December 2011

Recapping My Financial Resolutions for 2009

Last January, I made a list of six financial goals for 2009. Some were major, some were small. Sadly, I only succeeded in couple. Let’s take a look at the areas where I succeeded, and the ares where I didn’t quite make it. Buy a House: We did it! It took longer than we anticipated, but we closed on our house in late July. We did it with 20% down and…
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How Community Resources Can Save You Money

Recently I saved $600 by making my own slipcovers. However, I needed to borrow a sewing machine in order to do that. That got me to thinking – what other ways could people save money by sharing community resources? Here are a few areas where I think people could start sharing resources. Household/Gardening Tools Although it would be difficult to share frequently-used tools among more than a couple…
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September 2009 Household Budget Update

Now that we’ve moved into our house, it’s time to update the budget yet again. I’m excluding our new home purchases because those come out of a separate fund from our other household expenses. We cut back our spending for the first half of the year, partly because we spent all of our time looking for a house and were too busy to do anything else, and partly…
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Homeownership: A Year in Review

So, my vacation happened to coincide with the one-year anniversary of buying my house. It’s been quite a year. Here’s a quick review of my first year: Boxes Moved: 80 Rooms painted: 9 Rooms left to plant: 1 Ceilings painted: 2 Ceilings I will paint in the future: 0 Thanksgivings Hosted: 1 (my first) Refinances: 2 Husband’s surgeries: 2 Employer reorganizations: 1 Pieces of furniture bought: 17 Pieces…
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How to Avoid Getting Sucked In by Fall TV

Along with colder weather and a new school year, the fall brings the return of most TV shows. Once the shows premiere, it’s easy to waste hours you could otherwise be using. Here are my strategies for enjoying the shows I like without getting sucked into stuff I have no interest in watching. Choose Your Fall TV Shows before They Air I used to subscribe to TV Guide…
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First-Time Buyers: Shop for Homeowners Insurance in Advance

As soon as we started looking for a home with a real estate agent, she advised me to get preliminary quotes from several insurance companies so we would be able to move quickly once we went into escrow. If you’re getting a loan, you can’t close the loan without insurance in place, and the first year’s premium will be paid through your escrow company in advance. How to…
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Save Money while Filing Taxes Online

It’s mid-February and my taxes are already done. Not only are they done, but I’m actually getting money back, which came as a surprise. Part of that is because I used free online software to prepare my taxes. The services found deductions that I might have missed. This year, it took me twice as long to prepare my taxes – two hours instead of one – because I…
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Six Tips for Staying Sane in this Economy

I entered what I call “bad news fatigue” a few weeks ago. That means I no longer slap my forehead quite as hard when I see news of more financial idiocy. I just shake my head when I hear news of government screw-ups or rate cuts. If you haven’t yet reached the point where you no longer care about the latest financial news, your 401K balance, or the…
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Saving Money on Holiday Travel

I’ll admit that I gave up on flying for holidays nearly a decade ago. My family lives six hours away, and I eventually found that it’s cheaper and easier to drive. I did fly for several years, however, and picked up a few tips for saving money on holiday travel. These tips may even save you a bit of time. Use Airline Miles to Fly If you need…
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Five Simple Ways Go Green in a Bad Economy

When people talk about “going green,” they’re usually talking about buying new environmentally friendly appliances, products, and clothes. All of those things cost big bucks, or at least a lot more than they should. Is that eco detergent really worth an extra $3? I doubt it, especially if you have an older dishwasher or washing machine that isn’t strong enough to make up for the difference. But there…
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