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

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

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

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

Concentrate on the Big Three Expenses of Your Budget

Have you ever gotten through the month and breathed a sigh of relief because there was still a little bit of money left in your bank account? It’s a great feeling but sometimes it almost feels like a mystery. How did I do that? Why was this month such a good one compared to most others? Most of us are used to feeling stressed out because most of the time our money is tight.

When you're trying to get free from debt, little things matter, but concentrating on the big three expenses of your budget is the way to go. Here are the steps to take to eliminate debt from your life.

As ridiculous as this might sound, when I look at my monthly scorecard of what I spend and what my income was compared to my budget, I think about it like it is my NFL season record. You know, when I come in under my expense budget I feel like that’s a win and when I don’t it’s like a loss. I’d really love to have a 12-0 season, but frankly that hasn’t happened…yet. Continue reading

Damn Those Skeptics: Owning a Home DOES Build Wealth

Being back from my very brief holiday respite and having had the chance to recharge my battery, I have to tell you I was really infuriated by all of the cable news stations while trying to relax at home. Their ways of reporting on everything from politics to finances, especially when we get a rare “slow” news day, sometimes is all about the unusual, weird, and often just plain hard-to-believe stories that defy logic. One such story aired on CNBC when it reported on: “Owning a home may help you save some money, but it won’t help you make money and build wealth”.

Contrary to a recent study that says renting is better than buying a home in order to build wealth, I firmly believe that the best way to build wealth is to diversify, and this includes home ownership. Here's more on how home ownership can help you build wealth.

According to CNBC’s reporting, young people are better off taking control of their finances and renting than buying their home and relying on fluctuating home values based on the research findings of a recent study conducted by Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University and the University of Wyoming.

To my way of thinking that’s a bunch of BS, study or not. While it is certainly very true that young people just out of college and beginning their careers are probably not in a position to buy a home, their goal can and perhaps should be to do so once they are in a better financial place. Continue reading

Fire Safety & Insurance: Are You Really Protected?

Sunday evening around 9:30 pm, my wife and I were sitting in our living room watching a movie when we heard the sounds of a fire engine racing nearby and saw the flashing lights outside of our window. At first we didn’t pay too much attention to it, but a minute later a second, third, and more engines started to turn in across the street in our condo complex along with several police cars and ambulances. Before you could say holy sh*t, we realized that someone’s condo was in the middle of a serious blaze. It was a complete shocker and very scary.

If you haven't reviewed your fire safety and insurance lately, you may be surprised to learn that you aren't protected as completely as you thought.

Fires can happen, we all know that!

Living in a condo where over 400 units are so close together makes the thought of a fire even more dramatic. A fire in one home easily spreads quickly and can engulf an entire block of homes in a short period of time. Even if you live in a single family home on a plain somewhere in Montana, a fire can happen and kill someone or ruin your home and life. Continue reading

Home Safe Home: Affordable Security for Your House

I’m fortunate enough to live in a nice neighborhood, but last year when I learned there had been some break-ins nearby, I started thinking about the security of my home. According to the FBI, in 2015 more than 1.5 million burglaries occurred in the U.S. for an estimated $3.6 billion in property losses. It’s something you may not think about until something happens near you, or to you, but it’s important to be prepared. Of course an easy solution is to get an alarm system, or a DIY security system, but they can be pricey. Today I’m going to look at some ways to achieve affordable home security so you can protect your family and your possessions.

There are simple, inexpensive ways to protect your house without getting an alarm system. Try these affordable home security tips to guard your property.

Affordable Home Security Tips

While you probably can’t stop a determined burglar, there’s a lot you can do to make your home more secure, and less appealing to criminals. Continue reading

Avoid a Summer Meltdown with These Ways to Keep Cool

Yesterday the temperature was in the 90’s here in New Jersey, and I was looking for some ways to keep cool without spending a fortune on air conditioning. It seems like this summer is off to quite a warm start all around the USA and it’s not even a month old yet. It’s been 100+ degrees in lots of places out west and in the 90’s here in the northeast, ugh! With another 10+ weeks ahead of us of warm and muggy days, what are you going to do to cool off?

When the temperature spikes, you'll need some ways to keep cool without spending a fortune. Try these simple tips to "chill out".

You could jet away to a fabulous resort vacation someplace in South America where the temps stay in the 60’s and 70’s in what is considered winter there. You can even take off and cruise in Alaska or Nova Scotia or camp out in the great state of Maine. Those trips would definitely do the trick except for one tiny problem. They can cost you a small fortune and if you are traveling with your family, kiss your financial peace of mind good-bye and say hello to Mr. Credit Card Debt! So what can you do to stay cool this summer without burning big bucks? Here’s my list of cool low- or no-cost ways to stay fresh, save you money, and not go into a costly “hot money mess”! Continue reading