Living on Minimum Wage – Is It Possible? (Live the Wage Challenge)

minimum wageIn 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.

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Wine Buying Guide – Tasting Basics, Types, What to Spend On

wineChoosing 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.

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How to Prepare Your House for Sale – 5 Home Staging Tips & Ideas

home staging kitchenProfessional 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.

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What Is Umbrella Insurance – Do I Need a Policy?

umbrella insuranceImagine that you’re just a few years away from a well-deserved retirement. You’ve got a sizable retirement account, plus a house and car that are fully paid off. Altogether, your assets amount to a little over a million dollars. In short, life is pretty good.

Then, one day, you get into a car crash. Fortunately, you’re not badly hurt, and the damage to your car is well within the limits of your auto insurance coverage. Unfortunately, the other car involved in the crash is full of executives from a large company – and their injuries, and the damage to the car, are much more serious.

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Composting 101: How to Make Compost & Fertilizer at Home

compostMy husband and I are avid composters. All our kitchen and yard waste goes into a bin we built ourselves, and we pull out enough finished compost each year to feed about half of our vegetable garden. When my husband tells friends and coworkers about our setup, though, they often respond with a sigh, “Gee, I wish I could do that.”

If he asks them why they can’t, some of them explain that they just don’t have the time to build and maintain a compost pile. Others say that their yard isn’t big enough, or they don’t have a yard at all. And occasionally, some add that setting up a compost bin is too expensive for the small amount of vegetable waste they have.

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Do It Yourself (DIY) or Hire a Contractor for Home Improvement Projects?

renovationWhen you buy a home, the money you pay up front is just the beginning. You’re also on the hook for a whole slew of ongoing expenses, including property tax, homeowners insurance, utilities – and, of course, repairs. According to mortgage lender Wells Fargo, homeowners should expect to spend between 1% and 2% of their home’s total price on repairs each year.

Mind you, that’s just for routine maintenance. If you have any major remodeling jobs in mind, plan to tack on a whole lot more. HomeAdvisor, a site that matches homeowners with contractors, claims that it costs an average of $9,000 to remodel a bathroom, $15,000 for a basement, and $20,000 for a kitchen.

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Reselling vs. Donating Unwanted Items for a Tax Deduction – What’s Better?

selling onlinePlenty of us have extra stuff lying around we’d love to get rid of. The question is, what’s the best way to go about it?

In some cases, it may make financial sense to resell books, clothing, furniture, and electronics on eBay, Craigslist, or at a garage sale. Sometimes, you’re better off donating items and claiming a tax deduction. The right answer depends on a few factors: how much free time you have on your hands, what kind of goods you want to get rid of, and your ability to claim charitable deductions.

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32 Cheap & Unique Father’s Day Gift Ideas to Show Dad You Care

father's dayComing up with unique Father’s Day gift ideas can be difficult. Sure, you can always pick up another “Best Dad Ever” coffee mug or a tie to add to his ever-growing collection – but why not get him something fun and unique this year instead?

Fortunately, coming up with a way to show your dad, grandfather, or the father of your children that you care doesn’t have to drain your bank account. The following ideas are sure to fit into your budget and help turn this Father’s Day into more than just another day.

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Can Money Buy Happiness? – Understanding the Economics of Happiness

can money buy happinessSuppose you’re looking for a job, and you have two offers on the table. Company A has offered you a salary of $100,000, but you happen to know that the average salary there is $200,000. Company B is willing to pay only $50,000, but the average worker there earns only $25,000.

If you prefer Company B, you’re not alone. According to a paper published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, more than half the respondents to a 1995 survey at the Harvard School of Public Health gave the same answer: They would rather make twice as much as their colleagues, even if it halved their actual income and buying power. This survey illustrates that in many cases, it’s not just what we have that makes us happier – it’s what we have compared to others.

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