10 Best Real Estate Markets to Invest In Now – Hardest Hit by the Recession

monopoly real estate marketIt’s well known that some cities weather tough economic times better than others (Hello, Detroit? Are you still standing?). A recent Standard and Poor survey revealed that housing prices nationwide have fallen to their lowest levels since the beginning of the great recession.

If you’re a homeowner, this probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you. Many American homeowners find themselves upside down on their mortgage loans, owing more than they could sell the home for in the current marketplace.

But if you don’t own a home, now might be a great time to buy real estate – especially if you live in one of the following cities, where the real estate markets have been hit the hardest.

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6 Ways to Get that Gourmet Kitchen without the Expensive Appliances & Gadgets

gourmet kitchenExtreme makeover and home improvement shows have left many people dreaming of having the ultimate gourmet kitchen. Unfortunately, the kitchens you see on TV are far from attainable for those on a budget. Visions of all of the tools and ingredients you need to create an impossible array of delicacies can have you overspending before you know it.

While there are many affordable ways to remodel your kitchen, I like to focus on infrastructure and ingredients. By putting practicality first, you can create a gourmet space without blowing your budget.

Here are my top six strategies to make that happen.

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What are Financial Derivatives – Common Derivatives Trading Examples

financial derivatives market manIf you are active in the investing world, you’ve most likely heard something about dealing in derivatives. While this kind of investing may be too risky for those new to the game, it can be a great option for more experienced investors.

So, how does it work?

Read on for a breakdown of the practice, advantages, and pitfalls of derivative investing.

What Is a Financial Derivative?

Derivatives are securities which are linked to other securities, such as stocks or bonds. Their value is based off of the primary security they are linked to, and they are therefore not worth anything in and of themselves.

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Xeriscape Landscaping Ideas & Sustainable Gardening Tips to Conserve Water

xeriscaping yardDid you know that according to NASA’s investigation of satellite images, the U.S. grows enough residential grass to equal the state of New York? That’s 53,000 square miles…of grass.

The water all this grass requires to stay alive is astronomical. One-third of all residential water use is dumped on the lawn, where it picks up any pesticides and fertilizers you’ve laid down and then trickles down into your local watershed.

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Buffettology: Warren Buffett Quotes & Value Investment Strategy for Stock Picks

warren buffettWhile it may be tempting to throw yourself into the dramatic highs and lows of investing in the stock market in search of instant gratification, it’s not necessarily the most profitable choice. Warren Buffet has spent his career watching investors pounce on “hot” companies, only to flounder when the market takes a plunge. All the while, he’s been steadily accumulating wealth by taking an entirely different approach.

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Modern Home Office Furniture Design Ideas on a Budget – Desks, Chairs, Storage & Shelving

home office kitchenWith an estimated 4.34 million people working from home full time in the U.S., and an additional 11.33 million doing so part time, it’s not surprising that retailers are zeroing in on the home office crowd.

Everyone from office supply stores to home furnishing manufacturers are gearing up to take advantage of this growing homepreneur market. Unfortunately, as demand increases, so do price tags. I was appalled at what I found during a recent Internet search for home office options. When all is said and done, the products these companies are encouraging you to purchase can add up to the cost of a small fuel-efficient car!

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How Long Does It Take to Get My IRS Tax Refund? – Status & Tracking

mailbox moneyThere are times even better than Christmas – like the day that you get your tax refund check. But unlike Christmas, you never know when that exact day will come.

The good news is that the speed of getting one’s tax refund has increased exponentially since the early 1990’s. Back when I was in college, I remember filing my taxes in March or April and then not seeing my paper check refund until as late as June. Plus, there was no real indication of the status of that refund. Information from the IRS was difficult to get in the days before the Internet.

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Equity-Indexed Annuities Pros and Cons

stock market indexWhen you’re buying a new home, you have two basic choices for a loan – a fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgage. But what if there was a third option that wasn’t as risky as an adjustable rate, but could still beat the interest rates of a fixed?

The turbulence in the markets over the past several years has left many annuity investors facing a similar dilemma: either settle for the relatively low rates offered by fixed contracts, or else endure the volatility of the debt and equity markets in a variable annuity.

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How to Use a Credit Card & Rewards Wisely – 6 Tricks to Outsmart Credit Card Companies

credit card manDue to the recent economic recession, people have become more and more displeased with their banks. High interest rates, credit card fees, and poor customer service have left them clamoring for change and better treatment. The recent Credit CARD Act of 2009 is a step in the right direction, but it’s not an all encompassing fix.

Luckily, there is minority of people who have found ways to outsmart their credit card issuers and make the system, flaws and all, work for them. As one of those knowledgeable few, allow me to share a few credit card tricks I’ve learned along the way.

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