Spring is here, the weather is great, and many of you will start to think about the home remodeling projects you’ve been putting off since last summer. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on remodeling your home if you’re smart about it. Focusing on your kitchen and bathrooms is very smart, because you’ll get the most return for the money you put into it, but these rooms are also the most expensive to remodel. There are a lot of less expensive remodeling projects you can embark on and still improve the value of your home and its appeal to buyers. Read about 5 tips for remodeling your home the smart way from Money Ning. Money Ning is a great personal finance blog, and we recommend that you subscribe to their feed to get daily updates.
I always cringe when people spend hundreds of dollars to have their computer diagnosed and fixed by the Geek Squad at Best Buy or the local computer shop. I completely understand that some people are just not computer savvy, but if you are active on a computer, you can self-educate yourself on some basic principles to help keep your computer healthy and your bank account a little bigger. Here are a few things you can do to keep your computer from losing performance.
Upgrade Your RAM
We’re proud to be hosting the 43rd edition of the Best of Money Carnival for this week. The Best of Money Carnival is a little different than most carnivals. Instead of almost all submissions getting included in the carnival as long as you follow directions and submit your article, the Best of Money Carnival gets whittled down from 60 to 70 submissions down to just 10. The host picks out the 10 “best” articles from the past week and includes them in the carnival. I put “best” in quotation marks, because this is obviously a subjective process. Being the host this week, I took the 10 best based on articles that included current events and articles that were a little out of the ordinary. The health care reform bill just passed, and that will be a huge topic of debate over the next several months. Tax season is coming to a close, and many of you still have questions. I am sure some of you get sick and tired of reading posts about ROTH IRA’s and tax deductions that you missed, so I tried to select 10 articles that you’d find interesting, because they are either unique topics or they cover what’s happening in America right now. Here are the 10 best for this week:
Our cars can be one of the most financially draining possessions that we own. The first thing most people think of when you start talking about an emergency expense is a costly car repair. Not only are maintenance and repairs expensive, but buying gasoline, the fees and taxes associated with buying a new car, and yearly registration and insurance costs are all expenses we pay simply to have the luxury of driving. Fortunately, there are great folks like Jeremy over at Gen X Finance that give us great guides like the 28 tips to save money on car expenses and save thousands of dollars. Jeremy is a retirement planning specialist and founder of Generation X Finance and the guide to Financial Planning at About.com. To learn more, follow Jeremy on Twitter.
Traveling is one of the harshest activities we engage in against the environment. We take transportation that pollutes the air, we produce a lot of waste, and we’re typically less conscious of conserving resources. I’m not a tree hugger, and I don’t come down on people for not recycling, because I think it needs to be a personal conviction to be better stewards of this Earth and our resources. There are several ways to travel greener AND save money at the same time.
Here are 4 tips that I try to follow:
Money Crashers has been around for about four years now, so all of my close friends and family know about my passion for personal finance, and I get quite a few questions from close friends and family about their own finances. I really don’t mind helping the ones closest to me. Most of the “advice” that I give is common sense, and I don’t get too technical with my recommendations, because I’m not licensed properly to give certain financial advice. Flexo, from Consumerism Commentary, recently ran an article about how to handle requests for financial advice. I really liked his advice about being careful to jump into financial conversations with acquaintances such as co-workers, and I also liked that he advised not to lend money to friends or family to solve their financial problems, because usually the problem isn’t money. The problem is the decisions they make and the bad financial habits they’ve formed. If you’ve never checked out Consumerism Commentary, it’s one of the top personal finance sites that I’ve been following since 2006.
Last week, I finally took the plunge and switched my alliances with PC and Windows and switched to Apple. I bought a 21.5″ Apple iMac with 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card with 256MB memory, and a 3.06GHZ Dual Core Intel processor. I should just move to San Francisco and start wearing black turtlenecks, because I will never go back to the days of Dell and Microsoft. It’s been 4 days since I first started using it, and I love it. My ability to quickly create screen casts, web videos, manipulate and edit photos, and work in several different programs all at once has vastly improved. I don’t know what it is about the Mac OS or the programs designed for Macs, but they load and run SO much quicker than Windows and Windows-based programs. For example, Firefox opens instantly, whereas, even in Windows 7, Firefox hesitates to open for about 10 seconds. Ever since I bought an iPhone about a year and a half ago, I’ve had the itch to switch my computers to Apple, but the price tag had always deterred me from making the switch. I never thought I’d be able to spend less than $1,700 to $1,800 for what I wanted, but I ended up getting this iMac for $999, which was exactly my threshold for what I was willing to spend. How did I do it? Read below:
The Winter Olympics started last Friday, and I am not too intrigued by most of the sports included in the Winter Olympics, but I do love the women’s figure skating, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and the bobsled competitions. As I was watching the Olympics the other night, I gained more appreciation for the athletes the more that I thought about the training it took for them to reach this poing of being one of the best in the world in their respective sport. Then, I started thinking about how all of the principles of an Olympic athlete correlate to the financial principles that help people build wealth. Passion, Perseverance, and Discipline are three attributes of an Olympic athlete that we must all possess if we want to win with money.
Today, one of our writers came across an article that made me want to throw up just from reading the title: Forget the Mortgage, I’m Paying My Credit Card Bill. Oh man, where do I start? I honestly feel bad for the people that write this crap and for the people that they interview, because they really have no idea how much damage their advice is doing to the American people. I thought the title was a joke at first. I thought the article would make a case for paying your credit card first, then go back to reality about how paying your mortgage and keeping a roof over your head should be the first priority. But, that never happened!
If you’ve been following the financial news today, then you saw articles like this one from Yahoo Finance about the unemployment rate falling to 9.7%, which is a five-month low. That sounds like good news, and it could be, but when you look deeper into the numbers and throw some logic into the equation, it doesn’t make sense that the unemployment rate would fall that much. Does this mean the numbers are cooked? Are we on the road to recovery for job loss? I really hope so, because it’s the single most glaring eye sore to our economy right now. It’s the one road block that will keep our economy from heading in the right direction. Here’s a quote from the article I referenced above.