Monday, July 26, 2010

15 Things You Should Never Pay For

From PT Money

"The Man” is trying to take your money. Don’t let him. I’ve put together 15 things that you should never pay “the man” for. For a lot of things in life, you get what you pay for. But in the case of these 15 items, most of us wouldn’t be sacrificing any quality to go with the freebie. Read the entire article.

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Retiring Overseas Can Stretch Dollars

by Liz Pulliam Weston

It's possible to live in luxury on a pauper's budget -- if you're willing to leave the US.

Let's get this out of the way right at the start: Retiring abroad isn't for everyone or even for most people.

But the adventurous can find comfortable, even luxurious, lifestyles in many places that cost them far less than what they would pay at home, said Kathleen Peddicord, the author of How to Retire Overseas: Everything You Need to Know to Live Well (For Less) Abroad.  Read the entire article.

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Critical Steps for Next Financial Crisis

by Frugal Dad

It remains to be seen whether or not the worst has passed, or if we are merely enjoying the relative calm during the eye of the latest financial storm. I personally believe we are in for more tough times in the near term.

A variety of stimulus programs have conspired to create an “artificial demand” that has produced seemingly positive results. However, I believe it only served to delay the inevitable. In fact, I’ll go a step further. I believe it made the inevitable even worse. Would the economy have been worse without the stimulus? Probably. Would we have survived and saved a couple trillion dollars in new debt? Probably. But who knows. I’m not an economist, and I certainly don’t play one on TV.

In the Frugal household we are hunkering down, financially. The 2008 recession caught us off guard. We were still in debt, had little savings, and were just beginning to deal with what would become a year-long medical and financial crisis with my mom, who suffered an aneurysm and subsequent stroke at 53 years young. She passed away in September of 2009. Fortunately, we were able to ride the storm out, but I made it a goal to be better prepared next time. And next time may be closer than any of us think.

What if I’m wrong? Well, I hope I am. You can say I told you so. But even if I am wrong about another economic downturn in the next year, at least your family will have improved its finances between now and then. Get the steps to take.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Birth Order and Frugal Lifestyle

Numerous studies have determined that the order in which you are born into your family can affect your personality. While there have to be some exceptions, these typical personality traits can affect your frugal style. One personality type might be really good at saving with coupons, while another is better off negotiating for goods and services to save money. Where do you fall?

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Is Mending Really Strange?

Do the things you take for granted seem strange to everyone else? What do your friends and neighbors think about your frugal ways? You may be surprised.

Last afternoon, it was the very last day of school. The kids had a half day, and our neighbor and friend asked if I wouldn't mind having his son over at our house. After settling everyone in with lunch, we sat around the back porch. The kids played a board game and talked. Since I wanted to keep an eye on them and be part of the conversation, I grabbed up some mending and got to work.

A little while later, our neighbor came by to pick up his son and noticed that I was sewing. It actually shocked him a little. "Anything to save a few dollars," he said. "That is good." But did he really think it was? What I realized in that moment, is that something that seems so natural to me, repairing a tear in a fitted bed sheet is probably unusual in this day and age. Read the entire article.

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Lessons On Car Buying

by Stew

I am not a person who is really interested in cars, but I see them as a necessary part of life. I know almost nothing about how a car works, I can change the oil, barely. I am not impressed by nice cars or fast cars or big cars or cars with good interiors.

I am interested in functionality – does it get me and mine from point A to point B? I am just as excited about a car with good gas mileage, decent exterior, and a solid engine as I am about the latest sports car or SUV. All that I am interested in knowing is how much gas I am going to have to put into it and how often I will have to take it to a mechanic.

Here are a few things that I have learned in my car buying experience.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kitchen Remodel On A Budget

A good kitchen remodel can get really expensive really quick. Aside from the daunting price tag, you also have to consider that it may take weeks or even months, throughout which you will not have a workable kitchen (eating out equals empty wallet).

Of course, this is assuming that you opt for a contractor (or several) instead of the DIY approach (which may take longer, but only affect certain areas of your space at one time).

However, the benefits of a remodeled kitchen are certainly appealing, whether it’s for your own use or as a selling point (or both). And surprisingly, you can save a lot of money by following a few simple steps.

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Get Your Car Ready For a Roadtrip

Summer road trips can be a lot of fun, driving across country with friends or family is an experience you won’t likely soon forget. Getting your car ready for a road trip can help make it a more enjoyable experience by hopefully avoiding any car problems on the way.

One thing many people don’t think about when going on a roadtrip are the hidden costs of wear and tear on your vehicle. Many times the immediate cost of driving is cheaper than buying plane tickets for your whole family but you are putting miles on your car.

Here are and help prevent those extra miles from turning an expensive roadside emergency. 10 things you can do to get your car ready for a roadtrip.

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Selling Your House Isn’t Easy

I remember when we were debating whether to put our house on the market we finally decided to just give it a try and see how the market treated us. We didn’t realize how much work it would be preparing the house to sell, keeping it ready to sell, and looking for a new house that met our criteria.

