We all hear the news about climate change as well as the weird and sometimes disastrous weather patterns that seem to be news events almost every day in some part of the world. I guess it’s worse for me in the sense that I can actually remember when it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. I find that’s not always the case anymore and the temperatures here in New Jersey sometimes seem like they’re 60-something degrees almost all year round. I may be exaggerating, slightly, but the weather has changed. When I hear some weather guy reporting that the temperatures in September were the warmest ever recorded for the month, and that they’ve broken the record now 5 out of the last 7 years, we have to admit that global warming is having an effect, don’t we?
That’s one reason I finally opened my wallet and got the ball rolling on getting a new front door along with a storm door! I was finally ready after freezing my rear end off for several years to pull the cord and fix it. I’m sure it will pay off in keeping us warmer and saving on our heating bill, enough to make me feel really foolish that I didn’t do it before now. Continue reading
Writing about saving money is a feel-good way for me to share my knowledge with all of you. Since I’ve started, I’ve covered a number of ways that you can cut your grocery bill, home energy costs, shopping expenses and many more areas where we regularly spend our money. Some are smaller ways, and others help you to save big money, like shopping around for car insurance. But I wanted to share some other ideas with you. Each of them is different and if you make them into regular habits, you can save a substantial amount.
Bold Ways to Save Big Money
1. Give Up Your Car
The cost of a car is way expensive. You may have monthly payments in the hundreds, car insurance costs through the roof (here in NJ, it’s the highest in the country), maintenance and gasoline, plus license and registration fees. Continue reading
It’s a fact of life today that you may find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to rent a storage unit. You see them practically everywhere you go these days and there are a slew of reasons why people are renting them more than ever. Although I have used a storage unit just once in my life, I did my homework first in order to save some money when using a storage unit was my only alternative.
Some of the reasons people use storage units make perfect sense and are almost unavoidable. For example, if you’re moving your residence and your new place isn’t ready just yet, storage units can be a lifesaver so you can either sell your home (or get out of a lease) when you want and have your belongings protected until move-in day arrives. Continue reading
Ten minutes isn’t really a very long time. It’s less time than it takes to play a quarter in a pro football game. You can listen to 2½ songs on the radio in 10 minutes. It’s even less time than it takes you to read your daily e-mails. In other words, it’s just a few minutes, but oh how great it is to have such an opportunity to increase your productivity, save money, build relationships, and move forward in that brief time period.
If you try some of these ideas, I think you’ll agree that these 10 minutes could wind up being the most productive 10 minutes of the day, starting today! Continue reading
Here where I live in New Jersey, we have the highest real estate taxes in the United States (and probably the universe as well!) with a whopping average of $3,971 per year. Now that we’re closing in on a new fiscal year in my town, and my first quarterly tax payment is due on August 1st, I am reminded again that many of us simply accept the tax evaluations we receive from our local assessor and pay up without really knowing what can be done. In fact, if there has been some kind of error made or even if you just need a further explanation as to how the assessment was calculated, there’s a lot you can do.
It matters not whether you pay your taxes through an escrow account (which I don’t recommend if you have that choice) or you do as I do and pay them directly to your local office, you still have the right to challenge your assessment and you may in fact have good reasons to do exactly that! Continue reading
Now that summer is upon us, and the days are getting warmer and warmer, the air conditioning is already starting to crank up. That’s why it’s that time again to look at ways to save money off your monthly utility bills.
I know saving on energy costs isn’t the sexiest money saving technique, but it can never be a bad idea to remind us all that we spend an ever-increasing amount on our utilities and appliances that “burn” our dollars almost constantly. In addition, saving energy will help in saving our planet by using less, polluting less, and keeping our own personal carbon footprint on the smaller side. That’s important to me and my personal philosophy to do so for the benefit of future generations. Continue reading
It’s a popular time of year for home sales, with many people looking for a new place to live, and open house signs dotting the neighborhood each weekend. Once you’ve narrowed down the area you want to live, the next big question is whether you should rent or buy. Many people point to home ownership as the American dream where you can build equity rather than renting which is considered “throwing your money away”. But financially, it doesn’t always make sense to buy over renting, and there’s often more than just financial considerations to take into account.
So, rent versus buy? The answer is: it depends. Continue reading
As the years go by, it seems we have all been buying more and more into the cliché “bigger is better”. I have to admit, I wouldn’t refuse a bigger paycheck each week, or a bigger piece of mom’s apple pie after dinner, but there are lots of other instances where bigger can create other issues that may lead you to real trouble.
Being just a little practical and more conservative financially can give you mounds of money that can be used for real life priorities, like retirement, long-term healthcare, and life insurance as well as investing in your future. I’m not a scientist, but I’ve come up with a scientific formula that I wish I had developed years ago: Continue reading
With the spring weather finally coming to the northeast, I can see things are beginning to sprout and grow around here, from the green buds on the trees and bushes to the yellow blooms of the daffodils and forsythia. Many people are turning their attention to gardening and landscaping, and the retailers and nurseries are ready to take your money today, with one retailer even calling it “spring black Friday” (shouldn’t that be “spring green Friday”?). While I tend to have a brown thumb when it comes to growing plants, I have a green thumb when it comes to saving money. Lots of people enjoy gardening, but they can save money at the same time by growing their food and saving on groceries.
If you don’t have a large-sized property, you might be thinking gardening isn’t for you. But all it takes is a small bit of land, Continue reading
There may come a time when you face a situation when you need money that is above and beyond your emergency funds. We may all face them at some point, whether it’s a medical emergency, car or house situation, or perhaps something with the kids like a huge tuition bill or family issue you need to help solve. What can you do? There are several solutions, but today I’d like to address a common but often misunderstood one, the home equity line of credit, or HELOC.
First, let’s talk about home equity. The equity is the difference between what you owe on your home to pay off any mortgage and the current market value of your home. For example: Continue reading