror because he threw in a pamphlet on pet insurance when I was leaving.
Finding the perfect apartment for rent can be a lengthy, time-consuming process. When I first started renting, I drove by every apartment complex in an area, requested a pamphlet, and repeated the entire process for other areas. Then I picked up the print version of Apartment Guide and a newspaper, headed home, and tried to sort the mess out. It took way too long and I missed out on all the great private owner apartments because I didn’t know where to look.
My dad is a hoarder – no, not the kind that needs an intervention on the “Hoarders” television show. Just the kind that has managed to cram every cabinet, shelf, and drawer in his house to the gills with tools, already-used nails, paper clips, pens, and other useful things. His theory is that the more he has on hand, the less he’ll have to buy down the road.
And honestly, the theory works to a point. I cannot tell you how many times growing up he saved me from having to run to the store and buy staples or magic markers or glue for a school project the night before it was due.
My dad is an avid sailor. Notice I said “avid” and not “good.” In his many sailing adventures, he has – among other disasters – been stuck on a sandbar, mired in an oyster bed, and sprung a leak – having to quickly bail while the coast guard drove out to save him.