Do You Really Need the Best of the Best for Your Home?

Channels like HGTV have spawned our interest in housing and all things interior and exterior design. 

A house isn’t nice enough if it doesn’t have granite countertops and a gourmet kitchen.  No longer is the master bedroom simply bigger than the other bedrooms in the home.  Instead, we want an en suite complete with a large bathroom (his and her sinks are a must), walk in closets with built in shelves and a sitting area.  The bathroom must have a Jacuzzi hot tub.

Really?

When did this become the norm?

Of course it’s nice to live in lavish surroundings, but if you have trouble making ends meet or have debt to pay off, do you really need all of this?

Houses 60 Years Ago Were Very Different

The simple truth is that 50 or 60 years ago, houses were much simpler.
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The Minefield of Checking Account Fees – Here’s How to Minimize the Damage

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Not too long ago, finding a free checking account was easy. 

They were plentiful, and there weren’t many fees unless you had overdrafts or some other major account issue.

Now, however, free checking accounts aren’t as easy to find.  The ones that are still “free” aren’t exactly free as they are rife with hidden fees.

Now, if you’re not careful, checking accounts can routinely rob you of hundreds of dollars a year.

The Minefield of Checking Account Fees and How to Avoid Them

Trouble Comparing Services

Part of the trouble is that it’s very hard to do an apples to apples comparison of banks’ fees.
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Is American Poverty As Bad As We Think It Is?

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A few years ago during the Great Recession, my mom would lament about how scary times were and how it was similar to the Great Depression.

Without a doubt, the Great Recession was hard on many families.

People lost jobs, and sometimes it took them months or even years to find a new one.  Some people lost their homes, and many others were underwater.  Still, to say that times were as hard as those during the Great Depression was a gross exaggeration.

Let’s Put American Poverty in Perspective

Poverty in the United States During the Great Depression

The site Ohio.gov has gathered stories from the elderly recounting their life during the Great Depression.  If you’re a history buff, you could spend hours reading the material.  By recounting their lives during that time, we get an excellent glimpse into how difficult times really were.
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Fourth (4th) of July Deals, Freebies, and Discounts 2013

fourth of july fireworks

For the last several years, companies have generously offered freebies as a way to get new customers in the door (and perhaps spend more money with the business offering the freebie).  A wise consumer may choose to take advantage of the freebie and not necessarily buy more.

If you are looking for some frugal fun on the days leading up to the 4th and on the 4th itself, check out some of these 4th of July freebies and deals:

Restaurant Freebies and Deals

fourth of july fireworks

Have a great 4th of July and enjoy these great deals!

Most people don’t spend the Fourth of July inside a restaurant, so several restaurants have offered some good deals to entice you to visit them.

Here are some of the best deals:

  • It’s BOGO (that’s buy one, get one free) smoothies at Jamba Juice through July 7th. Use this Jamba Juice coupon.
  • Spaghetti Warehouse is offering $5 off any two entrees.  Head over to this Spaghetti Warehouse Facebook page and Like them for the coupon.
  • Boston Market is offering 50% off any of their Family Meals on the 4th of July with this coupon.  This is a great way to get the cook of the family out of the kitchen so he or she can enjoy Independence Day.
  • Head over to Outback Steakhouse and say “Let Freedom Bloom!” and get a free Bloomin’ Onion.

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Walmart Life Insurance Policies – Should You Buy Yours There?

Imagine the unimaginable–you’ve died. 

In the prime of your life, years before you thought you would, you’ve died.  You’ve likely left behind a spouse and children.  Of course, they will grieve your loss terribly, but soon after you pass on they’ll be confronted by a harsh reality of life without your financial contribution.

How will your spouse survive and meet the bills?  Will she have money to send the kids to college?

Unfortunately, financial considerations crop up soon after someone dies when the funeral needs to be planned.

Life goes on.

If you’re the primary breadwinner, life goes on for your family with much less money, unless you had life insurance in place.

Unfortunately, 30% of Americans have no life insurance.  “Of the 35 million American households without life insurance, 11 million include children under 18″ (MSN).  While dying in your prime is unlikely, it happens every day.  My dad died when he was just 38, and my parents were woefully underinsured with life insurance.  My mom has struggled financially since he died over 25 years ago.

Why Don’t More Americans Get Life Insurance?

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Children and Allowance – When to Start and How Much

Long before we enter the working world, wage disparity can occur in the form of allowance.

I don’t remember talking to my friends about how much allowance they made, but I am guessing the subject probably came up.  As a parent, allowance is definitely something to consider carefully.  You don’t want to give your child too much nor too little.

-“This is an emergency!  I need to know all of your allowances!”

-“Why?”

-“Because you are all still friends, even with different allowances!  I have to know how you do it.”

-“Do we get different allowances?”

-“I don’t know, do we?”

From the kids’ show Arthur, in the episode More! where Arthur’s little sister, D.W., is angry she earns less allowance than her friend.

When Should Children Get an Allowance and How Much Should it Be?

Determining the Work to Be Done

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How Can I Pay Off My Student Loan Faster? 3 Programs to Help

There’s no doubt that American college students are in deep–deep in student loan debt, that is

The average college graduate who has student loan debt walks away with roughly $25,500 in debt.  To pay those loans off in 10 years, the graduate will have to pay nearly $300 a month and will pay almost $10,000 in interest over the life of the loan.

New college graduates in this tough job market often must settle for low paying jobs to gain experience before they can move up to a better paying position.  Factor in rent, food, a car, health insurance, and a professional wardrobe, and tacking on a steep student loan payment can be difficult.

While there is no easy way to get out of student loan debt quickly, there are a number of programs that are available to help graduates pay off their debt faster.  These programs won’t erase student loan debt, but they can give graduates a little extra help paying off their loans.

3 Programs to Help You Pay Off Student Loans Faster

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