February 2009

Holiday Travel: Tackling Long Drives

My family lives several hours away, which means my husband and I have a long drive every major family holiday. Fortunately, we live in California, so the weather isn’t usually an issue, but it can be in certain sections. We’ve also taken road trips, though, and I learned how to plan drives to reduce time, stress, and expenses. Check Your Route Even if you’ve taken this particular drive…
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Should You Buy a Fixer-Upper?

If you’re in the housing market right now, you have to make a major decision about whether you’re willing to buy fixer-uppers. Due to the foreclosure crisis, there are a lot of homes on the market with half-finished projects, or no upgrades. The previous owners either bought more than they could afford or got started and then ran out of money. How to Get a Feel for Fixers…
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high level debt solutions, a picture of dollar bills

Debunking the “Latte Factor”

It seems that every week some personal finance writer or speaker explains that we could all get out of debt if we just stopped buying $5 lattes every day. If I hear that one more time, I will scream. High Level Debt Solutions should be in place! Why have all of these advisers fixated on the latte factor? While it’s true that buying a $5 latte every weekday…
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How to Make a Christmas Cookie Basket

‘Tis the season of the Christmas cookie basket. That delicious treat that features sinful treats you probably don’t get the rest of the year. If you’re a master baker, put this on your gift list for an easy, fun treat no one will dislike. If you have kids, this is an affordable gift they can make for teachers and relatives alike. It’s the one thing I can guarantee…
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How to Stay Warm this Fall and Winter

Although it doesn’t get super cold in Los Angeles, it does get chilly (really, it does.) I don’t like to crank up the thermostat, so I’ve come up with a few other ways to keep warm in the fall and winter. Check for Drafts Check your doors and windows for cracks or drafts before it gets wet out. Seal them or repair them now so the warm air…
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Spring is Famous for Duct Tape at the Carnivals

Yeah, that one doesn’t really work, but that’s what I’m going with anyway. This week we have three carnivals to share, including an editor’s pick. The Festival of Frugality hosted by Ask Mr. Credit Card chose my post about farmer’s markets as an editor’s pick. I also recommend Think Your Way to Wealth’s advice for setting up a container garden. Hmmm, maybe I could buy a townhouse after all. Next, the Carnival of Personal Finance #199 at…
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Tomato Project Part 5

It’s been another six weeks or so since my last tomato update. No picture this time because my plants are looking pretty crappy right now! The leftmost one is nearly dead. The center one is dying, with just three small tomatoes left growing. The rightmost plant is dying on the bottom and thriving on the top. I’ve completely abandoned pruning so that they stopped growing out of reach. Pretty…
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