A Pew poll from March 2015 reports that more than 80% of Americans are concerned about their savings, and seven out of ten worry whether they have enough money to cover their expenses. Yet since 1960, the personal saving rate in the United States has been inconsistent and generally trending downward, ranging from a high of 17.0% in May 1975 to a low of 1.9% in July 2005, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis as reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In April 2015, the rate clawed its way up to 5.6%.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own fresh flowers and vegetables in a home garden. Especially if you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk, it’s a welcome change of pace to spend some time outdoors, working with your hands and feeling physically connected to the Earth. And although a garden can be a lot of work, it more than pays for itself in tender lettuce and juicy, homegrown tomatoes that taste far superior to anything you can buy at the supermarket.
We may think that an ever-advancing, high-tech society means our standard of living is improving. However, many people insist that the present-day quality of life isn’t what it used to be – at least not for the middle class. This is because it doesn’t always matter whether people earn more money than in years past – if it doesn’t have the same proportional buying power, they can feel serious financial strain and become heavily indebted.
If you have a bank account – or even if not – you’ve likely heard of FDIC insurance. FDIC insurance is deposit insurance overseen by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federal entity created by the Banking Act of 1933.
FDIC insurance guarantees the safety of deposits in checking, savings, and CD accounts held with FDIC member banks. When a member bank fails, the FDIC reimburses each depositor up to $250,000 per account. As of mid-2015, there are about 6,400 FDIC member banks, according to the FDIC.
Money is a leading cause of stress, there’s no arguing it. The almighty dollar worries us more than work, family, and even our health, according to the American Psychological Association. Money-related stress isn’t just aggravating though. It has actually been linked to negative effects on health and longevity, and is also believed to contribute to poor decision-making.
Why do so many of us succumb to money-related stress? If we’re not handling our finances to the best of our abilities, the shortcomings are often related to our saving habits. We spend too much and save too little, or don’t save anything at all. Every working-age adult should be able to lay claim to three types of savings, and should be committed to ensuring each of those accounts is properly funded.
One of the keys to living a frugal lifestyle is to shop secondhand. Each person has different rules about what they will or won’t buy used: For example, some are okay with used clothes but won’t buy used shoes, while others buy used DVDs but only new DVD players. But just about everyone who wants to save money shops secondhand for at least a few items, because it’s so much cheaper than buying new.
But scattered across the country, there’s a group of people who have taken secondhand shopping to its ultimate extreme. They buy everything used. Unless it’s a consumable product, such as food or medicine, they just will not buy it new.
One of the most frustrating things about home improvement is having to shell out money for a new tool that you only expect to use once. For example, if your bathroom needs re-tiling, you can’t reasonably do the job without a wet saw, which costs anywhere from $100 to $750. But unless you have another bathroom to re-tile after this one, that expensive tool is just going to sit in your garage gathering dust once you’re finished with the job.
In the summer of 2014, several prominent politicians made an unusual choice. For one week, they all voluntarily set aside their generous salaries and tried to live on just $7.25 an hour – the federal minimum wage.
No, they weren’t crazy. They were taking the Live the Wage Challenge.
This challenge was created as part of a campaign to raise the federal minimum wage, which hasn’t increased since 2009. The campaign encouraged politicians, bloggers, and others to try living for one week on minimum wage and write about it. The organizers set up a discussion on Twitter at #LiveTheWage for people to share their experiences. Their goal was to show people firsthand how difficult it is to live on $7.25 an hour and encourage them to support the wage hike.
Choosing a wine is like choosing a book: There are a million different options. You can get recommendations from a friend, but unless you really dive in and know what to look for, you’re taking a gamble on whether or not you’ll enjoy your selection.
Even if you rarely imbibe, it’s not a bad idea to get acquainted with wine. According to a Gallup poll, of the 64% of Americans who report having occasion to drink alcohol, 31% of them choose wine most often. That figure trails beer (you can thank the rise of craft breweries and home brewing for that), but solidly beats out liquor.
Professional home stagers are worth their weight in gold, and they know it. By making your home more appealing to prospective buyers, they can help sell it quickly and at a substantially higher price than an empty, white-walled, undecorated property would fetch.
But what if you don’t want to shell out the dollars required to nab a professional stager? Believe it or not, it is possible to do the job yourself – as long as you’re armed with the right knowledge. Whether your home is FSBO (“for sale by owner”) or you’re working with a real estate professional, use these steps to quickly and easily manage the staging process on your own, for far less outlay.