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Building a Prefab Home – Types, Cost, Pros & Cons

By Laura Williams

prefab homeDon’t let the term “prefab home” scare you away – today’s prefabricated homes (also termed “building systems” by the National Association of Home Builders), are downright fabulous. Not only do they provide home buyers with a custom, energy-efficient building solution, they’re also typically more affordable than traditional stick-built homes. While the total cost of a prefab home is highly variable based on size, amenities, and location, you can expect to pay between $180 and $220 per square foot – an amount that often includes the home’s interior fixtures and amenities.

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Collecting & Investing in Wine – Costs, Risks, How to Buy

By Brian Martucci

wineWhen you hear the phrase “wine cellar,” what pops into your mind? I picture a climate-controlled bunker attached to a gaudy beachfront mansion. Sure, wine collecting and investing is a popular hobby among the wealthy elite and has a certain snobbish connotation – but that’s not the whole story. In recent years, it has become feasible and potentially lucrative for members of the middle class to invest in wine – in other words, to collect wine with the goal of selling it for a profit in the future.

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8 Unique Gift Ideas for Someone Who Has Everything

By Jacqueline Curtis

giftWe all know someone who simply has it all. My husband is a prime example: If he wants something, he goes out and buys it, leaving me scrambling for gift ideas when it comes time for special occasions.

Whether it’s a car accessory, the latest tech gadget, or new clothes, people who already have everything don’t leave a lot of choices for well-meaning gift givers. The trick to getting the perfect presents for the people who have it all is to think up things they wouldn’t purchase on their own – and that can be a challenge.

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8 Different Types of Friends Who Are Bad for Your Finances

By Jacqueline Curtis

friendsYou love hanging out, but there’s always that one person in your social group who wants to talk about what’s in your wallet. Whether it’s constantly asking about your financial status or pressuring you to blow your budget, financial “frenemies” can have a serious impact on your bottom line. When friends negatively affect your spending habits, it might be time to make a change or lay down a few social ground rules when it comes to talking about money.

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What to Write in a Thank You Card – 4 Tips for Proper Etiquette

By Jacqueline Curtis

thank-you noteIt seems as if the world has almost forgotten the art of letter writing. The Pew Research Center found that 75% of cellphone owners text, which means you’re probably more likely to get a birthday note from a friend on your smartphone – not in your mailbox. Although communication has become overwhelmingly digital, there are still times when a personal handwritten note is much more appropriate.

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6 Ways Retailers & Stores Track Your Spending Habits – How to Protect Your Personal Data

By Jacqueline Curtis

data trackingIn the children’s tale “Hansel and Gretel,” the two titular children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find their way out of the forest and back home. And when you’re shopping in certain stores, you might be leaving your own little breadcrumbs behind for retailers to track your spending – even if you don’t intend to.

But this isn’t child’s play – some retailers carefully track shopping habits as a way to offer new products, learn more about their customers, and even adjust prices. Both brick-and-mortar and online retailers have systems in place to scour for useful information that increases their chance for revenue.

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Join Us on Twitter for a Chat About #SoMoney Habits & Ways to Save on Feb 20th at 2PM EST

By Money Crashers

farnoosh torabiThis Friday, we will be holding a TweetChat with the topic of #SoMoney Habits & Ways to Save in mind from 2-3pm EST. Our guest will be Farnoosh Torabi.

Simply follow @MoneyCrashers and participate in the chat with hashtag #MCchat on Twitter and you will be entered in the prize draw (two winners for $15 Amazon gift cards).

An easy way to follow along and participate in #MCchat is by using our Twitter Chat Room at http://www.twubs.com/MCchat. We hope to see you there!

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Do I Need Flood Insurance? – What It Covers & Policy Costs

By Brian Martucci

flood zoneI grew up in a rugged, semi-rural area. My childhood home sat on a hillside above a narrow but energetic river. From our front window, the river was barely visible amid the trees. I remember it mostly as the centerpiece of a popular nature preserve within walking distance of our house.

Our neighbor, whose house sat right along the riverbank downstream from the preserve, had a very different experience. When circumstances were right – a big snowstorm followed by a sudden warmup or a succession of heavy spring rains – his entire yard turned into a lake. Sometimes it took days to drain. When it finally did, it was often a mess. After the worst deluges, the water would spill over his property lines and flood the main road, temporarily cutting off the immediate area. Fortunately, our house was always well above the waterline.

