The True Cost of Owning a Home

There is an ongoing discussion about whether or not buying and owning a home is a really a good idea. I have been a homeowner myself continuously (with just a small blip on that screen while I recovered from my divorce) since 1976 and that’s roughly 40+ years, so I can testify that owning your own home has been a great move for me. That’s why I wrote about it several times (most recently with “Damn Those Skeptics: Owning a Home Does Build Wealth” in January 2018) and said it is definitely a good thing.

The cost of owning a home can be more significant than it first appears. If you're a renter, you may be in for a big surprise when it comes to ownership.

But, and here’s the big but, maybe not for everybody! Why? There is a list of reasons as to why home ownership may not be the right decision for you, but one of the most underestimated and overlooked is understanding:

What is the real price of owning your own home?

Continue reading“The True Cost of Owning a Home”

Freon and the Exploding Cost of Your Air Conditioning Units

Ever since 1970, we have been celebrating Earth Day and we just did that again this past week. You probably saw something on the news about it and maybe even participated to help celebrate it and defend the honor of our planet, too. Even if you didn’t actually celebrate it, you at least, hopefully, did some recycling of your own garbage that helped. And soon, like it or not, you’ll have to trade in your freon air conditioning for something more ecologically-friendly.

Freon air conditioning is a danger to our planet and is about to become significantly more expensive. Find out why and what you can do about it.

Let’s face it, Mother Earth has been fighting a huge battle against pollution now for what seems like forever and she hasn’t exactly been winning the war, has she? Climate change that has been aided by humans is a real issue and there are some ways you can actually help in the fight.

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Emergency Planning – Are You Insured and Storm Ready?

We are not yet through November and some of us have already experienced a fall snowstorm. Storms of all kinds can hit with little notice no matter where you live and even if it’s not weather related, many scary problems strike and can be very dangerous, costly, and life threatening. We have seen that just in the last two weeks with the worst California wildfires ever (and now potential mudslides) that have taken dozens of lives and destroyed so much property. For these reasons and more, it pays to have an emergency plan.

Emergencies happen, but are you prepared? You need an emergency plan in case of a storm, fire, or other disaster. Here's what you need to plan in advance.

What Can You Do About Any of This?

If storms, fires, or other disasters strike, the very least you can do is be prepared with a plan and adequate emergency supplies. Even if you need to eventually evacuate, and I hope you never have to consider it, you need a plan of action.Continue reading“Emergency Planning – Are You Insured and Storm Ready?”

Geoarbitrage: The Power of Money Depends on Where You Live

I have always earned my living in the greater New York City metropolitan area, technically here in suburban central NJ (and as the late great Rodney Dangerfield often said, “we don’t get no respect!”). Because of that fact, I have always known that living around here was way more expensive than most other places and the purchasing power of a buck got you significantly less here than, say, someplace in the southern part of the USA. That’s always been one of the big downsides of living in this area.

Geoarbitrage is taking advantage of the fact that your financial power depends on where you live. In retirement, this becomes especially important.

This fact is verified every year by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that has been measuring this phenomenon since 2013. It recently published its latest data and using this info, the Tax Foundation demonstrates the real value of what $100 buys you in every state in the Union. It revealed once again that the power of your money really does depend on where you live. I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.
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The 10 Household Tools Everyone Needs to DIY

Or “Never Use a Butter Knife as a Screwdriver!”

Everyone knows you can save money by doing it yourself (DIY) when it comes to maintenance and small (or even large) repairs. But in order to make this work, you need to make a minor investment…in household tools! There are a few basic tools that everyone needs to own, and that’s what today’s post is all about.

In order to do it yourself (DIY) and save money around the house, you need to make a small investment in these 10 household tools.

I grew up in a home where doing the little “odd jobs” were not a subject of interest by my dad despite the constant complaints by my mom. Everything from changing lightbulbs in that high up chandelier to tightening screws on the dining room chairs was a battle and my dad would use the excuse that he didn’t have the tools he needed so he couldn’t do it. Since I was the next in line to do those jobs, I tried in vain to handle them but the lack of knowledge and training combined with not having the basic tools doomed every project to failure.Continue reading“The 10 Household Tools Everyone Needs to DIY”

How to Be Eco-Friendly, Save the Earth, and Save Money Too

Lately, there has been so much more talk about our environment, climate change, and what’s been happening with the EPA (or as some have been recently calling it the EDA – The Environmental Destruction Agency) that you can’t help but feeling worried, confused, and even desperate to do something to prevent disaster. I hope I am not too late for the party by bringing up a subject that has been around since my first eco-friendly Earth Day back in 1970, but yet I and millions of others can see that we still aren’t fully committed to protecting ourselves from our worst enemy…us.

We need to take care of our home, the Earth. Here are some tips on how to be eco-friendly, save money, and take care of the environment at the same time.

Here’s something that I came to realize late in life and it’s something to really think about when you think about conservation:

Do you realize that the water we have here on earth is exactly the same water that has been here since creation? No more and no less. The only difference is whether or not it’s “clean” water. The water that evaporates every day and returns to us as rain is the same water that you used to wash the car and flush your toilet. It’s finite, so you have to keep it clean and take care of it or we are doomed!Continue reading“How to Be Eco-Friendly, Save the Earth, and Save Money Too”

9 Summer Money Saving Tips for a Super Season

Summer is here and boy have I been looking forward to it! In my more recent years, my tolerance for the cold and winter has waned and I’d much rather enjoy a warm summer day than bundling up in my thermals and digging the car out of 12 inches of snow! Just thinking about it makes me cold, so yippee! summer has officially arrived and for the next few months, snow will be restricted to other corners of the globe and not here in central New Jersey.

Summer's here and while we welcome the warmer weather, we don't always like the spending that comes with the season. Check out my 9 summer money saving tips!

Being ever on the lookout for ways to save some money, summertime offers several neat ways to save and I have compiled my faves which are things you can actually do yourself. So, here are nine great ideas you can use to save money during those warm months of summer.Continue reading“9 Summer Money Saving Tips for a Super Season”

Be Smart When You DIY Home Improvement Projects

The idea of spending the weekend working around the house or apartment isn’t new. In fact, since “who knows actually when” it has always been a part of life. Even on the “Little House on the Prairie”, Pa (Michael Landon) was always “a fixin” something all the time. And so, DIY home improvement projects have been around a long time, but they seem to be enjoying a renewed popularity these days.

These days it's a popular option to DIY home improvement projects, but you need to be smart if you want to save money. Here are some considerations for the savvy DIYer.

Whether it’s repairing something that’s simply broken or remodeling your bathroom, kitchen, or basement, I am almost positive all of us have been there at least a few times. So the question that comes up a lot is this: How smart are you when you do home improvement projects?Continue reading“Be Smart When You DIY Home Improvement Projects”