I’m still glad we decided to list our house because we’ve learned a lot about the market and the process. However, some advice to anyone thinking about selling their house, it will be a lot of work so be sure you’re ready! Read the entire article.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Medicine Cabinet From Kitchen Cabinets

Stock up on these natural remedies to help prevent and cure what ails you this summer.

The Problem: SUNBURN
Ouch! You wanted a little color, but now look like a lobster.

Prevent it: TOMATOES
Supplement your sunscreen habit with lycopene-rich tomatoes. Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that gives tomatoes their red color, can actually keep you from turning red. Adding more tomato-based dishes to your diet can help protect your skin from within.

Cure it: APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
Run a cool bath and add the vinegar to the water. “This helps restore the acid/alkaline balance to the skin and helps remove the sting,” says Naturalist Becky Kemery.

The Problem: MOSQUITO BITES
There’s nothing more dreadful than the drone of a mosquito in the dead of summer, except for the itch of their bites.

Prevent it: ORANGES
Eat a couple of these juicy summer fruits right before you are planning to go outside. Those pesky little creatures don’t like citrus and will stay away when they smell it on you.

Cure it: BAKING SODA
Mix three parts baking soda with one part water to create a paste and apply to the itch. The drying nature of baking soda can help draw out the irritant.

The Problem: BEE STINGS
Even if you’re not allergic, the sting of a yellow jacket is no picnic.

Prevent it: STAND STILL
So, it’s not something you can keep in your first-aid kit, but it’s still good advice. Bees sting defensively and are frightened by sudden movements. As hard as it is not to flail, stay calm and they should leave you alone. Read the entire article.

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Find Best Hospitals in Town

Q. I just moved to a new area. How can I find out which hospitals are considered the best in town?

A. You’re in luck. Patients’ outcomes from local hospitals are measured and recorded at the government website. From there, you can link to different sections that compare hospitals and tell you how patients with certain conditions fared after they received hospital care; whether they were hospitalized again within 30 days (readmission rates); and the death rates in certain cases. The site also provides survey results from patients about the quality of care they received during a recent hospital stay.

The information on the site comes from hospitals that have agreed to release the data to the public. The site, which was created by the Hospital Quality Alliance, is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Source: AARP Bulletin - June 2010

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Water-Wise Gardening Tip

Grant your worn-out hose a second life by converting it to a soaker hose. Plug the end of the hose with a round stick and perforate the hose with a sharp nail. You’ll recycle an old hose into a soaker hose—and conserve water at the same time.

>Join a chat on at the Birds and Blooms Thrifty Backyards community.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Build A Playhouse and Pizza Oven

You can create the perfect natural backyard playhouse by building with earth, straw (cob) and rock.

For years, I dreamed of building my own home using natural materials. But time passed, and I started to think about what I could do with the house I actually owned and lived in. In the end, I carried a shovel and some hand tools into the backyard of my vinyl-sided split-level ranch, and started building a cob house — an elflike playhouse for my children.

What took shape was a small cottage built of stone, cob (clay and straw) and wood, much of it gathered on-site. It took far too long to build, and demanded an endless supply of sand and clay. But the process was pleasant and rewarding. The structure emerged organically, dictated as much by available materials as the shape of our small city lot.

A grove of hemlocks at the edge of the property provided an idyllic setting; however, the steep pitch and rocky soil presented challenges for excavation. As difficult as this was, the digging yielded enough stone for a rubble trench and a mortared foundation. It also produced good clay that went into the walls, plus contributed the material for the attached wood-fired pizza oven. Read the entire article.

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Wildcrafting For Free Food

Just imagine, delicious, natural, local produce that you don't have to travel the supermarket aisles for, absolutely free. No, you're not dreaming, that really is your neighbor's unpicked apple tree! And didn't all that fruit just fall to the ground and make a rotten mess last year?

In addition to all the food that is begging to be harvested on private property in our cities and towns, there's also an abundance in public areas and government-owned natural spaces.

There's a lot of produce that goes wasted because it is unfamiliar to us or we are not sure how to use it without extensive pitting or other processes.

There are thousands of foods out there that we don't see on the grocery shelf. Mostly this is because these foods have a poor shelf life or are uneconomic to grow for sale. Some are delicacies that the ordinary person cannot afford. So keep your eyes open for things that look edible. Then do your research. Read the entire article.

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100 Best Companies To Work For

From MyTwoDollars.com

Fortune Magazine has released their annual Top 100 Employers To Work For List for 2010, and some of the companies on the list may surprise you (they did me, for sure).

I remember back when I worked in the movie business and worked at Universal Studios in California, we were near the top of this list because of the solid perks, pay, and job security we had.

Things have certainly changed due to different industries taking off and others faltering, but if you have a job at one of these Top 100 you probably have it pretty good right about now. So what kinds of things can put a company on this list? Let’s take a look in the full article . View the Top 100.

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"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28