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8 Unique & Offbeat Valentine’s Day Date Ideas on a Budget

By Jacqueline Curtis

valentine's dayWhen Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re all hit with a barrage of commercials for restaurants, flowers, lingerie, and even edible bouquets. But if you’re short on cash, the idea of a pricey dinner and a movie night may not have you feeling the love.

Let’s face it: The usual date for Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly groundbreaking. As such, all of the restaurants in town are likely to be crowded – and good luck finding a good seat at the movie theater. So, what if, instead of spending your special day waiting for a table and rushing to get to the cineplex, you did something a little offbeat? You can fight fewer crowds, save yourself some coin, and impress your Valentine with something refreshingly different.

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Best Skin Care Tips & Products on a Budget – For All Skin Types

By Jacqueline Curtis

skincareIf you’ve ever needed to purchase skin care products from any drugstore, you know they can cost a fortune. Even brands that tout themselves as lower-priced options can have you forking over $20 for a tube of moisturizer.

What I’ve found to be the most effective skin care treatment plan is actually a combination of DIY treatments and frugal skin care options – not pricey department store products that promise a lot and deliver a little. Of course, everyone’s skin is different, so yours might not respond to the lotion that your friend raves about. Determining proper skin care requires a bit of trial and error, but with enough experience and understanding of ingredients, you can create a skin care routine that benefits your unique tone and type.

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How to Prepare to Sell Your Company or Business – Seller Objectivity & Buyer Mindset

By Michael Lewis

selling a businessNew job applicants get haircuts, shine their shoes, and practice their interview skills while preparing to hopefully land a position. Those seeking to sell a home often repaint inside and out, primp the landscaping, and clean from top to bottom before hosting an open house.

And a business owner who hopes to receive a fair price for his or her company would be wise to engage in such “dressing up” activities as well. While it may go without saying, putting your best foot forward is always the best strategy to maximize the value of any sale.

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9 Clever Clothing Hacks That Save You Money on Your Wardrobe

By Jacqueline Curtis

clothesBuying clothes can be both a necessary evil and an expensive pastime. Annual American spending on clothing and accessories tops $250 billion, with global spending at $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by Statistic Brain. Chances are, if you’re an average American, a portion of your paychecks goes to clothing, shoes, and accessories. After all, you can’t show up to work wearing your old ripped jeans.

But what if instead of lining the pockets of clothing designers, manufacturers, and retailers, you kept more cash in the bank while giving your clothes new life? Instead of getting rid of damaged garments and buying something new, see if the stuff in your closet can be fixed, altered, or repurposed.

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7 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Business – Steps to Take

By Michael Lewis

selling a businessEach year, thousands of small businesses change hands. Some owners decide to retire, others need new capital to exploit market opportunities, and some businesses fail and are liquidated.

According to the BizBuySell.com Fourth Quarter 2014 Insight Report, 7,494 small businesses traded hands during 2014, the largest number of transactions since BizBuySell starting tracking sales data in 2007. While higher than previous years, there are approximately 45,000 small businesses – ranging from restaurants and retail stores, to service and manufacturing companies – available for purchase at any given time.

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8 Ways to Make the Most of Thrift Store Clothing Finds

By Jacqueline Curtis

thrift store shoppingThe case for thrift store shopping is a strong one: You can score great pieces on the cheap while doing your part to help your community and decrease your own environmental impact.

But while thrift shopping might make you feel your best, secondhand clothes don’t always make you look your best. Clothes that are worn, faded, out-of-season, and just plain cheap can give your secondhand secret away.

Therefore, it is important that you do your best to make the most of your thrift store finds. By ensuring that you select quality pieces and take proper care, you can fool anyone into thinking that you bought your outfit at the mall, just like everyone else.

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Best New Bank Account Promotions, Offers & Free Money

By Money Crashers

stack cashWith many financial institutions experiencing a decrease in profits, banks are vying for your business. This is good news for you, because instead of just offering standard perks like no fees, free checking, or a free pen when you sign up for an account, some banks are raising the stakes with cold hard cash, giveaways, and great interest-bearing products.

February is a good month for bank promotions from both big and small banks. Banks are giving away a lot of free cash to attract new customers and get them to open up accounts. The banks listed below have some pretty sweet deals that you should take advantage of if you are in the market for a new bank.

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The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

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