“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” Those words of American economist Thomas Sowell from his book “A Conflict of Visions” sometimes offend new parents who, looking at their precious bundle of joy, can’t imagine the stubbornness and temper tantrums that await them. Infants are born demanding their parents’ full attention. They are easily frustrated and often defiant. Fortunately, as they grow, they are capable of learning empathy, cooperation, and sharing – skills that are essential as they mature and interact with others.
One of the hallmarks of the suburban landscape is the manicured grass lawn. Walk down any suburban street and you’ll see one lawn after another, sprinkled with occasional shade trees and flowerbeds. In fact, this type of landscaping is so common that many homeowners take it completely for granted – it never even occurs to them that it’s possible to do anything else with their yards.
But here and there throughout the landscape, you’ll find homeowners bucking this trend. Instead of lawns and shrubbery, their yards hold berry bushes, herb borders, and trellises covered in climbing bean and squash vines. Rather than waste their yard space on grass that takes a lot of maintenance and produces nothing in return, these homeowners are putting it to good use by growing food for their families.
Buying a new car is one of the most exciting purchases you’ll ever make. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of driving home in a beautiful, showroom-perfect vehicle, particularly if you’ve been driving nothing but old clunkers for most of your life. The shiny finish, the high-tech features, that magical new-car smell – for the first few weeks, all you want to do is bask in the glow.
But that glow starts to fade pretty quickly if your beautiful new car ends up in the shop with a major problem before the new-car smell has even worn off. And it disappears completely if you fix that problem, only to have it pop up again and again, until your expensive new car is spending more time in the shop than it does on the road.
When asked to name the most important type of real estate insurance, many homeowners confidently and without hesitation answer “homeowners insurance.” After all, homeowners insurance policies protect against potentially huge financial losses due to damage from fire, water, wind, vandalism, and a host of other perils. What could be more important? Well, for starters, making sure the property covered by that homeowners insurance policy actually belongs to its purported owner.
According to an old superstition, it’s good luck to find a penny on the sidewalk. But whether or not you believe picking up that penny will bring you luck, one thing it definitely won’t bring you is wealth. Pennies are worth so little now that by taking five seconds to pick one up, you’re earning just $7.20 an hour – less than the federal minimum wage.
Pennies are so close to worthless that many people argue it’s time to do away with them altogether. A nonpartisan organization called Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny has attracted the support of economists from Harvard and Wake Forest University. Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona has twice introduced bills in Congress to eliminate the penny, and in February 2014, President Barack Obama argued during a YouTube chat that pennies were obsolete and a symbol of U.S. government waste.
When our son was a baby, my husband and I kept his birthday parties simple and low-key, limiting the guest list to just family. We figured that since our son wasn’t old enough to know the difference, there was no need to spend a small fortune on a party he wouldn’t even remember. However, his third birthday posed more of a challenge because by then he’d reached the age where he was being invited to playmates’ birthday celebrations. We realized that our minimalist family gatherings might be too exclusive and couldn’t compare to some of the more elaborate birthday extravaganzas he’d attended.
Growing up, my parents didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that cruise vacations or trips to Disney theme parks generally weren’t an option. Camping, however, made for a much more affordable family vacation. So in lieu of resorts or hotel stays we often opted to camp out for a week, explore parks and hiking trails, and enjoy our time together as a family. There were some years when I went along grudgingly, but looking back, some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood are those of our family camping trips.
The cost of housing varies widely from market to market. According to Zillow, Dallas’s mid-2015 median home price sat near $126,000, up from about $91,000 three years earlier. By contrast, Zillow pegged San Francisco’s mid-2015 median at a cool $1.08 million, up from about $620,000 just three years earlier. Though the average San Franciscan earns more than the average Dallasite, the latter still pays a far lower percentage of income for housing.
My 30-day challenge left me with some clear lessons that can be broadly applied by anyone using a reloadable prepaid debit card to budget for day-to-day expenses – particularly if the card is part of the Visa Clear Prepaid program.
1. Clearly Communicated Fees Make Budgeting Easier
One of the first things I noticed when I signed up for my Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card was the clear, straightforward fee schedule. All possible fees are laid out on a single webpage, making them easy to process at a glance.
Read through any article about green living, and sooner or later, you’re likely to come across the term “carbon footprint.” The phrase comes up so often that it’s pretty clear the authors think your carbon footprint is something you need to be concerned about. But what they don’t always bother to explain is just what your carbon footprint is, and why it’s so important.
The first question is pretty simple to answer: Your carbon footprint is the sum of all the greenhouse gas emissions you produce through your day-to-day activities. It’s called a carbon footprint because the main greenhouse gas involved in global warming is carbon dioxide, or CO2.