Frugal Vacation Idea – Tag Along to Your Spouse’s Business Conference

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Many people have to attend business conferences, often at faraway locations.  While it is true some people like to spend this time away from their family to focus on work and make business connections, others would prefer not to be away from their family for a long period of time.  If you are of the latter group and your spouse has a flexible schedule, why not create a family vacation around a conference instead?  Tag along to your spouse’s business conference and you have the makings of a frugal vacation.  There are several advantages to doing so:
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Condo Fees You May Not Be Aware Of

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Many 20-somethings graduate college and move to the city.  Not quite ready for homeownership, many of them may consider buying a condo.

Recently, I observed a billboard for a condo building in downtown Chicago that piqued my curiousity because it clearly was seeking to attract young professionals.  I went home and looked on their website, which was sleek and obviously catering to the 20 to early 30s crowd.  There were beautiful pictures of the high rise from the outside, pictures of the inside of different condos highlighting the beautiful city view, floor plans, and even interviews with a half dozen of the residents (all of them young professionals except for the token near retirement empty nester).

What really caught my interest was their page that declared, “You Can’t Afford Not To Buy!”

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Transportation Alternatives for One Car Families

Many of us grew up in two car families, and more recently, even three car families.  A car for each adult (and sometimes teenaged) member of the family seems to be a necessity, but is it?  Are there transportation alternatives for one car families?

We live on the outskirts of a major urban area and have lived happily with one car our entire married life.  By not having a second car we have saved thousands of dollars.  Consider the following:
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Alternative College Housing Options to Save Money

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If a student decides to go to a college one or more hours away from home, a large part of their living expense is room and board.  Of course, there are the traditional dorm rooms and meal plans or off campus apartments.  But both of these options are rather expensive.  At my Alma mater, the University of Michigan, a dorm room and a meal plan can run a student anywhere from $8,370 for a triple to $12,530 for a single with a private bath.  A studio off campus can run $650 per month and a 3 bedroom apartment $1,500 a month.  Neither of the apartment options includes heat, electricity or food.

However, if a student is willing to take the non-traditional route, there are a few options available that will cost the student less out of pocket and ultimately reduce the amount of student loan debt they may have to acquire. Continue Reading

Is a Home Security System Worth the Expense?

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I have a friend whose husband travels frequently for work.  After one of these trips, she mentioned how poorly she had slept because she had been listening for intruders.  I knew that she had a home security system, so I asked the obvious, “Didn’t the security system make you feel better?”

“I don’t use that!” she said in a voice filled with disdain.  “I don’t want to pay $30 a month for that!”  (She and her husband bought the house about five years ago, and the system was already installed.)

I bit my tongue from saying more, but by not using the security system she already has, I think she is making a big mistake.  People have the tendency to think they are safe in their homes and that other people’s houses get broken into, not theirs.  However, it only takes one incident to shake this view.  Still, many want to know — Is a home security system worth the expense? Continue Reading

Would You Drive a Car Covered with Advertisements?

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We live in a world filled with advertisements.  We see them on the tv, in magazines, on bus stops, on buses, at movie theaters, in schools, in public restrooms.  They are all around us.  Now, you will see advertisements on rental cars too.

Would you drive a car covered with advertisements?

Budget Rent-a-Car has launched a new pilot program in Atlanta.  They will cover red SUVs in an advertisement for Sheets Brand Energy Strips.  In return for driving an SUV covered in advertising, Budget customers will pay roughly ¼ the amount to rent a car that they would pay without the advertising.  One customer rented an SUV with advertising for four days to drive to Florida.  The regular price would have been almost $300, but the price dropped to $90 because she chose the car with advertising.
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The Lure of the Infomercial

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Have you ever been up at night, flipping through channels, and been bombarded by the infomercials?  The Magic Bullet, for example, is a little mini blender.  Yet if you invest the time to watch the full infomercial, you will discover that the Magic Bullet is perfect for all of your kitchen tasks.  It can blend up ingredients for a personal sized smoothie, an omelet, and muffins (never mind that the blueberry muffins actually come out blue after making their way through the Magic Bullet).  You can also use the Magic Bullet for grinding coffee, chopping onions and garlic, the list goes on.

The advertisement features a pleasant man and woman surrounded by their friends.  The group could easily be away for a weekend at a lakeside cottage.  Everyone is relaxed and delighted to watch all the tasks that can be completed with the Magic Bullet.  If you, the viewer, are not careful, you may begin to subconsciously marvel at the Magic Bullet until you decide you need one too.
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