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

college student dorm pizza break

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?

Home security system

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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Try Out Your New Lifestyle Before You Actually Live It

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Life can be full of financial changes that you must adapt to.  One of the best ways to make the transition smoother is to try out your new lifestyle before you actually live it.   Take, for example, the stories of two women, Jessica and Maureen.
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The High Price of Professional Degrees on Your Finances

There was a time not so long ago when many parents wanted their children to become lawyers or doctors because of the prestige and high salaries those positions garnered.  We still often think of lawyers or doctors being wealthy, but behind the scenes, there can be a dramatically different story.  There can be a high price to a professional degree.  Read the following situations to see what I mean.

A Law School Drop Out

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