August 2011

It’s Carnival Time

Another week, another batch of carnivals. Money Hacks Carnival #6 at Bible Money Matters selected my post on 10 Inexpensive Hobbies as an editor’s pick. If you liked that, you’ll also enjoy Home Life Weekly’s tip for making free printable birthday cards. Next up, Festival of Frugality #119 at Consumerism Commentary. They also selected one of posts as an editor’s pick: Is a Frugal Lifestyle Always Environmentally Friendly. If you liked that, you’ll enjoy Money and…
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How the Mortgage Pre-Approval Process Works

If you’re looking for a home, the first thing you should do is get pre-approved for a mortgage. You could opt for a pre-qualification letter, which won’t require anyone to pull your credit, but we found that we pre-qualified for a much higher mortgage than we actually qualified for with a pre-approval. In addition, most sellers want to see a pre-approval letter before considering an offer. What Is…
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Is Expensive Furniture Worth It?

Is expensive furniture still worth buying or should you start looking for affordable furniture for your home? These days, quality furniture is easy to find and it doesn’t have to be expensive. I tend to steer clear of the lowest quality furniture, such as the pieces found at Living Spaces and stores like it, but if you look carefully, you can find local stores that sell decent furniture…
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Seven Tips to Save Money Shipping Holiday Gifts

Shipping holiday gifts successfully requires advance planning, unless you’re willing to spend a fortune on it. If you are, then by all means, ship your gifts December 21st by two-day air. If you’re like me and don’t want spend more on the shipping than the gift, use these seven tips to save money. You might even save time. Plan to ship everything by Monday, December 17. That way you…
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To iPhone or Not to iPhone

I’ve got the ultimate conundrum for a dedicated frugalist: the broken cell phone. First the story, then the conundrum. The Cheap Phone Plan As soon as my husband and I got married, we merged our cell phone plans into a family plan. About a year after the first two-year agreement expired, the hinge on his phone cracked and we decided it was time to upgrade. We both went…
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Lease vs. Buy a Car – Running the Numbers

I’ve never leased a car, nor have either of my parents. We simply don’t believe in it. I’m fortunate that my husband agrees. I do have friends who lease, though. I ran the numbers to compare the costs. Which is better: leasing or buying a car? Arguments for Leasing I polled my friends who lease and these are their reasons: A car is not an investment They’re able…
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My $14 Kitchen Makeover

I loathe my kitchen. It was apparently designed by a bachelor who did not cook and it’s ridiculous. We have tons of storage everywhere in the apartment except the kitchen. Every day, I yell “I hate this kitchen” while making dinner. But not anymore! Now that we’ve completed our $14 kitchen makeover, I don’t love it, but I hate it a lot less. These are photos of my old kitchen…
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The Eternal Homebuyer Debate: Condo vs. House

As you know, my husband and I are tentatively househunting. I say tentatively because we’re not sure when exactly we want to buy. We don’t yet have a real estate agent, but we do have a loan estimate. We also have a dealbreaker list and some neighborhoods we’re interested in. There’s just one major question left to answer: condo vs. house. We’ve been back and forth on the question. I want…
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The Carnival is Back

Gee, it seems like just last week the carnival was in town and now it’s back already. This week, the Festival of Frugality #114 included my post about saving money on taxes. I also recommend an article on being extravagantly frugal from the Not Jet Set blog. Broke Grad Student brings us the Carnival of Personal Finance #141, which includes my post about five ways to spend a tax refund. I also liked Rather Be…
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RepairPal.com: Compare Local Car Repair Estimates

About four months ago, my car started to make a very bad noise. After checking to make sure I hadn’t run over a few rubber cones or a giant stick, I took it to the shop. I left with a large repair bill. My husband also recently got walloped with a big repair bill. I wish we’d known about RepairPal.com at the time. It might have saved us a few…
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